20 Best Books on Persuasion and Influence 🤝 #2023 #psychology #negotiation #sales

20 best books on persuasion

Imagine having a superpower — the ability to influence people’s thoughts, sway them to your point of view, and inspire them to take action. (In a positive way, of course!) 🦸

This is not a fantasy, it’s the power of persuasion. 🤝 Persuasion is a skill that is crucial for success in many areas of life, from business and marketing to leadership and personal relationships.

But the best part? Persuasion is a skill that can be learned. It’s not a secret gift reserved for a lucky few. It’s an ability that we can develop. By learning from the right minds, we can learn how to communicate more effectively and get more of what we want in life. Plus, learning persuasion also teaches us how to resist unwanted influence, like manipulation and propaganda. 📣

Here’s how we’ve carefully chosen this list of best books on persuasion:

  • 👩‍💼 Expert Recommendations and Reader Reviews. The most highly rated and respected books, picked from 10+ hours of extensive research. (Check some of our references at the bottom.)
  • 🛠️ Actionable Techniques and Strategies. Practical strategies and hacks that you can apply in your real life, whether at work or home.
  • 🔬 Science-Based and Credible. From top experts, researchers, professors, and business leaders.

Best for Marketing and Entrepreneurs

1. Influence by Robert Cialdini

“Our best evidence of what people truly feel and believe comes less from their words than from their deeds.“
—Robert Cialdini

What is it about? 10-second summary:Influence is about six principles of persuasion useful for sales, marketing, and negotiation. Professor Robert Cialdini backs his ideas with a lot of science research. The six principles are: reciprocity, commitment and consistency, social proof, liking, authority and scarcity.

Why should you read it?Influence may be the greatest marketing book of all time. But more than that, like a secret playbook of the human mind—a deep dive into our decision-making process. Think of it as a crash course in "Why did I just agree to that?" or "Why did I just buy that?" It's a must-read, whether you are a marketer, salesperson, or you just want to communicate with more influence. By the end, you'll understand why we say "yes" to things that make no sense, from buying stocks we know nothing about to subscribing to that cheese-of-the-month club. 🧀
Top lessons include:
  1. 🎁 Reciprocity: We feel obligated to pay back gifts and favours. When someone does something for us, we naturally want to do something for them in return. It's why free samples work.
  2. 🤝 Commitment and Consistency: We want to appear consistent with our past actions. This is why committing to a goal or action publicly can be such a strong motivator.
  3. 👥 Social Proof: We often look to the behavior and actions of others to determine our own behavior. This is the basis for trends, social media influence, and testimonials.

Is it worth reading? Reviews summary:

Positive reviews say: Scientifically backed — Insightful analysis — Practical examples
Criticism: Some examples outdated — May be manipulative — Repetitive writing

Read Our Summary: Influence Buy on Amazon: Influence

Key Takeaways:

  1. 👥 Social Proof. People often look to others to decide what they should do. This is why celebrity endorsements and positive reviews are so powerful in selling.
  2. 🕰 Commitment and Consistency. People strongly desire to appear consistent with their past behavior and beliefs. Get someone to agree to a small request or task, and they’ll be more likely to agree to larger, related requests in the future.
  3. 🔥 Scarcity. People perceive things as more valuable when they’re harder to get. Emphasizing limited availability creates a feeling of urgency, persuading people to buy a product.

My personal opinion? Influence is probably the greatest marketing book of all time. Once you really understand the 6 principles, you’ll never see the world the same way again. It may feel like seeing the Matrix for the first time. And Cialdini’s next book coming up is just as good…

2. Pre-Suasion by Robert Cialdini

“What we present first changes the way people experience what we present to them next.“
—Robert Cialdini

What is it about? 10-second summary:Pre-Suasion shows a new side of influence. It's about everything that happens BEFORE you ask someone to say yes to your proposal. Professor Robert Cialdini has distilled hundreds of scientific studies to prove that how you FRAME a message from the beginning is crucial to its success.

Why should you read it?
Top lessons include:

Is it worth reading? Reviews summary:

Positive reviews say: Many readers found science-based insights they could apply to marketing and sales.
Criticism: Some said the science on subliminal priming mentioned in the book is doubtful.

Read Our Summary: Pre-Suasion Buy on Amazon: Pre-Suasion

Key Takeaways:

  1. 🔑 The Priming Effect. Small changes (or “cues) to our environment, can make us more receptive to a certain message.
  2. 🎯 Attention = Importance. When our attention is directed toward something, we automatically begin to perceive it as more important. This strategy is often used by politicians or media organizations.
  3. 🔗 The Unity Principle. We are more persuaded by those who are like us or are part of our ‘ingroup.’ Emphasize commonalities to enhance your persuasive power.

3. Made to Stick by Chip and Dan Heath

What’s it about?

Made to Stick unravels the mystery why some ideas and messages captivate us and “stick” in our minds long after we’ve heard them. If we want to craft powerful communication or marketing, Chip and Dan Heath say we should follow the 6 key principles of their “SUCCESs” model: Simplicity, Unexpectedness, Concreteness, Credibility, Emotional resonance, and telling compelling Stories.

Best quote:

“The most basic way to get someone’s attention is this: Break a pattern.”

Is it worth reading?

⭐️ 4.6 on Amazon⭐️ 4.0 on Goodreads
👍 Positive reviews say: Many readers found the book’s ideas immediately useful and loved the concrete, real world examples.👎 Criticism: Some felt the ideas could have been explained in way fewer pages and much less repetition.

Key takeaways:

  1. 💡 Simplify to the Core. This is about finding the most essential part of your message, and stripping out unnecessary details that dilute its power. My favourite is Walmart’s slogan “We sell for less.”
  2. 🕵️ Break a Pattern. Say something unexpected or surprising to capture and retain attention. Basically every movie is interesting because something unexpected happens. Think about that.
  3. 📜 Use Concrete Language. Make your ideas clear and specific to paint a vivid picture in the listener’s mind. Like Jesus’s parables talk about shepherds, sheep, mustard seeds, etc.

4. Contagious by Jonah Berger

“Word of mouth is the primary factor behind 20 percent to 50 percent of all purchasing decisions.“
—Jonah Berger

What is it about? 10-second summary:Contagious by Jonah Berger is a great read for anyone into marketing, influence, or the psychology of consumer behavior. It explores what makes people share. In other words: why do certain products, ideas, or content 'go viral'? A lot of research is simplified into 6 key principles: social currency, triggers, emotion, public, practical value, and stories.

Why should you read it?Ever open up Facebook and wonder why your post got two likes while your friend's got a hundred? This book is a deep dive into the research of what makes people want to share and spread ideas. Perfect for anyone that wants to capture more attention in our age of algorithms and social media apps.
Top lessons include:
  1. 🕶️ 1. Social Currency: Give people something to share that makes THEM look good - trendy, smart, or high status
  2. 😡 2. Emotional Impact: Evoke strong emotions like excitement or anger, and more people will share
  3. 🎭 3. Embed Storytelling: Information wrapped in stories is more engaging and shareable

Is it worth reading? Reviews summary:

Positive reviews say: Insightful analysis of virality — Real-world examples of concepts
Criticism: Narrow focus within marketing — Basic for experts

Read Our Summary: Contagious Buy on Amazon: Contagious

Key Takeaways:

  1. 🗣️ Social Currency. We share things that make us look good or help us compare favorably to others.
  2. 🤔 Triggers. Ideas that are top of mind spread. Like a catchy jingle that comes up every time you think of a certain word.
  3. 🎉 Emotion. Emotion is a big driver in our decision to share. High arousal emotions like excitement or anger get us to pass things on.

5. Building a StoryBrand by Donald Miller

What’s it about?

Building a StoryBrand teaches a unique approach to marketing based on storytelling, so we can create a brand message that truly engages our customers. Donald Miller says that your business should be framed not as the hero of the story, but as a guide. Your job is to help your customer—the true hero—overcome an important problem in their own story.

Best quote:

“The most basic way to get someone’s attention is this: Break a pattern.”

Is it worth reading?

⭐️ 4.7 on Amazon⭐️ 4.3 on Goodreads
👍 Positive reviews say: Many readers loved that complex marketing concepts were simplified into an actionable storytelling framework.👎 Criticism: Some said the book at times felt like a sales pitch for StoryBrand workshops.

Key takeaways:

  1. 🏅 Customer as Hero. In the story of your brand, your company is not the hero. The customer is the hero. You exist to help them succeed in overcoming a problem.
  2. 🗺️ Be the Guide. Position your brand as the mentor in the customer’s journey, providing the necessary wisdom, tools, and confidence to conquer their challenges.
  3. 🚧 Clarify their Problem. Clearly identify the challenges faced by your customer. This creates urgency and amplifies the need for your solution.

Best for Negotiation and Sales

6. Never Split the Difference by Chris Voss

“To get real leverage, you have to persuade them that they have something concrete to lose if the deal falls through.“
—Chris Voss

What is it about? 10-second summary:Never Split the Difference shows how to win negotiations and communicate more influentially. Chris Voss perfected his techniques over 25 years at the FBI, negotiating with kidnappers and terrorists. He says we should work with emotions not just reason, demonstrate empathy, use open-ended questions and educate ourselves about cognitive biases.

Why should you read it?"Never Split the Difference" offers a thrilling ride into the world of elite negotiation, straight from the mind of an ex-FBI expert. Chris Voss takes you inside high-stakes negotiations, revealing strategies that can help you in both your professional and personal life. Imagine understanding the psychology of negotiation well enough to confidently buy a car, discuss a raise, close that important business deal—or even convince your friends to finally try that sushi restaurant you love. 🍣
Top lessons include:
  1. 🎯 Start With 'No': Don't be scared to hear the word 'no' in a negotiation. Being able to say 'no' helps the other person feel in control and at ease, so it's often a great way to start a discussion that is open and productive.
  2. 👥 Mirroring: Repeating the last few words your counterpart said can make them feel heard, and encourages them to keep speaking and revealing more information. For example, if they say, "We're looking for a deal that's beneficial for both of us," you might respond with, "Beneficial for both of us?"
  3. 😊 Labeling: Verbally acknowledging the emotions of your counterpart can de-escalate tension and lead to better understanding. For example, if they seem frustrated, you might say, "It seems like you're feeling frustrated about this situation."

Is it worth reading? Reviews summary:

Positive reviews say: - Very practical negotiation tactics - Surprising psychology insights - Applicable to everyday life beyond just business
Criticism: - Promotes manipulation - Can learn more efficiently from the author's Youtube channel

Read Our Summary: Never Split the Difference Buy on Amazon: Never Split the Difference

7. Getting to Yes by Roger Fisher

“If you want someone to listen and understand your reasoning, give your interests and reasoning first and your conclusions or proposals later.“
—Roger Fisher William Ury Bruce Patton

What is it about? 10-second summary:Getting to Yes is the most important book on negotiation, according to many professionals. It comes from leaders of The Harvard Negotiation Project, who wanted to help people negotiate agreements with less time and friction. The four steps of the method are: people, interests, options and criteria.

Why should you read it?
Top lessons include:

Is it worth reading? Reviews summary:

Positive reviews say: Many say it is THE book to read on negotiation, required reading for many students in law or business.
Criticism: The writing can be sometimes dry and technical, in other words kind of boring.

Read Our Summary: Getting to Yes Buy on Amazon: Getting to Yes

Key Takeaways:

  1. 👂 Interests Over Positions. The best negotiators know how to listen between the lines. Instead of fixating on the demands (or “position”) the other side is taking, look deeper to uncover their real interests.
  2. 🥧 Expand the Pie. It’s not always about dividing the pie, sometimes you can make the pie bigger. Brainstorming can lead to alternative agreements that fulfill everyone’s needs even better.
  3. 📏 Find Fair Standards. You can resolve conflicts by pointing to objective measures and pre-existing examples. This means referring to accepted standards, norms, or precedents to decide what’s fair.

8. To Sell is Human by Daniel Pink

“To sell well is to convince someone else to part with resources—not to deprive that person, but to leave him better off in the end.“
—Daniel Pink

What is it about? 10-second summary:To Sell Is Human is about "non-sales selling" or, how to persuade others. Daniel Pink argues that sales skills are more essential than ever because "moving others" has become a part of most careers and businesses. His advice centers on the new ABCs: Attunement, Buoyancy and Clarity.

Why should you read it?
Top lessons include:

Is it worth reading? Reviews summary:

Positive reviews say: A collection of useful tips, generally based on interesting psychology studies.
Criticism: The author dismisses traditional selling strategies, but was never in sales himself.

Read Our Summary: To Sell Is Human Buy on Amazon: To Sell Is Human

Key Takeaways:

  1. 👔 Non-Sales Selling. Everyone, no matter their job, has to persuade or “move” others in some way. It’s not just for traditional sales roles, but for anyone who wants to get their ideas across.
  2. 🎶 Get In Tune. The best sellers really listen to their buyers. They understand their viewpoint and needs. This way, they can offer something truly valuable.
  3. 🌊 Stay Afloat. A salesperson has to cross an “ocean of rejection”. Stay positive and resilient, and always be ready to learn from the ‘no’s and bounce back.

9. Way of the Wolf by Jordan Belfort

What’s it about?

The Way of the Wolf is a window into the world of sales at the highest levels, written by Jordan Belfort, the “Wolf of Wall Street” himself! His techniques are not just about selling, they’re about understanding people’s needs, projecting more confidence, and communicating with the right emotional tone.

Best quote:

“You see, people don’t buy on logic; they buy on emotion, and then justify their decision with logic.”

Is it worth reading?

⭐️ 4.7 on Amazon⭐️ 4.0 on Goodreads
👍 Positive reviews say: – Excellent tips for professional salespeople and everyday communication – Straightforward to read and understand👎 Criticism: – Writing tone was overly ‘salesy’ – Author likes to use hyperbole and exaggeration

Key takeaways:

  1. 🎬 Own the First 5 Seconds. People make snap judgments, so make your first impression count. Be goal-oriented, radiate positive energy, and quickly establish yourself as an expert in your field.
  2. 🗣️ Transfer Certainty. Selling is about transferring your certainty about a product or service into the mind of your prospect. This is done by building up your conviction and communicating it effectively.
  3. 🌫️ Address Uncertainty. To overcome objections, make the prospect is certain about three things: the product, you as the salesperson, and your company. They must see each of these as a 10 on a scale of certainty

10. Trump: The Art of the Deal by Donald Trump

“Good publicity is preferable to bad, but from a bottom line perspective, bad publicity is sometimes better than no publicity at all. Controversy, in short, sells.“
—Donald Trump

What is it about? 10-second summary:Trump: The Art of the Deal is a memoir from Donald Trump that gives us an inside look at his earlier real estate career, building his empire that includes skyscrapers and casinos. Whether you love or hate Trump, you'll learn a lot about business, publicity and negotiation.

Why should you read it?
Top lessons include:

Is it worth reading? Reviews summary:

Positive reviews say: Many valuable insights into the art of deal-making — A candid look at Trump's beliefs and life — Lessons on cultivating a risk-taking attitude and persistence
Criticism: Some disliked Trump's bragging and strong personality — Perceived some business tactics as dishonest — A strong reliance on 'gut instincts' which is difficult to learn

Read Our Summary: The Art of The Deal Buy on Amazon: The Art of The Deal

Key Takeaways:

  1. 🚀 Think Big. Trump encourages readers to set lofty goals and strive for them without apprehension, believing that big ambitions often lead to big successes.
  2. 🔮 Trust Your Gut. Trump promotes the idea of trusting one’s instincts when making business decisions, believing that our body’s intuition can be a reliable guide in uncertain situations.
  3. 💪 Use Leverage. Trump emphasizes tipping deals in your favour using any possible advantages, resources or information. (For example, consider negotiating a better deal on a car by leveraging the dealer’s need to meet sales quotas at the end of the month.)

A book about Trump is bound to spark some emotions, both positive and negative. All I can say is that before his whole political career, he was a famous business figure. And he knows a thing or two about making deals.

Best for Leadership and Communication

11. How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie

“You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you.“
—Dale Carnegie

What is it about? 10-second summary:How to Win Friends and Influence People is a guide to getting along with others. Dale Carnegie says people are "creatures of emotion" that desperately desire a feeling of importance. We can provide that feeling with our sincere enthusiasm, consideration, interest and appreciation.

Why should you read it?Dale Carnegie's advice isn't complicated; it's all about getting better at dealing with people using easy, yet powerful tips. If you want to improve how you connect with others, this book is perfect. You'll find something useful in here, whether you want to get better at leadership and networking for work, or you just want to learn the art of making friends without needing to bribe them with pizza! 🍕
Top lessons include:
  1. 🤝 The Power of Appreciation: Carnegie emphasizes the importance of genuine appreciation to win people over, rather than empty flattery.
  2. 👂 Listen More Than You Talk: Active listening is key. Showing genuine interest in others and listening to their stories and ideas can make you a more likable and influential person.
  3. 🌱 Encourage Others to Talk About Themselves: People love talking about their interests and experiences. Encouraging this can make them feel valued and more positively inclined towards you.

Is it worth reading? Reviews summary:

Positive reviews say: Many people felt the book made them a better person and more empathetic leader.
Criticism: Some felt the advice was common sense, or that it promotes manipulation over authentic connection.

Read Our Summary: How to Win Friends and Influence People Buy on Amazon: How to Win Friends and Influence People

12. Start With Why by Simon Sinek

“People don't buy what you do; they buy why you do it. And what you do simply proves what you believe.“
—Simon Sinek

What is it about? 10-second summary:Start With Why says that great companies, organizations, and leaders are those who first understand their 'Why' - their purpose, cause, or reason for existing. Simon Sinek shows how leading companies like Apple inspire extraordinary loyalty with a strong focus on 'Why' they do what they do, not 'What' they sell, or 'How' they do things.

Why should you read it?
Top lessons include:

Is it worth reading? Reviews summary:

Positive reviews say: Brilliant core concept — Inspirational message about clear leadership — Valuable insights into the success of Apple, Walmart, Southwest Airlines, etc.
Criticism: Repetitive writing — Overuse of certain examples (primarily Apple) — Lack of small business examples

Read Our Summary: Start With Why Buy on Amazon: Start With Why

Key Takeaways:

  1. 🎯 Discover Your Why. Identify and understand your purpose, cause, or belief that inspires you to do what you do. Ask: Why do we get up in the morning, besides money?
  2. 🌳 The Golden Circle. Start with ‘Why’ (your purpose), then ‘How’ (your process), and finally ‘What’ (your product) to create inspiring organizations and work.
  3. 🚀 Inspire With Common Values. Don’t ‘manipulate’ your employees and customers with incentives and sales. Instead, promote your ‘why’ to inspire people to become part of the common mission.

13. Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson

“In the annals of innovation, new ideas are only part of the equation. Execution is just as important.“
—Walter Isaacson

What is it about? 10-second summary:Steve Jobs is the official biography of the co-founder of Apple and Pixar. He had an intense passion to create revolutionary products like the iPhone, iPad, iPod, iTunes, and Macintosh computers. His personality was an unusual mix of Zen hippie and brash business visionary.

Why should you read it?If you've ever wondered how a man who only owned black turtlenecks became the icon of innovation, or how persuasive one needs to be to sell a phone without buttons, this is your golden ticket! Isaacson’s book isn’t just a biography; it’s a roller coaster ride through the ups and downs of a man who could sell sand in the desert. For anyone into business, startups, or leadership, this book is like sitting down for a chat with the obsessive entrepreneur who thought different. 🖥️🍏
Top lessons include:
  1. 🌟 Reality Distortion Field: Steve Jobs transformed skeptics into believers with his unwavering belief in his vision and powerful communication skills. This often allowed him to achieve the impossible, against all odds and critics.
  2. 🎭 Genius Showmanship: Jobs's exceptional presentations turned Apple's product launches into legendary events. His ability to captivate audiences led to raving fans who would camp outside to get the latest iPhone.
  3. 🎧 Customer Experience Obsession: Jobs' intense focus on perfection led to iconic products with breakthroughs in user experience. He didn't just sell a device; he communicated a seamless experience, from the iPod and iTunes to the iPhone and App Store.

Is it worth reading? Reviews summary:

Positive reviews say: People generally felt the book was well-written and shared many engaging stories from a fascinating life.
Criticism: Most of the negative comments were actually about Steve Jobs' personality, saying he was often a jerk.

Read Our Summary: Steve Jobs Biography Buy on Amazon: Steve Jobs Biography

Key Takeaways:

  1. 🌟 Reality Distortion Field. Steve Jobs’ uncompromising belief in his vision, often against all odds and critics, often allowed him to achieve things that seemed impossible.
  2. 🎭 Good Showmanship. Jobs understood the power of a great presentation and turned product launches into much-anticipated events. That’s why people often camped outside of Apple stores to get the latest iPhones.
  3. 🎧 Customer Experience Obsession. Jobs’ intense focus on perfection led to breakthroughs in user experience. This included seamless integration of hardware, software, and services—such as the iPod music player syncing with iTunes software on the Mac.

14. Crucial Conversations by Patterson, Grenny, McMillan, and Switzler

“When it comes to risky, controversial, and emotional conversations, skilled people find a way to get all relevant information (from themselves and others) out into the open.” —Crucial Conversations

What is the book about?

“Crucial Conversations” shows you how to handle tough discussions with grace and effectiveness. It will help you navigate those important moments where people disagree and emotions are strong. The book teaches us to foster open dialogue, create mutual respect, and encourage understanding. This way, conflicts can become opportunities for growth.

Why should you read it?

Ever imagined yourself smoothly navigating a tough conversation at work or home, like a diplomat brokering a peace treaty? 🌍✌️ Then “Crucial Conversations” is your secret weapon! This book is your guide to coming out on top in those make-or-break moments, whether you’re negotiating a raise, resolving a conflict, or discussing a sensitive topic with your partner.

Key takeaways include:

  1. 💡 Speak Persuasively, Not Aggressively: Share your thoughts in a way that is honest and respectful. Avoid making accusations or speaking in absolutes. Instead, use “I” statements and express your views without blaming or attacking.
  2. 👂 Listen Actively: Pay close attention to what the other person is saying without planning your response while they speak. Show that you understand their perspective, even if you don’t agree, to build trust and open dialogue.
  3. 🛡 Build Safety: When conversations become tense or difficult, work to create a safe environment where everyone feels comfortable sharing their true thoughts and feelings.

Is it worth reading? Reviews summary:

⭐️ 4.6 on Amazon⭐️ 4.1 on Goodreads
👍 Positive: + Actionable strategies + Potentially life-changing + Useful both for work and home👎 Criticism: – Some points repetitive – Some ideas felt common sense

15. The 48 Laws of Power by Robert Greene

What’s it about?

The 48 Laws of Power is a guide to understanding and navigating social dynamics for personal and professional gain. By examining historical examples, Robert Greene lays out 48 laws to amass, maintain, and understand power. It’s a compelling read for those interested in strategic thinking, influence, history, and politics.

Best quote:

“Do not leave your reputation to chance or gossip; it is your life’s artwork, and you must craft it, hone it, and display it with the care of an artist.”

Is it worth reading?

⭐️ 4.7 on Amazon⭐️ 4.2 on Goodreads
👍 Positive reviews say: Highly educational content — Rich in historical anecdotes — Realistic view of human behavior👎 Criticism: Perceived as promoting immoral behavior — Potentially negative societal impact

Key takeaways:

  1. 🎭 Never Outshine the Master. Always make those above you feel superior to maintain your position. Sometimes it pays off to give your boss the credit!
  2. 💡 Always Say Less than Necessary. Talking less and listening more keeps you in control and preserves mystery. This can be especially practical in business negotiations, where you don’t want the other side knowing your true limits.
  3. 💭 Conceal Your Intentions. Keep your plans secret to prevent others from sabotaging your progress. This one is pretty self-explanatory, I guess…

Best on the Psychology of Decision Making

16. Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman

“A reliable way to make people believe in falsehoods is frequent repetition, because familiarity is not easily distinguished from truth.“
—Daniel Kahneman

What is it about? 10-second summary:Thinking, Fast and Slow explains how people make decisions using two mental systems: "fast" thinking is instinctive and emotional, while "slow" thinking is deliberate and logical. Daniel Kahneman helps us understand our when our mind fall into common biases and irrational shortcuts, so we can make better decisions in the future.

Why should you read it?
Top lessons include:

Is it worth reading? Reviews summary:

Positive reviews say: Essential wisdom for understanding how we think and make decision — Written by a Nobel Prize winner
Criticism: Some felt the book is too long and tedious to finish reading — Certain examples given were dry and academic

Read Our Summary: Thinking, Fast and Slow Buy on Amazon: Thinking, Fast and Slow

Key Takeaways:

  1. 🧠 Two Thinking Systems. Understand that our mind operates in two systems – fast (intuition) and slow (rational) – and how they influence our decision-making.
  2. 🔎 The Anchoring Bias. Be aware that initial information (the anchor) can heavily influence our decisions, even when unrelated. For example, when negotiating a price, the first number mentioned often “anchors” the rest of the discussion, even if it’s unreasonably low or high.
  3. 🔄 The Availability Heuristic. Recognize that we often overestimate the likelihood of events that are easily recalled. (A major downside of watching the news—our minds are filled with memorable anecdotal stories, which often do not match the reality of the world. We end up overestimating the risks of everything.)

17. Predictably Irrational by Dan Ariely

“Even the most analytical thinkers are predictably irrational; the really smart ones acknowledge and address their irrationalities.“
—Dan Ariely

What is it about? 10-second summary:Predictably Irrational explores the hidden forces that shape human behavior, revealing that we are not as rational as we think when making decisions. It’s a must-read if you want to better understand human nature and consumer behavior for marketing, or if you're looking to upgrade your own decision-making skills.

Why should you read it?
Top lessons include:

Is it worth reading? Reviews summary:

Positive reviews say: Entertaining and informative — Comprehensive overview of behavioral economics — Clear, understandable language
Criticism: Author’s conclusions often go beyond the scientific research data — Relies too much on experiments involving a narrow group (college students) — Male-centric tone

Read Our Summary: Predictably Irrational Buy on Amazon: Predictably Irrational

Key takeaways:

  1. 💡 Beware Relative Comparisons. Our perception of value is heavily influenced by comparisons and contrasts; be mindful to compare prices and value objectively, not just against what’s immediately available.
  2. 📈 The Power of Free. People often overvalue ‘free’ items, even when it’s not the best deal; evaluate options thoroughly, considering actual worth and not just the allure of ‘free’.
  3. 🔄 Endowment Effect. We overvalue things we own and can struggle to let go; try to view decisions from an outsider’s perspective to avoid this bias.

18. Nudge by Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein

What’s it about?

Nudge explains how our decisions can be subtly shaped by the way choices are presented to us. Written by Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein, it introduces the concept of ‘nudge theory’ within behavioral economics and encourages policymakers to design environments that lead people to make better decisions about health, wealth, and happiness.

Best quote:

“By knowing how people think, we can make it easier for them to choose what is best for them, their families and society.”

Is it worth reading?

⭐️ 4.4 on Amazon⭐️ 3.8 on Goodreads
👍 Positive reviews say: Engaging and humorous stories — Helps us recognize nudges in real life — Insights into the design of public policies👎 Criticism: Overly theoretical rather than practical — No discussion about the politics and ethics of who gets to ‘nudge’ us

Key takeaways:

  1. 🎯 Choice Architecture. How choices are presented to us can significantly influence our decisions. For example, students are more likely to eat healthy food in a school cafeteria if it’s placed at eye-level, while sugary snacks are harder to see or reach.
  2. 📝 Default Options. People tend to stick with the default choice, so setting beneficial options as defaults can help improve decision-making. One illustration: some countries make becoming an organ donor the default option when registering for a driver’s license, but you’re still free to opt-out.
  3. 💡 Libertarian Paternalism. It’s possible to guide people towards better choices without limiting their freedom to choose. This is the difference between a warning sign at the beach, cautioning people to be careful swimming, versus a strict law against it.

19. Propaganda by Edward Bernays

“The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society.“
—Edward Bernays

What is it about? 10-second summary:Propaganda is an eye-opening look at how public opinion can be manipulated through media, for political power and profit. Edward Bernays says that in politics, an "invisible government" of thought leaders shape public discussion. And in business, companies use "public relations" techniques to control their reputation.

Why should you read it?
Top lessons include:

Is it worth reading? Reviews summary:

Positive reviews say: Many said Propaganda should be read by everyone, to understand how society really works.
Criticism: Some found the book less interesting than expected, because almost all the examples are about business publicity.

Read Our Summary: Propaganda Buy on Amazon: Propaganda

Key Takeaways:

  1. 🏛️ The Invisible Government. Propaganda makes life in a democratic society more organized and practical. (Bernays defined “propaganda” differently than we do today, more as “public relations.”)
  2. 🤝 Win the Leader. Effective and influential propaganda campaigns make use of already existing social groups. They try to persuade the leader of a group to back their message. (Just like today we have influencer marketing or sports athletes being sponsored by major companies.)
  3. 🧠 Utilize Existing Mental ‘Clichés.‘ People carry around existing ideas about how the world is, oversimplified stereotypes called ‘clichés.’ Understanding these allows a propagandist to provoke a coordinated mass reaction.

Now, this last choice will seem unexpected, but the fact is: HABITS are the cornerstone of our lives. So to understand human decision-making, then you must understand how people form habits…

20. Atomic Habits by James Clear

“Changes that seem small and unimportant at first will compound into remarkable results if you’re willing to stick with them for years.“
—James Clear

What is it about? 10-second summary:Atomic Habits is a guide to building good habits and breaking bad ones. James Clear says all our habits follow a 4-Step Habit Loop which includes: cue, craving, response and reward. He explains practical techniques to "hack" each step so we can achieve lasting personal change.

Why should you read it?
Top lessons include:

Is it worth reading? Reviews summary:

Positive reviews say: People found the book comprehensive, actionable, and focused on specific tips that really work.
Criticism: Some were disappointed that it didn't contain more new and original ideas.

Read Our Summary: Atomic Habits Buy on Amazon: Atomic Habits

Key Takeaways:

  1. 🔄 The Compound Effect. Small, consistent actions accumulate into significant results over time. Just like the power of compound interest in investing.
  2. 🎯 Goals vs. Systems. Instead of only focusing on goals, prioritize processes of continuous improvement. Sustainable success comes from daily habitual actions, not big one-time achievements.
  3. 🛎️ Control Environmental Cues. Strategically place obvious cues, reminders or triggers around you to reinforce good habits. For example, putting your running shoes beside your bed can serve as an obvious cue to go jogging in the morning.
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