Here’s a list of the best books on the psychology of persuasion. Persuasion Psychology is more important than ever to marketers looking to reach their right people and make connections on a more personal level.
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Influence by Robert Cialdini, PhD From the publisher: The classic book on persuasion, explains the psychology of why people say “yes”—and how to apply these understandings. Dr. Robert Cialdini is the seminal expert in the rapidly expanding field of influence and persuasion. His thirty-five years of rigorous, evidence-based research along with a three-year program of study on what moves people to change behavior has resulted in this highly acclaimed book.
I wrote a more in depth article about this book right here.
Pre-Suasion: A Revolutionary Way to Influence and Persuade by Robert Cialdini, PhD
From the publisher: What separates effective communicators from truly successful persuaders? Using the same combination of rigorous scientific research and accessibility that made his Influence an iconic bestseller, Robert Cialdini explains how to capitalize on the essential window of time before you deliver an important message. This “privileged moment for change” prepares people to be receptive to a message before they experience it. Optimal persuasion is achieved only through optimal pre-suasion. In other words, to change “minds” a pre-suader must also change “states of mind.”
Predictably Irrational by Dr. Dan Ariely
From the publisher: In this newly revised and expanded edition of the groundbreaking New York Times bestseller, Dan Ariely refutes the common assumption that we behave in fundamentally rational ways. From drinking coffee to losing weight, from buying a car to choosing a romantic partner, we consistently overpay, underestimate, and procrastinate. Yet these misguided behaviors are neither random nor senseless. They’re systematic and predictable—making us predictably irrational.
The Upside of Irrationality by Dr. Dan Ariely
From the publisher: Behavioral economist and New York Times bestselling author of Predictably Irrational Dan Ariely returns to offer a much-needed take on the irrational decisions that influence our dating lives, our workplace experiences, and our temptation to cheat in any and all areas. Fans of Freakonomics, Survival of the Sickest, and Malcolm Gladwell’s Blink and The Tipping Point will find many thought-provoking insights in The Upside of Irrationality.
How To Win Friends And Influence People by Dale Carnegie
From the publisher: One of the most groundbreaking and timeless bestsellers of all time, Dale Carnegie’s rock-solid, time-tested advice has carried countless people up the ladder of success in their business and personal lives.
Sway by Ori & Rom Brafman
From the publisher: Every once in a while, a book comes along that not only challenges our views of the world but changes the way we think. In Sway, Ori and Rom Brafman not only uncover rational explanations for a wide variety of irrational behaviors but also point readers toward ways to avoid succumbing to their pull.Drawing on cutting-edge research from the fields of social psychology, behavioral economics, and organizational behavior, Sway reveals dynamic forces that influence every aspect of our personal and business lives, including loss aversion (our tendency to go to great lengths to avoid perceived losses), the diagnosis bias (our inability to reevaluate our initial diagnosis of a person or situation), and the “chameleon effect” (our tendency to take on characteristics that have been arbitrarily assigned to us).
Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness by Richard Thaler
From the publisher: Every day we make choices—about what to buy or eat, about financial investments or our children’s health and education, even about the causes we champion or the planet itself. Unfortunately, we often choose poorly. Nudge is about how we make these choices and how we can make better ones. Using dozens of eye-opening examples and drawing on decades of behavioral science research, Nobel Prize winner Richard H. Thaler and Harvard Law School professor Cass R. Sunstein show that no choice is ever presented to us in a neutral way, and that we are all susceptible to biases that can lead us to make bad decisions. But by knowing how people think, we can use sensible “choice architecture” to nudge people toward the best decisions for ourselves, our families, and our society, without restricting our freedom of choice.
From the publisher: A decade of swift and stunning change has profoundly affected the psychology of how, when, and why we shop and buy. In Decoding the New Consumer Mind, award-winning consumer psychologist Kit Yarrow shares surprising insights about the new motivations and behaviors of shoppers, taking marketers where they need to be today: into the deeply psychological and often unconscious relationships that people have with products, retailers, marketing communications, and brands.
The Science of Likability by Patrick King
From the publisher: Analysis and insight from the best in the business. From Freud, to Cialdini, to Pavlov, to Schachter, to Goleman, these studies are insightful, analytical, sometimes surprising, but most importantly effective and actionable. Pair that with the insight and human intelligence factor of bestselling author and social skills coach Patrick King, and you have a guide that can be read equally for education as for helpful, real advice.
All Marketers are Liars by Seth Godin
From the publisher: Marketers succeed when they tell us a story that fits our worldview, a story that we intuitively embrace and then share with our friends. But beware: If your stories are inauthentic, you cross the line from fib to fraud. Marketers fail when they are selfish and scurrilous, when they abuse the tools of their trade and make the world worse. That’s a lesson learned the hard way by telemarketers, cigarette companies, and sleazy politicians. But for the rest of us, it’s time to embrace the power of the story.
From the publisher: The man Business Week calls “the ultimate entrepreneur for the Information Age” explains “Permission Marketing”-the groundbreaking concept that enables marketers to shape their message so that consumers will willingly accept it.
Hooked by Nir Eyal
From the publisher: Why do some products capture widespread attention while others flop? What makes us engage with certain products out of sheer habit? Is there a pattern underlying how technologies hook us? Nir Eyal answers these questions (and many more) by explaining the Hook Model—a four-step process embedded into the products of many successful companies to subtly encourage customer behavior. Through consecutive “hook cycles,” these products reach their ultimate goal of bringing users back again and again without depending on costly advertising or aggressive messaging.
From the publisher: The Branded Mind is about how people think, and in particular how people think about brands. Brand choice decisions ultimately take place inside the consumer’s head. Neuroscience, then, holds lessons for how consumers respond to brands and make purchasing decisions. Marketers and brand managers should take note.
From the publisher: Brainfluence explains how to practically apply neuroscience and behavior research to better market to consumers by understanding their decision patterns. This application, called neuromarketing, studies the way the brain responds to various cognitive and sensory marketing stimuli. Analysts use this to measure a consumer’s preference, what a customer reacts to, and why consumers make certain decisions. With quick and easy takeaways offered in 60 short chapters, this book contains key strategies for targeting consumers through in-person sales, online and print ads, and other marketing mediums.
Unconscious Branding: How Neuroscience Can Empower (and Inspire) Marketing by Douglas Van Praet
From the publisher: For too long marketers have been asking the wrong question. If consumers make decisions unconsciously, why do we persist in asking them directly through traditional marketing research why they do what they do? They simply can’t tell us because they don’t really know. Before marketers develop strategies, they need to recognize that consumers have strategies too – human strategies, not consumer strategies. Here, Van Praet takes the most brilliant and revolutionary concepts from cognitive science and applies them to how we market, advertise, and consume in the modern digital age. Van Praet simplifies the most complex object in the known universe – the human brain – into seven codified actionable steps to behavior change.
Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman
From the publisher: In the international bestseller, the renowned psychologist and winner of the Nobel Prize in Economics, takes us on a groundbreaking tour of the mind and explains the two systems that drive the way we think. System 1 is fast, intuitive, and emotional; System 2 is slower, more deliberative, and more logical. The impact of overconfidence on corporate strategies, the difficulties of predicting what will make us happy in the future, the profound effect of cognitive biases on everything from playing the stock market to planning our next vacation―each of these can be understood only by knowing how the two systems shape our judgments and decisions. Engaging the reader in a lively conversation about how we think, Kahneman reveals where we can and cannot trust our intuitions and how we can tap into the benefits of slow thinking. He offers practical and enlightening insights into how choices are made in both our business and our personal lives―and how we can use different techniques to guard against the mental glitches that often get us into trouble. Winner of the National Academy of Sciences Best Book Award and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize and selected by The New York Times Book Review as one of the ten best books of 2011, Thinking, Fast and Slow is destined to be a classic.
For more book recommendations, check out Why We Buy: The Best Books On Behavioral Economics
I’m a Brand Therapist® providing psychology-based branding, copywriting, and consulting to individuals and micro-businesses in the creative arena. My signature services will help you discover and articulate your most authentic self so you can tell better stories, make more meaningful connections, and do more profound work.