There is an old adage that half of your marketing budget is wasted. The problem is knowing which half. This book will help you solve that problem.
How? By reconciling perfectly rational decision making with the imperfect irrationality of being human. Beyond the implications of using this book in your career and personal life, it is a fascinating examination of human behavior.
It is easy to read this book as a cookbook: Follow the authors' recipe and voila! But, it is wiser to read this like a chef. Listen closely to explanations to understand the 'raw ingredients' and the 'cooking methods' practiced. Therein lies the key to replicating their results.
Persuasion is a subtle art. You could follow an example to a 'T' and fall short of your goal if you overlook a detail that undermines your intent. The authors hint at this by alluding to the impact of tone of voice, stress, mental fatigue, environment, and cultural perspective on decision making.
So, 1) focus on the cognitive and social psychology that underly the techniques, and 2) be wary of unrelated, situational factors in play that could offset your results.
For example, if a boss who wants to deter employee theft follows 'Yes!' like a cookbook with tepid results, s/he may wonder why. If employees think the boss playing games with their hours just to avoid promised benefits or overtime, workers may be acting out of spite or revenge; or perhaps they are modeling the boss' underhanded sales practices, reflecting his or her 'me first' value system. Such factors were not part of the controlled research studies in the book.
Cialdini's reputation precedes him. His involvement in this book carries weight. Every conclusion drawn is backed by peer-reviewed scientific studies. Alas, the narrator is a bit 'old school' for me, with a touch of that 1970s narration artifice. If that sort of thing may distract you, listen to the sample before you buy.
"Behavioral economics" - what this book is about - is the missing link between economic theory and how real consumers behave. More than a fascinating glimpse into our irrational decision-making processes, marketers and entrepreneurs will learn a lot about their customers.
Bonus points go to the author for actually conducting most of the research in the book (along with his MIT colleagues). Readers win because, in addition to well documented findings, we are treated to insightful and often funny stories about the studies themselves. By adding context to the research, the findings are much more memorable than dry statistics and analysis.
The narrator is thoroughly engaging and does a fabulous job telling the numerous stories and preserving the author's wit. My mind didn't wander as much, so I remembered more and rewound less.
Finally, BRAVO to the publisher and Audible for including a downloadable supplement that includes the graphs and illustrations from the print edition. THIS PRACTICE SHOULD BE STANDARD. I've listened to many non-fiction books, only to later see the print edition and discover how much visual content I missed. THANK YOU for truly delivering on the promise of audio non-fiction: spoken word text that preserves the unspoken, visual content of the author's work.
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