Robert B. Cialdini and the book ‘Pre-Suasion: A Revolutionary Way to Influence and Persuade’

Four Minute Books summarizes the Robert B. Cialdini book Pre-Suasion: A Revolutionary Way to Influence and Persuade in one sentence. “Pre-Suasion takes you through the latest social psychology research to explain how marketers, persuaders and our environment primes us to say certain things and take specific actions, as well as how you can harness the same ideas to master the art of persuasion.”

Pre-Suasion 2(Robert B. Cialdini is a psychologist and the writer of Pre-Suasion: A Revolutionary Way to Influence and Persuade).

The premise of the book has much to do with careful communicating rather than getting people to think the way you wish. This may seem like a clever way of making a difference without distinction, though the point is about using care to set the stage carefully. As Four Minute Books rightly says about Pre-Suasion, the book is “about setting the stage the right way, so they’ll automatically want to when the time comes.”

Pre-Suasion 3(A key point of Robert B. Cialdini‘s book Pre-Suasion: A Revolutionary Way to Influence and Persuade).

Three lessons pulled from the book are summarized for us by Four Minute Books. First, “so-called leading or pre-suasive questions elicit certain answers and prime us to decide in a specific way.” Second, “we put more relevance on what’s attention-grabbing, so beware!” Third, “the words we use determine what we do – more than we think.” Cialdini is careful to articulate that he discusses this from the perspective of both sides of a two-sided coin. Those two sides are that “we’re being pre-suaded in our everyday lives and how you and I can use those very same tactics to persuade others,” as quoted from Four Minute Books.

Pre-Suasion 4(Robert B. Cialdini‘s book Pre-Suasion: A Revolutionary Way to Influence and Persuade).

We at Matt Lynn Digital reviewed Robert B. Cialdini‘s book Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, the review available here. There is a debt to Cialdini‘s Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion that are referenced as a sort of shorthand through Pre-Suasion: A Revolutionary Way to Influence and Persuade, though a thorough comprehension of the first book does not feel necessary as a means of applying the larger lessons of the second, or vice versa. Take a deeper look at the Four Minute Book summary of Pre-Suasion: A Revolutionary Way to Influence and Persuade to dig deeper into examples of the three lessons.

Pre-Suasion 5(Robert B. Cialdini‘s book Pre-Suasion: A Revolutionary Way to Influence and Persuade).

Making the lessons a bit more specific, I’ll share a personal example for how I will be using the three lessons in context. I participate in Toastmasters, wherein I practice the concepts of persuasion and influence as a learning objective for properly meeting the expectations of the audience to whom I speak. The second weekend of May, I will be speak educationally with a partner, offering the audience some reasons for speaking not alone but with a colleague. Our educational agenda is to convince people of the appropriateness for speaking with a partner. Cialdini quotes writer Saul Bellow on the speaking with a partner to indicate value. To wit, Bellow observed “that we when ask for advice, we are usually asking for an accomplice.” In this, and in speaking with partners, the notion of getting advice or a partnership typically gets you advice, the speech support, and an accomplice.

Pre-Suasion 6(Robert B. Cialdini‘s book Pre-Suasion: A Revolutionary Way to Influence and Persuade).

The practical point that backs-up the message of Cialdini‘s Pre-Suasion is that an argument for my personal context is that in speaking with a partner, and advising one another, you get an arguably better experience for the audience as well as for both speakers in drawing you both closer. Applying this to work, getting a commitment through an accomplice that is a good speaker, a master of a certain subject, a boss, or some other influential person in your organization makes you each of the things you see in your partner. If you are looking at the less influential player, your credibility is strengthened by building your accomplice. This is commitment, even more relevant if commitment in behavior, which reflect the tactics Cialdini raises with Pre-Suasion. I give Pre-Suasion: A Revolutionary Way to Influence and Persuade by Robert B. Cialdini 3.75-stars on a scale of one-to-five stars.

Matt – Saturday, May 4, 2019


Bringing awareness to ‘Invisible Influence’ with Jonah Berger

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 2 (Jonah Berger)(Jonah Berger)

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.

Invisible Influence 4(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 3(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

The Year 2017 in Reading: 35 Books (The Bronze Books)

When challenged to read books in 2017, I joined friends who had set individual targets  based on their interest level and the challenges life had in front of them. Three friends proposed to read 15 books. Three really ambitious readers proposed reading 50 books, 60 books, and 75 books in succession with varying degrees of reported success. In fact, I had one friend that reported reading a few hundred pages per day to the tune of 379 books read.

In joining a friend in the aim to read 24 books, or two books per month, we both exceeded our goal by landing in the thirty-plus books range. On a rating scale of 1-star to 5-stars, Matt with Matt Lynn Digital rated the 35-books mostly as worthy reads.

Five (5) books landed with ratings of less than average, which is to say at 3.25-stars or less.  Eleven (11) books landed at average with a rating of 3.5-stars while one (1) landed at slightly above average with 3.75-stars. These seventeen (17) books will be collected into this remembrance of 2017. Simply follow the links for a fuller review of any particular book.

Ranking as above average at 3.75 stars in 2017 included this one (1) book:

Having written in a style reminiscent of Agatha Christie, I particularly liked the notion of there being two mysteries in a single book to unravel. One might remember that I spent an entire blog post in 2016 reviewing the Agatha Christie books read in 2016.

Magpie Murders 1

Ranking as average at 3.5 stars in 2017 included these eleven (11) books:

I stayed mostly in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries with these books, with Candide being the notable exception.

Candide 1

Ranking as just below average at 3.25 stars in 2017 included this one (1) book:

Live By Night 1

Ranking as slightly below average at 3.0 stars in 2017 included these three (3) books:

My ranking of James Joyce came as the biggest disappointment here as I had hoped for something that would resonate more fully with me. Perhaps the larger issue here was my coming to the book in my forties rather than as a younger man.


Ranking lowest at 2.50 stars in 2017 included this book:

That final book lands in the pulp fiction genre; the book itself was recommended by Stephen King, whose writing has some quirks to it though has been entertaining to me. The bottom line for this book for me is to realize that not all influences to authors that entertain me are books that I would want to read.

At the Mountains of Madness 1

The above listing of books reflects the bronze listing of books. A silver and gold listing will follow shortly.

Matt – Friday, December 29, 2017

Six weapons of psychological influence with Robert B. Cialdini

It feels to me that I have been empowered with my own personal ministry of defense to the way of world. The tools, or weapons, of influence that have been formally introduced to me with clear descriptions of those weapons with down-to-earth stories to illustrate the way those weapons are used in the world at large. With Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, American social psychologist Robert B. Cialdini introduced me and anyone that reads this book on the psychology of persuasion a keen sense for common sense ways to interpret and function in the western world.

Over the course of seven chapters and an epilogue, Cialdini reviews the six categories that he has learned about and researched during his academic career and while teaching in the marketing department at Arizona State University. Each chapter feels readily accessible to me, and tends to draw you in with some kind of analogy that demonstrates the concepts intended for your understanding.

Influence Psychology of Persuasion 2(Robert B. Cialdini)

In the book’s opening chapter, the concept of using the presented categories of influence gets into the concept of substituting some single piece of representative information into a consistent shortcut for fully analyzing every situation that you are presented. An illustrating point that stood out for me what the concept of selling consumer goods in a store.

Pieces of turquoise were not selling in a vacation stop at the price intended. Many of the activities to sell these were not working until such time as the price point was doubled. The turquoise then flew off the shelves because people equated high price equals with high quality.

As you can guess, the bargain that was really present was for consumers that would have received more value with the original price more reflective of reality. The remaining chapters go into examples like this that, in turn and with increasing degrees of cleverness or manipulation, demonstrate how those aware of the psychological tricks in play can wield psychology as a weapon for or against the consumer.

The second chapter gets into reciprocation, or the notion of repaying in kind what another person has provided us. The third chapter gets into commitment and consistency. To quote Cialdini directly, it “is easier to resist at the beginning than at the end.”

Influence Psychology of Persuasion 3(The six tools, or weapons, of influence)

In discussing social proof in chapter four, Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion points out that people will often look to what others consider acceptable to consider what the appropriate course of action should be. A seemingly harmless example of this would be a laugh track on a television program, such as one might hear on the popular CBS Television series The Big Bang Theory. A more harmful example of social proof might come about when, among a crowd of bystanders, nobody helps when a person goes into an epileptic seizure that could be aided with emergency assistance.

Liking gets discussed in chapter five using examples like Tupperware sales, referring friends in charitable solicitations, and even in combination with people tending to rely on the social proof of people they like over the social examples of folks they dislike.

In chapter six, Cialdini gets into the notion of how thinking sometimes does not happen to the proper level because of the perceived authority of one person over another. A comedic example of this effect was in the citation of medical dosing mistakes by Temple pharmacology professors Michael Cohen and Neal Davis. The case in point attributed the deference to an attending doctor’s authority when a nurse treated a patients right ear ache by placing the ear drops as directed into the patient’s rear end.

The seventh chapter of Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion gets into scarcity. The notion in play is that people tend to crave that object of a potential loss more than an equivalent gain in value. That is, people tend to favor harder to possess things than easier to possess things. Folks also tend to hate losing freedoms. It is this notion that makes things available for a limited time.

As Cialdini pointed out in the epilogue, much of this reviewed book aims at drawing out examples wherein single, highly representative pieces of the total can be helpful shortcuts while also leading us to clearly stupid mistakes. The notion for where mistakes happen reflects how Cialdini thinks these psychological points have been made into weapons. I give Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion 3.5-stars out of 5.

Matt – Wednesday, November 22, 2017