MIB: Robert Cialdini, author of Influence

This week, we speak with Social Psychologist Robert Cialdini, Professor Emeritus of Psychology and Marketing at Arizona State University. He is the author of the book Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion which has sold 3 million copies in 30 languages. His new book is is Pre-Suasion: A Revolutionary Way to Influence and Persuade.

He tells the story of Charlie Munger reaching out to him after reading Influence; Munger sent a package including a note written by Munger, a single share of Berkshire Hathaway stock — and Munger’s personal phone number.

Influence covers the six mechanisms that impact how people can be influenced: Reciprocity, Commitment and consistency, Social proof, Authority, Liking, Scarcity. These are regularly used by salespeople, marketers and other “compliance agents” in Cialdini’s parlance. He also believes we that ordinary people can learn to resist certain influences by identifying them and calling them out.

Cialdini explains the differences between “Influence” and “Persuasion” in a variety of contexts, including how the President chooses one over the other in the current political environment. Trump focuses on “Persuasion” over “Influence” — he is not seeking to change minds (influence) but to move the people who voted for him to go to the polls on November 6th. He also uses the bully pulpit to change the country’s focus – he gets people to shift the agenda to other issues (like the Caravan).

His favorite books are here; transcript of our conversation is posted here.

You can stream/download the full conversation, including the podcast extras on iTunesBloombergOvercast, and Stitcher. Our earlier podcasts can all be found at iTunesStitcherOvercast, and Bloomberg.

Next week, we speak with Ray Dalio, founder, Co-Chair and Co-CIO of Bridgwater Associates, author of Principles: Life and Work, his new book, Principles for Navigating Big Debt Crises was just published.




Books by Robert Cialdini

Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion by Robert Cialdini

Pre-Suasion: A Revolutionary Way to Influence and Persuade by Robert Cialdini

Yes!: 50 Scientifically Proven Ways to Be Persuasive by Robert Cialdini


Robert Cialdini’s Favorite Books

Rhetoric by Aristotle

The Hidden Persuaders by Vance Packard

Predictably Irrational, Revised and Expanded Edition: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions by Dr. Dan Ariely

Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness by Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein


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