Summary of Invisible Influence

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Jonah Berger, a marketing professor at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business, presents a basic primer about the forces of “social influence” and peer pressure. He explains how other people shape your thoughts, purchases and actions. Berger brings the right credentials; on his own and with partners, he has run studies to gauge the influence of social forces. He writes with a clear, straightforward style, packs in a lot of information, and simplifies complex ideas, as if trying to serve both marketing professionals and his marketing students. As in a classroom, he poses rhetorical questions. Berger covers a wide range of influence scenarios, showing great passion for his field. getAbstract recommends his text to marketing students and professors and to marketers as a reminder of how malleable human behavior can be.

About the Author

Jonah Berger, who also wrote the bestseller Contagious, is a marketing professor at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. His work has appeared in The New York Times, Science and the Harvard Business Review.



“Social Influence”

Other people constantly shape how you think, behave, dress, drive and manifest your identity through what you choose to purchase. This social influence is the water in which everyone swims, but you may not see it. Most people recognize how social influence affects everybody else, but firmly believe it has no impact on themselves. Social influence leads you to mimic other people and leads others to mimic you. If they want you to like them, people will – consciously or not – imitate your posture, gestures, smiles and tone of voice. Such mimicry – and your desire to copy others or to want them to copy you – drives your purchasing choices. It also affects what becomes popular in society and the scale of its popularity.

People like those who like them. That applies to their facial features, style of dress, and racial or genetic traits. You can use this phenomenon effectively as a negotiation tactic, since negotiators who mimic their opponents are “five times as likely” to get what they want. If your opponent rubs his face, rub yours. If she scratches her neck, do the same. Mimicry “generates rapport” and subtly conveys that you’re in the same “tribe...

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    A. A. 1 year ago
    Amazing reading stuff
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    V. D. 3 years ago
    Read something Amazing like this after a long time. Wonderful stuff.
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    A. A. 4 years ago
    I agree with the earlier comments in that there is no clear direction what one must do to improve their acceptability in the society. 'Optimally different' seems like an interesting concept although insufficiently addressed in the summary - not certain if it is better detailed in the book.
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    R. A. 4 years ago it
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    D. P. 5 years ago
    I read the summary and thought "So What?" Lot's of description but no actions or adjustments suggested.
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    W. K. 5 years ago
    The summary is quite repetitive: both similarity and difference matter. I would not like to dispute the point. But it is unclear what it can predict, as it will describe every moderate situation. Some statements sound scientific, but it remains unclear how they were validated: "Most siblings share no more qualities or attitudes than any two people randomly picked from the population". Some statements seem nonsense without context: " If you bicycle next to someone, his ore her presence makes you go faster." I guess it might work for competitive cycling, but not for recreation or cycling as transport.