Summary of Invisible Influence

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Invisible Influence book summary


9 Overall

9 Applicability

8 Innovation

9 Style


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.

In this summary, you will learn

  • What forces exert “social influence” and how they affect you,
  • Why individuals try to be “optimally distinct,”
  • How you function as a “social animal,” and
  • What signals your consumer choices send.

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...

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    Ashish Agarwal 8 months 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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    Raul Auris 2 years ago it
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    Duncan Parkes 2 years ago
    I read the summary and thought "So What?" Lot's of description but no actions or adjustments suggested.
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    Wim Kloek 2 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.

More on this topic

By the same author

  • Contagious

    Jonah Berger

    Simon & Schuster, 2013


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