top of page
  • Writer's pictureBusiness Books New Curator

Book Review: 'Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion' by Robert Cialdini

Get your copy here:

Robert Cialdini’s The Psychology of Persuasion is a best-selling book that, as the name suggests, is about influence — and the many ways to make people say yes. Drawing in 35 years of research, Caildini articulates six universal principles that help persuasion. He looks at each of these principles in detail, how to use them every day, and to defend themselves in business and everyday situations.

The principles Cialdini suggests are reciprocation, commitment and consistency, social proof, liking, authority and scarcity. Reciprocation is to do with repaying back what’s provided. Commitment and consistency is to do with acting with commitment and consistency to justify decisions. Social proof is to do with, in times of uncertainty, drawing from others on what to do. Liking is to do with agreeing with others in order to have others agree with us. Authority is to do with the likelihood to achieve yes when coming from a position of authority. Scarcity is to do with the need to want what is harder to get. By explaining these principles, each backed by scientific research, Robert Cialdini’s The Psychology of Persuasion is a great guide on the art and activation of how to influence others in positive ways.

Robert Cialdini’s The Psychology of Persuasion is a book that details each principle of influence, beginning with reciprocity. Reciprocity is the fundamental nature of humans to treat others as we’d like ourselves treated. So it delves on the instinct of replaying favors and acts of kindness. While a lot of these things may happen instinctively, Cialdini offers ways to strategically deploy the mechanics of reciprocity to create more goodwill and influence. When people are set in a give and take cycle, they’re able to establish greater relationships, influencing each other effectively.

Lots of people tend to do the same things over and over again. It comes from the deep desire to appear consistent with what we’ve done before. Robert Cialdini’s The Psychology of Persuasion explores the power of commitment and consistency as a means to influence small to big changes. Having people take note of the ends and goals in mind, people can be convinced towards compliance. 

Doing what others are doing is a key factor that influences our decisions. Robert Cialdini’s The Psychology of Persuasion introduces this instinct as social proof. Especially in uncertain scenarios, people tend to go to what others are doing — strangers, friends, colleagues, family, testimonials and so on. Cialidini delves into the nature and impact of social validation, and how to activate that to create a positive response. This is about recognising the mechanics of persuasion to achieve a desirable outcome. It is a strategy.

Authority and expertise are notable factors that determine our actions. Robert Cialdini’s The Psychology of Persuasion looks into the psychological factors that trigger people to take the route proposed by experts and authoritative figures. Cialdini studies authorities, including the symbols of authority, and reveals how they help enhance persuasion. By unfolding the essence of authority, Caldini helps readers understand the art of influencing others.

If someone likes someone, they’ll do whatever it takes to service them. Across culture, this sense of likeability is a fundamental principle in influence. Robert Cialdini’s The Psychology of Persuasion looks into the idea that people are more likely to comply and respond to requests from those they know of, trust, and like. Similar interests, tastes and intentions are all supplementary factors that help people create a sense of likeability. Cialdini helps readers realise and foster genuine connections on the principle of likeability. 

One wants something that’s short in supply. This is the fundamental human psychology of wants. Scarcity is therefore a key factor that determines demand. Robert Cialdini’s The Psychology of Persuasion helps persuaders understand the value of missing out, and how that increases the appeal of anything, from products  to ideas. Cialdini highlights the art of scarcity as a lever for appeal, urgency, opportunity, and on how to motivate action and response based on that.

While manipulation is a bad word, and is often wrongly associated with the power of influence,  Robert Cialdini’s The Psychology of Persuasion makes a solid case for the objective art of persuasion for what it is. He expands on persuasion as an ethical art; as a fair presentation that respects the integrity, intellect and autonomy of an individual to respond in their own way. Cialdini rejects and warns readers against treating persuasion as a manipulative tactic. 

Understanding the art of persuasion is a fundamental factor in human communication. It has helped move civilizations forward. Blending scientific research, cultural stories, behavioral theories, Robert Cialdini’s The Psychology of Persuasion is a seminal book that makes a comprehensive case for readers to understand and apply the principles of persuasion in all factors of their life.

Overall, Robert Cialdini’s The Psychology of Persuasion is a refreshing read that is useful from a practical and a theoretical point of view. It helps readers draw insights from 35 years of peer-reviewed research on how to persuade for professions as wide as salespeople to politicians. Cialdini taps into the principles of influence like reciprocity, scarcity, while also presenting the case for these to be used in skillful, and ethical ways. It teaches people about the power of psychology, and the fundamental role persuasion and influence play in helping people get their way. Cialdini’s highly-researched and well-presented book helps readers understand how people think, behave and make decisions, and is therefore a powerful read. Get your copy here:



bottom of page