University of Pennsylvania marketing professor Jonah Berger brings us a book on the social influence in influencing decisions we actually make. Invisible Influence: The Hidden Forces that Shape Behavior offers us a book about persuasion reminiscent of Robert Cialdini‘s book Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion. Both books can be read as a psychology of persuasion geared at sales processes, social customs, and the ways that day-to-day life is conducted.
Invisible Influence looks into the subjects of social influence in five main chapters. These chapters are prefaced by an introduction then considered with an application as conclusion. Please note that the language of my summary here is taken largely from the author.
Chapter 1 explores imitation and mimicry.
Chapter 2 examines the drive for differentiation.
Chapter 3 starts to explain how these competing tendencies combine.
Chapter 4 examines the tension between familiarity and novelty, and the value of being optimally distinct.
Chapter 5 illuminates how social influence shapes motivation.
The chapters do a clear job of speaking in common sense ways with examples of the principles in use. This feels like a strong technique for making the subject matter easy to understand and apply in real life. In much the way I felt with the Cialdini book reviewed here, this helps the book succeed in helping people understand things happening around them.
(A visual synopsis of Invisible Influence as drawn by Dani Saveker)
Largely, the material of the book introduced concepts early in the book in a logical sequence. The information compounded with further understanding of those concepts added more knowledge of that content. That the overall information combined contradictory instincts into a synthesized whole that invites understanding of disparate influences in a single, perhaps unconscious decision-making framework was helpful. I am able to see the theory.
(Invisible Influence by Jonah Berger)
There is not much here that I didn’t get in Cialdini. This book was not presented with research or anything that would appeal to me that way. The bottom line here is that I received some reminders about the way life works. This book earned a 3.5-stars out of 5.
Matt – Saturday, August 11, 2018