Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion: Ultra Condensed Cliffnotes #9

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Below are my personal notes of Influence the Psychology of Persuasion. These highlights were what I used to write my personal development book, Wiser Next Week, a condensation of many different self improvement books

Weapons of Influence:

  • The word “because” triggers an automatic compliance response
  • Increase in price leads to an increase in perceived quality
  • We don’t have the time, energy or capacity to analyze every situation in our lives, so we have stereotypes, rules of thumbs, to generalize so that we can autorespond everytime once on of our triggers is activated
  • Contrast Principle: An accessory item purchased after a big tick will be perceived as less expensive


  • We try to repay in kind what others provide us whether they be favors or gifts
  • Those who violate it are labeled moochers and freeloaders. We will go to great lengths to avoid being labeled as such, even agreeing to unequal exchanges to avoid them. 
  • There is a feeling of obligation to give, receive and repay
  • There is a strong cultural pressure to reciprocate a gift, even an unwanted one. But no such pressure to buy unwanted products
  • Another form of the obligation is to make a concession to those that concede to us. It increases the compliance rate even if the other party has no interest in both offers. 
    • The larger, yet not outlandish, the initial request, the more effective the procedure. 
  • Saying No: Perceive what you are receiving not as gifts or favors, but as sales devices


  • Once we’ve made a choice or taken a stand, we will face internal and social pressures to behave consistently with them. We will convince ourselves that we’’ve made the right choice and feel better doing so. 
  • Automatic consistency is easy to succumb to because it helps us evade continuous thought. If one makes a commitment, there is a natural tendency to behave stubbornly consistent with it. 
  • Foot in the door/gateway statements can be applied to consistency and commitment as gradually larger requests are made
    • These small transactions are not for profit, but for commitment
  • Observe what people do, not what they say. Doing so reveals what they are truly commited to. 
  • If people view us a certain way, we are inclined to behave consistently with it
    • Written statements are even more effective in making people consistent as its so easily shared
  • Groups that have stringent initiation ceremonies have greater group solidarity as the effort put in to join increases commitment on the follow through
  • Commitment is often manipulated through leading the other party to the point where the contract is about to be signed and changing the engagement at the last minute. The rate of compliance is high, but at the cost of the relationship and your reputation. 
  • How to Say No: Ask yourself if you’d do the same in hindsight, doing so breaks a destructive habit. 

Social Proof

  • The greater the number of people who fund an idea correct, the more the idea will be correct. Since the physical evidence can’t be changed, the social evidence is. 
  • Pluralistic Ignorance: defined as the failure of an entire group of people to aid people desperate for help. 
    • The mentality is: “Since no one else is concerned, nothing is wrong”
    • Once people are convinced an emergency situation exists, aid is likely
    • Pluralistic ignorance is strongest amongst strangers
    • Solution: Pick out individuals from a crowd and assign them tasks
  • Uncertainty lends itself to Social Proof, if one doesn’t know what to do, they’ll follow others
  • How to Say No: Make a conscious decision to be alert to detrimental social evidence and temporarily disconnect your RAM conserving autopilot system. Ask yourself if the people you’re following are operating on superior information, if not, there is a good chance the following is detrimental. Everyone is simply following and reacting to the crowd
    • A quick glance around is often all that is needed


  • There is pressure to say yes to a person we know and like
    • Often a name drop is enough to yield compliance
  • Similarity in dress, background, interest increases liking and in turn, compliance
  • Joint efforts towards common goals by differing factions bridges tensions
    • Often used by compliance professionals through attempts to create a team mentality with the complyer, that “we” need to work together for mutual benefit
  • There is a natural human tendency to dislike and disassociate with someone that brings bad news. An innocent association with bad or good news will influence how people feel about us. 
    • A person that must associate with more accomplished individuals (“groupees”) in order to validate their own self worth have a low sense of self esteem
    • Know that there is now accomplishment outside of the self
  • How to Say No: Concentrate on the effect, not the cause. If there is a feeling that you like the practitioner quicker than expected, there is potentially a tactic being used
    • Keep separate feelings about the requester and the request


  • Blind obedience leads to appropriate action most of the time, but it is reacting rather than thinking
  • Perception through titles and uniforms affect the weight of the words of the individual
  • By conceding minor truths, compliance professionals can become more believable when stressing important points
  • How to Say No: Ask if this person is really an authority


  • The idea of potential loss plays a large role in human decision making
  • Freedoms once granted will not be relinquished without a fight
  • Human nature experiences pleasure from owning something scarce, not using it
  • How to Say No:
    • Ask yourself why you want the specific item
    • Remember the item functions equally well whether scarce or not

If these brief notes, peaked your interest in Influence the Psychology of Persuasion , you can check it out on Amazon here.

And be sure to check out my book, Wiser Next Week.

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