Summary of The Power of Fifty Bits

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The Power of Fifty Bits book summary


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In this entertaining presentation, behavioral scientist Bob Nease describes six basic strategies plus one “overarching über strategy” for influencing your customers’ behavior. The human brain processes “10 million bits of information” each second, but the deliberate, decision making part of the brain runs at only 50 bits per second. As a result, people’s brains are wired for inattention and inertia. Understanding how to address these twin cognitive challenges changes everything. Nease offers seven strategies for capturing your customers’ focus, explains how to apply his methods and tells you why they work. His prose is accessible, but you can see his academic rigor in the endnotes, which detail his research and resources. getAbstract recommends Nease’s insights and pragmatic tactics to managers, salespeople, marketers, and HR and IT professionals.

In this summary, you will learn

  • How to capture your customers’ attention,
  • How to overcome their mental inertia and
  • What strategies you can use to influence people’s behavior.

About the Author

Bob Nease, PhD, an expert on applying behavioral science to health care, retired as chief scientist for Express Scripts, a Fortune 25 health care company. He was an associate professor of internal medicine at Washington University in St. Louis and an assistant professor of community and family medicine at Dartmouth Medical School. He has written more than 70 peer-reviewed papers, as well as for Fortune and Huffington Post, and is a regular contributor to FastCompany.



The “Fifty Bits” Brain
Scientists estimate that the brain processes “10 million bits of information” per second, but the bandwidth devoted to conscious decision making is only 50 bits per second. This emphasis on quick, automatic behaviors rather than slow, deliberate choice reflects behavior...

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