Pre-Suasion Book Review

In my 2024 personal finance goals, I wanted to read Robert Cialdini’s other book, Pre-Suasion: A Revolutionary Way to Influence and Persuade. He wrote the popular book Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion. Charlie Munger enjoyed reading it so much he showed his gratitude to Robert Cialdini for writing it by gifting him a BRK.A share. Here’s my Pre-Suasion book review.

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Pre-Suasion Book Review

Pre-suasion was written in 2016 and Influence was written over 30 years ago.

What does pre-suasion mean, anyway?

Pre-suasion is being able to lay the groundwork and set things up so that the information can be relayed in an optimal way. Spending time crafting what to say or do before making a request will pay off if you are trying to persuade someone.

The Importance of Attention- you need to gain your subject’s attention even when they aren’t fully aware that they are paying subtle attention.

  • Privileged Moments
  • Focusing Illusion
  • Assumed causality
  • Attention grabbing stimulus
  • Need for cognitive closure

It’s a long book about one subject, but the gist of it is that people can be ‘primed’ before you are trying to persuade them to do something.

Robert Cialdini talks about being subtle with your priming. For example, if you want someone to try something new, ask them if they consider themselves to be adventurous. Most may say that they consider themselves to be adventurous and so if you ask them to try something new (for example a sample of a product that you are selling), they will more likely say yes.

Another example he gives is researchers surveying people in a mall.
Only 29% agreed to participate if asked directly “Would you like to take a survey?”.

But when the surveyers PRIMED the mall patrons “Do you consider yourself being a helpful person?” most people answered yes.

After they answer yes, they were asked if they wanted to take a survey.

This is what Robert Cialdini calls a “privileged moment” and therefore 77% of people agreed to take part in the survey because they considered themselves to be helpful people and wanted to demonstrate that by being helpful and completing a survey.

It is human nature to generally try and follow through with their self-perception, at least when it is brought to the forefront.

To persuade effectively, Robert Cialdini thinks you must be able to pre-suade effectively.

What I Liked About Pre-Suasion

Pre-Suasion gives you a detailed glimpse into the psychological tactics on how to get someone to do what you want them to and how to prime the situation so that they will more likely be swayed to do what you want.

I liked the examples the author gives about how to prime a persuasion event.

What I DIdn’t Like About Pre-Suasion

The book was quite long giving similar examples of the similar narrow-ish topic. So much so that he brought excerpts from his previous book.

There was a point in the book where I had Deja-Vu and felt like I had read the same passages before. Turns out some of the information presented in Pre-Suasion was repeated from Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion.

It was not as captivating as Influence.

Genymoney.ca’s Verdict

Pre-Suasion: A Revolutionary Way to Influence and Persuade was a good book but I liked Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion better.

If you’re into marketing or trying to convince people to do what you want them to do (easier said than done especially if you are a parent and are trying to convince your children to want to do what you want them to do), this would be a good book for you to really get into the subject of persuasion.

What is your Pre-suasion book review?

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