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Influence (Book Details)

Unique ID Code: 0000124948
Added by: David Shepherd
Added on: 17/1/2010 15:36
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    Now I know why others buy!

    10 / 10

    This is a well researched book that reads more like a novel. I read it when the fourth edition was published in 2001.  I have been dipping into it ever since! I believe the 5th edition is due in 2010.

    The ideas are very accessible about how people can be influenced and how to avoid falling for these methods. These are explained under 7 headings:
     - Reciprocation
     - Commitment and Consistency
     - Social Proof
     - Liking
     - Authority
     - Scarcity
     - Instant Influence

    Very credible examples are used to underline the simplicity of the influence techniques used to get people to take action in favour of the influencer.

    For example 'A well known principle of human behaviour says that when we ask a favour we will be more successful if we provide a reason.' It seems that to be effective, the request merely needs to include the word 'because' even if the additional reason adds nothing.

    Over 90% of people in an experiment respond to the word  'because' in an automatic way. 'Because' acts as a trigger to action as a mother turkey reacts to the distressed 'cheep-cheep' of her chicks. Perhaps we learn, at an early age, the word 'because' has an 'unusual amount of power' assigned to it by adults. I suspect the child learns that whatever follows 'because' leads to the parent getting their way!

    Many, if not all, of the principles are well known to us, but the examples and the writing are a powerful call to resist the tactics of the advertising and sales techniques in use today.

    Take, for example, 'when making a decision, we will less frequently engage in a fully considered analysis of the total situation. In response to this 'paralysis by analysis' we will revert to a focus on a single, usually reliable feature of the situation.'

    The content can be readily applied today as I write this.
    When a well known high street trader starts to market homeopathic remedies are we to believe them? Is the shorthand of their brand name sufficient evidence of the efficacy of the remedies? Any quick research online will reveal that the success of the remedies relies on the placebo effect. So is it enough to know the name of the trader for the buyer to trust the remedies?

    Here is a quote from the Daily Mail 22 January 2010:
    Hundreds of homeopathy sceptics  are planning a 'mass overdose' of pills in protest at the continued marketing of the 'useless' medicines by high street chemist Boots.

    More than 300 people will each swallow an entire bottle of pills or drink large quantities of homeopathic fluids in order to prove their claim that the medicines are ineffective.

    The protest will take place on high streets across the country at 10.23 on January 30.

    I'll add another article should the papers report the outcome of the demonstration.

    A good read of the book will leave you with a good idea of how to avoid making instant and possibly expensive decisions! 

    Your Opinions and Comments

    The demonstration mentioned did take place on Saturday 30 January. The BBC News site led with the following:
    'Campaigners gathered outside a Boots in Liverpool, staging a protest against the sale of homeopathic remedies. The demonstration, organised by the Merseyside Skeptics Society (MSS) saw protesters take a mass "overdose" of harmless homeopathic remedies'.

    As far as I know Boots in Liverpool are still trading.
    posted by David Shepherd on 3/2/2010 16:33