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Finished Reading: Pre-Suasion: A Revolutionary Way to Influence and Persuade

Pre-Suasion: A Revolutionary Way to Influence and Persuade“, Robert Cialdini, (english language, EUR 12.99)

Robert Cialdini is a professor emeritus of Psychology and Marketing at the Arizona State University, a visiting professor of marketing, business and psychology at Stanford University, and is the author of several books on the psychology of Influencing and Persuasion.

This book is about getting someones attention, and using it.

Cialdini speaks about privileged moments, points in time where we have someones attention, and that person is also primed to actually follow our reasoning along with our message. It goes on to analyse what makes these moments privileged, and how we can help manufacturing them.

Being a funny and refreshing write, Cialdini fills his stories, jokes and anecdotes illustrating the point he’s about to make. He’s also liberally using whatever he’s explaining right now in convincing us that this particular thing actually works, which is kind of a meta-demonstration of the point he’s making.

This book can help you trying to sell a thing or an idea better, to customers, colleagues or other people that you need to get to listen. It’s also helping you to understand what’s influencing you, and how, and giving you tools to notice (and allow or deny) this. Going full meta, Cialdini explains how that changes the process of persuasion, and gives studies and examples to back even this up.

The book itself is not only full of stories and games playing with the methods and the language of persuasion, it also contains a lot of footnotes and pointers to followup reading, in case you want to go deeper. Time and money well spent.

Published inBooks and Reviews


  1. Andreas Pfau

    How does it compare to “How to win friends and influence people”?

    • kris kris

      It’s 100 years newer and we actually learned quite a bit about how the human mind actually works since then. So even in the places where it’s telling similar advice, it can do so with much more actual science.

      EDIT: 1936, so it’s 80 years.

  2. kris kris

    The book contains an interesting chapter 13 on ethical use of the information in the book, which in turn goes into a discussion of self-selecting audience in companies. Basically, Cialdini shows through studies and with data that companies with an unethical business culture are self-selecting unethical employees, which will eventually turn against the company and each other:

    Notice that, according to our thinking, the flight of personnel from an ethically compromised company isn’t expected to include everyone. Rather, because the exodus is launched by the stress from conflicting moral values, it will be specific to employees with high ethical standards. Those comfortable with the use of trickery to achieve financial gains should be happy to stay. And therein lies the source of our third specified tumor of organizational dishonesty. Phrased in terms of a caution to any leader responsible for shaping the ethical climate of an organization, it is as follows: those who cheat for you will cheat against you. If you encourage the first form of deceit, you will get the second, which will cost you dearly in the bargain.

    See also: Uber and many articles, for example this one:

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