Summary of Influence

Looking for the book?
We have the summary! Get the key insights in just 10 minutes.

Influence book summary
Start getting smarter:
or see our plans




  • Innovative
  • Applicable


Psychology and marketing professor Robert B. Cialdini incorporates extensive scholarly research in this 1984 classic in applied psychology, practical rhetoric and marketing. The impetus of the book was his desire to figure out why others always influenced him so easily. He weaves together personal stories and examples from sales, politics, history and public life as he explains six straightforward persuasive triggers you can apply or dodge. Contemporary readers may find the book a little wordy, since Cialdini explained his concepts in depth. Perhaps his solid teaching is why these ideas seem natural and logical to later generations, who tend to take them for granted. Well-written, entertaining and clear, his insights remain spot on for persuasion industry professionals, consumers and those looking under the hood of human behavior. getAbstract recommends it warmly – but don’t let that influence you.

About the Author

Robert B. Cialdini, PhD, is regents’ professor emeritus of psychology and marketing at Arizona State University and is president of Influence at Work.



Influential Instincts

Animals have instinctive reactions to specific triggers. If a turkey chick goes “cheep-cheep,” its mother will care for it. If a male robin sees the red breast of another male robin enter his territory, he’ll attack. Bring in a replica of a robin without red feathers and the territorial male won’t do anything. Animals follow these “fixed-action patterns” instinctively. Humans respond to certain cues almost as automatically.

Six broad principles describe how people influence one another and persuade others into complying often automatically without thinking. The world’s complexity dictates this reflexive response because everyone faces an increasing number of decisions and must make them in a decreasing amount of time. Learn these shortcuts to recognize when people are using these techniques to influence you, gain control over you or wield persuasive power. The six types of persuasive appeals are:

1. “Reciprocation”

Return unto others what they have given unto you. If you do something for other people, they will be willing to do something for you. This works even if the thing you do is small and they didn’t want it. This simple, powerful...

More on this topic

By the same author


Customers who read this summary also read

The Inspiration Code
The Leader Habit
The Soul of Money
Radical Technologies
The Nature Fix
Happy Money

Related Channels

Comment on this summary

  • Avatar
  • Avatar
    t. f. 2 years ago
    loved it
  • Avatar
    K. F. 4 years ago
    Unbelievable book totally great
  • Avatar
    J. W. 5 years ago
    Do you know why you say yes?

    I mean really? There are specific things (and in this book, Cialdini explains these 6 things clearly and concisely, with the tactics) you can to do increase the likelihood that someone will say yes to you.

    Personally, I first discovered Cialdini's work as a high school teacher. I was spending insane amounts of time trying to work with the students, the faculty, the parents, the staff and the community as we worked around, through, over, under and about the educational issues we were facing. And, until I started to study the psychology of persuasion, I ended more days frustrated than feeling like we were making a difference.

    Download this summary, and just focus on one of the 6 influencers each week. In that month and a half, you will see how you can communicate more effectively with the people you live, work and love with.
  • Avatar
    M. H. 6 years ago
    good choice for marketers!