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Captivology: The Science of Capturing People's Attention

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The former editor of Mashable and cofounder of DominateFund examines the psychological phenomena that captivate our attention—and how we can leverage them to draw and retain attention for our ideas, work, companies, and more. Whether you’re an artist or a salesperson, a teacher or an engineer, a marketer or a parent—putting the spotlight on your ideas, insights, projects an The former editor of Mashable and cofounder of DominateFund examines the psychological phenomena that captivate our attention—and how we can leverage them to draw and retain attention for our ideas, work, companies, and more. Whether you’re an artist or a salesperson, a teacher or an engineer, a marketer or a parent—putting the spotlight on your ideas, insights, projects and products requires a deep understanding of the science of attention. In Captivology, award-winning journalist and entrepreneur Ben Parr explains how and why the mind pays attention to some events or people—and not others—and presents seven captivation triggers—techniques guaranteed to help you capture and retain the attention of friends, colleagues, customers, fans, and even strangers. Parr combines the latest research on attention with interviews with more than fifty scientists and visionaries—Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg, film director Steven Soderbergh, LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner, magician Jon Armstrong, New York Times bestselling author Susan Cain, Nintendo’s Shigeru Miyamoto, founder of Reddit Alexis Ohanian, and more—who have successfully brought their ideas, projects, companies, and products to the forefront of cultural consciousness. The result is an insightful and practical book that will change how you assign jobs to your kids or staff, craft a multi-million dollar ad campaign, deliver your next presentation, attract users to your product, or convince the world to support your cause.


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The former editor of Mashable and cofounder of DominateFund examines the psychological phenomena that captivate our attention—and how we can leverage them to draw and retain attention for our ideas, work, companies, and more. Whether you’re an artist or a salesperson, a teacher or an engineer, a marketer or a parent—putting the spotlight on your ideas, insights, projects an The former editor of Mashable and cofounder of DominateFund examines the psychological phenomena that captivate our attention—and how we can leverage them to draw and retain attention for our ideas, work, companies, and more. Whether you’re an artist or a salesperson, a teacher or an engineer, a marketer or a parent—putting the spotlight on your ideas, insights, projects and products requires a deep understanding of the science of attention. In Captivology, award-winning journalist and entrepreneur Ben Parr explains how and why the mind pays attention to some events or people—and not others—and presents seven captivation triggers—techniques guaranteed to help you capture and retain the attention of friends, colleagues, customers, fans, and even strangers. Parr combines the latest research on attention with interviews with more than fifty scientists and visionaries—Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg, film director Steven Soderbergh, LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner, magician Jon Armstrong, New York Times bestselling author Susan Cain, Nintendo’s Shigeru Miyamoto, founder of Reddit Alexis Ohanian, and more—who have successfully brought their ideas, projects, companies, and products to the forefront of cultural consciousness. The result is an insightful and practical book that will change how you assign jobs to your kids or staff, craft a multi-million dollar ad campaign, deliver your next presentation, attract users to your product, or convince the world to support your cause.

30 review for Captivology: The Science of Capturing People's Attention

  1. 5 out of 5

    Rachel Blom

    We live in a world where getting noticed is getting harder and harder. Whether we’re launching a start-up, trying to promote a book, or convincing people to read our blog, our targeted audience is bombarded with messages and information. How do you stand out from the crowds? Captivology (clever title by the way) is all about the science of capturing people’s attention, whatever you may need it for. It discusses seven ‘attention triggers’, more or less scientifically proven methods of getting notic We live in a world where getting noticed is getting harder and harder. Whether we’re launching a start-up, trying to promote a book, or convincing people to read our blog, our targeted audience is bombarded with messages and information. How do you stand out from the crowds? Captivology (clever title by the way) is all about the science of capturing people’s attention, whatever you may need it for. It discusses seven ‘attention triggers’, more or less scientifically proven methods of getting noticed: Automacity trigger Framing trigger Disruption trigger Reward trigger Reputation trigger Mystery trigger Acknowledgment trigger Some of these are well known—companies have applied the reward trigger for instance to draw new talent, with various results—others not so much. Captivology discusses these seven triggers in details, including many studies to prove their value, and offers practical suggestions for applying it to your efforts. The automacity trigger for instance relies on contrast and association. It’s why the ‘buy now’ buttons on websites are so often orange; it makes them stand out. Experiments have shown that a bigger ‘download now’ button in a different color can boost sales tremendously. Some of this is counterintuitive—which makes it all the more interesting. The acknowledgment trigger explains for instance why instant cake mixes when they came out weren’t all that successful. All you had to do was add water, and yet women didn’t buy them. Until the geniuses behind Betty Crocker discovered women wanted to contribute something themselves, to participate in the process. So they took out the powdered eggs and made you add your own eggs. Sales took off like a rocket. I’m always fascinated by how much our brains do and decide subconsciously and this book shares some fascinating research. Did you know that the color red makes people appear more attractive? A simple red frame around a photo made the person in the photo appear more attractive to strangers. Stuff like that; I can’t get enough of it. The info in this book is of interest to anyone trying to get people’s attention, for a product, a service, a message, or anything else. It’s a quick and easy read that will make you shake your head at times over the simplicity of some aspects, the counter-intuitiveness of others, and the blunders of folks who got it wrong. Captivology has the right mix of solid info backed by research, entertaining and helpful stories to drive the points home, and practical advice to help you apply what you’ve learned. I would have loved to see a few more case studies and stories of companies and brands who either got it wrong or right though; that would have made the book even better.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Shannon Clark

    First - full disclosure Ben Parr is friend and we share many mutual friends and colleagues. So I’m far from unbiased (and also sorry it took me so long to give his book my full attention). That out of the way - I highly suggest that everyone but especially anyone seeking to sell (themselves, an idea, a product, or a company) read his book. It is an excellent and thought provoking book that dives deeply into how and importantly why we give things our attention (and what helps us sustain that atte First - full disclosure Ben Parr is friend and we share many mutual friends and colleagues. So I’m far from unbiased (and also sorry it took me so long to give his book my full attention). That out of the way - I highly suggest that everyone but especially anyone seeking to sell (themselves, an idea, a product, or a company) read his book. It is an excellent and thought provoking book that dives deeply into how and importantly why we give things our attention (and what helps us sustain that attention). His examples delve deeply back into history and research - they aren’t just recent social media based examples though he includes some of those. As I am an entrepreneur the insights from this book will help me as raise money and as I seek to build my team, sell, and sustain my business. Some of the insights he offers suggest that my own personal tendencies (Long posts full of detail) may not always be the most effective. And that there are other approaches I can try to both tell the same story and help spark more and more sustained responses. But importantly as well he doesn’t shirk from also showing the hard and ongoing work that this takes - there is no single magic way to capture and sustain attention.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Cody Faldyn

    In his book Parr reveals his latest research on the psychology and neuroscience on what attracts consumers and convinces them to support certain areas of a business product or service. The goal of the book is to help you create effective advertising campaigns, deliver high quality presentations, delegate the right jobs to the right people, and bring your product to the attention of millions of prospects. For your convenience, we had Ben Parr on our podcast, The Entrepreneurs Library, to give a de In his book Parr reveals his latest research on the psychology and neuroscience on what attracts consumers and convinces them to support certain areas of a business product or service. The goal of the book is to help you create effective advertising campaigns, deliver high quality presentations, delegate the right jobs to the right people, and bring your product to the attention of millions of prospects. For your convenience, we had Ben Parr on our podcast, The Entrepreneurs Library, to give a deep dive on Captivology. With Ben’s experience he gives amazing insight on how to master the art of attracting consumers. If you would like to get a more in-depth look from the author himself check out episode 204 on the EL website or you can find the show on iTunes.

  4. 4 out of 5

    C

    It held my attention. :D That speaks for itself.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Karen

    Overview: Parr has collected together a tidy summary of research studies, triggers, and motivations that have an affect on people's attention. Without attention, we can't convey anything. The seven triggers are clearly explained with lots of examples and tips. I listened to the audiobook, which is narrated by an even-toned American accented young male speaker and is suitable for x2 speed and commuting. Favourite quotes: "First you need to elicit a reaction by being distinctive or disruptive. Once Overview: Parr has collected together a tidy summary of research studies, triggers, and motivations that have an affect on people's attention. Without attention, we can't convey anything. The seven triggers are clearly explained with lots of examples and tips. I listened to the audiobook, which is narrated by an even-toned American accented young male speaker and is suitable for x2 speed and commuting. Favourite quotes: "First you need to elicit a reaction by being distinctive or disruptive. Once you have your audience's immediate attention, you need something unique, novel, and useful to keep their working memory focused on your message. Having secured their short attention, you must create value for your audience to capture their long term attention." "It's not what you say, it's what people hear." "Attention is the conduit through which we experience our world. If you don't have somebody's attention, no amount of effort you put into your product, music, art, lesson plan, or project will matter."

  6. 5 out of 5

    Christi Winkelman

    A little dry so I increased the speed so I could listen more comfortably. Good examples that illustrates his key points. Even though I knew much of these concepts from previous books it served as a nice review. I like that he explains why certain strategies worked or failed. I am currently struggling with rewards/incentives and intrinsic motivation. This book helped me to understand why without superfluous explanations. If you are in management, a business owner, or a blogger I highly recommend A little dry so I increased the speed so I could listen more comfortably. Good examples that illustrates his key points. Even though I knew much of these concepts from previous books it served as a nice review. I like that he explains why certain strategies worked or failed. I am currently struggling with rewards/incentives and intrinsic motivation. This book helped me to understand why without superfluous explanations. If you are in management, a business owner, or a blogger I highly recommend this book.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Catherine Read

    Excellent book on navigating the attention economy. Well known behavioral research is used to support his points and very recent examples are given that are very relatable. It's a practical guide on the best investment of time, resources and creative efforts when trying to influence people and outcomes. Excellent book on navigating the attention economy. Well known behavioral research is used to support his points and very recent examples are given that are very relatable. It's a practical guide on the best investment of time, resources and creative efforts when trying to influence people and outcomes.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Andrew Orange

    Too technocratic. I don't recommend this book. Too technocratic. I don't recommend this book.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Christian Cruz

    Ben Parr's book about getting attention is an easy to read (actually a breeze) self-help that should benefit anyone who is into business, learning and development, communication, marketing and PR, and media. There are many concepts, theories and research findings which he made very simple so you can understand and appreciate them easily. He writes like he is just giving you pointers and advise. I have read several books with similar topics. This one ranks as one of the most satisfying read I have Ben Parr's book about getting attention is an easy to read (actually a breeze) self-help that should benefit anyone who is into business, learning and development, communication, marketing and PR, and media. There are many concepts, theories and research findings which he made very simple so you can understand and appreciate them easily. He writes like he is just giving you pointers and advise. I have read several books with similar topics. This one ranks as one of the most satisfying read I have in years.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Claudia

    Living in an "extroverted" world is challenging, especially if you are not naturally the "look at me" kind of person; however, the science of attention may help you figure out how to stay true to yourself and still get your point across. Captivology is written in an easy to follow style, most definitely a good read for those interested on attention triggers 101. Living in an "extroverted" world is challenging, especially if you are not naturally the "look at me" kind of person; however, the science of attention may help you figure out how to stay true to yourself and still get your point across. Captivology is written in an easy to follow style, most definitely a good read for those interested on attention triggers 101.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Katherine Coble

    This book provided a really good overview of various triggers we can use to get people's attention. Some triggers work for immediate attention, some for short term and some for long term. Some of them work together to create sustained attention from your audience. Lots of great stuff in here for marketers who want to think about the why behind capturing people's attention. This book provided a really good overview of various triggers we can use to get people's attention. Some triggers work for immediate attention, some for short term and some for long term. Some of them work together to create sustained attention from your audience. Lots of great stuff in here for marketers who want to think about the why behind capturing people's attention.

  12. 5 out of 5

    John Kenrick

    Fascinating treatment of an essential topic Well written, with clear and compelling data and memorable examples for every point. If getting and keeping the public's attention matters to you or your professional life, this is a must-read. Fascinating treatment of an essential topic Well written, with clear and compelling data and memorable examples for every point. If getting and keeping the public's attention matters to you or your professional life, this is a must-read.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Boston Bostian

    Well researched. Clear and concise.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Marleah

    A fascinating book. A quick read.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Suzanne Sammons

    Interesting read about how to captivate an audience.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Mark Bieraugel

    A long article expanded into book length. Some interesting ideas on getting the attention of an audience, but too much reliance on brain science to shore up Parr's lightweight prose. A long article expanded into book length. Some interesting ideas on getting the attention of an audience, but too much reliance on brain science to shore up Parr's lightweight prose.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Taylor Newill

    What makes things interesting to people, I don't recall much What makes things interesting to people, I don't recall much

  18. 4 out of 5

    Dionne Green

    While I found the captivation triggers compelling, I felt many of the examples didn't jive with the explanations. While I found the captivation triggers compelling, I felt many of the examples didn't jive with the explanations.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Kate

    not sure yet

  20. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth

    I loved it. It was a very insightful book made simple with lots of captivating examples and explanations. 10/10 would recommend 👍🏻

  21. 4 out of 5

    Sung Yee Poon

    This book really captured my attention and I found it very informative in understanding more about the American millennial generation. Some of his examples are extremely interesting, for instance a new start up actually organized a product event like a wedding. Though his basic principles in capturing attention may not be new, his examples engaged me to read the book word for word. That is rare, normally I only read the sections that interest me because there are so many books to read. The autho This book really captured my attention and I found it very informative in understanding more about the American millennial generation. Some of his examples are extremely interesting, for instance a new start up actually organized a product event like a wedding. Though his basic principles in capturing attention may not be new, his examples engaged me to read the book word for word. That is rare, normally I only read the sections that interest me because there are so many books to read. The author deserves high rating for his thorough research in particular on his examples given his background mainly as a journalist and venture capitalist yet his easy and friendly writing style would not bore or alienate reader.

  22. 4 out of 5

    John Martindale

    As some other reviewers have mentioned, there isn't much new here. But though I've come across most of what is within these pages in other books it doesn't hurt hearing it again with the specific focus upon what captures our attention. One random and curious note, unlike every other author I've read on similar subjects, instead of constantly saying how evolution designed, developed, optimized, created, fashioned, shaped or caused this or that, he just simply says the brain developed or was hard- As some other reviewers have mentioned, there isn't much new here. But though I've come across most of what is within these pages in other books it doesn't hurt hearing it again with the specific focus upon what captures our attention. One random and curious note, unlike every other author I've read on similar subjects, instead of constantly saying how evolution designed, developed, optimized, created, fashioned, shaped or caused this or that, he just simply says the brain developed or was hard-wired for x, y and z. You could hand this book to a creationist without them being constantly made uncomfortable.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Shawnic

    This would be the perfect book to those who have no idea on the psychological aspects of keeping someone engaged-for anything. While most of it is pretty self-explanatory, the examples Parr used were pretty interesting because he used real time examples of big companies from back then & up to now; which either failed or succeeded in branding & marketing. I recently started watching Gary Vaynerchuk’s YouTube videos, so I got excited coming across his name several times explaining the things I did This would be the perfect book to those who have no idea on the psychological aspects of keeping someone engaged-for anything. While most of it is pretty self-explanatory, the examples Parr used were pretty interesting because he used real time examples of big companies from back then & up to now; which either failed or succeeded in branding & marketing. I recently started watching Gary Vaynerchuk’s YouTube videos, so I got excited coming across his name several times explaining the things I didn’t know about his path to entrepreneurship.

  24. 5 out of 5

    JP

    We all crave for people attention another book trying to say it another way interesting reads but nothing stay after reading

  25. 5 out of 5

    Mitch Olson

    An interesting book on the 7 factors that influence attention. I think it is more accurate to say these are factors that influence the broader field of behaviour rather than purely attention. Ben Parr is a good story teller & for that I would give him a 5. But his thinking is a little sloppy in terms of his mental models so giving him a net score of 4/5.

  26. 5 out of 5

    E.J.

    I found Captivology interesting but a little dry. It had some examples and it broke things down but it was more of a treatise than a story. If you like sociology, this book will probably appeal to you.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Tova

    Really great book - it captivated me until the very end. I learned a lot of interesting ideas and thought the examples were point-on. Looking forward to looking into this author further.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Lauren

    Some good examples, but nothing new in here for me. A lot of research I have read elsewhere. If you're new to the topic it could be the perfect intro. Some good examples, but nothing new in here for me. A lot of research I have read elsewhere. If you're new to the topic it could be the perfect intro.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Steve

    Decent look at how to capture attention with what you write, say, design. Some cool insights from his experience but mostly grouping multiple sources and going psychological. Easy to read.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Jason Viglione

    Ben nails this. Using the model of the "triggers" you really understand what captures people's attention, why it captures and what part of the human emotion it plays to. Ben nails this. Using the model of the "triggers" you really understand what captures people's attention, why it captures and what part of the human emotion it plays to.

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