by Robert Cialdini is an interesting book. It talks about how we are all subject to basic human psychological pressures. The wikipedia entry on Cialdini summarizes the result pretty well: here is my one-liner summary:

  • Reciprocation. Tactics used: unequal exchanges (free samples), rejection then retreat (propose an extreme position then retreat).

  • Commitment and consistency. Tactics used: induce a small commitment to a particular image (ask for help with some trivial task).

  • Social proof. Tactics used: create illusory consensus ("man-on-the-street" endosrements).

  • Liking. Tactics used: good-looking salespeople, compliments, mirroring, sell through friends (Amway).

  • Authority. Tactics used: false titles (ads from authority figures without expertise).

  • Scarcity. Tactics used: time pressure, create false competition.

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