PRE-SUASION: A REVOLUTIONARY WAY TO INFLUENCE AND PERSUADE.
PRE-SUASION: A REVOLUTIONARY WAY TO INFLUENCE AND PERSUADE. Robert Cialdini. New York, NY: Simon and Schuster, 2016, Hb, Pp. 413. Reviewed by Rod Bassett (Roberts Wesleyan College/Rochester, NY).
I requested this book for review because I know Bob Cialdini is an excellent writer and I am a social psychologist. I realized the book was aimed for a popular audience but I was still intrigued.
For Cialdini, the concept of "pre-suasion" refers to those special moments where people are most receptive to persuasion. It refers to largely "below the radar" modifications in persuasive attempts that tend to leverage someone into compliance. The first chapter introduces the book and the concept of presuasion. Chapters three through six generally focus on the role of attention in the persuasion process. For example, we tend to attribute causality to things that grab our attention. And the thing that most grabs our attention is ourselves. To a lesser degree attention is commandeered by the unfinished and the mysterious. The next section of the book mainly deals with the power of association. These chapters detail different ways in which language and imagery can be harnessed to produce desirable outcomes. Finally, the book moves into a section of best practices. Included in this section is a discussion of why businesses should behave in an ethical fashion when they are using pre-suasion. Cialdini essentially argues that the unethical use of pre-suasion can actually undermine the company bottom line in several important ways.
I would recommend the book to almost anyone. A social psychologist may not find a lot of new material in the book, but the material is packaged in a winsome fashion. The book also does a nice job of weaving together psychology and business. One downside to the popular orientation of the book is that Cialdini relies upon a number of footnotes to further explicate some of the material. The footnotes are to the back of the book and apparently I don't have the necessary patience to thumb through the pages to get to the appropriate footnote. However, the book is worth your time.
Rodney L . Bassett, Editor