The Power of Persuasion: How We're Bought and Sold

The Power of Persuasion: How We're Bought and Sold

The Power of Persuasion: How We're Bought and Sold

The Power of Persuasion: How We're Bought and Sold

Synopsis

There's a sucker born every minute-don't let it be you! Learn how to ward off even the best predators with the secrets revealed in The Power of Persuasion When it comes to persuasion, there are three universal truths: You're more susceptible to it than you think; The most effective persuaders are the least obvious; and Whether they're selling cars or religion, professional persuaders all follow the same principles of psychology. Stop falling prey to their ploys. The Power of Persuasion looks behind the curtain of shilling and pitch to reveal the many methods of seduction used to pull your strings and push your buttons every day. Drawing heavily on empirical psychological evidence as well as real-world investigations and anecdotes, The Power of Persuasion arms you with the knowledge to fend off such common manipulation tactics as: Limited time offers: "Act fast because this fabulous opportunity won't come around again!" The "Four Walls" technique: A series of carefully worded questions makes you realize that you have no good reason for not purchasing the product "Bait-and-switch": A salesman quotes a price on a car missing an important feature, then finds a more suitable car at a higher price

Excerpt

When I was growing up in Brooklyn we had a standard put-down for intellectuals: “Good school smarts, no street smarts.” I suspect most of us who make our way up the academic ladder are prone to the shortcoming. After all, in the majority of our disciplines we're trained to conduct research and write manuscripts, to give lectures and exams, not to live by our wits. But in my own field—social psychology—the affliction can be particularly onerous. If you're studying nuclear physics, it doesn't really matter what you know about real life. You don't need a lot of social skills to run a linear particle accelerator or a spectrophotometer. Social psychologists, however, are in the business of people. Who cares if we master technical jargon and sophisticated research methodology if it doesn't add to our understanding of real people in real settings?

Which means that to research this book properly, I had to leave the academy and journey into that tangled netherland social scientists call “the field” and everyone else calls “the real world.” So, along with a number of adventurous students, I threw myself directly into the path of persuasion professionals, those whose lives depend not on theories but on actual results, in order to observe their methods firsthand and discover their secrets. I would quickly learn that we persuasion professors have much more to learn from them than they have to learn from us.

We began with the salespeople. We listened to hucksters selling everything from Tupperware and cosmetics to health and religion. We listened to pitches for time-shares and kitchenware. One of us watched a woman in a neighbor's home—a “good friend from Florida” who happened to be visiting—sell a roomful of friends a “one-size-fits-all magnetic Model 52 shoe insole, proven in scientific research to change your body's energy field—only $70 plus tax.” We put ourselves at the mercy of the purest of the trade's artists: automobile salespeople. I observed . . .

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