W-12 I IS FOR INFLUENCE — My learnings from the book
The book, ‘I is for Influence — The New Science Of Persuasion’ employs psychological understanding in the corporate, as well as everyday life scenarios. The book is authored by Rob Yeung, who is a researcher and educator in the areas of human communication, influence and persuasion, and high achievement. He is a chartered psychologist of the British Psychological Society. He has written more than 20 books, which include the renowned 2008 bestseller Confidence: The art of getting whatever you want and The Extra One Percent: How small changes make exceptional people (Macmillan, 2010). The back cover of the book contains its appraisal by Venetia Thompson, who is the author of ‘Gross Misconduct’ and Professor Cary L. Cooper, Professor of Psychology. The book is a bridge between the psychology of human behaviour and the corporate practice of influencing.
The author commences the book by illustrating how one Market Researcher managed to not only deceive but frighten an entire country. The power of influential messaging is asserted. The author justifies how people are not persuaded by facts. People usually end up doing the opposite of what is conveyed. He elaborated upon psychological theories to justify his claims. Prominent psychologists like Solomon Asch, Matthew Salganik, Jessica Nolan, Robert Cialdini and Gregory Bern were quoted while talking about the science of persuasion. He talks about techniques like foot- in- door, to show how small steps can create big impacts. He reveals many secrets about human behaviour and suggests ways in which it can be influenced, or rather often gets influenced. He shows not only how we can influence friends, but also why persuasion work. Along with this, he emphasized the role of integrity along with persuasion. The book makes getting someone to trust you, a simple task. The book ends by providing “The Influence Toolkit”.
Personally, the book is not ground-breaking. It uses simple language to convey commonsensical notions. I have been a psychology student for 5 years, so I was privy to the psychological theories being discussed. However, I had never imagined applying these principles in the corporate and persuasion space. The author not only mentions these theories but also gives details about the appearance and talking styles of the psychologists, which suggests his personal connections with the said people. He even used incidents from his personal life to justify certain claims, indicating how personally invested he was in the book. The author busts the myths that surround persuasion tactics without twisting words or using major jargons. He was thoughtful enough to provide a ‘Notes’ section in the last few pages of the book, where each experiment is cited along with the relevant websites for extra reading. I would highly recommend this book to a person who wishes to learn more about human behaviour or is vested in influencing and persuading people for good.