Influence Summary

Influence PDF Summary

Learn how you can influence people and get better results.

Who Should Read “Influence” and Why?

In most cases, when you try to persuade someone, that person’s decision has already been made long before you make your final argument. People’s decisions depend on how you present the information to them.

So your preparation makes all the difference so that the buyer – or anyone else you want to influence – make the decision.

By learning the art of ethical persuasion and influence, you will become able to receive more positive responses in any situation.

That is why we recommend this book to all interested readers.

About Robert Cialdini

Robert B. Cialdini

Professor Robert Cialdini at Arizona State University is recognized worldwide for his research in the field of psychology and for his book ‘Influence: Science and Practice’ which sold more than three million copies in thirty different languages.

“Influence Summary”

In  “Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion”, Cialdini talks about his personal experiences and presents case studies of his research to explain how to persuade people to say ‘yes’ even before you have to ask for something.

In the book, the author presents ideas to help you gain the confidence of people by changing the way you conduct your conversations.

What you say is important but how you say it can be even more important if you want to persuade people to reach your goals.

Also, your attitudes before you start talking can make all the difference.

Realize the hidden cues and visual clues that people leave begin to notice the small details and learn to persuade people infallibly with the help of this micro book.

If you can understand and master the tools of persuasion, you will be able to win debates, promote your ideas, and get people to support you.

Come and 12’ will show you how!

When talking about persuading someone, the content we present at the beginning has a huge impact on how people will understand what we will present later.

A good example is a story of “Jake,” the fire alarm salesman.

Jake had an innovative strategy that made him the best salesperson on his team. His technique was simple.

When he gave presentations to sell the fire alarms to families, he would start with his standard speech and then bang his head, apologize, and tell people that he had forgotten a crucial part of the equipment in his car.

Very politely, he would ask for permission to go back to his car, pick up the forgotten equipment, and enter the house again.

But ‘forgetting’ the equipment was always intentional.

Jake had a strategy behind this illusion. Few people allow strangers to enter their homes; this level of trust is only given to friends or family.

So when Jake was allowed back, he was making sure people saw him with confidence. In doing so, people saw him as a trustworthy person in their brains and began to believe that he really had their best interests at heart, making people buy their smoke detectors more than any other salesperson.

Jake’s technique for success was built entirely from a trusting association idea. He was not asking to be treated as a close friend or a family member; he simply created situations that caused him to be treated that way.

This technique made his clients put him in a specific category, previously reserved only for the people they trusted, and this made them more receptive to Jake’s sales pitch.

Jake’s technique may seem a little outdated, but there is an important lesson here for all of us: trust is a primary human instinct and finding ways to increase it will affect the influence you exert on a person.

Often, the most likely factor in determining someone’s choice in a situation is not the wiser one; but it is the one that caught your attention the most.

For example, John has earned his reputation at parties for his ability to read people’s palms.

His talent at recognizing each person’s personality accurately surprised everyone-until he read the same woman’s palm, two completely opposing readings, hours apart, and made her enthusiastically agree with the two interpretations.

Something about this story was clearly wrong.

Influence Summary

Reading someone’s palm is a perfect example of a situation that creates privileged moments in which an individual becomes receptive to the message you are saying.

The process is simple.

When a palm reader says that your lifeline shows that you are stubborn, you will think about your recent experiences and focus your attention on every experience in which you acted with stubbornness.

So naturally, stubbornness is the first thing that comes to your mind, making you agree with what was said.

It is highly unlikely that you will think of situations that prove you are not stubborn because it is much harder to think of situations that challenge a statement than situations that prove the statement.

This process is called a “positive test strategy”.

Research participants and product testers often feel guilty for abusing this principle.

If you ask a potential customer if they consider themselves adventurous and then send a product for them to test, it increases the likelihood that the customer will buy the product. That is because people’s brains have been led to think of all the things that make them adventurous and leads them to buy a new product that fits them into that category.

Who does not want more adventure in their life?

In the same way, a survey that asks if a person felt happy after testing the product will make happy feelings come to mind, influencing their response.

Many years ago, when Tylenol packages were recalled because they tampered with deadly levels of cyanide, an excessive number of people used lot numbers of adulterated products, 2880 and 1910, to play the lottery.

Why would anyone do that?

Most people would never associate poison with luck, but the number of people who used those numbers was so high that the lottery commission had to stop more betting

The main reason that these numbers were used was simply that the numbers were in the media.

Thousands of people heard these numbers several times over a few weeks, and they were fresh in their minds when they went to play the lottery. Some have won with this play, but this behavior demonstrates an excellent illustration of the ‘focus on anything is causal’ principle.

When people see that some factor gets special attention, as in the case of a lot of Tylenol, they will involuntarily assume that there is an important reason for this.

The same pattern of thinking can be seen in police interrogations that lead to false confessions.

As false confessions typically occur in interrogation sessions lasting more than 16 hours, mental and physical exhaustion may be the main reason. However, with some witnesses, it may be difficult to find out whether the confession was honest or not.

Some studies show that viewers tend to rely more on the person who is most visible during a discussion.

Therefore, the cops who appear in front of the shoot, give the idea that they have more control over the situation because they are at the focal point of the image. Having films that show the two people equally, removes this tendency and makes it easier for viewers to come to more accurate conclusions about the confession.

The focus is always casual. Whatever your focus is, it will be more important in some given situations.

Joseph Campbell said, “If you want to change the world, change the metaphor.” And that’s an important lesson.

Some of the most successful organizations in the world have a unique way of dealing with their business.

For example, SSM Health is one of the most successful health insurance companies in the United States, and one of the causes of this was a fundamental change in the language used by the company. During meetings, officials refused to use words as ‘topics’ and instead used ‘information points’.

In the same way, they had business ‘goals’ instead of ‘business’ ‘targets and were ‘outdated’ by the competition and not ‘won’ by it.

These small word changes may seem subtle but have produced real results for SSM Health and for other organizations that use a positive word association in their business.

By choosing to focus intentionally on words that encourage renewal and financial health, SSM Health maintains this mentality with its employees, allowing them not to be distracted from their mission, which is to improve the health and well-being of each patient they treat.

Some scientific studies have shown similar results. In one experiment, doctors who are exposed to aggressive words are more likely to treat their patients painfully.

In another example, employees who get paper notes with pictures of athletes winning a race are more likely to fight for ambitious results.

Preparing our minds with words and images that create a positive association that we are struggling with something, makes it easier for our brains to move from the metaphor to the desired realization.

When Robert Cialdini began writing this book, he wrote some parts in his office at the university where he worked and others at his home.

When he re-read his work later, he realized that the things written in his house were much better and more accessible to the public.

The reason for this contrast is simple: while writing from his office, he faced intimidating buildings and was surrounded by successful and skilled colleagues. He then had to write to match the high academic standards of his colleagues.

When he was writing at home, he was surrounded by newspapers and books that made him write more casually, which suited his audience much more than the boring and serious writing of the Academy.

This principle is called ‘Geography of Influence’ and reveals itself in different ways in your life as well. Words, pictures, and places can create associations and lead to predictable changes.

For example, women who are reminded to focus on the fact that they are women – circulating or writing their gender before some math test, for example – tend to outgrow women than men who are not remembered for their gender before taking the test.

Apparently, this is due to the strange and imprecise stereotype that women are worse than males. But when women are placed in a test room with female teachers, they are not reminded of this gender stereotype, and the difference in performance disappears.

Cialdini tells us that the general principle of ‘Geography of Influence’ can manifest itself in different ways – both positive and negative – from being able to remember good things as you get older, to becoming more productive at work. Geography of Influence controls how our environment and physical space affect our behavior.

Our ability to generate change in others is often based on shared personal relationships, which create a persuasive context that seeks approval.

Cialdini discovered a seventh universal principle of influence, which is unity. Unity often comes from a sense of relating to people who are similar to us, usually through family ties. These ties lead us to high levels of acceptance, corporation, empathy, help, trust, and approval.

Some of the best ways to develop unity are to highlight things that show common genetic points, whether through family ties, geographic location, or life experiences.

For example, most people willing to welcome Jews during the Holocaust were people who came from open households to receive various groups of people in their homes and to treat them equally – regardless of their color or beliefs.

This experience of welcoming others and expanding their family concepts made them more open to Jews at the time of the Holocaust.

Unity can also be formed when people struggle for a common cause or have a common interest.

For example, studies had shown that when participants sang or played instruments together, they were more likely to help each other after that. Commercial brands can take advantage of this innate loyalty by asking consumers to advise them on how to make their products better.

That will encourage them to feel that they have a common interest in the company and consequently increase brand loyalty.

Knowing how to persuade people to do what you want and when it’s ethical to do so are two completely different problems.

Cialdini was very concerned, in revealing the secrets of persuasion to the world in his first book, on how this power would be used, after all, it can be used for both good and evil.

Key Lessons from “Influence”:

  1.      The Steps to Change
  2.      Building A Trusting Association
  3.      The Ethics Behind the Techniques of Persuasion

Building A Trusting Association

Building a trusting association can be just as beneficial as traditionally gaining that trust. Hence, pay attention to the initial moment to win the trust of the other person.

The Steps To Change

In his first book Pre-Suasion, Cialdini talks about six universal principles that affect the level of influence a person or situation has:

  • Reciprocity: As a general principle, people say ‘yes’ when they feel they owe something. If you can make people feel in debt to you (for example, by giving them a piece of chocolate when they enter your store), they will probably give you something in return (such as buying chocolate).
  • Empathy: Getting people to like you is one of the best ways to encourage them to do something for you. You can achieve this by getting them to identify with you because we all like people who are more like us.
  • Authority: People prefer to listen and respect those who are experts in their areas, so to gain influence, it is important to present yourself as a person of authority. Different studies have shown that using a medical lab coat made some participants considered more reliable as test instructors.
  • Social Proof: What others are doing is a great motivator for long-term change. For example, showing people that their neighbors are saving electricity is the best way to influence someone to reduce their own consumption.
  • Shortage: We all want a little more of the things we do not have, so creating a sense of scarcity increases the customer’s motivation to buy a product. That’s why many popular products release limited versions.
  • Consistency: Most people like to show consistency between their past and present behaviors. Thus, an influential person can lead people to associate their present actions with past behaviors, thus influencing their behaviors.

These six principles together are important motivators to get people in the direction you want with your decision. But beyond them, Cialdini decided to add a seventh principle to his list of influence.

The Ethics Behind the Techniques of Persuasion

Those who choose to use persuasive techniques for unethical reasons would be making a foolish decision, since there is concrete evidence that unscrupulous persuasion tactics cost the business dearly. That happens for three main reasons:

  • Weak employee performance: Working in a morally challenging environment has an exhausting effect on employees and often makes them less efficient during their working hours. This moral stress can do as much damage to employee performance as dealing with difficult, regrettable customers.
  • High employee turnover: Placing employees in an environment of questionable morality causes many of them to quit, increasing the costs while the employer tries to recover. Typically, the most qualified employees are those who resign in this situation, so other employees will need to work hard to replace countless hours of training invested in those employees.
  • Prevalence of fraud and irregularities: Employees who stay in the company are usually those accustomed to tricks and schemes. That undermines the company’s culture greatly. Therefore, these businesses experience corruptions of the company’s own team. These employees take full advantage of the situation and work to make matters worse.

“Influence” Quotes

A well-known principle of human behavior says that when we ask someone to do us a favor we will be more successful if we provide a reason. People simply like to have reasons for what they do. Click To Tweet Embarrassment is a villain to be crushed. Click To Tweet 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. Click To Tweet here is a natural human tendency to dislike a person who brings us unpleasant information, even when that person did not cause the bad news. The simple association with it is enough to stimulate our dislike. Click To Tweet The way to love anything is to realize that it might be lost. Click To Tweet

Our Critical Review

Thanks to the geography of Influence, your work environment will have a great impact on your results. Make sure that you prepare an appropriate environment that leads you to success.

And if you are trying to influence others, make sure your environment will help you. When you are talking to someone you want to influence them, try to create a bond or a sense of unity between you.

We believe that “Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion” is just the place to start on the path toward your success.

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Top Sales Books

Are you in the sales business? If you’re living in the United States, you’re very likely to answer “yes” to this question. Because 1 in 9 Americans works as a sales rep.

But, as a book on this list suggests, the other 8 do this as well. Yes, that includes you, too! The only thing is that you don’t know it yet. But, whether it’s ideas or yourself, you’re selling things on a daily basis.

And these 15 books are the best to teach you how your technique. Really. The best sales books!

#1. “How I Raised Myself from Failure to Success in Selling” by Frank Bettger

How I Raised Myself from Failure to Success in Selling SummaryIf you know Dale Carnegie – which we suppose you do – then we’re sure that him endorsing Frank Bettger’s debut book is a recommendation enough for “How I Raised Myself From Failure to Success in Selling”.

If not – well, just look at the title! Who doesn’t want a good success story?

And Bettger’s is the ultimate one. At 29 he was a failed insurance salesman; however, at 40, he could have well retired. This book explains what he started doing differently.

And it covers everything from conquering fear and winning confidence to the seven essential rules for closing a sale.

#2. “Little Red Book of Selling: 12.5 Principles of Sales Greatness” by Jeffrey Gitomer

Little Red Book of Selling SummaryA college dropout with a background in languages, Jeffrey Gitomer doesn’t sound like someone who’d author a sales bestseller. And yet he has – few of them, as a matter of fact.

The “Little Red Book of Selling” is the most famous and celebrated among them, both among regular salespeople and experts in the field. What’s best about it is that it’s more than accessible!

Just as its title suggests, it’s small (both in terms of size and in terms of length) and unconventional as hell. There are amusing cartoons on almost every page and a mini-content before every chapter. And, boy, Gitomer’s style is maniacally enthusiastic!

So much so, that even if you’re not a salesperson, you might want to become one.

#3. “The Challenger Sale: Taking Control of the Customer Conversation” by Matthew Dixon and Brent Adamson

The Challenger Sale SummaryDubbed “the most important advance in selling for many years,” “The Challenger Sale” is an exceptional book. Its main idea: that the times have changed and that there’s a better way to sell in the 21st century!

Matthew Dixon and Brent Adamson claim that there are five different types of salespeople: hard workers, relationship builders, lone wolves, reactive problem solvers, and challengers. So far, the science of selling has favored the relationship builders.

In “The Challenger Sale,” Dixon and Adamson claim otherwise: it’s the time of the challengers. And what’s so different about them?

Read this book to find out.

#4. “Be a Sales Superstar: 21 Great Ways to Sell More, Faster, Easier in Tough Markets” by Brian Tracy

Brian TracyBe a Sales Superstar Summary is somewhat of a legend in the field of self-help and sales books. He has authored more than seventy of them (if anyone counts), and most of them have been translated into many languages.

And, sure, you’ll find his 1988 classic, “The Psychology of Selling,” on most of the lists similar to this one. But, after we did some thinking, we decided that we’ll opt for “Be a Sales Superstar” in ours.

You know why?

Because it’s less theory and more practice. Because it’s a straightforward manual and a great handbook for tough times and for busy people. And, finally, because it covers everything, from getting more appointments, to closing sales faster.

Tracy at his best.

#5. “The Science of Selling: Proven Strategies to Make Your Pitch, Influence Decisions, and Close the Deal” by David Hoffeld

The Science of Selling SummarySelling is not really a science. And yet, David Hoffeld, chief sales trainer at research-based firm, Hoffeld Group, claims that, with the right advice, it can be!

In “The Science of Selling” he makes his case. Combining many findings coming from fields as diverse as social psychology, behavioral economics, psychology and neuroscience, Hoffeld explicates how our brains are preprogrammed to act in accordance with some external impulses.

And through anecdotes and personal experience, he delves into these external factors which trigger the right buying decisions.

He’s on our list – as well as many others – so you can bet he does a great job!

#6. “The Sales Acceleration Formula: Using Data, Technology, and Inbound Selling to go from $0 to $100 Million” by Mark Roberge

The Sales Acceleration Formula SummaryTalking about science!

Mark Roberge introduces into selling a word you’d only expect to see in the most exact sciences. Yes, formula! And he stands by his decision on each of the 200 densely written graphics-filled, data-driven pages of his book!

The main idea: selling is not an art, but a science. And just like any other scientifically proven experiment, you can reproduce the same results over and over again. Of course, the only prerequisite is to follow the same rules.

Roberge’s are mostly interested in sales scaling – the most difficult part of business. And, more than mostly, work.

#7. “Secrets of Closing the Sale” by Zig Ziglar

Secrets of Closing the Sale SummaryRecently deceased, Zig Ziglar was a world-renowned salesman and motivational speaker, an author of over 30 oft-cited books.

“Secrets of Closing the Sale” is much more than another book about how to get your buyers to say “Yes.” It’s a book which understands that selling is a part of your everyday activities. Because, as that great scene in “The Big Kahuna” taught us, most of the time we’re selling reps.

And, whether it’s ideology or merely talking someone into rooting for your favorite team, you need to find a way to convince other people to say “Yes.”

“Secrets of Closing the Sale” is the right way to start.

#8. “To Sell Is Human: The Surprising Truth About Moving Others” by Daniel H. Pink

To Sell Is Human SummaryWe’ve already featured Daniel H. Pink’s “Drive” on our Top 15 Psychology book list. But, we couldn’t resist including his “To Sell is Human” in this list as well.

He further expands on Zig Ziglar’s idea that we’re all sellers (and buyers). And to see where it would lead him, he rummages the Malcolm-Gladwell-way through a wealth of social studies and researches.

The result?

Hundreds of contra-intuitive insights you’d swear are total bonkers if not proven otherwise by Pink. And numerous rewritten rules in the sales bible.

Yes, including the ABC of selling!

#9. “Spin Selling: Situation Problem Implication Need-Payoff” by Neil Rackham

Spin Selling SummarySelling small has been examined volume after volume; but selling big is an altogether different matter. And as far as it is concerned, a recent two-chaptered “Forbes” column by Jayna Cooke put it best: “If You Aren’t SPIN Selling, It’s Time to Start.”


Well, because the author of “Spin Selling,” Neil Rackham, has advised Xerox, Honeywell and IBM, and because his techniques have been employed by many other companies, since the publication of this book.

SPIN is a groundbreaking, paradigm-shifting big sales model, based on an extensive research covering over 35,000 complicated sales calls.

And you can acquire it by… well, first acquiring this book.

Like this summary? We’d like to invite you to download our free 12 min app, for more amazing summaries and audiobooks.

#10. “Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion” by Robert B. Cialdini

Influence SummaryIt may feel like we’re cheating (because, we included “Influence” in our Top 15 Psychology book list), but – who cares? After all, what kind of a best sales books list would this one be without Cialdini’s classic?

Considered to be the seminal study in the ever-growing field of the psychology of persuasion, “Influence” is quite an outstanding book. It has been quoted and requoted by so many sales book authors since its publication you might already know that there are six persuasion principles.

We’ll leave the rest to Cialdini. He has a way with words.

#11. “7L: The Seven Levels of Communication: Go From Relationships to Referrals” by Michael J. Maher

The Seven Levels of Communication SummaryMichael J. Maher (pronounced like “Mayor”) is “North America’s Most Referred Real Estate Professional.” And “7L” is the book which explains how he got there.

A bit unconventionally, the book is actually an allegorical novel. It tells the story of down-on-his-luck property broker, Rick Masters. Rick meets a successful mortgage professional, Jay Michaels, who tells him that he can build a conglomerate without almost no personal promotion.

Soon, he is appointed a personal coach and he learns everything there is to know about the Seven Levels of Communication and the Spectrum of Solutions.

True, as a novel, “7L” is sloppily written and too long for its sake. But, as a sales guidebook – it’s a must read!

#12. “The Greatest Salesman in the World” by Og Mandino

The Greatest Salesman in the World SummaryOg Mandino’s “The Greatest Salesman in the World” is the least specialist book on this list. But, that isn’t a setback; on the contrary, in fact: the book is universally loved and deemed as inspiring by almost everybody.

Mandino’s biography is inspirational in itself. A poor insurance salesman, he was on the brink of suicide, when he discovered the power of self-help books to actually change your life. So, he started writing them.

And in “The Greatest Salesman in the World” he went as far as possible. Telling the story of Hafid, the book is actually a ten-scroll guidebook which contains as many advices, ranging from “I will form good habits and become their slave” to “I will act now.”

“No one who follows these principles will ever fail as a salesman,” says a review by Paul J. Meyer. And he will definitely become a better person. That’s our addition.

#13. “Ultimate Selling Power: How to Create and Enjoy a Multi-Million Dollar Sales Career” by Donald Moine and Ken Lloyd

Ultimate Selling Power SummaryWhen we were writing our summary, we warned you that if you’re planning on entering the sales world, it’s not a good idea to miss “Ultimate Selling Power.”

A few months later, we’re even more confident of our initial judgment.

Offering great step-by-step instructions on how to increase your sales, this book will become your go-to place for many other things sales-related. Because, it also includes practical tips and tricks on creating the perfect marketing presentations, as well as many other on using the power of promotion to reach your target audience.

And it doesn’t hurt that Donald Moine and Ken Lloyd write engagingly and straightforwardly, does it?

#14. “Perfect Selling: Open the Door, Close the Deal” by Linda Richardson

Perfect Selling SummaryThis book is meant to be your favorite Sales 101. And it is written by one of the top three sales consultants in the world. Can you ask for something more in a book?

Straightforwardly written, “Perfect Selling” explicates a straightforward 5-step program to master sales. First, you need to immediately connect to your customer. Then, you have to explore his needs. Thirdly, you need to persuasively leverage your solutions. Resolving your customer’s dilemmas is the penultimate step. Acting and closing the sale is the last.

Sounds too complicated?

Don’t worry: it’s simple when Linda Richardson explains it.

#15. “Coaching Salespeople into Sales Champions: A Tactical Playbook for Managers and Executives” by Keith Rosen

Coaching Salespeople into Sales Champions SummaryAs Brian Tracy says, if you want to boost the sales of your company, sales coaching is the best place to start. And when it comes to sales coaching, there’s no better book than Keith Rosen’s “Coaching Salespeople into Sales Champions.”

Well-written and jam-packed with case studies, Keith Rosen’s coaching classic has everything you might expect from it. Strategies, templates, scripts, coaching questions – as well as many reasons why to look no further than it.

And five of them are not even inside the book. They’re international best book awards.

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Top Psychology Books

Psychology is one of the most interesting scientific disciplines. If you’re wondering why, please spend a moment thinking about one of Oliver Sacks’ opinions: the human brain is the “most incredible thing in the universe.”

Well, psychologists study it. And whether from a sociological, behavioral, or biological perspective, they have come across some brilliant findings.

We’ve spend some time choosing the best of the best psychology books ever!

And here they are!

#1. “Civilization and Its Discontents” by Sigmund Freud

Civilization and Its Discontents SummaryLet’s be honest: Sigmund Freud is a bit outdated. So much so, in fact, that he has become the butt of many “yo mamma” jokes. (Really, can you go lower than that?)

But, let’s not kid each other: Freud is not merely the father of modern psychology, but also so big that, even if you haven’t read any of his books, you already know many of his ideas.

And, really, we could have chosen basically any book by Freud, and we wouldn’t have made a mistake. We opted for “Civilization and Its Discontent” mainly because it’s his most relevant and least challenged.

In it, Freud claims that civilization and culture are built upon forfeited individual desires. And that there’s no other way. So, if you want to be happy and fulfilled, you’ll have to find some other way.

#2. “Man and His Symbols” by Carl Jung

Man and His Symbols SummaryPsychology was barely instituted, when it happened upon its first (and greatest) schism. Sigmund Freud saw in Carl Gustav Jung a potential heir, but Jung grew to become his intellectual nemesis.

A great thing – both for the sake of humanity and for the sake of science. After all, there’s no progress in conformity.

Anyway, Jung was a charismatic person. And in 1959 he gave a 40-minute interview for BBC’s John Freeman, which made him somewhat of a name among the general public. And yet, his complex books were inaccessible to it.

So, he decided to write “Man and His Symbols,” his last and simplest book. More importantly, his only book specifically written for the laymen.

Densely illustrated and beautifully written, the book is the best introduction to Jungian psychology, and one of the most influential psychological books ever published.

#3. “Thinking, Fast and Slow” by Daniel Kahneman

Thinking, Fast and Slow SummaryDaniel Kahneman is one of the world’s most revered intellectuals.

How can it be any different? He is not only one of the most studied psychologists, but also the winner of the 2002 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences!

And “Thinking, Fast and Slow” is both the best introduction to his work and the most accessible summary of his ideas. The book’s fundamental thesis is that there are two modes of thinking. The first one is fast, emotional, and instinctive, and the second one slow, rational, and logical.

Elucidating the biases of each one, throughout the book, Kahneman investigates a thought-provoking quandary. Namely, why do we believe human judgment so much, when it’s fundamentally flawed?

#4. “Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion” by Robert Cialdini

Influence SummaryRobert B. Cialdini boasts with a portfolio lengthier than your detailed biography. And most of it revolves around a very specific aspect of psychology: the psychology of influence.

You can see why it’s so popular right from the start, can’t you? If you can learn how to make people say “yes,” you can make your life a lot easier.

Well, there’s no better place to start than “Influence,” Cialdini’s 1984 masterpiece, one of the smartest business books ever written. Well-researched and evidence-based, this book explains the six universal principles of persuasion, as well as how you can use them to your benefit.

Whether employing them – or defending against them.

#5. “Pre-Suasion: A Revolutionary Way to Influence and Persuade” by Robert Cialdini

Pre-Suasion SummaryPossibly, we should have listed “Pre-Suasion” before “Influence.” But, it was written well afterward, and we always prefer actual to thematic chronology. (“Star Wars” fans know what we’re talking about!)

Yes, it’s another book by Robert B. Cialdini. And, for that matter, another book on the topic of influence. But – in a prequel type of way.

Because, if in “Influence” Cialdini teaches you how to persuade people, in “Pre-Suasion,” he teaches you how to prepare the ground for it. In other words, influencing people starts well before the actual techniques kick in.

And, by the same analogy, Cialdini’s “Influence” starts with “Pre-Suasion”.

#6. “The Happiness Hypothesis: Putting Ancient Wisdom to the Test of Modern Science” by Jonathan Haidt

The Happiness Hypothesis SummaryOne of world’s top thinkers, Jonathan Haidt is one of the many social psychologists we couldn’t ignore when making this list. Unlike Cialdini, he specializes in the psychology of morality. So, basically something almost completely opposite than him.

And “The Happiness of Hypothesis” is here to prove it!

Deemed “the most intellectually substantial book to arise from the ‘positive psychology’ movement,” “The Happiness Hypothesis” has it all! Plato, Jesus, Buddha, how their ideas compare with modern psychological findings, and yes – a scientific formula for happiness.

It should work – but, that’s not the point! Find out what is.

#7. “Outliers: The Story of Success” by Malcolm Gladwell

Outliers SummaryA book so good we’ve written about it twice! (Really!)

And we can even rephrase that! An author so great we could have listed each of his five books here and no one would have blamed us for being biased.

Yes, we’re talking about the phenomenon that is Malcolm Gladwell. “Outliers” was his third book and his third “New York Times” bestseller. Once again, Gladwell takes his readers on journey through a host of research studies in the fields of social science, to make a startling point.

In this case, that successful people are successful because they usually practice the right way for about 10,000 hours. (Yes, that’s more than five years if you practice 5 hours on a daily basis!)

Of course, believe us when we say that the destination is less interesting than the journey.

#8. “Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking” by Malcolm Gladwell

Blink SummaryMalcolm Gladwell wrote “Blink” about three years before “Outliers.” Needless to say – both are still read and discussed. “Blink” maybe even more!

In a nutshell, it’s a book about Kahneman’s first mode of thinking: the fast, intuitive one. It shows how some people are great decision-makers and are able to analyze a complex situation in few minutes.

And the reason behind this?

Well, they are capable of something Gladwell calls “thin-slicing,” i.e. the ability of separating the important from the unimportant. In other words, good and rapid decision-makers don’t analyze everything faster than you.

They just know what to analyze and reach to a conclusion faster.

#9. “Mistakes Were Made (But Not by Me): Why We Justify Foolish Beliefs, Bad Decisions, and Hurtful Acts” by Carol Tavris and Elliot Aronson

Mistakes Were Made (But Not by Me) SummaryCarol Tavris and Elliot Aronson are well-respected psychologists, with the latter one being one of the most quoted in history.

In “Mistakes Were Made (But Not by Me)” they try to see how their psychological theories work in the real world. And they show, over and over again, that you are bound to make many mistakes in your life – and admit none of them!


Because, there are many self-justification mechanisms which work in that direction. Whether it’s cognitive dissonance, confirmation bias, or fabricated memory – you’ll find them all in here.

In addition to few advices on how to trick them.

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#10. “The Lucifer Effect: Understanding How Good People Turn Evil” by Philip Zimbardo

The Lucifer Effect SummaryPhilip Zimbardo is, undoubtedly, one of the most cited psychologists in history. And the reason behind this is the Stanford prison experiment which he conducted in 1971.

In it, a group of 24 people were randomly assigned roles of prisoners and prison guards. The two-week experiment ended only after six days, because prison guards turned sadistic, and prisoners started experiencing bouts of depression.

The Lucifer Effect” builds upon the findings of this experiment. And it concludes that people are not inherently good or evil. They can be either – based on the situation.

And some are capable of exploiting this.

#11. “The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat: and Other Clinical Tales” by Oliver Sacks

Oliver SacksThe Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat Summary was not only the preeminent neurologist of the past fifty years, but also the prime popularizer of the discipline.

Called a poet for the power of his writing, Sacks was the person who introduced us to the biological predetermination of some of our actions.

The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat” takes this into the extreme, showing how our brains can malfunction to the point of… well, mistaking our closed ones for hats.

Yes, that’s a true story! And only one of the many this book has to offer. Make no mistake, though: it’s not a simple book. Each of the stories here is poignant and humane, beautiful and enlightening.

In a “it makes you wonder” kind of way.

#12. “Getting Unstuck: How Dead Ends Become New Paths” by Timothy Butler

Timothy ButlerGetting Unstuck Summary is not actually a big fish in the waters we’re currently swimming. But, we couldn’t resist adding this little gem of book in our list.

Mainly, because of the wealth of practical advice it offers. And because all of it focuses on something many people experience nowadays: a state of crisis.

“Getting Unstuck” can help you overcome this. Ignore the theoretical framework, which basically boils down to one thing only: know thyself. Use the practical exercises, because they do exactly that.

And, because, as Butler claims quoting a German poet, if it doesn’t work, you must change your life.

It’s that simple.

#13. “Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us” by Daniel H. Pink

Drive SummaryMuch more than a behavioral scientist, Daniel H. Pink is a provocative thinker. “Drive” is a good example to what extent.

In it, Pink examines what is the thing which really motivates people. And tries to show that all of the old models we rely on may be wrong. For a simple reason that motivation may be much more intrinsic than one would believe.

In other words, especially in the case of mechanical jobs, rewards and punishments do nothing for motivation after a certain degree. What does are three completely unrelated things: autonomy, mastery, and purpose.

Find out what Pink means by each of them – the book is both captivating and straightforwardly written.

#14. “The Psychology of Winning: Ten Qualities of a Total Winner” by Dr. Denis Waitley

The Psychology of WinningLove him or hate him, Denis Waitley is a motivational heavyweight.

And, even though (at least when compared to the other books on this list), his books are based more on inspirational writing than scientific studies, he’s so good at the former, that it turns into something science is bound to explore in the future.

In other words, it works! And Waitley has a daunting portfolio to prove it.

If we are completely honest, “The Psychology of Winning” is much more than a book: it’s a whole industry. But, it started here, with these ten qualities.

Maybe that’s where your journey to the pedestal should start as well.

#15. “Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking” by Susan Cain

Quiet SummaryHave you ever felt that this world somehow wasn’t built for you to thrive in it?

Well, Susan Cain wondered the same thing during her Harvard Law School years. And she was flabbergasted to find out that the fact her education seemed “a trial” to her wasn’t because of her traits, but because the world simply didn’t like them.

And she had a revelation: the world was built by and for extroverts, pressing the introverts to the wall the same way women were before the feminist awakening.

Cain’s “Quiet” is widely credited by many psychologists for starting the Quiet Revolution, an attempt to “unlock the power of introverts for the benefit of us all.” Because, that’s basically the main premise of the book: Western society loses out by misunderstanding introverts and may win much if it starts caring for their happiness.

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Influence & Get Your Mind in Other Minds – Summaries from Cialdini

Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion by Dr. Robert Cialdini

Do you want to find out which are the most effective techniques that create compliance? Or what are the factors that makes a person say yes to another person? What stands behind the persuasion mechanism? Which are its triggers?

Jump from curiosity to knowledge and start reading Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion by Robert Cialdini. We’ve pulled the main ideas in the book summary below. Also find other great nuggets (visual quotes from books) in the nugget app.

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