Are You Resistant to Influence?

en in various • 5 min read

This post is a review of one book, but first, I will tell you five stories.


I like to wear suits. Many people think it’s not comfortable and/or practical. I have a different opinion. Do you remember pants with many pockets? It was awesome, I could have a lot of stuff with me without need to have any bag. But the look is horrible. With suit jacket I have many pockets as well and look stylish. Also, with this type of jacket, I can go to any party no matter what’s the occasion. Last-minute call to go to a theater or wedding party? No problem. So practical! :-) Of course, depends on lifestyle.

Anyway, I wanted for my wedding tailored suit. I visited my favorite brand and checked what they offer. It looked amazing and lady was very nice to me. I got even a discount! But still, the price was on the edge of what I was willing to pay. After a week lady called and was very sorry that she made a mistake and forgot to count a vest. Because she was very nice all the time and gave me a discount, I agreed to pay more than I wanted.


I started a contract for an interesting company. That company looked very promising, but soon after I joined the project I discovered a lot of problems. The root of all the problems was the absence of communication. With people scattered in more than one city, it’s a big problem.

I tried to talk to them and fix as much issues as possible. It didn’t work because the problem was in top management. In other words, time to find some better contract. I did, and I promised them the date when I can start. But then the first company started to talk with me and I got second thoughts. Maybe I would be able to change the situation… I will never know because a promise is a promise.


Parking in cities is very unpleasant activity. There is hard to find a spot around our apartment as soon as since 6 pm. Impossible after 8 pm. But, where to place the car? We noticed some people leave a car on sideways. Some corners are so huge that even two cars can fit and there is still a lot of space for walkers. Once the situation was so bad we parked our car on one such corner as well.

It worked well till we got the first ticket. Soon after the first ticket we got mail with a lot of tickets. Almost one for each night. During one night we got even three tickets! We were desperate so we did the same we saw being done by others. It was an expensive experience. I think no one knows and everyone who tried that did it because someone else did the same before him. There are still cars on all corners around.


We needed a big wardrobe to our new bedroom. We had two options. The first was to buy an IKEA. The cheap variant which could be delivered quickly, but cannot be tailored to every possible detail. The size has to be a multiplication of IKEA unit, making it impossible to fill the available space completely. The second option was to get perfectly tailored top quality wardrobe.

I entered the show room and lady did her best to get me. She quickly understood what I was looking for and showed me exactly what I needed to see to like the solution a lot. When I came home, I was saying only the best about it. I wrote advantages and disadvantages of both solution to see what is a good price-performance ratio. Of course, the better deal would be an IKEA but I was already too excited so the second option won…


I have some medical issues because of which I should keep out of sugar if possible. I’m trying to do gentle low-carb in recent months. It means I don’t eat pasta, bread and so on, but I keep sweets in my diet. Yes, I don’t eat sweets as much as before, anyway, when I visit sweet-shop, I don’t resist and have to pick a cake. My attention goes always to the last piece. If it’s the last one, it has to be good, right?

Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion

All those stories are examples of how I was influenced to do something I wouldn’t do in other circumstances.

First story, the suit, is about reciprocity. People tend to return a favor. Be careful when someone does something for you. In case you have a feeling you should return a favor, think twice if you would do it even without the first favor. Just offering you water can start it. Good/bad cop strategy is also based on this.

Second story, resignation, is about commitment and consistency. If people commit, orally or in writing, to anything, they are more likely to honor that commitment. This mechanism was used a lot to brainwash during wars. It can be also used in a good way to fulfil personal goal, such as quitting smoking.

Third story, parking, is about social proof. People simply do things they see other people are doing. The most popular example is standing in some busy place and looking up into the sky. Passing people will also look up. We are sheep.

Fourth story, wardrobe, is about liking. If you like something, you will buy it. It doesn’t have to be the best option available. Also, if you like person selling the item, you are more likely buying it.

Fifth story, sweets, is about scarcity. People want things as they become less available. Say „limited offer“ to customers and you are going to be an employee of the month!

I’m missing one story to cover all chapters from the book: story covering authority principle. People tend to obey authority even when they don’t agree. I was thinking hard, but haven’t found an example from my life. Anyway, it can be only because I’m not aware of it at all. Even if I’m really immune in this one, I have a lot of work with other principles to not get influenced so easily by others!

Book Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion is really great and I can highly recommend it.

Hmm. Which cake… this one down in the middle looks so nice!

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