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Invisible Influence: The Hidden Forces that Shape Behavior Hardcover – 14 Jun 2016
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“With great insight, Jonah Berger removes the cloak of invisibility from powerful sources of influence and resolves fascinating mysteries of human behavior.”
—Robert Cialdini, author of Influence
“If you want to know what really influences your behavior, read Jonah Berger’s latest eye-opening book, packed with thought-provoking research, memorable stories, and powerful insights. A terrific read!”—William Ury, author of Getting to Yes with Yourself
“As he did with Contagious, Jonah Berger takes us deep beneath the surface of things, with mesmerizing results. Invisible Influence is a book with the power to transform the way we see ourselves and our place in the world.”
—Arianna Huffington, author of Thrive
“Jonah Berger has done it again: Written a fascinating book that brims with ideas and tools for how to think about the world.”
– Charles Duhigg, author of The Power of Habit
“From the very first page, this book will change the way you look at yourself—and others. Eye-opening and thoroughly engaging.”
—Amy Cuddy, author of Presence
“Whether you want to influence others, make smarter decisions, or just better understand the mystery that is human behavior, this book will show you how. A terrific, insightful read.”
—Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos
“Berger offers an engaging guide to the concept of social influence. Berger’s prose is consistently entertaining, applying science to real life in surprising ways and explaining research through narrative. His book fascinates because it opens up the moving parts of a mysterious machine, allowing readers to watch them in action.”
“Berger picks up where his Contagious: Why Things Catch On (2013) left off to explore why we desire what we do—and more, why we act as we do, politically, socially, economically, and emotionally… he does a good job of distilling scientific insights into easily understood object lessons on social psychology.”—Kirkus Reviews
"Jonah continues to be one of the most innovative psychological researchers publishing today. His insights are not only thought provoking and counter-intuitive, he manages to express them in a practical and pragmatic way. I'll read anything he writes—and use it too."—Ryan Holiday, author of Trust Me I'm Lying and Growth Hacker Marketing.
“Invisible Influence is that rare business book that’s both informative and enough fun to take to the beach.”—Anne Fisher, Fortune.com
About the Author
Jonah Berger is an associate professor of marketing at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. His research has been published in top-tier academic journals, and popular accounts of his work have appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Science, Harvard Business Review, and more. His research has also been featured in the New York Times Magazine’s “Year in Ideas.” Berger has been recognized with a number of awards for both scholarship and teaching. The author of Contagious and Invisible Influence, he lives in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.See all Product description
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You are leading a team of people working to meet a sales deadline? What would make them more effective? What could be the best incentive? Read this book.
You are a marketer, a start-up person launching a recolutionary product. You want it to be a hit. What can you do to increase the odds of success? How can you nudge more people to use/buy your product? Read this book.
You have started physical exercise with a goal. But of late you are finding it hard to keep yourself motivated. How to stay engaged? Read this book.
The book starts by explaining that we do not see social influence affecting our behaviour because society tells us that being influenced is a bad thing. The book describes the science of social influence and is full of interesting insights and observations. Some of the insightful examples from the book are as follows: -
1. More exposure to a person leads to more familiarity which makes the person more attractive and likeable. This is the reason why so many people find their soulmates at work or school where they spend most of their time.
2. While parking cars, people tend to look for the areas where everyone has parked. If there are no cars parked in an area, people sense a concern there and avoid those places for parking.
3. Married people look so similar after being together for many years. This is because in the first place, people look for similar looking soulmates. Second, they make the same expressions at the same time for years together, leaving similar traces on their faces.
4. During negotiations and social interactions which involve persuasion, mimicry helps build rapport with the other person. This is because when someone behaves the same way as we do, we start seeing ourselves more interconnected, closer and more interdependent.
5. Waiters at the restaurants are likely to get 70% higher tip if they repeat the orders back to us word by word. Mimicking the language and mannerisms helps to increase the affiliation and liking with the customers.
6. Even experts are wrong in predicting the success stories. For example, J K Rowling’s manuscript was rejected by the first twelve publishers. People tend to follow those who liked before them and then these small, random differences snowball into a huge difference in popularity. If a song is already popular, we are more likely to give it a listen because we know that following others saves us time and probably leads us to more enjoyable experiences.
7. In corporate, managers need to encourage diverse viewpoints. To facilitate this in meetings, managers give one person the job of constantly voicing an opposing perspective. This helps bring out other alternative viewpoints as well.
8. Sibling rivalry causes younger siblings to differentiate themselves from the studious older siblings. In order to carve their own paths, younger siblings tend to be better at sports whereas older siblings are known to be better in academics.
9. The need to differentiate or blend in with others is also influenced by the cultural context. For example, American culture values distinction, independence and autonomy whereas in Eastern cultures such as Japan, blending in with the group is important and standing out is considered bad.
10. Working class people prefer more popular items over less popular items. They prefer more similarity over differentiation. Middle class or upper-class people prefer unique and differentiated products.
11. People not only care about whether others are doing it or how many others are doing it but also who those others are doing it. People diverge to avoid being misidentified or communicating undesired identities. For example, women think of computer science as dominated by geeky guys who love Star Trek and video games and many women do not aspire for this identity. Identity concerns lead many talented women to choose other fields.
12. People tend to diverge in the choices which signal identity. Choices such as hairstyle are seen more easily and are more likely to be used for identity inferences. Paper towels are functional as they are used privately and do not signal any identity.
13. Social influence can be helpful for encouraging good decisions. Associating desired behaviours with aspiration groups or desired identities is very effective. People are more likely to not get themselves tested for a disease caused by a stigmatized reason such as unprotected sex. Health risks can be mitigated by not associating the disease with a stigmatized reason.
14. Familiarity leads to liking and liking similar things makes our judgement easier. We want to be similar yet different. Similarity shapes popularity because it makes novel things feel familiar.
15. If the participants have done a particular task many times before, spectators help facilitate performance but if the task is difficult or involves learning something new, spectators would inhibit performance.
Last but not the least, the book emphasizes that social influence can be a powerful motivating force while trying to inspire a sales team or encourage students to learn more. Understanding social influence is important to maintain our individuality and avoid being swept up in the crowd. This also helps us have more fulfilling social interactions and use others to help us make better informed decisions. By understanding when social influence is beneficial, we can decide when to resist influence and when to embrace it. Understanding social influence and its impact on us can help solve several complex social and business problems. Tapping the power of social influence and the contributing factors such as cultural context, key influencers, familiarity, mimicking behaviour and social stigma can lead to developing effective marketing campaigns for functional as well as hedonic products for different target markets. There are some products such as condoms, plus size clothes, adult diapers and feminine hygiene products which are associated with social stigma. These products can be easily sold to the consumers in need if the social stigma is removed from these products. It opens doors to several new insights about understanding consumer behaviour and how marketers can leverage these insights. To summarize, the book is very entertaining in its narrative and made me sit and think about some real-life instances and how their “invisible influence” affected so many decisions in my life.
We like to think of ourselves as independent thinkers. But when it comes to expressing an opinion or answering a question in front of a group, we tend to resign to the safety of numbers and go with the most popular one.
There is a lot that goes into a decision-making process, but little things and events can nudge people in the direction you want to take them. Invisible Influence can show you when people tend to mimic, when they lean to the safety of numbers, and when they try to differentiate themselves from the masses.
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