Pre-Suasion: A Revolutionary Way to Influence and Persuade Book Review

Imagine having the power to shape the decisions of others even before you present your argument or make a request. Robert B. Cialdini’s book, “Pre-Suasion: A Revolutionary Way to Influence and Persuade,” delves into this fascinating concept of priming minds for persuasion. Having explored the pages of this book, I can confidently say that it’s a thought-provoking and enlightening read for anyone interested in the art of influence and persuasion.

1-sentence Summary: “Pre-Suasion” by Robert Cialdini unveils the science of capturing and focusing attention on specific cues, ultimately enhancing the persuasiveness of a message, product, or idea.

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

TitlePre-Suasion: A Revolutionary Way to Influence and Persuade
AuthorRobert B. Cialdini
GenreSelf Help
Publication DateSeptember 6, 2016
Length432 pages

Where to Purchase

Best Quotes from the Book

  1. “The best persuaders become the best through pre-suasion—the process of arranging for recipients to be receptive to a message before they encounter it.”

This quote sets the stage for the entire book, emphasizing the power of preparing the ground for persuasion. Cialdini argues that effective persuasion is not just about the message itself but also about the context in which it is presented.

  1. “What is focal is causal.”

This concise phrase underscores the idea that whatever captures our attention tends to influence our perception of causality. In other words, the most salient information often shapes our beliefs about what causes what.

  1. “The most effective influencers are ethical influencers. They create ‘pulls’ rather than use ‘pushes.'”

Cialdini emphasizes the importance of ethical persuasion throughout the book. This quote highlights the idea that the most influential individuals are those who attract others to their message rather than forcefully pushing it on them.

  1. “A communicator can enhance the perceived value of his message by connecting it to preexisting attitudes, beliefs, and knowledge structures.”

This quote highlights the principle of association, showing how persuaders can link their message to something the audience already values or believes in. It demonstrates the power of making your message resonate with the existing mental framework of your audience.

  1. “Effective pre-suasion occurs when a communicator arranges for recipients to be in a state of mind in which they are receptive to a message before they encounter it.”

This quote emphasizes the timing and mental state crucial for successful pre-suasion. It underscores the importance of creating the right psychological conditions to make your persuasion efforts more effective.

Book Summary

“Pre-Suasion” is a captivating exploration of the art and science of persuasion, focusing on the critical moment just before delivering a persuasive message. Cialdini introduces the concept of pre-suasion, which involves setting the stage for persuasion by priming the recipient’s mind. He argues that what happens in this crucial moment can significantly impact the effectiveness of persuasion.

One of the book’s strengths is its depth of research and the numerous real-world examples provided to illustrate pre-suasion principles. Cialdini draws on a wide range of studies and experiments, as well as anecdotes and stories, to make his points. This not only makes the book informative but also engaging and relatable.

Cialdini’s writing style is clear and accessible, making complex psychological concepts understandable to a general audience. He breaks down the science of pre-suasion into practical steps, making it easy for readers to grasp and apply these ideas in their own lives.

However, one criticism of the book is that it can be somewhat dense at times, particularly in the later chapters where the concepts become more intricate. While Cialdini does his best to simplify these concepts, some readers may find themselves needing to reread certain sections to fully grasp the nuances of pre-suasion.

Another potential drawback is the level of depth. While “Pre-Suasion” provides a comprehensive understanding of the topic, some readers might have appreciated more practical examples and actionable steps for implementing pre-suasion techniques in various contexts.

Book Review

Cialdini’s “Pre-Suasion” offers a fresh perspective on the art of persuasion, focusing on the often-overlooked step that precedes the actual persuasion attempt. His writing style is engaging, and he manages to convey complex ideas in a way that is accessible to a wide audience.

The real-world examples provided in the book are relatable and serve to illustrate the principles of pre-suasion effectively. Whether it’s the story of a hotel that increased its towel reuse rate or the tale of a charity that boosted donations, these examples demonstrate the power of pre-suasion in action.

The book’s emphasis on ethical persuasion is commendable. Cialdini repeatedly stresses the importance of using pre-suasion techniques responsibly and ethically, which is a refreshing perspective in a world where manipulation tactics are sometimes prevalent.

However, as mentioned earlier, the book can be quite dense in its later chapters, which might deter some readers. It delves deep into the psychology of attention and focus, which, while fascinating, can be challenging to fully grasp without a background in psychology.


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. Marketers and Advertisers: Professionals in the marketing and advertising fields can benefit greatly from understanding how to effectively capture and focus the attention of their target audience before presenting their message or product.
  2. Salespeople: If you’re in sales, “Pre-Suasion” can provide you with valuable insights into the art of persuasion and how to make your pitches more compelling.
  3. Leaders and Managers: Understanding the psychology of pre-suasion can help leaders and managers influence their teams and stakeholders positively.
  4. Anyone Interested in Psychology: If you have a fascination with human behavior and psychology, this book offers a deep dive into the science of persuasion.

Small Actionable Steps You Can Do

  1. Attention Grabbers: Identify the key elements that capture people’s attention in your specific context, whether it’s in a presentation, marketing campaign, or conversation. Make sure your message aligns with these attention-grabbing cues.
  2. Priming: Use priming techniques to create a mental environment that makes your audience more receptive to your message. This could involve subtly introducing related concepts or associations before delivering your main message.
  3. Ethical Considerations: Always consider the ethical implications of your persuasion tactics. Ask yourself if your pre-suasion efforts are honest, transparent, and respectful of your audience’s autonomy.
  4. Test and Adapt: Experiment with different pre-suasion techniques and monitor their impact on your persuasion efforts. Be willing to adapt and refine your approach based on feedback and results.
  5. Understand Your Audience: Develop a deep understanding of your target audience’s beliefs, values, and existing mental frameworks. Tailor your pre-suasion efforts to resonate with their preexisting attitudes and knowledge.

“Pre-Suasion: A Revolutionary Way to Influence and Persuade” by Robert B. Cialdini is a thought-provoking and informative exploration of the often-overlooked aspect of persuasion: what happens before the message is delivered. While the book may be dense in places, it offers valuable insights into the science of capturing attention and shaping receptivity. By applying the principles of pre-suasion, readers can enhance their ability to influence and persuade ethically and effectively.


  • 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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