The Psychology of Persuasion

Robert Cialdini

Fairly nice work written about the art of persuasion: how to persuade others to do us a favor, or plainly speaking, how to exploit our nature of using short-cuts and trigger automatic compliance response.

I found many classical experiments—which could be found in other similar works of psychology—explained in a different line of reasoning. The one I highly impressed is the case of a woman stabbed to death by a murderer while being seen by 38 neighbors, none of whom actually called the police. This was placed under the “Social Proof” section which highlights our tendency to solve problems in ambiguity by looking to see how everyone else is doing. This is, to me, an interesting angle to see this social phenomenon.

I don’t want to spoil the content of the book, but here comes a bit more. I cannot resist myself expressing my excitement to Cialdini’s explanation of how some toy companies spur parents to buy more toys for their kids by using “Commitment and Consistency” human behavior, which is discussed in chapter 3. This is a beautiful illustration of how persuasion techniques are strategically and covertly applies. An eye-opening case.

Finally, my ultimate realization after reading Persuasion is the link between the exponential increase of information and the vulnerability of human habit of using shortcuts.

Again, Persuasion is a well-written and succinct book. Such a good read for anyone heading to a working life like me.

Fall 2019

August 30, 2019, 3:00:00 PM


psychology, self-help