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An engaging, highly readable survey of the sophisticated methods of persuasion we encounter in various situations. From television to telemarketing and from self-deception to suicide cults, Levine takes a hard look at all the ways we attempt to persuade each other--and how and why they work (or don't). . . . The next time you wonder what possessed you to pay $50 for a meda An engaging, highly readable survey of the sophisticated methods of persuasion we encounter in various situations. From television to telemarketing and from self-deception to suicide cults, Levine takes a hard look at all the ways we attempt to persuade each other--and how and why they work (or don't). . . . The next time you wonder what possessed you to pay $50 for a medallion commemorating the series finale of Friends, you'll know where to turn. --Slashdot.org If you're like most people, you think advertising and marketing work--just not on you. Robert Levine's The Power of Persuasion demonstrates how even the best-educated cynics among us can be victimized by sales pitches. --The Globe and Mail Levine puts [his] analysis in the service of his real mission--to arm the reader against manipulation. --The Wall Street Journal This wonderful book will change the way you think and act in many realms of your life. --Philip Zimbardo former president, American Psychological Association


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An engaging, highly readable survey of the sophisticated methods of persuasion we encounter in various situations. From television to telemarketing and from self-deception to suicide cults, Levine takes a hard look at all the ways we attempt to persuade each other--and how and why they work (or don't). . . . The next time you wonder what possessed you to pay $50 for a meda An engaging, highly readable survey of the sophisticated methods of persuasion we encounter in various situations. From television to telemarketing and from self-deception to suicide cults, Levine takes a hard look at all the ways we attempt to persuade each other--and how and why they work (or don't). . . . The next time you wonder what possessed you to pay $50 for a medallion commemorating the series finale of Friends, you'll know where to turn. --Slashdot.org If you're like most people, you think advertising and marketing work--just not on you. Robert Levine's The Power of Persuasion demonstrates how even the best-educated cynics among us can be victimized by sales pitches. --The Globe and Mail Levine puts [his] analysis in the service of his real mission--to arm the reader against manipulation. --The Wall Street Journal This wonderful book will change the way you think and act in many realms of your life. --Philip Zimbardo former president, American Psychological Association

30 review for The Power of Persuasion: How We're Bought and Sold

  1. 4 out of 5

    Mario the lone bookwolf

    ENGLISH Collection of well-known manipulation techniques that reveal frighteningly easy approaches to mind control It is not easy to admit how experts are subtly joking with the supposed invulnerability that the deceptive spirit is prompting. All the more difficult and eye-opening is the insight into how helplessly, and unconsciously a person can be steered, manipulated and exiled by others through his whole existence. Whenever a supposedly sympathetic, benevolent authority or self-proclaimed e ENGLISH Collection of well-known manipulation techniques that reveal frighteningly easy approaches to mind control It is not easy to admit how experts are subtly joking with the supposed invulnerability that the deceptive spirit is prompting. All the more difficult and eye-opening is the insight into how helplessly, and unconsciously a person can be steered, manipulated and exiled by others through his whole existence. Whenever a supposedly sympathetic, benevolent authority or self-proclaimed expert enters the scene, alarm bells should be eagerly rehearsing. It is unfavorable that the masters of micro-mimicry, body language and social control are not only lurking in the used car and furniture trade but, in the worst case, in immediate or even permanent proximity. Because without knowledge of the mechanisms by which our predictable patterns of behavior can be steered into random paths, the knives can flash as conspicuously and menacingly as possible. The innocent victim still either runs directly into the blade or does not create a timely mirror-glance shoulder to ward off the penetration of the back by alleged allies. Moreover, you are already sold. What Levine summarizes in his work are not many new insights, but he negotiates the topics in just the right length and always draws parallels to his field of expertise, which opens up new perspectives. Especially the insights from the sewing boxes of professional salespeople and dealers give sobering insights into the mechanisms of mind control, in which nothing is left to chance. All types of pressure generation, weighing in alleged safety, the metered use of dazzling charm and uncertainty tactics are applied to the idealized goal of the sale to the detriment of the customer. Cited topics include cognitive research in children; CIA's Kubark Manual on modern psychologically-based torture methods without direct use of force, reprogramming, conditioning and brainwashing by sects, obedience experiments such as the Stanford-Prison Experiment or the Milgram Experiment, the proper use of pressure such as creating guilt feelings, reciprocity techniques, use of confusing comparisons, generating time and decision pressure and permanent observation of the victim. I mean appreciated customers. This accurate exploration of the emotional state of potential buyers and a swift response to supposed changes in opinion to the detriment of a contract conclusion is a core element of the influence. It is not only essential that the customer does not become aware of the delusion and tricks because of the glaring bleak revelation, but that the seller can react to potential objections or rejections with perfect timing. Also, for that, these charismatics can play dazzlingly on the keyboard of social constraints, norms, and automated behaviors to find the right tactics, words, and arguments depending on the buyer's judgment. Once you have drifted away, mesmerized by the siren song to the edge of the financial abyss, no cinematic standing just before the corner will bring about a happy ending. But one will stare rigidly and continue walking with raised lips. It is entirely necessary to accept those psychological patterns as mighty factors while realizing each humans vulnerability. However, this is the only option in the future to be immune from renewed attacks. The author even dedicates a particular recommendable chapter to manipulation prevention. The distinction between methods of sect or religion, minor opposition party/rebel group or government, windy used car dealer or sales professional, and marketing and PR department of a multinational is difficult. Whether in the making or already at the top. Any religious, political, or economically motivated groups will always use all means in its power to squeeze out all belief, vote, or profit, to the detriment of the gullible, naive, and incorrigible good-faith. Unfortunately, the balancing act between paranoid unbelief and cosmopolitan naivety should always shift in the direction of pessimistic misanthropy. Unless one is one of the mature and self-aware exceptions that can´t be nailed to the wall by any smart tactics. Alternatively, one can be part of the group of manipulators and beneficiaries of human weaknesses. Because when an unknown sales associate in a shop or people on the street addresses you, they either want your money or your soul. GERMAN Sammlung bekannter Manipulationstechniken, die erschreckend leichte Zugänge zur Gedankenkontrolle offenbaren Es ist nicht einfach sich einzugestehen, wie mit der vermeintlichen Unverwundbarkeit, die der trügerische Geist souffliert, von Experten subtil Schabernack getrieben wird. Umso schwerer und Augen öffnender wirkt die Einsicht, wie hilflos und unbedarft ein Mensch sich quer durch sein Dasein lenken, manipulieren und ausnehmen lässt. Immer, wenn eine vermeintlich sympathische, wohlmeinende Autorität oder ein selbsternannter Experte auf den Plan treten, sollten Alarmglocken schon eifrig beim Proben sein. Ungünstig nur, dass die Meister von Mikromimik, Körpersprache und sozialer Kontrolle nicht nur im Gebrauchtwagen- und Möbelhandel lauern, sondern im ungünstigsten Fall in unmittelbarer oder gar permanenter Nähe. Denn ohne Wissen über die Mechanismen, nach denen sich unsere vorhersehbaren Verhaltensmuster in beliebige Bahnen lenken lassen, können die Messer noch so auffallend und bedrohlich blitzen. Das arglose Opfer läuft entweder direkt in die Klinge oder schafft keinen rechtzeitigen Spiegel-Schulterblick mehr, um die Penetration des Rückens durch vermeintliche Verbündete abzuwehren. Und schon ist man verkauft. Viele neue Erkenntnisse sind es nicht, die Levine in seinem Werk zusammenträgt, aber er handelt die Themen in genau der richtigen Länge ab und zieht stets Parallelen zu seinem Fachgebiet, was neue Perspektiven eröffnet. Speziell die Erkenntnisse aus den Nähkästchen professioneller Verkäufer und Händler geben ernüchternde Einblicke in die Mechanismen der Gedankenkontrolle, bei denen nichts dem Zufall überlassen und vor noch weniger zurückgeschreckt wird. Alle Spielarten von Druckerzeugung, dem Wiegen in vermeintlicher Sicherheit, dem dosierten Einsatz von blendendem Charme und Verunsicherungstaktiken werden auf das idealisierte Ziel des Verkaufsabschlusses zu Ungunsten des Kunden hin angewandt. Zu den angeschnittenen Themen gehören unter anderem Kognitionsforschung bei Kindern; das Kubark-Manual der CIA über moderne, auf psychologischen Erkenntnissen fußende Foltermethoden ohne direkte Gewaltanwendung, Umprogrammierung, Konditionierung und Gehirnwäsche durch Sekten,Gehorsamkeitsexperimente wie das Stanford-Prison Experiment oder das Milgram- Experiment, die richtige Anwendung von Druckmitteln wie dem Erzeugen von Schuldgefühlen, Reziprozitätstechniken, Einsatz von verwirrenden Vergleichen, Erzeugen von Zeit- und Entscheidungsdruck sowie einer permanenten Beobachtung des Opfers. Ich meine Kunden. Diese genaue Sondierung des Gefühlszustandes potentieller Käufer und ein flinkes Reagieren auf vermeintliche Umschwünge der Meinung zu Ungunsten eines Vertragsabschlusses ist ein Kernelement der Beeinflussung. Es ist nicht nur essentiell, dass der Kunde sich des Lugs und Trugs vor lauter blendend greller Offenbarung gar nicht erst gewahr wird, sondern dass der Verkäufer auch rechtzeitig auf potentielle Einwände oder Ablehnung reagieren kann. Und dafür verstehen es diese mit allen Wassern gewaschenen Charmebolzen blendend auf der Klaviatur sozialer Zwänge, Normen und automatisierter Verhaltensmuster zu spielen, um abhängig von der Einschätzung des Käufers die richtigen Taktiken, Worte und Argumente zu finden. Hat man sich erst vom Sirenengesang bis an den Rand des finanziellen Abgrunds treiben lassen, wird kein filmreifes Stehenbleiben unmittelbar vor der Kante ein glückliches Ende herbei führen. Sondern man wird starren Blicks und mit gehobenen Mundwinkeln weiter schreiten. Ganz grundlegende psychologische Muster sind es, die sich selbst einzugestehen bedeuten würde, sich die eigene Verwundbarkeit ungeschönt vor Augen zu führen. Nur liegt darin die einzige Option, in Zukunft vor neuerlichen Attacken gefeit zu sein. Der Manipulationsprävention widmet der Autor gar ein eigenes, empfehlenswertes Kapitel. Die Unterscheidung zwischen den Methoden von Sekte oder Religion, kleiner Oppositionspartei/Rebellengruppe oder Regierung, windigem Gebrauchtwagenhändler oder Verkaufsprofi und Marketing- und PR-Abteilung eines Multis schwer fällt. Ob im Werden begriffen oder bereits an der Spitze. Eine jede religiöse, politische oder ökonomisch motivierte Gruppierung wird immer alle in ihrer Macht stehenden Mittel einsetzen, um zum Schaden der Leichtgläubigen, Naiven und unbelehrbar Gutgläubigen alles an Glauben, Wählerstimmen oder Profit herauszupressen. Der Balanceakt zwischen paranoiden Unglauben und weltoffener Naivität sollte im eigenen Interesse leider stets in Richtung der pessimistischen Misanthropie ausschlagen. Außer man gehört entweder zu den mündigen und selbstbewussten Ausnahmeerscheinungen, die sich von keiner noch so gewieften Taktik an die Wand nageln lassen. Oder zu den Manipulatoren und Nutznießern menschlicher Schwächen. Denn wenn einen unbekannte Verkäufer oder Leute auf offener Straße ansprechen, wollen sie entweder dein Geld oder deine Seele.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Vivian Sophia

    Ways of "convincing" people People will buy from people who seem expert, honest, likable. Seeming is the key word. An actor who plays a doctor, or someone who uses jargon. Decisive, swift talkers. Statistics. They may pretend to understand what's going on by leading one on (like a psychic) and being vague Trust (of honesty) may be gained by testimonials and endorsements. Also "education" People who present "both sides" are seen as more trustworthy. Bringing up a flaw before the opposition does Pe Ways of "convincing" people People will buy from people who seem expert, honest, likable. Seeming is the key word. An actor who plays a doctor, or someone who uses jargon. Decisive, swift talkers. Statistics. They may pretend to understand what's going on by leading one on (like a psychic) and being vague Trust (of honesty) may be gained by testimonials and endorsements. Also "education" People who present "both sides" are seen as more trustworthy. Bringing up a flaw before the opposition does Peers are more trusted (ordinary folk) Some companies do all their selling by getting recommendations from people who've had a demonstration. Reciprocity can cause someone to buy. this is stronger than likability. This can be triggered by having given someone a lot of time, or saving someone time. Buy parties work on this principle Good-cop bad cop plays on this Love bombs are used by cults Some personality types thrive on having others indebted to them. They think people should give back more than they receive They work hard to stay on dominant (giving) side Uncomfortable when someone repays a debt Tries to make the debt not repaid Suspicious of gifts and favors Expects to receive something in return for a gift Contrast principle Ads that sell the context not the product Ads that sell a difference from competitor Ads that change the "anchor point" - where the price "ought" to be Make incremental changes over time Mention a higher number and then make the real price lower Removing context information Show decoy item first Differences must be bigger as base quantity increases People are more sensitive to price differences for necessities Odd numbered prices cause a bigger perceptual difference Bad mental arithmetic People prefer separated gains and consolidated losses Bundling a small loss into a large gain or separating a small win from a big loss works People take risks for losses, safety for gains. People prefer a small certain gain to a less secure large one Consumers like to buy now pay later Frame as opportunity forgone rather than out-of-pocket loss e.g. buy with coming income tax refund Emphasize sunk costs List high, sell low (this is below retail price of x) Never exceed the reference price (give discounts, not surcharges) Hot buttons: when marketers appeal to simplified view of situation (hidden info) 1) when you think the consequences aren't important 2) when you're pressed to act quickly 3) when there's too much information to process 4) when you trust the person making the requests 5) when you're surrounded by social "proof" (everyone's doing it) 6) when you're uncertain and confused Hot buttons make use of cultural markers Gradually escalating commitments - lots of little yeses add up to a big yes or, a refusal of a big request leads to yes on a smaller one the 'and that's not all' technique - works when customer on the fence Cognitive dissonance giving a small reward sets it up more than a big one, obvious rewards are not motivating controlling behavior can change minds failure can persuade more than success

  3. 5 out of 5

    Aaron Gertler

    Low four. Best as an introduction to the topic. Quotes all the studies that everyone quotes, with no special insight. More interesting are the sections where the author attends home sales parties, sells cars, or otherwise gets personal with his material. In that sense, you could see this as Influence, part II -- but you should definitely start with Influence, which is shorter and easier to read. Low four. Best as an introduction to the topic. Quotes all the studies that everyone quotes, with no special insight. More interesting are the sections where the author attends home sales parties, sells cars, or otherwise gets personal with his material. In that sense, you could see this as Influence, part II -- but you should definitely start with Influence, which is shorter and easier to read.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Märt

    This book is about the psychology of persuasion. It's somewhat similar to the classic "Influence" by Cialdini. Even though most persuasion techniques are presented as tools employed by "sleazy" salespeople (there are also awesome salespeople, but they are not meant here) and by cults, they are fascinating to learn because they apply to all human communication. The author deserves credit for having thrown himself into first-hand experiences at various sales positions (selling knives, cars) and for This book is about the psychology of persuasion. It's somewhat similar to the classic "Influence" by Cialdini. Even though most persuasion techniques are presented as tools employed by "sleazy" salespeople (there are also awesome salespeople, but they are not meant here) and by cults, they are fascinating to learn because they apply to all human communication. The author deserves credit for having thrown himself into first-hand experiences at various sales positions (selling knives, cars) and for presenting the scientific bits in an enjoyable manner. Here are some bullet points from my notes, to give you an idea of the book’s content: * Trust is made up of 3 components: perceived authority, honesty, likeability. In US, perceived authority is disproportionately attributed to titles, clothing, and luxury cars. * Power of testimonials: celebrities have revealed on talk shows that they are taking certain drugs to get by, having been paid for it by drug companies. * Contrasting: two similar things close to each other appear more different. This principle is used a lot in advertising. * When we don’t have an expectation, it is set for us ("anchor point"). That’s why if customer says he cannot afford something, the right move is to show him the higher priced item (to move the anchor point up). * JND - just noticeable difference. People perceive 5.99 and 7.99 to have less difference than 6 and 8, so marketers optimize JND as much as possible. * Loss hurts more than the same amount of gain delights, so it is important to frame losses as gains when possible. * Number of losses or gains stand out more than the actual amounts lost or gained, so bundle the losses, dribble in the gains * It hurts more to lose money in hand than theoretical money * We’re vulnerable to "being sold" during times of "lazy thinking": when we think our consequences aren’t important, we have to act quickly, there’s too much info to process, when we trust the seller or the social proof around us, etc * Fixed action patterns - biological triggers that make us (and especially animals) act automatically without thinking. There are some phrases which make a dramatic difference when used for no good reason: "for a good cause, new, quick, easy, improved, now, suddenly, amazing, introducing." * People simply don't like being told what to do. But that's when they're told all at once. It's a very different story when the demands are escalated slowly. That’s how most cults operate (the craziest case was the Jonestown cult where around 900 people drank poison at the same time, staying justified even as people around them were drying). * Recipe for getting people to join your cult: move gradually, apply the least necessary force, remain invisible, and create the illusion of choice. Final words: Persuasion is the essence of successful parenting, teaching, and psychotherapy; making friends; achieving intimacy; motivating performance; fighting for what you believe in; and achieving your goals. Final advice for persuading kids: I lay out my case patiently, in small increments, involving their active participation whenever possible, and do my best to have them arrive at conclusions they claim as their own.

  5. 4 out of 5

    JC

    If I give this book an excellent review, your quite a bit more likely to read the book. Just the fact that I'm writing this review increases the chance that you will read this book over just finding it at the library or in the bookstore. What sold me on this book? The blurb on the jacket. This book brings to light the fact that we are bought and sold with practically everything in life and every decision. This book was really interesting to take a step back and look how we are affected by everyt If I give this book an excellent review, your quite a bit more likely to read the book. Just the fact that I'm writing this review increases the chance that you will read this book over just finding it at the library or in the bookstore. What sold me on this book? The blurb on the jacket. This book brings to light the fact that we are bought and sold with practically everything in life and every decision. This book was really interesting to take a step back and look how we are affected by everything around us and while I consider myself a not very gullible person, in all reality I probably am. This book was really good at times and at other times it was a bit slow. There is a lot of information packed in and so sometimes I found myself getting a bit sleepy while reading it, but at other times I was so fascinated by what I was reading that I completely last track of time. This book is probably 3.5/5 for me. I'd recommend reading it to anyone though (you're welcome Mr. Levine). On another note, I'd never heard of Jonestown before, but pretty interesting to learn about how the people were basically brainwashed.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Pat

    Much like Cialdini's Influence, this book does a good job of itemizing all the ways in which we're being gentled nudged or violently corralled into one form of behavior or another. A little more personal and easy to read than Influence, but probably not as exhaustive. Much like Cialdini's Influence, this book does a good job of itemizing all the ways in which we're being gentled nudged or violently corralled into one form of behavior or another. A little more personal and easy to read than Influence, but probably not as exhaustive.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Arnab Padhi

    Pretty basic. So you can give a try if you have never read a book on consumer behavior or behavioral economics. Most of the concepts and ideas are can be found in many other books. Isn't the best book on persuasion or human irrationality. Pretty basic. So you can give a try if you have never read a book on consumer behavior or behavioral economics. Most of the concepts and ideas are can be found in many other books. Isn't the best book on persuasion or human irrationality.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Kayla

    So I picked this book up due to a recommendation from a friend that had been told to read it by another friend. She hasn’t read it yet but it sounded interesting and I went into it knowing nothing beyond the title of the book. Honestly, I almost put this book down right away, it’s interesting but a lot of the stuff talked about in the beginning of the book is stuff I’ve learned prior to reading it.  I would say go into this book open minded though because I got further into the book and became ho So I picked this book up due to a recommendation from a friend that had been told to read it by another friend. She hasn’t read it yet but it sounded interesting and I went into it knowing nothing beyond the title of the book. Honestly, I almost put this book down right away, it’s interesting but a lot of the stuff talked about in the beginning of the book is stuff I’ve learned prior to reading it.  I would say go into this book open minded though because I got further into the book and became horrified at some of the stuff I learned. I won’t go into too much depth of the book but mention a few things that stood out. One being the whole herd mentality. People are less apt to help one another if in a large crowd, assumption being that people likely think somebody else is taking care of it, don’t know how to respond. Or they don’t want to react in fear or looking foolish.  The author suggests if your ever in need of help to actually point at people and ask them to do things because people by nature do want to help but need the extra push and as soon as one person is helping, others are likely to fall in line as order has been constructed. I guess this is obvious, think about the things we see all the time but it’s scary to think about.  They talk about at one point a girl being murdered and something like 30 people nearby who heard but nobody reacted.  I was jaw dropped throughout this and felt a little sick.  Lets not let the crowd dictate our actions but reason.  Even if you think it might be just an angry couple nearby.  I never want to wake up the next morning thinking “what if I’d made that call, would this person be alive” that’s just such a horrifying thought. The other thing that really stuck out with me was the power authority has over people without realizing it.  Another obvious one I guess but he talks about the Milgram Experiment and I was horrified for so many reasons.  With the political stuff going on now I really think everyone should be aware of this in ourselves and remember we all have voices and can do our part if something doesn’t feel right.  I could go into a whole long story of all the times I’ve seen this happen and all the fears I have of it not being dealt with. Can we all hold each other accountable to do our best each day to be conscientious of what’s going on around us and have the integrity to do what we can.   If you know me and see me fall short, don’t get mad at me but I do appreciate people calling me out on it so I can recalibrate myself to be the best person possible. All in all this book had some really wonderful parts to it but I don’t think that what I learned was really the overall intent for the book.  It makes me a little sad because personally I feel like these things are more important but I do understand the intent of the book.  I’d love to find a book more on the two things I pulled out from it though.  It was so interesting/sad/horrifying/depressing/enlightening and I’m sure I’ve got more I could take away from it.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Keith

    Prior to the final chapter, chapter 10, the book could be viewed as a manual on how to manipulate people. Chapter 10 gets into what to do about it. Table of Contents 1. The Illusion Of Invulnerability: Or How Can Everyone be Less Gullible than Everyone Else 2. Whom Do We trust? Experts, Honesty, and Likability: Or, the upersalesmen Don’t Look Like Salessmen at All 3. Killing You with Kindness: Or, Beware Of Strangers Bearing Unexpected Gifts 4. The Contrast Principle: Or, How Black Gets Turned into Prior to the final chapter, chapter 10, the book could be viewed as a manual on how to manipulate people. Chapter 10 gets into what to do about it. Table of Contents 1. The Illusion Of Invulnerability: Or How Can Everyone be Less Gullible than Everyone Else 2. Whom Do We trust? Experts, Honesty, and Likability: Or, the upersalesmen Don’t Look Like Salessmen at All 3. Killing You with Kindness: Or, Beware Of Strangers Bearing Unexpected Gifts 4. The Contrast Principle: Or, How Black Gets Turned into White 5. $2+$2=$5: Or, Learning to Avoid Stupid Mental Arithmetic 6. the Hot Button: Or How Mental shortcuts Can Lead You into Trouble 7. Gradually Escalating the Commitments: Or, Making You Say Yes by Never Saying No 8. Winning Hearts and Minds: Or, the Road to Perpetual Persuasion 9. Jonestown: Or, the Dark End of the Dark Side Of Persuasion 10. The Art of Resistance: Or, Some Unsolicited Advice for Using and Defending against Persuasion Chapter 10: The Art of Resistance * Stinging (You fell for it in a non-dangerous situation, then discuss) * Inoculation (Expose to weak argument first) * Scripts (Plan your response before hand) * Practice Critical Thinking PROACT: Problems, Objectives, Alternatives, Consequences & Trade-offs: ** Clearly define Problem ** Specify Objectives ** Consider Alternatives ** Evaluate Consequences ** Consider Trade-offs ** Address uncertainties ** Risk tolerance? ** Plan ahead * Reframe: Reframe There's an old joke about a young priest who asks his bishop, "May I smoke while praying?" The bishop answers emphatically that he may not. Later, the young priest encounters an older priest puffing on a cigarette while praying. The young priest scolds him: "You shouldn't be smoking while praying! I asked the bishop and he said I couldn't." "That's strange," the older priest answers. "I asked the bishop if I could pray while I'm smoking and he told me it was okay to pray any time." (Kindle Location 3125) - Salesmen are good at framing the question to get the answer they want. Notes on the Kindle Format * The Table of Contents is not available as a pull-down * Many of the number have spaces between digits which makes them ambiguous. I often wondered: Should there be a decimal point in there?

  10. 5 out of 5

    Ali

    “The psychology of persuasion emanates from three directions: the characteristics of the source, the mind-set of the target person, and the psychological context within which the communication takes place.” Thus begins this revelatory and sobering treatise on the ways humans fool themselves and others. A professor and practicing psychologist for 40+ years, Levine signed up to experience firsthand the persuasive techniques of people like car dealers, door-to-door salesmen (Cutco knives), and cult “The psychology of persuasion emanates from three directions: the characteristics of the source, the mind-set of the target person, and the psychological context within which the communication takes place.” Thus begins this revelatory and sobering treatise on the ways humans fool themselves and others. A professor and practicing psychologist for 40+ years, Levine signed up to experience firsthand the persuasive techniques of people like car dealers, door-to-door salesmen (Cutco knives), and cult leaders (the Moonies). One of his key insights is that no one is impervious; we are all susceptible. The persuasiveness triad: “perceived authority, honesty, and likability.” Americans are particularly susceptible to the authority symbols of titles, clothing, and luxury cars (see: current US president). Decisive, swift talkers are no more sure of their facts than more hesitant counterparts, but they create an impression of confidence that audiences perceive as more expert and intelligent. The more jargon you use and the less a jury understands a witness, the more convincing she appears. Aside from the dismaying news that we’re all patsies waiting to be taken, the book is full of entertaining, insightful stories on scoundrels running from psychics to gurus. Moonies recruit in a trademark sequence of “pickup, first date, love bomb”, creeping up on victims with imperceptible subtlety that ultimately engulfs them. Levine’s account of the 10-step method of car salesmen was particularly revelatory and unsettling in the frankness of its manipulation. The most gripping part of the book was Levine’s depiction of the final hours of the Jonestown cult of Jim Jones, during which 900 members committed suicide by drinking cyanide-laced Kool-Aid, even after witnessing their own infants’ agonizing death throes. To read the transcript of the recording of those hours, and how people just like you and me were rooting for their own demise out of loyalty to a demented and manipulative leader, is to understand how tyranny works, and how it is happening right here, right now. -- Ali Binazir, M.D., M.Phil., Happiness Engineer and author of The Tao of Dating: The Smart Woman's Guide to Being Absolutely Irresistible, the highest-rated dating book on Amazon for 4 years, and Should I Go to Medical School?: An Irreverent Guide to the Pros and Cons of a Career in Medicine

  11. 4 out of 5

    Jessika Valentine

    I am in awe of this book and could not put it down though I had to take a moment to fathom the depth of the manipulation and persuasion that I was a victim of by the minute. The way the book is laid out is gradual and I appreciated the last two chapters because they brought the whole book together and back to the first mention of cults and how they work. The second reason is because we need to know the difference in order to build our defenses. I will try to think differently about how I am bei I am in awe of this book and could not put it down though I had to take a moment to fathom the depth of the manipulation and persuasion that I was a victim of by the minute. The way the book is laid out is gradual and I appreciated the last two chapters because they brought the whole book together and back to the first mention of cults and how they work. The second reason is because we need to know the difference in order to build our defenses. I will try to think differently about how I am being led to be a consumerist and how different groups and sometimes peers pressure me into one corner or path. I recommend this book to anybody interested in psychology, business, religion, and teaching; also anybody who wishes to become a more aware person.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Khôi Nguyễn

    This is another must read book for anyone interested in critical thinking, any sales person or advertising executive. There’s no surprise that the power of persuasion can be used to manipulate people but to the extents as mentioned in the book by cult leaders are terrifying. I’m thrilled by the build up of this book to the very end and found it compelling by the final message about this subject. After reading this book, your perspective would never be the same.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Peter House

    The Power of Persuasion is a fun, easy read. The author covers ground ranging from sales techniques of MLM brands and car salesmen, of which he actually went out and did for a time, to cults. The author shares a number of interesting anecdotes which helps the book feel less academic. The Stanford Prison Experiment even shows up.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Erik Rostad

    Good book that teaches you how marketers, salespeople, and even cult leaders use specific tactics of persuasion. The hope is that by identifying these tactics, you'll be less susceptible to falling for them. As Richard Feynman said, "The first principle is that you must not fool yourself – and you are the easiest person to fool." This book puts you in a better position to not be fooled. Good book that teaches you how marketers, salespeople, and even cult leaders use specific tactics of persuasion. The hope is that by identifying these tactics, you'll be less susceptible to falling for them. As Richard Feynman said, "The first principle is that you must not fool yourself – and you are the easiest person to fool." This book puts you in a better position to not be fooled.

  15. 5 out of 5

    chasemp

    I thought this was going to be a sales tactics and/or negotiation book. It is closer to a deconstruction of those patterns. Really fascinating stuff.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Anjan

    Worth reading parts, skimming parts, and compiling some checklists. Definitely read the step by step guide to selling cars (and telling lies). I didn't know much about Jonestown or Moonies, so the cult analysis was informative. I'd give the book 4 starts but for the misleading bits that require me to spend unproductive effort. The author includes a lot of analogous that read as facts. Comparing his theory to biology is persuasive, but misleading. Ironically, the author is not a fan of misleading p Worth reading parts, skimming parts, and compiling some checklists. Definitely read the step by step guide to selling cars (and telling lies). I didn't know much about Jonestown or Moonies, so the cult analysis was informative. I'd give the book 4 starts but for the misleading bits that require me to spend unproductive effort. The author includes a lot of analogous that read as facts. Comparing his theory to biology is persuasive, but misleading. Ironically, the author is not a fan of misleading people. However, I did take quite a few notes. I guess I'm just annoyed about how much work was required to distinguish the good bits from the lesser bits. Didn't expect an exercise in critical thinking.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Keith Brooks

    Had some interesting parts, especially around things like Cults and Jonestown. Refers to Cialdini a lot, as do we all.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Michael Reyes

    Have you found yourself watching an infomercial about a thingamajig and found yourself thinking, "Hmmm... I don't need it, but I want it!" or have you been approached by a street vendor hawking their wares but instead of buying something, you just gave them your loose change? We all have been persuaded to do one thing or another at some point in our lives, whether it was something we really wanted to do or something that we were reluctant to do but did it anyway... But did you know that there's Have you found yourself watching an infomercial about a thingamajig and found yourself thinking, "Hmmm... I don't need it, but I want it!" or have you been approached by a street vendor hawking their wares but instead of buying something, you just gave them your loose change? We all have been persuaded to do one thing or another at some point in our lives, whether it was something we really wanted to do or something that we were reluctant to do but did it anyway... But did you know that there's a method behind it? In this book, Levine shares with us the "tricks of the trade" utilized by people/entities that make a living by persuading. He shares with us the knowledge he gained not only from books, but from his real life experiences (professor of psychology, used car salesman, multi-level marketer, etc.) in the hopes that we will be more vigilant against the advances of those who would take advantage of us. The book contains statistics, studies and personal (sometimes amusing) anecdotes. The first 8 chapters contains the different approaches or techniques used in persuasion. Chapter 9 acts like a "case study" of sorts wherein Levine talks about the Jonestown Incident where he shows what one can achieve through persuasion. He finishes the book with Chapter 10 containing advice on how to resist the techniques of persuasion, as knowing them is not enough to help you resist. This book is not only meant for the protection of the consumer, but is also great for those in advertising or sales. As stated in the book, the art of persuasion is constantly evolving. As the consumer wises-up to the techniques of the advertiser/seller, the advertiser/seller has to find new ways to persuade the consumer.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Philski

    It was good and stands on its own but I found Robert Cialdini's "Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion" more interesting and useful (and Cialdini's work is cited frequently by Levine) The pull to Levine's book was that he and his students had hands on experiance by working as car/Tupperware/Cutco salesmen and integrating with cults and other movements, which he did, but it was reported more as results of the inquiry than an engaging story of his experiances in those institutions, which left me It was good and stands on its own but I found Robert Cialdini's "Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion" more interesting and useful (and Cialdini's work is cited frequently by Levine) The pull to Levine's book was that he and his students had hands on experiance by working as car/Tupperware/Cutco salesmen and integrating with cults and other movements, which he did, but it was reported more as results of the inquiry than an engaging story of his experiances in those institutions, which left me disappointed. A decent book but if you could only read one I'd suggest Cialdini's. Then again, Cialdini's is just an anchor point from which I'm evaluating Levine's.... maybe if I had read the books in the other order my recommendation would be different :)

  20. 5 out of 5

    Marian Deegan

    As one who works in advertising, is ever attempting to hone critical thinking skills, and has been *repeatedly* snagged by those vexing email cons, I found this book compulsively readable. Levine is a social psychologist who takes us through our own illusion of invulnerability to marketing ploys of all kinds, and then lays bare an array of manipulative techniques used by advertisers, salespeople, and cults. It is a fascinating read, on par with Gavin De Becker's Gift of Fear and Mitnik's Art of As one who works in advertising, is ever attempting to hone critical thinking skills, and has been *repeatedly* snagged by those vexing email cons, I found this book compulsively readable. Levine is a social psychologist who takes us through our own illusion of invulnerability to marketing ploys of all kinds, and then lays bare an array of manipulative techniques used by advertisers, salespeople, and cults. It is a fascinating read, on par with Gavin De Becker's Gift of Fear and Mitnik's Art of Deception. Whether you want to hone your own powers of persuasion, or arm yourself against the hordes of persuaders in our midst, this book is packed with solid documentation and engagingly presented information. Great read.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Jeremy

    Absolutely loved it. Only thing keeping me from giving this a 5/5 rating is that it was mostly academic in nature. So if that's what you're looking for, then this is a good stop. But my overall favorite books have more an emotional appeal, too. I find this kind of psychology fascinating, and he highlights several very interesting facts and studies. He knows his material well, but the book is easily readable for non-psych students like me. (By contrast as I thumbed through other similar-looking bo Absolutely loved it. Only thing keeping me from giving this a 5/5 rating is that it was mostly academic in nature. So if that's what you're looking for, then this is a good stop. But my overall favorite books have more an emotional appeal, too. I find this kind of psychology fascinating, and he highlights several very interesting facts and studies. He knows his material well, but the book is easily readable for non-psych students like me. (By contrast as I thumbed through other similar-looking books at the bookstore, they seemed to be thesis projects or textbook material.)

  22. 5 out of 5

    Tyler

    I've been trying to find good info on cults and how they attract others and this is one of the best I've read that really breaks it down. It also tells you why you hate car salesmen. It gives you the specific steps involved which can influence you. Read this with Willpower: Rediscovering the Greatest Human Strength and you'll really know how to get out of some situations that you may regret later. I've been trying to find good info on cults and how they attract others and this is one of the best I've read that really breaks it down. It also tells you why you hate car salesmen. It gives you the specific steps involved which can influence you. Read this with Willpower: Rediscovering the Greatest Human Strength and you'll really know how to get out of some situations that you may regret later.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Dave Burns

    I went straight to the last two chapters, ch 9 on Jonestown was fascinating. Ch 10 on the art of mental self defense was a bit disappointing. Levine makes a big point that many people feel invulnerable to advertising and other forms of persuasion, but that this is often self-deception. When we feel most comfortable we are most vulnerable.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Maria

    Excellent book on the ways we are manipulated through advertising, marketing, and charismatic figures. Written with wit and self-effacing humor. Highly recommended for all consumers. Read for a CSUEB graduation requirement class (Human Development).

  25. 4 out of 5

    Tim Calkins

    This is a terrific look at how people persuade others. If you have ever wondered exactly what was going on when the salesperson at a car dealership ran off to talk to his manager, well, this book clues you in. This is a wonderful (and somewhat scary) book.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Dave Peticolas

    How do professional persuaders (salespeople, politicians, cult leaders, etc.) practice the tools of their trade? What aspects of human psychology make us vulnerable to such techniques, and how can we resist them?

  27. 5 out of 5

    Unspun

    Fascinating study of tried and true persuasion techniques from used car salesman to Jonestown. Enduring insight: demonstrate three elements to win trust - authority, experience and likeability

  28. 4 out of 5

    Ted

    A witty look at marketing tactics; includes info on Jim Jones and Guyana.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Joseph

    i realized how influence-able we are after reading this book gos, ban all the ads!!

  30. 5 out of 5

    Mary-Jane

    An insightful book into the whole area of sales. Relevant.

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