Review of 5 top selling books on influence and persuasion. Featuring:

  1. Higher Status: The New Science of Success and Achievement by Jason Capital
  2. Captivate: The Science of Succeeding with People by Vanessa Van Edwards
  3. Pitch Anything: An Innovative Method for Presenting, Persuading, and Winning the Deal by Oren Klaff
  4. Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion by Robert Cialdini
  5. Pre-Suasion: A Revolutionary Way to Influence and Persuade by Robert Cialdini

Higher Status: The New Science of Success and Achievement

Summary

Jason Capital shares 12 signals that high status people tend to give off, with a focus on things like body language and mindset.

Interesting Ideas

Jason Capital breaks down charisma into three simple parts – certainty, decisiveness, and passion.

The greatest idea of the book was that: “The world will accept the judgment you place on yourself.”

Decisive leaders are attractive because they give us a sense of safety and comfort.

A powerful exercise for having a strong mindset was to imagine yourself at your own funeral and what the people around there would be saying. What would they say about you and your accomplishments?

Another exercise to strengthen your mindset is think of 4 people that matter the most to you. Now those 4 people are the opinions that you care about the most. If you like you can carry around a list with you to remind yourself now and then on your mindset.

Speaking of action taking, Jason Capital wrote that there are two kinds of people in life: ducks and eagles.

A few other good quotes he brought up:

“Most men lead lives of quiet desperation.”

“Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people.”

Captivate: The Science of Succeeding with People

Summary

Captivate: The Science of Succeeding with People by Vanessa Van Edwards is a book about people skills, human behavior, and building connections.

Interesting Ideas

I liked the idea that confidence is contagious.

The similarity attraction effect is that people like others who are similar to themselves.

The most popular public speakers (such as those on TED) have a similar trait – they use a lot of hand gestures. Linking back to human survival and evolutionary psychology, showing your hands increases sense of trust because they show intent.

Story telling is a popular means of influence because the audience can relate to it within their own lives and they are bonding.

Pitch Anything: An Innovative Method for Presenting, Persuading, and Winning the Deal

Summary

Pitch Anything: An Innovative Method for Presenting, Persuading, and Winning the Deal by Oren Klaff is a book on persuasion in the business setting.

Interesting Ideas

The book was focused on the business setting and sales but had interesting information on social dynamics and influence.

Some of my favorite general ideas were that status equals attention, and attention equals convincing power.

In a competitive business interaction things like light humor and defiance are key for raising your status. Other things that can raise your status are things like local expertise.

Overall Pitch Anything is a business strategy and sales book, but has interesting information on social dynamics.

Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion

Summary

Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion by Robert Cialdini is a research-based book that shares 6 major principles behind influence and persuasion.

Interesting Ideas

The six principles of influence are reciprocation, commitment and consistency, social proof, liking, authority, and scarcity.

For example, the principle of authority is that people respect authority and experts. Commitment and consistency is the principle that people strive to be consistent in their beliefs and actions.

Pre-Suasion: A Revolutionary Way to Influence and Persuade

Summary

The central claim of Pre-Suasion: A Revolutionary Way to Influence and Persuade by Robert Cialdini is that what we say or do before making an appeal is a focal part of the persuasion process. What we say or do before making an appeal guides elevated attention, associations, and persuasive success.

Interesting Ideas

An example of associations is that when customers in a study were exposed to a picture of fluffy clouds, they were more likely to buy comfortable furniture. When customers were first exposed to a picture of pennies, they emphasized price and cost information.

Another example is that when people were exposed to a picture of a runner winning a race, people experienced more achievement related thoughts.

He talked about automatic attractors of attention which include things revolving around survival such as the sexual or the threatening.

Robert Cialdini talked about the focusing illusion (from Daniel Kahneman) which is that when you are thinking about something its importance in your mind increases dramatically.

Lastly he added a 7th principle to his previous 6 principles in Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion. The 7th principle is unity: the perception of shared identity.

Overall, I really enjoyed the theme of strategically channeled attention in the process of persuasion.

Overall Summary

My favorite book is probably Higher Status by Jason Capital, followed by Captivate by Vanessa Edwards and Pre-Suasion by Robert Cialdini.

Check out Higher Status: (Amazon link)
Check out Captivate: (Amazon link)
Check out Pitch Anything (Amazon link)
Check out Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion (Amazon link)
Check out Pre-Suasion: (Amazon link)

Related to influence and persuasion is leadership. What Makes Good Leaders? Next article.


Bibliography

Capital, Jason. Higher Status: The New Science of Success and Achievement. Lioncrest Publishing, 2017.

Cialdini, Robert. Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion. HarperCollins e-books, 2009.

Cialdini, Robert. Pre-Suasion: A Revolutionary Way to Influence and Persuade. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2016.

Edwards, Vanessa. Captivate: The Science of Succeeding with People. New York: Portfolio, 2017.

Klaff, Oren. Pitch Anything: An Innovative Method for Presenting, Persuading, and Winning the Deal. McGraw-Hill, 2011.


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