Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion's notes, summary and lessons

By Robert Cialdini

Rating: 9/10

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  • We can’t be expected to recognize and analyze all the aspects in each person, event, and situation we encounter in even one day. We haven’t the time, energy, or capacity for it. Instead, we must very often use our stereotypes, our rules of thumb to classify things according to a few key features and then to respond mindlessly when one or another of these trigger features is present.

    Page: 7
  • Human societies derive a truly significant competitive advantage from the reciprocity rule, and consequently they make sure their members are trained to comply with and believe in it.

    Page: 19
  • Although the obligation to repay constitutes the essence of the reciprocity rule, it is the obligation to receive that makes the rule so easy to exploit. The obligation to receive reduces our ability to choose whom we wish to be indebted to and puts that power in the hands of others.

    Page: 31
  • Once we have made a choice or taken a stand, we will encounter personal and interpersonal pressures to behave consistently with that commitment.

    Page: 57
  • The drive to be (and look) consistent constitutes a highly potent weapon of social influence, often causing us to act in ways that are clearly contrary to our own best interests.

    Page: 59
  • Once we have made up our minds about an issue, stubborn consistency allows us a very appealing luxury: We really don’t have to think hard about the issue anymore.

    Page: 60
  • Sometimes it is the cursedly clear and unwelcome set of answers provided by straight thinking that makes us mental slackers. There are certain disturbing things we simply would rather not realize. Because it is a preprogrammed and mindless method of responding, automatic consistency can supply a safe hiding place from those troubling realizations. Sealed within the fortress walls of rigid consistency, we can be impervious to the sieges of reason.

    Page: 61
  • Once you’ve got a man’s self-image where you want it, he should comply naturally with a whole range of your requests that are consistent with this view of himself.

    Page: 74
  • Social scientists have determined that we accept inner responsibility for a behavior when we think we have chosen to perform it in the absence of strong outside pressures. A large reward is one such external pressure. It may get us to perform a certain action, but it won’t get us to accept inner responsibility for the act. Consequently, we won’t feel committed to it. The same is true of a strong threat; it may motivate immediate compliance, but it is unlikely to produce long-term commitment.

    Page: 93
  • We view a behavior as more correct in a given situation to the degree that we see others performing it.

    Page: 116
  • Advertisers love to inform us when a product is the “fastest-growing” or “largest-selling” because they don’t have to convince us directly that the product is good, they need only say that many others think so, which seems proof enough.

    Page: 117
  • In general, when we are unsure of ourselves, when the situation is unclear or ambiguous, when uncertainty reigns, we are most likely to look to and accept the actions of others as correct.

    Page: 129
  • We will use the actions of others to decide on proper behavior for ourselves, especially when we view those others as similar to ourselves.

    Page: 142
  • No leader can hope to persuade, regularly and singlehandedly, all the members of the group. A forceful leader can reasonably expect, however, to persuade some sizable proportion of group members. Then the raw information that a substantial number of group members has been convinced can, by itself, convince the rest. Thus the most influential leaders are those who know how to arrange group conditions to allow the principle of social proof to work maximally in their favor.

    Page: 156
  • We seem to assume that if a lot of people are doing the same thing, they must know something we don’t. Especially when we are uncertain, we are willing to place an enormous amount of trust in the collective knowledge of the crowd. However, quite frequently the crowd is mistaken because they are not acting on the basis of any superior information but are reacting, themselves, to the principle of social proof.

    Page: 163
  • Familiarity affects liking. Often we don’t realize that our attitude toward something has been influenced by the number of times we have been exposed to it in the past.

    Page: 177
  • Whenever our public image is damaged, we will experience an increased desire to restore that image by trumpeting our ties to successful others.

    Page: 200
  • Because we see size and status as related, it is possible for certain individuals to benefit by substituting the former for the latter.

    Page: 223
  • Opportunities seem more valuable to us when their availability is limited.

    Page: 238
  • Not only do we want the same item more when it is scarce, we want it most when we are in competition for it.

    Page: 262
  • The joy is not in experiencing a scarce commodity but in possessing it.

    Page: 267
  • Very often in making a decision about someone or something, we don’t use all the relevant available information; we use, instead, only a single, highly representative piece of the total. And an isolated piece of information, even though it normally counsels us correctly, can lead us to clearly stupid mistakes—mistakes that, when exploited by clever others, leave us looking silly or worse.

    Page: 274
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