Influence by Robert B. Cialdini is one of my all time favorite books. After reading it, it changed the way I looked at everyday interactions.

The insights Cialdini shares are truly valuable. Everyday, during our common interactions we are naturally influenced by certain things. We are usually oblivious to what these influences are but we usually feel them afterwards. It might be during a negotiation for a car, after the purchase of an item or after following someone's less than helpful instructions.

Cialdini and his years of research have distilled down these influences into six clear principles. What I appreciate the most from this book is that he is not sharing his gut feelings or observations but he is sharing years of academic research by him and his peers.

The six principles that Cialdini has identified are, Reciprocation, Commitment and Consistency, Social Proof, Liking, Authority and Scarcity. Below are my rough notes.

  1. Reciprocation

    • People like to return the favour and often return favors at levels exceeding the initial favour or gift
    • Christmas cards sent to randoms, people replied with cards
    • People feel indebted, the feeling results in over compensation
  2. Commitment and Consistency

    • People like to be consistent in their actions and words
    • Private and public consistency matters, the latter more
      • Written > Spoken > Thoughts
  3. Social Proof

    • People often look to see what others are doing as evidence for what they should be doing
    • When there is an accident people look to see how others are behaving and reacting and look to their surroundings for guidance
  4. Liking

    • People are influenced by people they like
    • Attractiveness matters, people like people they are attracted too
    • People like people that are similar to them
    • Honest compliments, make people like someone
    • Contact and cooperation creates a bond
    • Conditioning and association with things can result in liking, for instance people of respectable positions in companies, celebrities, status
  5. Authority

    • People of authoritative positions command influence
    • Connotation not context, actors who play roles as doctors are respected as doctors
    • Titles, people with titles in front of their name receive recognition, for instance people are less likely to argue with someone who is a PhD doctor, even in the field they don’t have the PhD in
    • Clothes, uniforms and outfits can command authority and have influence, suites a tie
    • Trappings, expensive vehicles and accessories can command authority
  6. Scarcity

    • Mormon temple was only going to be open for a few more days, people became desperate to go on the tour even though they have zero interest, simply because it was their only opportunity, scarcity principle
    • People psychologically want something that is of limited availability
This article was first noted down on the 13th of September, 2015.