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Jorge Tovar
Jorge Tovar

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Influence - Book Notes

We as humans have several mental shortcuts we employ in making our everyday judgments. These kinds of heuristics led us to conclusions as expensive = good, allowing for simplified thinking that works well most of the time but leaves us open to occasionally, costly mistakes.

Reciprocation: The Old Give and Take

The most potent of levers of influence around us.

  • Personalization via customization magnifies the force even more

  • Rejection then retreats: make extreme demands that they do not expect to win but from which they can retreat and draw real concessions.

  • Give something before asking for a return favor

  • The rule can spur unequal exchanges; to be rid of the uncomfortable feeling of indebtedness

Commitment: People require consistency.

We desire to be and to appear consistent with what we have already said or done

  • As it appears, automatic consistency functions as a shield against the thought
  • Promises are to live up
  • Chinese strategy: Start small and build
  • The tactic of starting with a little request to gain eventual compliance with a related larger request has a name: the foot in the door technique
  • removing the number of first-page fields from 4 to 3 increases registration completions by 50 percent
  • Self-image is an active commitment
  • Set a goal and write it down, live up to what you write down
  • Written down and public commitments can be used not only to influence others in desirable ways but to influence ourselves similarly
  • People desire to be consistent, cause personal consistency is highly valued by society, the public image provides a beneficial approach to daily life, and third, it's a shortcut to the complexity of modern existence.
  • Commitments are effective when they are active, public, effortful, and viewed as internally motivated because each of these elements changes the self-image.
  • Securing an initial commitment is key. people are more willing to agree to requests in keeping with a prior commitment.

Social Proof: People do what they observe others doing.

  • Uncertainty when people are unsure, they are more likely to use others' actions to decide how they should act
  • Feasibility: People doing something, means we could probably do it too
  • A good leader can persuade some sizable proportion of group members, then the raw information that a substantial number of fellow group members has been convinced can, by itself convince the rest.
  • An autopilot device, like social proof, should never be trusted fully, seek out sources of evidence - the objective facts, our prior experiences, and our judgment-

Situations where social proof is most influential

  • uncertainty
  • the many
  • similarity

A big mistake many communicators make is decrying the frequency with which an unwanted behavior is performed

Authority: People trust authority.

  • We see evidence of strong pressures for compliance with a request of an authority
  • People react to mere symbols of authority rather than to their substance, such as titles, clothing, and trappings such as automobiles.
  • Being an authority is more important than being viewed as "in" authority. people are more willing to follow the recommendations of someone who knows more than they do about the matter at hand.
  • To be an authority you have to be perceived as both expert (knowledgeable on the relevant topic) and trustworthy (honest in the presentation of one's knowledge)

Liking: People prefer to say yes to individuals they like.

  • Physical Attractiveness provides an advantage in social interaction

  • Halo Effects: When one positive characteristic of a person dominates the way he or she is viewed in most other respects

  • We prefer people that are similar to us

  • Compliment people on their behavior instead of the trait, You will probably see more of it

  • Compliments enhance liking

  • Build familiarity through repeated contact that takes place under positive rather than negative circumstances, like mutual and successful cooperation.

  • Cooperation is better than the competition

  • Establish connections, it doesn't have to be a logical one, just a positive one

Scarcity: Less quantity equals more demand.

  • Something that, on its own merits, held little appeal for me had become more attractive merely because it was rapidly becoming less available.

  • People assign more value to fewer available opportunities, you can see it in compliance techniques such as "limited number" and "deadline" tactics

  • Humans tend toward loss aversion

  • Things difficult to attain are typically more valuable. (availability and freedom)

  • We are most attracted to scarce resources when we compete with others for them

Unity: Us and them.

People are inclined to say yes to someone they consider one of them

  • The experience of acting together in coordination is a fundamental factor leading to a sense of unity


Modern life frequently deprives us of the proper conditions for such careful analysis of all the relevant pros and cons.

Because of the increasing tendency for cognitive overload in our society, the prevalence of shortcut decision-making is likely to increase proportionality.

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