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The Art and Science of Cultivating Influence


15 min read
9 take-aways
Audio & text

What's inside?

Connecting with influencers of all types is a highly effective strategy for personal advancement.

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  • Applicable
  • Engaging
  • Inspiring


Do you have the moxie to invite rich, successful and influential industry leaders to your home for dinner, and ask them to clean up afterward? Behavioral scientist Jon Levy created and has hosted the Influencers Dinner hundreds of times for thousands of people worldwide. The premise is that the people you pull into your orbit have immense influence on your growth and opportunities. Levy explains how ordinary people can connect with elite individuals while achieving their goals, raising their sense of belonging and well-being, and forming lifelong friendships.


Forging meaningful connections with people you wish to emulate can direct your life in a positive direction.

Jean weighed 214 pounds when she began attending Ms. Jones’s weight-loss clinic. Ms. Jones put Jean on a strict diet and discouraged her from socializing with other participants in the program. Nevertheless, Jean invited several friends to a mah-jongg evening at her home and encouraged them to share about their struggles with weight. For many, it was the first time they spoke openly about their weight issues. Soon, the group grew to 40 participants and met twice a week. The sense of connection and community helped attendees reach their target weights while they formed long-running friendships. Two participants, Albert and Felice Lippert, followed Jean’s template, and the three of them incorporated Weight Watchers International in 1963. Jean became the face of the organization.

Research shows that emotions and behaviors are contagious: The people closest to you exert a positive or negative influence on your habits, feelings and experiences. For example, if your best friend is obese, your chance of becoming overweight increases by 45%. However...

About the Author

Jon Levy is a behavioral scientist, founder of the Influencers Dinner and author of The 2AM Principle: Discover the Science of Adventure.

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