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Invisible Influence: The Hidden Forces that Shape Behavior

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The New York Times bestselling author of Contagious explores the subtle, secret influences that affect the decisions we make—from what we buy, to the careers we choose, to what we eat—in this fascinating and groundbreaking work. If you’re like most people, you think that your choices and behaviors are driven by your individual, personal tastes, and opinions. You wear a cert The New York Times bestselling author of Contagious explores the subtle, secret influences that affect the decisions we make—from what we buy, to the careers we choose, to what we eat—in this fascinating and groundbreaking work. If you’re like most people, you think that your choices and behaviors are driven by your individual, personal tastes, and opinions. You wear a certain jacket because you liked the way it looked. You picked a particular career because you found it interesting. The notion that our choices are driven by our own personal thoughts and opinions is patently obvious. Right? Wrong. Without our realizing it, other people’s behavior has a huge influence on everything we do at every moment of our lives, from the mundane to the momentous occasion. Even strangers have a startling impact on our judgments and decisions: our attitudes toward a welfare policy shift if we’re told it is supported by Democrats versus Republicans (even though the policy is the same in both cases). But social influence doesn’t just lead us to do the same things as others. In some cases we conform, or imitate others around us. But in other cases we diverge, or avoid particular choices or behaviors because other people are doing them. We stop listening to a band because they go mainstream. We skip buying the minivan because we don’t want to look like a soccer mom. In his surprising and compelling Invisible Influence, Jonah Berger integrates research and thinking from business, psychology, and social science to focus on the subtle, invisible influences behind our choices as individuals. By understanding how social influence works, we can decide when to resist and when to embrace it—and how we can use this knowledge to make better-informed decisions and exercise more control over our own behavior.

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The New York Times bestselling author of Contagious explores the subtle, secret influences that affect the decisions we make—from what we buy, to the careers we choose, to what we eat—in this fascinating and groundbreaking work. If you’re like most people, you think that your choices and behaviors are driven by your individual, personal tastes, and opinions. You wear a cert The New York Times bestselling author of Contagious explores the subtle, secret influences that affect the decisions we make—from what we buy, to the careers we choose, to what we eat—in this fascinating and groundbreaking work. If you’re like most people, you think that your choices and behaviors are driven by your individual, personal tastes, and opinions. You wear a certain jacket because you liked the way it looked. You picked a particular career because you found it interesting. The notion that our choices are driven by our own personal thoughts and opinions is patently obvious. Right? Wrong. Without our realizing it, other people’s behavior has a huge influence on everything we do at every moment of our lives, from the mundane to the momentous occasion. Even strangers have a startling impact on our judgments and decisions: our attitudes toward a welfare policy shift if we’re told it is supported by Democrats versus Republicans (even though the policy is the same in both cases). But social influence doesn’t just lead us to do the same things as others. In some cases we conform, or imitate others around us. But in other cases we diverge, or avoid particular choices or behaviors because other people are doing them. We stop listening to a band because they go mainstream. We skip buying the minivan because we don’t want to look like a soccer mom. In his surprising and compelling Invisible Influence, Jonah Berger integrates research and thinking from business, psychology, and social science to focus on the subtle, invisible influences behind our choices as individuals. By understanding how social influence works, we can decide when to resist and when to embrace it—and how we can use this knowledge to make better-informed decisions and exercise more control over our own behavior.

30 review for Invisible Influence: The Hidden Forces that Shape Behavior

  1. 5 out of 5

    Bianca Smith

    I received this via NetGalley and admit I didn't finish it. I liked the first 20%. The concept of mimicry is excellent. It's that we mimic those around us. At the 30% mark I realized that there's very little research to support the stories. By 35% I was skimming. Forty percent - should I finish it? And 50%, I was done. There are lots of stories about college students and their behaviors. Occasionally research studies were referenced. Maybe this was too pop psychology for me? It was lots of broad demo I received this via NetGalley and admit I didn't finish it. I liked the first 20%. The concept of mimicry is excellent. It's that we mimic those around us. At the 30% mark I realized that there's very little research to support the stories. By 35% I was skimming. Forty percent - should I finish it? And 50%, I was done. There are lots of stories about college students and their behaviors. Occasionally research studies were referenced. Maybe this was too pop psychology for me? It was lots of broad demographic generalizations and nothing groundbreaking. For either marketing or life. Perhaps it's targeted at people who believe a Facebook quiz can define their IQ?

  2. 5 out of 5

    Rob Woodbridge

    A very fast read but lacking in substance compared to Contagious. These genres of books tend to blend together. Same stories, different angle. Not a lot of new here.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Lesley

    I received this book for free through Goodreads' Giveaways programs. The premise of Jonah Berger's book is intriguing-- we don't make decisions that are truly our own. Instead, we are constantly relying on input from others without fully realizing it. This book struck me an entertaining, somewhat "pop" psychology book that had some interesting information (who knew that youngest children are usually the most likely to be top athletes?). But overall, I thought it was pretty bland. Of course we are I received this book for free through Goodreads' Giveaways programs. The premise of Jonah Berger's book is intriguing-- we don't make decisions that are truly our own. Instead, we are constantly relying on input from others without fully realizing it. This book struck me an entertaining, somewhat "pop" psychology book that had some interesting information (who knew that youngest children are usually the most likely to be top athletes?). But overall, I thought it was pretty bland. Of course we are influenced by what others buy, do, and think. This book reinforced that and showed just how much this is the case. When he delved a little deeper (like talking about the use of names starting with "K" after Hurricane Katrina), I found his work much more interesting. An entertaining and quick read, which doesn't shed that much light on something we already know.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Jenny

    Good book. Here is what I want to remember: (p.59) If people can't see, or observe what others are doing, there is no way for those others to influence them...Social influence only works when other people's opinions or behaviors are observable. (p. 65) Birth order is the biggest predictor of elite athletes: 75% have at least one older sibling. (p.68-69) Sibling rivalry is about who gets to be a certain type of person and who has to be someone else...Kids' personalities even seem to shift over time Good book. Here is what I want to remember: (p.59) If people can't see, or observe what others are doing, there is no way for those others to influence them...Social influence only works when other people's opinions or behaviors are observable. (p. 65) Birth order is the biggest predictor of elite athletes: 75% have at least one older sibling. (p.68-69) Sibling rivalry is about who gets to be a certain type of person and who has to be someone else...Kids' personalities even seem to shift over time in opposition to their siblings...Forever connected, but forever striving for difference. (p.86) The illusion of distinction: we focus on the ways we are different even if at the core we are very much the same (p.97) Social influence seems to push us to be both the same and different. Imitating others and distinguishing ourselves from them, and it matters who the "others" are and what choices they make. (p.230) Peers don't just affect what we choose, they motivate us to action...But even though others shape almost everything we do, we are often unaware that this impact occurs.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Camilo

    I first heard about the author many years ago and decided to take his Coursera marketing module which is based on his other book "Contagious". This one is a fun reading, simple and brief. Influence is such a huge topic and for people who do not have any other previous reading this can be life changing, however, if you have read about Cialdini or other influence/persuasion books there is no much new here. What I really liked is the simplicity of explaining the concepts and fun stories around them, I first heard about the author many years ago and decided to take his Coursera marketing module which is based on his other book "Contagious". This one is a fun reading, simple and brief. Influence is such a huge topic and for people who do not have any other previous reading this can be life changing, however, if you have read about Cialdini or other influence/persuasion books there is no much new here. What I really liked is the simplicity of explaining the concepts and fun stories around them, also had no idea companies paid celebrities to not wear their brand. Like the author said you think you have not been influenced but everyone is part of someone´s else action or decision, is neither a good or bad thing.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Nicole Carey

    I loved this book! In line with Malcom Gladwell, I am fascinated by social psychology and what drives humans to do what they do. I enjoyed his scenarios, his stories and his statistics. I found myself plotting how I could use social influence to make better choices, to motivate me, and leverage the now "visible" to work in my favor!

  7. 4 out of 5

    Jeremy

    So disappointing. I was a huge fan of Berger's previous book, "Contagious." (It's actually on my favorites shelf.) This new book lacks the structure and applicability that made his previous book so useful. It also feels overwritten. As though the publisher/editor asked him to stretch out the content a liiiiiittle bit more. Here's an example, "Teenagers are unlikely to be confused with 40-year-old business executives…." All of this filler gets in the way of some of his more interesting points. So disappointing. I was a huge fan of Berger's previous book, "Contagious." (It's actually on my favorites shelf.) This new book lacks the structure and applicability that made his previous book so useful. It also feels overwritten. As though the publisher/editor asked him to stretch out the content a liiiiiittle bit more. Here's an example, "Teenagers are unlikely to be confused with 40-year-old business executives…." All of this filler gets in the way of some of his more interesting points. There are some fun nuggets, such as how siblings try to differentiate themselves and how audiences impact our performance in different situations, but they are disappointingly few and far between.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Dan Graser

    While there are a number of books on this subject, Berger's stands out for its Malcolm Gladwell-like-accessibility and depth of understanding. For those not familiar with the social impact on our day-to-day choices this is an excellent introduction. Frequently, books like this seem geared for corporate drones trying to become slightly more human, Berger avoids those sorts of pitfalls with great humor and brio while also offering ways in which this information could be used effectively for person While there are a number of books on this subject, Berger's stands out for its Malcolm Gladwell-like-accessibility and depth of understanding. For those not familiar with the social impact on our day-to-day choices this is an excellent introduction. Frequently, books like this seem geared for corporate drones trying to become slightly more human, Berger avoids those sorts of pitfalls with great humor and brio while also offering ways in which this information could be used effectively for personal growth and development. Highly readable and highly recommended!

  9. 5 out of 5

    Melissa

    Thanks to Netgalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review. The writing is good, but the subject is a bit ho-hum. I just kept thinking the information wasn't very ground breaking. Perhaps students of psychology and sociology would appreciate the in-depth discussion of influencing others.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Ranjana

    I read the book “Contagious: Why Things catch on” of Jonah Berger. I loved the book and decided to read “Invisible Influence” as well. This book narrates interesting experiments and examples to explain how social influence affects our choices and behaviour in both subtle and explicit ways. The book starts by explaining that we do not see social influence affecting our behaviour because society tells us that being influenced is a bad thing. The book describes the science of social influence and i I read the book “Contagious: Why Things catch on” of Jonah Berger. I loved the book and decided to read “Invisible Influence” as well. This book narrates interesting experiments and examples to explain how social influence affects our choices and behaviour in both subtle and explicit ways. The book starts by explaining that we do not see social influence affecting our behaviour because society tells us that being influenced is a bad thing. The book describes the science of social influence and is full of interesting insights and observations. Some of the insightful examples from the book are as follows: - 1. More exposure to a person leads to more familiarity which makes the person more attractive and likeable. This is the reason why so many people find their soulmates at work or school where they spend most of their time. 2. While parking cars, people tend to look for the areas where everyone has parked. If there are no cars parked in an area, people sense a concern there and avoid those places for parking. 3. Married people look so similar after being together for many years. This is because in the first place, people look for similar looking soulmates. Second, they make the same expressions at the same time for years together, leaving similar traces on their faces. 4. During negotiations and social interactions which involve persuasion, mimicry helps build rapport with the other person. This is because when someone behaves the same way as we do, we start seeing ourselves more interconnected, closer and more interdependent. 5. Waiters at the restaurants are likely to get 70% higher tip if they repeat the orders back to us word by word. Mimicking the language and mannerisms helps to increase the affiliation and liking with the customers. 6. Even experts are wrong in predicting the success stories. For example, J K Rowling’s manuscript was rejected by the first twelve publishers. People tend to follow those who liked before them and then these small, random differences snowball into a huge difference in popularity. If a song is already popular, we are more likely to give it a listen because we know that following others saves us time and probably leads us to more enjoyable experiences. 7. In corporate, managers need to encourage diverse viewpoints. To facilitate this in meetings, managers give one person the job of constantly voicing an opposing perspective. This helps bring out other alternative viewpoints as well. 8. Sibling rivalry causes younger siblings to differentiate themselves from the studious older siblings. In order to carve their own paths, younger siblings tend to be better at sports whereas older siblings are known to be better in academics. 9. The need to differentiate or blend in with others is also influenced by the cultural context. For example, American culture values distinction, independence and autonomy whereas in Eastern cultures such as Japan, blending in with the group is important and standing out is considered bad. 10. Working class people prefer more popular items over less popular items. They prefer more similarity over differentiation. Middle class or upper-class people prefer unique and differentiated products. 11. People not only care about whether others are doing it or how many others are doing it but also who those others are doing it. People diverge to avoid being misidentified or communicating undesired identities. For example, women think of computer science as dominated by geeky guys who love Star Trek and video games and many women do not aspire for this identity. Identity concerns lead many talented women to choose other fields. 12. People tend to diverge in the choices which signal identity. Choices such as hairstyle are seen more easily and are more likely to be used for identity inferences. Paper towels are functional as they are used privately and do not signal any identity. 13. Social influence can be helpful for encouraging good decisions. Associating desired behaviours with aspiration groups or desired identities is very effective. People are more likely to not get themselves tested for a disease caused by a stigmatized reason such as unprotected sex. Health risks can be mitigated by not associating the disease with a stigmatized reason. 14. Familiarity leads to liking and liking similar things makes our judgement easier. We want to be similar yet different. Similarity shapes popularity because it makes novel things feel familiar. 15. If the participants have done a particular task many times before, spectators help facilitate performance but if the task is difficult or involves learning something new, spectators would inhibit performance. Last but not the least, the book emphasizes that social influence can be a powerful motivating force while trying to inspire a sales team or encourage students to learn more. Understanding social influence is important to maintain our individuality and avoid being swept up in the crowd. This also helps us have more fulfilling social interactions and use others to help us make better informed decisions. By understanding when social influence is beneficial, we can decide when to resist influence and when to embrace it. Understanding social influence and its impact on us can help solve several complex social and business problems. Tapping the power of social influence and the contributing factors such as cultural context, key influencers, familiarity, mimicking behaviour and social stigma can lead to developing effective marketing campaigns for functional as well as hedonic products for different target markets. There are some products such as condoms, plus size clothes, adult diapers and feminine hygiene products which are associated with social stigma. These products can be easily sold to the consumers in need if the social stigma is removed from these products. It opens doors to several new insights about understanding consumer behaviour and how marketers can leverage these insights. To summarize, the book is very entertaining in its narrative and made me sit and think about some real-life instances and how their “invisible influence” affected so many decisions in my life.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Whitney

    This man needs an editor, or a ghost writer. (I volunteer. I want so badly to fix this.) The topic is interesting, and the information is worth the read, but I kept having to put the book down mid-chapter to recover from all the sentence fragments. Also, he wound up making a couple of arguments that I think he didn't mean: like at the end, when he says children who moved out of poor neighborhoods by age eight were expected to make $300,000 over the course of their careers. He had to have meant " This man needs an editor, or a ghost writer. (I volunteer. I want so badly to fix this.) The topic is interesting, and the information is worth the read, but I kept having to put the book down mid-chapter to recover from all the sentence fragments. Also, he wound up making a couple of arguments that I think he didn't mean: like at the end, when he says children who moved out of poor neighborhoods by age eight were expected to make $300,000 over the course of their careers. He had to have meant "an increase of $300,000 over what they would have made if they had grown up in the poor neighborhood" - but that's not what he said. Somebody needs to go over his manuscript with a more critical eye so that his arguments will be tighter and more readable. There's a pretty good recap in the conclusion, so if you don't want to read through, you can skip to the end for a quick summary.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Dillon

    After reading his first book "Contagious," I'll admit I had pretty high expectations for this book. This book blew them all out of the water! An incredible book that dives deep into how society and identity shape our decisions in such a way as to appear invisible to us. So many can see the effects of these influences on others, but more often than not, we feel as though we aren't that easily 'tricked.' Well, take a read and learn just how much there is to learn about these Invisible Influences. W After reading his first book "Contagious," I'll admit I had pretty high expectations for this book. This book blew them all out of the water! An incredible book that dives deep into how society and identity shape our decisions in such a way as to appear invisible to us. So many can see the effects of these influences on others, but more often than not, we feel as though we aren't that easily 'tricked.' Well, take a read and learn just how much there is to learn about these Invisible Influences. With praise from Robert Cialdini himself, you know this has to be good =)

  13. 4 out of 5

    Sid

    Jonah describes the variety of forces that influence our decision making. He highlights how pop culture can influence what we are exposed to, from books, music to food. How our siblings can shape our lives. The very presence of people/peers can influence how much effort we put into a certain tasks. How hurricanes can influence the choice of baby names. These are a few of the entertaining examples he sprinkles throughout his book. The book was entertaining and could be a good source of conversati Jonah describes the variety of forces that influence our decision making. He highlights how pop culture can influence what we are exposed to, from books, music to food. How our siblings can shape our lives. The very presence of people/peers can influence how much effort we put into a certain tasks. How hurricanes can influence the choice of baby names. These are a few of the entertaining examples he sprinkles throughout his book. The book was entertaining and could be a good source of conversations for your next dinner party.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Tim

    Invisible Influence does a great job of explaining some behavioral concepts in an approachable way much like Jonah Berger did with Contagious . If you haven't read a lot of marketing / behavioral books, than this could be a good start, but by no means is it exhaustive on the idea of the invisible forces that effect our decisions.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Nicolas Levy

    Overall I thought this was an enjoyable read. At first, I was afraid this would be another "airport book" - a breezy read with lots of anecdotes and little real substance. While it is a quick read, Jonah Berger actually references quite a bit of research. Most importantly, he presents the concept of social influence in a cohesive way, starting with why we are influenced by others, then looking at factors that cause us to deviate from others, then looking at how different environments can be stru Overall I thought this was an enjoyable read. At first, I was afraid this would be another "airport book" - a breezy read with lots of anecdotes and little real substance. While it is a quick read, Jonah Berger actually references quite a bit of research. Most importantly, he presents the concept of social influence in a cohesive way, starting with why we are influenced by others, then looking at factors that cause us to deviate from others, then looking at how different environments can be structured to encourage better performance across a range of topics. If anything, I wish he had explored this last topic in more depth - it felt like it was a quick add-on after the first two parts, but actually quite interesting. Overall a fairly informative book for a quick read.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Michaela Johnson

    This book reminds me a lot of Predictably Irrational. It gives great insight and perspective to human nature as proven by various studies. Helps us understanding what shapes people's decisions from relationships to purchasing. It's a great read for anyone in the sales/marketing and/or psychology arenas.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Jake Tenenbaum

    The second book I've read by Jonah Berger. While I found Contagious to be, well, contagious, I struggled to finish this one. The examples were satisfactory, though unsurprising. I felt this book could have have been replaced by Freakonomics for many of the examples and none would be the wiser.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Becky Dail

    Great read on how other people shape how you think. The author did great discussing many how people recognize social behavior, but few think it is pertinent to them. Quick read I would recommend to anybody interested in psychology, sociology, or influences.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Darren

    We can’t directly see it, smell it, taste it or perhaps describe it but it is there – the invisible, subtle influences that affect the decisions we take. We probably believe that we are rational and are in control of our choices, tastes and opinions but let’s not get overly confident with this… The author sets out to examine literally what makes us tick, how we reach certain decisions and even the impact others, strangers included, can have on our “independent decision-making” processes. Even th We can’t directly see it, smell it, taste it or perhaps describe it but it is there – the invisible, subtle influences that affect the decisions we take. We probably believe that we are rational and are in control of our choices, tastes and opinions but let’s not get overly confident with this… The author sets out to examine literally what makes us tick, how we reach certain decisions and even the impact others, strangers included, can have on our “independent decision-making” processes. Even though the author believes that he has an insight, it is by no means a given that we can consciously reprogramme ourselves or be reprogrammed. Nudges can happen – and many businesses are quite apt at doing this – but it is not as black-and-white as we may believe. Still, this is a fascinating book. It is not a dry psychology-type of book and it does feel as if it embraces the reader. Is the reader being manipulated here or is it genuinely a good book? If the author has a good understanding of what may make us tick, maybe he has an idea of the right buttons to press to programme even sceptical reviewers. Let’s not get too paranoid and accept it is just a good book that need not resort to trickery to get us to like it! Occasionally the book’s relatively informal tone felt inappropriate or started to grate; but it was not a banal sort of informality. It is by no means a deal-breaker. Many elements are clear and understandable. Birds of a feather flock together, we seek our similarly minded friends and acquaintances. There is strength in group conformance and beliefs. Some people influence and others are influenced. So a book like this may help one influence and maybe control the influences we receive… if one we are aware of them until it is too late… Make no mistake, this is not one of those mumbo-jumbo “self-help” books that promises the earth and seems to take hyperbole to new levels. The author mixes together academic research, present-day business thinking and scientific viewpoints to great effect. It doesn’t promise any “milestones” in itself, and this is not a bad thing. You will surely be better informed and aware as a result of reading this book, whether you are looking to use its information to fine-tune your influence powers or be on your guard to being influenced. Yet there is no secret formula you need to learn: the information just gives you additional information to help shape matters, to be better-informed and have a greater possibly granularity over your own behaviour. A worthy book that could be an ideal travelling companion where you can really focus on its contents. On many occasions this reviewer thought he would take “just a few more pages” and lost track of time. Don’t read this if you have to be somewhere in a hurry as you might be late due to being “diverted”.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Alicia

    The book is a quick read without a lot of academic fancy-pants descriptions, instead it is a straightforward approach to digesting the idea that as social animals, we make decisions socially whether we like to believe it or not. Berger describes purchasing decisions, decisions about "right" or "wrong" based on others' responses, how we sometimes do the opposite of what everyone is doing because they're all doing it, how we want to be unique by saying, "everyone's BMW is silver, mine is blue" the The book is a quick read without a lot of academic fancy-pants descriptions, instead it is a straightforward approach to digesting the idea that as social animals, we make decisions socially whether we like to believe it or not. Berger describes purchasing decisions, decisions about "right" or "wrong" based on others' responses, how we sometimes do the opposite of what everyone is doing because they're all doing it, how we want to be unique by saying, "everyone's BMW is silver, mine is blue" thereby proving we're different. There is no groundbreaking science, rather a series of studies and examples to help you understand those hidden forces: it is more self-effacing rather than hard science and he explains that in the introduction. I liked it because it was easy reading and it wasn't heavy-handed, simply a guide to help understanding the subtitle of hidden forces shaping our behavior.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Robin

    What I love most about Invisible Influence is how Berger makes science seem simple and interesting by giving everyday examples to support the research that he cites. He presents seemingly contradictory statements about how much individuals are influenced by others, explaining the circumstances under which each social influence “rule” is likely to apply. The supporting cases in each scenario make it easy to see how invisible influence works in our own lives. Topics discussed are the social tendenc What I love most about Invisible Influence is how Berger makes science seem simple and interesting by giving everyday examples to support the research that he cites. He presents seemingly contradictory statements about how much individuals are influenced by others, explaining the circumstances under which each social influence “rule” is likely to apply. The supporting cases in each scenario make it easy to see how invisible influence works in our own lives. Topics discussed are the social tendency to conform with others (despite most people thinking that they do not), circumstances under which people divert from this social “norm” (when a divergent choice is key to personal identity), the tendency to make similar yet different choices (for example common baby names in particular years), and the influence that observers having on individual learning and performance (both supportive and detrimental). A final section sums up the circumstances under which we’re susceptible to various influences and how we can put social influence to work to improve both our own lives and our society. Just about anyone can benefit from reading Invisible Influence, to better understand how influence works in social situations. It is not written strictly for scientific types, though it is based upon sociological research. People who are interested in motivating others (or themselves) will find it useful. Anyone who is interested in personal freedom or in improving our society as a whole will find some good ideas here.

  22. 5 out of 5

    John Mihelic

    I end up reading a lot of these kinds of books that are basically repackaged original research (much of it done by other researchers) that is then taken and put a structure around it. The structure allows the author (sometimes a scientist, sometimes a journalist) to tell a story. Hopefully the research helps the story; hopefully the story is interesting and supported by the research. I would not have picked this up off the shelf if it were not for the cover design, a clever cover that from one a I end up reading a lot of these kinds of books that are basically repackaged original research (much of it done by other researchers) that is then taken and put a structure around it. The structure allows the author (sometimes a scientist, sometimes a journalist) to tell a story. Hopefully the research helps the story; hopefully the story is interesting and supported by the research. I would not have picked this up off the shelf if it were not for the cover design, a clever cover that from one angle shows the title and from the other says “Everyone’s reading it”. That was the most novel thing about the book, since because I have read a lot of these books, the grass is not growing for me on this particular path. If you haven’t read a lot of popular behavioral science books, this one is fairly well done and you would not disservice yourself if you were to read it as an introduction to the field. I do have to note there was one thing that Berger talks about which shined a different light on the world - he walks the reader through why counterfeiting is good for consumer product manufacturers. That starts around page 138.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Joy H.

    Added 8/25/16. (Published June 14th 2016.) This book explores "why we act as we do, politically, socially, economically, and emotionally. -Kirkus Reviews From: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/147... [See this link to read clips from various editorial reviews.] Thought-provoking. This book made me think about why I make certain choices and decisions. Greg's GR review said: "This is about how our social connections affect our behavior in many settings. The author discusses several situations where o Added 8/25/16. (Published June 14th 2016.) This book explores "why we act as we do, politically, socially, economically, and emotionally. -Kirkus Reviews From: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/147... [See this link to read clips from various editorial reviews.] Thought-provoking. This book made me think about why I make certain choices and decisions. Greg's GR review said: "This is about how our social connections affect our behavior in many settings. The author discusses several situations where one person has changed his behavior due to the actions of people around him." FROM: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show... The author backs up his information with the results of various studies. There's a lot to think about.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Anne Janzer

    Reading Invisible Influence makes you aware of, well, the invisible. It's easy to laugh at the 300K watch that doesn't tell time, yet uncomfortable to realize just how deeply our desires to appear like (or unlike) others shape our decisions and opinions. The book is fast and fun to read - and the hardcover has creative cover design.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Katherine Rowland

    An interesting overview of the topic of social influence, but doesn't dig very deep or offer a lot of evidence of underpinning. The evidence may be there, it just wasn't given much credit. I found the author's writing style distracting, with sentence fragments galore; still, this was a quick and thought-provoking read.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Bonnie

    Overly simplistic. I would have preferred more neuroscience and less sociology.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Sequoia

    Debating between a 3-star and 4. The book is nicely written, easy to follow, with plenty of interesting examples. I think the downside for me is that I didn't get much new from it.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Andrew

    3.5 stars Turns out you make many fewer independent decisions than you thought. Peer pressure is a real thing...you just don't realize it. And so is reverse psychology.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Thomas

    OK. OK, I'll admit it. I would not have picked this up off the shelf if it were not for the cool, holographic cover design - a clever cover that from one angle shows the title and from the other says “Everyone’s reading it”. The author's premise is interesting as well-- we don't make decisions that are truly our own. Instead, we are constantly relying on input from others without fully realizing it. He taunts us, saying that we may think we're independent (perhaps even rebels) , but that we're i OK. OK, I'll admit it. I would not have picked this up off the shelf if it were not for the cool, holographic cover design - a clever cover that from one angle shows the title and from the other says “Everyone’s reading it”. The author's premise is interesting as well-- we don't make decisions that are truly our own. Instead, we are constantly relying on input from others without fully realizing it. He taunts us, saying that we may think we're independent (perhaps even rebels) , but that we're in error. My answer was "Jonah, you're mistaken. I'm practically a hermit, and I don't watch much TV. You might be right about everyone else, but you're wrong about me and the Unabomber, buster." Alas, in my case I had forgotten about Amazon and my electric bill. I'm sure some of you have gone to check out a book on Amazon and might have been influenced to make a different or additional purchase when presented with an array of tomes listed under "READERS WHO BOUGHT THIS BOOK ALSO PURCHASED THESE." I know I have. Yeah, Jonah opened my eyes when he explained how J.K Rowling became a best selling author. He also introduced me to Dan Yates and his company OPOWER. OPOWER works with electric utilities to send out detailed notices to customers letting them know exactly how much electricity they're using — and importantly, how their energy use compares with their friends' and neighbors'. I don't particularly enjoy opening my electric bill, but one thing that takes the sting out of it is seeing how much less energy I've consumed than my neighbors who live in similar structures. There's just something about being rated above average (er... I mean below average) by ComEd once monthly that gives me a much needed dopamine fix. I tell myself I conserve energy to save money, but maybe I push just a little bit harder to save so I can beat the Jones family. Maybe. Especially when the electric company sends me a message with a smiley face emoticon next to my score. Anyway, it is reported that OPOWER's reports encourages its hundreds of thousands of customers — spread across the country — to cut back on needless energy waste, enough to reduce average household consumption of electricity by more than 2% annually. By he way, two percent of all the electricity consumers in the country adds up pretty quick. That's 6 trillion watt-hours, or the equivalent of taking all the homes in Alaska and Hawaii, more than 2.1 million people, off the power grid for an entire year. I must say, that is pretty influential. This book is fun reading, it is plain and brief. I liked the way the author wove great stories around the psychological concepts. Most of what he explains we should know from just experiencing life, but he's so entertaining that the repetition of the facts doesn't hurt a bit. And I'm still betting that Theodore Kaczynski is not moved by outside influence.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Justin Tapp

    Invisible Influence: The Hidden Forces that Shape Behavior by Jonah Berger I have reviewed a lot of books on pop psychology, behavioral economics, “influence science,” and this is just another in the pile. These books compete on the shelf namely by the twist they put on the title and how nice the design of the cover is, they mostly say the same things. It’s a two star read because it just presents a lot of other peoples’ research in a “on the one hand, on the other hand” fashion. The author doesn Invisible Influence: The Hidden Forces that Shape Behavior by Jonah Berger I have reviewed a lot of books on pop psychology, behavioral economics, “influence science,” and this is just another in the pile. These books compete on the shelf namely by the twist they put on the title and how nice the design of the cover is, they mostly say the same things. It’s a two star read because it just presents a lot of other peoples’ research in a “on the one hand, on the other hand” fashion. The author doesn’t get too involved in reconciling contradicting research. He’s a marketing professor and I imagine this is what he presents in Marketing 101. Here are my gleanings: Mimicry: Mimicking the mannerisms of the person you’re interacting with helps build rapport and seal the deal. Waiters can increase their tips by reading back a customer’s order. Siblings encourage both mimicry but also intense competition. Marketing companies count on mimicry as people want products that will identify them with the class of people they want to be around. Mimicry is a signalling effect. Having a degree from the same school as famous, elite people signals you are also of that class. Mimicry shows up in strange places, there is a study showing a correlation between the names of hurricanes and the names of babies born around the same time period. Even when the names don’t match exactly, there is (possibly subconcious) mimicry among the vowel sounds of the hurricanes and the vowel sounds of babies’ names. Conformity: East Asians prefer conformity more than Americans. Social class conformity matters. People have expectations of people in their own social class and get offended when people of other classes adopt their brands or behavior. Brand names don’t want the “wrong” people wearing their products and tainting the brand. On the other hand: Eventually, boredom sets in. Counterfeiting-- a form of mimicry-- causes fashions to die. Sometimes people don’t want to conform to an image, but to be different. Americans’ independent streak started with the settlers and encourages liberty and nonconformity. Marketing companies also appeal to the independent streak in people, encouraging them to be rebels. The studies the author presents seem to contradict on these points but he never addresses it. People in a group at a restaurant order what they want but feel remorse when they know what others ordered, opportunity cost matters psychologically. Thus, “moderate similarity” meets the needs for both social conformity but individual independence. Competition and accountability can both increase and decrease performance. Competition and accountability are most effective at increasing performance when the person who is competing or holding you accountable is a peer on a similar level. That’s all, folks. Two stars.

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