‘Influence – the psychology of Persuasion’

January 11, 2017
‘Influence – the psychology of Persuasion'
Robert Cialdini

Book Review of ‘Influence – the psychology of Persuasion’ by Robert Cialdini

Author Robert Ciadini talks about some factors that affect people in their decision making in the book Influence: the psychology of Persuasion. Some things lead to automatic mindless compliance or saying yes from people. These factors Influence people to do things without even realising it. They are small triggers that affect people in their decision making. Some of them are:

Human beings perceive the value of a product by its price. A merchant at a tourist spot used to sell some Jewellery to tourists. Some of his products were not selling well. He instructed his employee to change the price to ½x for the weekend while he was going out of town. As he returned, all of that unsold inventory was sold. The fascinating thing, however, is, that the employee had mistakenly changed the price to 2x instead of ½x. The thing that worked for him was the higher price. The tourists that visited his shop perceived higher value with high price and bought it.
This is definitely not possible everywhere but it gives a lesson that people perceive higher value items to be generally good.


Humans have a natural tendency to reciprocate things. The Hare Krishna society carved spectacular success in the 1970s applying this principle. The Krishna followers used to present an Idol as a gesture and asked for donations only after. This led to great success as most of the people would accept the Idol first and later when asked for donation would feel obliged to return something. Similarly, many officers are offer goodies and free stuff in order to Influence them to get favours or get things done.

3.Social Proof:

Social proof is all about what people think/ like. If everyone loves cricket in India, then more people will try and become cricketers, as it is most talked about and has the most fan following. People also tend to share pictures on Social media they think will get the most likes or talk about causes they think will get the most response. There may be pictures they like more or causes they want to support, however, everything does not generate a great response and so isn’t shared. Using these principles, Businesses can also position and project things that have Social approval to be talked about more and generate a buzz.


Why do all TV commercials for Toothpaste/ brushes have actors dressed as Dentists or referred as Experts, in spite of everyone knowing they are just actors. It has been found in series of social experiments that people dressed as high authority figures get higher approval. High degrees or job Titles often get more respect and so a lot of salesmen refer themselves at higher positions like VP of sales to influence prospects.

5. Scarcity:

Let’s say a young lady goes to a shop to buy a watch for her boyfriend. She has a look at few watches and likes one, not 100% sure. However, that one particular watch just happened to be sold out and the last piece was to be collected by the buyer in a day. Now suddenly the watch becomes more valuable and she starts loving it and asks the shopkeeper if he could arrange or might have just one more. Seeing this, the shopkeeper magically comes up with one and the lady thankfully purchases it.

Sounds familiar? The principle of Scarcity is used so often to create fear of missing out all the time by Businesses as well as people to drive their demand up because it works.

These are just a few examples in the book Influence: the psychology of Persuasion. It’s a great read to understand different ways people are manipulated all the time. If you would like to buy it, check out the book Influence: the psychology of Persuasion here.

Wrap Up

Influence: the psychology of Persuasion



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