“One aspect of what I learned in this three-year period of participant observation was most instructive. Although there are thousands of different tactics that compliance practitioners employ to produce yes, the majority fall within six basic categories. Each of these categories is governed by a fundamental psychological principle that directs human behavior and, in so doing, gives the tactics their power. The book is organized around these six principles, one to a chapter. The principles—consistency, reciprocation, social proof, authority, liking, and scarcity—are each discussed in terms of their function in the society and in terms of how their enormous force can be commissioned by a compliance professional who deftly incorporates them into requests for purchases, donations, concessions, votes, assent, etc. …
Each principle is examined as to its ability to produce a distinct kind of automatic, mindless compliance from people, that is, a willingness to say yes without thinking first. The evidence suggests that the ever-accelerating pace and informational crush of modern life will make this particular form of unthinking compliance more and more prevalent in the future. It will be increasingly important for the society, therefore, to understand the how and why of automatic influence.”
~ Robert B. Cialdini from Influence
This is the classic text on the psychology of persuasion.
Robert Cialdini is a professor of both psychology and marketing at Arizona State University.
In addition to decades of lab experiments, Robert also spent three years in “participant observation”—aka embedding himself as a sort of spy in various organizations to learn the tricks of their trade. He tried everything from selling cars and vacuums to becoming a bus boy at a restaurant so he could learn how waiters do their thing.
The book is simultaneously kind of a consumer protection guide (how not to be duped) AND a manual for marketers (how to sell your stuff!). :0 (Get a copy here.)
It’s packed with fascinating research and stories. I’m going to focus on pulling out some practical ideas we can apply to our lives today. I hope you enjoy!
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