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Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion

I want to learn better influence others.  Joel recommends "Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion" by Robert B. Cialdini (

But Amazon search show there are another, newer book by the same author:
"Influence: Science and Practice (International Edition)" (

Anyone can comment please?

Vlad Gudim
Friday, March 05, 2004

I've ready "Influence: Science and Practise" and thoroughly recommend it.

Anonymous this time, knowledge is power.
Friday, March 05, 2004

Sorry, "read", not "ready"! One other point: It'll give you pointers to how you can better influence people, but it's very difficult to change your behaviour in order to be a better influencer.

I found the book most useful because it's helped me recognise when other people are trying to influence _me_.

Anonymous this time, knowledge is power.
Friday, March 05, 2004

Whatever you do, stay clear of so called NLP-based methods of persuation (or sales tactics). The people who use them generally come across as very stupid, especially towards people who deal with logic on a daily basis like programmers.
Those methods are generally based on misrepresenting the conditions upon which a choice is made, or deliberatly using common logical errors and non-sequiteurs.

Eric Debois
Friday, March 05, 2004

"Whatever you do, stay clear of so called NLP-based methods "

Do the above books deal with NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming, I assume) ?

The real Entrepreneur
Friday, March 05, 2004

Cialdini's original book did not deal with Neuro-Linguistic Programming.

I've read it, and recommend it.

Friday, March 05, 2004

Insofar as I recall, "Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion" is the better of the two based entirely on reading Amazon reviews. Cialdini also has a video, which I'm sure is fascinating, but is too expensive for me to bother with.

Having read this book, I think it's brilliant, but I'm not entirely sure how much it will increase your ability to persuade. In general, I'm sure this book has be come a smarmy salesman's handbook. I highly recommend it, but not if you have to convince your boss of something next week. It's full of techniques that short circuit logic & reason & make direct appeals to emotion.

Since reading this book, I've learned to recognize these situations as people trying to make me do something I don't really want to do.

Rather, get a book on argumentation like Informal Logic by Walton.
Friday, March 05, 2004

This discussion brings up an interesting point.

I don't generally respond well to emotional-type arguments (_pathos_, if you will), and I imagine many of you don't, either.

However, there's lots of books, classes, and the like out there designed to teach people how to persuade/sell that use emotional methods.  Certainly it's a major tool in the salesperson's arsenal.

I must conclude that there is either a whole lot of misinformed salespeople, or a lot of emotionally swayable people.  I'm betting on more the latter.

Not that that's bad.  I mean, as Don Norman is fond of pointing out as of late, we *are* emotional creatures...

Friday, March 05, 2004

Influence: Science and Practice is just an updated version of the book with newer examples. Both books are basically the same otherwise

John Rosenberg
Friday, March 05, 2004

One of the NLP triks I really dislike, which seems to work best on elderly people is to abuse the unspoked rules of social behaviour.

That is, structure the conversation so that there is never an opportunity for the victim to say no thanks in a polite fashion. Every time they try to stear to dialogue that way the sales person stears it away again. In short, you cant not decline without feeling like you hurt the salesmans feelings. And sure, it works on people who dont know what they want and so on.

Personally, I hate people who try that stuff on me. Once I even had set my dogs on one of those guys. He just wouldnt shut up, and had his foot in the door so I let my two german shepards (sigfrid and roy) out at which point he departed.

Sorry about the rant.. But I kind of feel like they are using stupidity to spread stupidity.

Eric Debois
Friday, March 05, 2004

How do you know that he was using NLP?

Friday, March 05, 2004

> I must conclude that there is either a whole lot of misinformed salespeople, or a lot of emotionally swayable people.  I'm betting on more the latter. <

Rich, the whole point of the book is that WE'RE ALL susceptible to this kind of thing. Nobody is immune and it's arrogance to think you are. It probably happens to you every day without your being aware of it.
Friday, March 05, 2004

Magician >> You can spot it if you pay attention. They make alot of obvious statements that anyone would agree with and try to associate their end with that line of thinking. They might try to give you stuff. They often appeal to your memories and ask you to "think back" of a time when you did something in particular.

Actually anything except "This is what I got, and this is the price" makes me kind of angry. As soon as someone tries to make me buy something by arguing or describing stuff that isnt directly conected to the product I stop listening.

He he, Im getting worked up here. I think Ill go hack some NLP teachers website to get it out of my system.

Eric Debois
Friday, March 05, 2004

I prefer the extremely practical "Spin Selling Fieldbook" - after all, influence = sales <g>

Joe Hendricks
Friday, March 05, 2004

Spin Selling was the model they used at (my former place of employ) and I pilfered one of the surplus books that was just sitting in my cube from the previous occupant, but never read it.

Care to explain it a bit?
Friday, March 05, 2004

"""They often appeal to your memories and ask you to "think back" of a time when you did something in particular."""

That's amateur stuff, hacked together from NLP techniques for counseling, not real NLP sales technique.  Decent NLP technique doesn't draw attention to itself that way.

For example, instead of "think back to a time you did X", a decently skilled practictioner would just ask, "So when's the last time you did X?"  Or, "So what would it take for me to get you to X?"  Or any of a zillion other ways to *get* you to think about X, while staying on topic and using vocabulary that was in sync with the kind of conversation, while getting on your good side through humor, or by seeming to confide in you, or any number of other techniques.

NLP is about learning to have sensitivity to who people are and what they do, not about cramming things down people's throats.

Further, I'd note that the linguistic metamodel on which NLP originated, is *extremely* logical and is also quite valuable in eliciting requirements, because it shows how to determine what people *haven't* said.  Of course, you can also turn it around and use it as a tool to create "spin", but the model itself is neutral.  It just models how people think with language, including their non-sequiturs and "illogical" thoughts.

Anyway, if you want to *successfully* influence people using NLP, I'd suggest the book "Influencing with Integrity", which has some pretty good information on how to do this sort of thing with some finesse.

Phillip J. Eby
Friday, March 05, 2004

You mean this $100 book?

Principled Persuasion: Influence with Integrity, Sell with Standards
by Marlene, Ed.D Caroselli

This company

Influence with Integirty: Training for Business

Or maybe the $10 pocket guide?

Manager's Pocket Guide to Influence with Integrity
by Marlene Caroselli
Friday, March 05, 2004

> This company
> Influence with Integirty

Influencing with Integrity
Friday, March 05, 2004

"But I kind of feel like they are using stupidity to spread stupidity."

On the offtopic of dealing with conniving salespeople, I enjoy making a game of it and considering the entire exchange a form of free entertainment. If they merely hang up shortly, I only get 1 pt. If we have a conversation that lasts more than 15 minutes and involves the art scene in the foreign country they are calling from, I get 5 points. When I can get the salesperson to decide to quit their job in disgust because I have overwhelmed them with evidence that they work for a disreputable company, I give myself 10 points.

Dennis Atkins
Friday, March 05, 2004

"You can spot it if you pay attention. They make alot of obvious statements that anyone would agree with and try to associate their end with that line of thinking."

Thes is quite fascinating. Both the Unabomber's Manifesto and the Jehovah's Witnesses use these techniques. I have in the past heard it referred to as the "A, therefore B" argument, also known as the "non sequitor".

So NLP is based on the non sequitor.

Maybe I will invent a new 'persuasion methodology' based on some OTHER well-known logical fallacy and make a killing!
Help me out here, which ones have potential - ad hominem? "Persons who don't buy our products are stupid and ugly!" Hm, actually that's already been done in all TV ads since 1950.

Dennis Atkins
Friday, March 05, 2004

Wow a lot of speculation and half truths.

I don't know much about NLP, but I do know everyone here thinks they're completely immune to virtually every sales technique on the planet.
Friday, March 05, 2004

It's interesting to me to read people talk about NLP like it's some sort of fad diet.  It's the same types of claims that people make about Atkins when they haven't read any of the books. 

I'm not claiming that either NLP or Atkins is a cure-all to anything, or even that they work.  Fact is, some people believe that both are useful tools, and some believe that they're not useful tools.  Both are right.  Neither point is any reason to get all worked up.

The interesting thing is that people aren't nearly as worked up at the derivatives of the work of the NLP guys.  David Allen's method (Getting Things Tone) is highly influenced by NLP tactics, as are Dr. Phil's methods a lot of the time.  But those are "breakthroughs".

Truth is, even Grinder and Bandler's original NLP work wasn't completely their own.  The meta-model for communication (that Phillip mentioned above) was heavily based on Chomsky's original work in grammars.  And the psychological side of their work was almost completely based on work performed by Gregory Bateson, Milton Erickson, and Virginia Satir. 

NLP isn't some sort of weird freakshow, though some of its practitioners make it look that way.  It's an interesting set of information which has applications in some situations, and not in others.  The pseudo-religious debate about it is somewhat ridiculous.

Michael Murray
Saturday, March 06, 2004

Wow never thought I'd read about Bandler and Chomsky in the same paragraph. I admit I don't know any of the linguistics stuff Chomsky did, but I have a lot of respect for his political stuff.

So do you have any book recommendations? I'm assuming 99% of the NLP stuff out there is smarmy derivitive crap with no substance just designed to sell books & seminars. What's the name of that Bandler book, The Structure of Magic? Is it any good? Or should I start somewhere else?
Saturday, March 06, 2004

Mark: the original stuff is pretty interesting.  The pap that has been thrown around in the last 10 years is probably less so... with the emergence of Tony Robbins and his ilk (don't get me wrong, I'm a big Tony Robbins fan), the term NLP became a buzzword for all kinds of snakeoil, to be peddled in similar circles as perpetual motion machines. 

Structure of Magic (I & II) are fascinating: they're all about creating a model for structured communication that emphasizes precision in linguistic representation (called the "meta model").  It's a fascinating idea, and it drew heavily on Chomsky's linguistics work.  As for reading them, it's very much like reading a language spec or RFC: it's all about structured grammar, and linguistic well-formedness.  It's fascinating, but it's sometimes hard to get through.  Much like reading a language spec or RFC, I guess.  :)

Frogs Into Princes & Tranceformations are both very much the other side of the work: the first is more general, the second deals almost exclusively with Ericksonian hypnosis, but all of the topics they teach other places are discussed there with an interesting bent.  You can't help but learn a lot reading them, but sometimes it's very "therapy" focused. 

I'm actually a big fan of reading the stuff that Robert Dilts did... his work with Grinder drew heavily on Gregory Bateson's work, and it's some neat stuff.  The work that they did on logical levels alone is some of the most fascinating and useful stuff around... it's like an OSI model for human communication, and it's interesting to see where else it applies.  I'd suggest two resources for that stuff: read Bateson's original work ("Steps to an Ecology of Mind"), and see if you can track down the "Syntax of Behavior" series of lectures on tape (The "Talking Book World" in Toronto has them, if that helps... ;).  It's quite a few hours, but they cover all kinds of incredible topics that are quite interesting. 

I'm a fan of all of it as a toolset, but not much else.  I don't go in for the "hocus pocus" of it all: the tools are interesting and useful in some situations, especially those that require precise communication of difficult concepts, and the elicitation of what someone really means when they're saying something.

Michael Murray
Saturday, March 06, 2004

Thanks. I'm about 3/4 of the way though my current book and only moderately interested in the other stuff is on my shelf right now. I'll look around for these.

I'm sure NLP has been given a bad name lately, and I kind of figured I'd have to go to the "source." I don't mind it being a little "therapy." It's certainly better than it being a little "salesy."

Any one specific book you'd recommend I pick up next?
Saturday, March 06, 2004

"Rich, the whole point of the book is that WE'RE ALL susceptible to this kind of thing. Nobody is immune and it's arrogance to think you are. It probably happens to you every day without your being aware of it. "

I didn't mean to imply that I was immune.  I said that I didn't "respond well."  I tend to be more aware of it, I think.  I don't like it when I am aware of it.  I suspect I am at least sometimes uneasy even when I'm not conciously aware of the manipulation.  And, of course, there times when I'm happily nodding along in tune with whatever's being pushed.

I don't know about "every day," though *shrug*.  I doubt it's quite that often.

Anyway, the point is that many of the people on this forum, including myself, seem to have a heightened sensitivity to perceiving attempts at emptional persuasion.  And, perhaps, a lower rate of being persuaded.

Saturday, March 06, 2004

Heck, we're chatting about NLP, fercrissake.  Tell me that *doesn't* give someone at least a bit more awareness about when someone is trying to pitch an emotional argument, among other things.

Saturday, March 06, 2004


Actually, there are some good introductions, but if you want to jump right in, I'd suggest the book that Grinder, Bandler, Dilts, etc. all contributed to, called "Neuro-Linguistic Programming: Volume I (The Study of the Structure of Subjective Experience)".  It's a little harder to find, but worth it.

Dilts also wrote a book called "Roots of NLP" that I've heard is fantastic, but I've never read it.

If you're a language geek like I am, the Structure of Magic books are fascinating.  They're also good bedtime reading, as they can inspire sleep.  ;)

Feel free to drop me an email if you want more info...


Michael Murray
Saturday, March 06, 2004

Rich - You're right, the very fact that we're aware that this kind of thing exists probably does make us a little more immune to some of the more heavy handed versions of this. Though I'll stand by my "every day" comment. The stuff in Influence is really just a subverted version of the things that keep society together.

If you buy your coffee from the guy on the corner rather than Starbucks because he once gave you a free newspaper, then your under Influence, and it's not always a bad thing.

Mitch - Thanks. I am a big nerd and love learning about things like this, especially when the science behind it is well presented - I don't like books that make large assumptions that they never back up. I'll look for the books you recommend.
Saturday, March 06, 2004

Hi, I was doing a google search and happened on this thread. Since I'm both a computer programmer and an NLP/DHE practitioner, I thought to post here.

I view NLP the same as I view mathematics. For me, NLP is to human communication as Math is to our physical world. NLP is all about codifying and replicating how our brains and neurology work and applying that to interfacing with ourselves and others. Math and NLP are not mutually exclusive as NLP has some of it's basis on mathematical properties. There is a structure to human thought processing that is constant from person to person, same as mathematical properties. NLP teaches these structures by using everyday examlpes in people's lives for practice. It's about modelling structures from person to person.

The older NLP trainings focused on applying NLP on the problems people have and solving those problems, thus NLP was labelled as a new-age psychology. DHE tried to refocus on personal growth and change and creating generative changes, more along the original thinking of NLP's discoverers.

Richard Bandler has now evolved it further into the actual chemical processes our cellular makeup is capable of manipulating, such as how the placebo effect works and how to make that work for us all the time. I've learned to heal myself quicker, using NLP, for instance if I touch my hot oven and normally get a burn, I've taught myself to calm down, rather than soaking the heat in, I imagine the heat going out and if I do it correctly, I don't blister at all. I'm thinking cancer prevention for myself! Or how some people have extrasensory perception and how to model that so anyone can learn to do it.

The caveats are that yes, some of the trainers aren't logical thinkers and I so I have to carefully inestigate for myself, and some of the particpant's scruples could use some reframe personality overhauls. Interestingly, when someone goes out and builds a plane that crashes to the ground, you don't blame the math itself, we investigate how the math was applied inappropriately, make modifications and give it another go.

I'm sure people can extrapolate from here.

Wednesday, May 12, 2004

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