Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion Book Review

If you’ve ever wondered why you can’t resist the allure of a well-crafted sales pitch or found yourself buying something you didn’t need, you’ve experienced the powerful forces of persuasion. Robert B. Cialdini’s book, “Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion,” takes readers on an eye-opening journey into the world of human psychology and the art of persuasion. Having read this book, I can confidently say it’s a must-read for anyone interested in understanding the intricate ways in which we are influenced and how to defend against unwelcome persuasion tactics.

1 Sentence Summary: “Influence” by Robert Cialdini is a captivating exploration of the psychology behind why people say “yes” and how individuals can use these principles to become more persuasive, while also learning how to protect themselves from manipulation.

Influence The Psychology of Persuasion by Robert B Ciladini

TitleInfluence: The Psychology of Persuasion
AuthorRobert B. Cialdini
GenreSelf Help
Publication DateJanuary 1, 1984
Length336 pages

Where to Purchase

Best Quotes from the Book

  1. “The best way to sell yourself to others is first to sell the others to yourself.”
    This quote encapsulates a key theme in the book, emphasizing the importance of understanding and empathizing with the perspectives and needs of others before attempting to persuade them. It reminds us that genuine persuasion begins with building trust and creating a win-win situation.
  2. “People seem to be more motivated by the thought of losing something than by the thought of gaining something of equal value.”
    This quote highlights the psychological principle of loss aversion, a concept central to the book. It explains why we often make irrational decisions to avoid losing what we already have, even if the potential gain is equivalent or even greater.
  3. “Once we make a choice or take a stand, we will encounter personal and interpersonal pressures to behave consistently with that commitment.”
    Cialdini’s exploration of commitment and consistency is a fundamental aspect of persuasion. This quote illustrates how our past decisions and commitments can influence our future behavior and why it’s crucial for persuaders to get an initial commitment from their target audience.
  4. “The key is to understand the psychology of why people comply with your requests.”
    This quote underscores the importance of comprehending the underlying psychological triggers that drive compliance. It’s not enough to know what techniques work; understanding why they work is essential for ethical persuasion.
  5. “There is an idea current in many parts of our society that, because we cannot trust ourselves to be consistently ethical, we cannot trust others.”
    Cialdini delves into the concept of authority and how people often defer to experts and figures of authority. This quote highlights the idea that we are more likely to trust others when we perceive them as being ethical and trustworthy.

Book Summary

“Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion” is a comprehensive exploration of the art and science of persuasion. Cialdini takes readers on a journey through six key principles of influence: reciprocity, commitment and consistency, social proof, authority, liking, and scarcity. Throughout the book, he provides numerous real-world examples and studies to illustrate these principles in action.

One of the book’s strengths is its ability to make complex psychological concepts accessible to a general audience. Cialdini’s writing is engaging and relatable, and he uses a combination of storytelling and research to bring his points to life. This makes the book not only informative but also enjoyable to read.

Readers can learn a great deal from “Influence.” It offers valuable insights into the ways in which we are influenced, often without even realizing it. By understanding these principles, readers can become more aware of the persuasion tactics used on them and can make more informed decisions. Additionally, the book provides practical advice on how to ethically use these principles to become more persuasive in various aspects of life, from sales and marketing to personal relationships.

Book Review

Cialdini’s writing style in “Influence” is engaging and accessible. He avoids the jargon often associated with psychology and instead uses real-life examples and anecdotes to explain complex concepts. This approach makes the book easy to understand, even for readers without a background in psychology.

The examples provided in the book are relatable and serve to drive home the principles of influence. Whether it’s the story of a car salesman who successfully uses the principle of reciprocity or the tale of a cult leader who exploits commitment and consistency, these real-world stories make the concepts tangible and memorable.

One criticism of the book is that some readers may find it a bit dated. “Influence” was originally published in 1984, and while many of the psychological principles discussed are timeless, some of the examples and references feel a bit old-fashioned. It would have been beneficial to see more updated examples to reflect the evolving landscape of persuasion in the digital age.

Additionally, while Cialdini provides practical advice on how to become more persuasive, some readers might have appreciated more specific and actionable steps. The book offers a broad understanding of the principles of influence, but readers may want more guidance on how to apply these principles in their own lives.


This book is part of my list of best manipulation books. Check out the list for more books on this subject.

This Book is Recommended for

  1. Sales and Marketing Professionals: If you work in sales, marketing, or any field that involves persuading others, “Influence” is a must-read. It provides valuable insights into the psychology of your customers and how to ethically influence their decisions.
  2. Leaders and Managers: Understanding the principles of influence can help leaders and managers motivate their teams, build trust, and make more effective decisions.
  3. Anyone Interested in Human Behavior: If you’re curious about why people behave the way they do and want to better understand the forces that shape our decisions, this book offers fascinating insights.
  4. Consumers and Everyday People: Even if you’re not in a professional field that involves persuasion, “Influence” can help you become a more informed consumer and protect yourself from manipulation.

Small Actionable Steps You Can Do

  1. Reciprocity: Practice giving without expecting anything in return. This can be as simple as offering help to a friend or providing value to your customers before asking for a sale.
  2. Commitment and Consistency: Be mindful of your commitments and ensure they align with your values and goals. Avoid making hasty commitments that you might later regret.
  3. Social Proof: When making decisions, seek out multiple sources of information and consider the opinions of others. Don’t be swayed solely by what’s popular or trendy.
  4. Authority: Question authority figures and experts when necessary. Don’t blindly follow someone’s advice just because they hold a position of authority.
  5. Liking: Build genuine relationships with others by finding common interests and showing empathy. Authentic connections are more persuasive than superficial ones.
  6. Scarcity: Be cautious of artificial scarcity tactics used in marketing. Don’t rush into a decision just because a product or opportunity is presented as rare or limited.

“Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion” by Robert B. Cialdini is a captivating and informative book that sheds light on the intricate world of human psychology and persuasion. While it may have a few minor drawbacks, its valuable insights into the art of influence make it a must-read for anyone interested in understanding how and why people say “yes.” By applying the principles discussed in the book, readers can become more savvy consumers, ethical persuaders, and better decision-makers in various aspects of life.


  • Michael Corbin

    Michael Corbin stands out as a dynamic content writer which combines his dual passions for self-help and digital marketing literature. A fervent believer in the transformative power of books, Michael delves deep into self-help titles, extracting valuable lessons and insights that he actively integrates into his daily life. Simultaneously, his keen interest in digital marketing books has not only expanded his knowledge but has also played a pivotal role in the success of his business ventures. Always on a quest for self-improvement and growth, Michael's reviews are a testament to his commitment to personal and professional development. His writings offer readers a unique perspective, as they are infused with real-world applications and experiences derived from the books he reviews. For those seeking to elevate their personal lives or enhance their business strategies, Michael Corbin's reviews serve as a trusted guide, pointing them to the most impactful and actionable books in the realms of self-help and digital marketing. His relentless pursuit of knowledge and betterment makes him an invaluable asset to the literary community and an inspiration to readers and entrepreneurs alike.

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