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My Top 10 Takeaways from Yes!: 50 Scientifically Proven Ways to Be Persuasive by Noah J. Goldstein, Robert Cialdini, and Steve J. Martin

“Could you recommend a book for…?”

“What are you reading today?”

“What are your favorite books?”

I’m often asked those kinds of questions and, as an avid reader and all-around bibliophile, I’m always happy to oblige.

I also want to encourage people to read as much as possible because knowledge benefits you like compound interest. The more you learn, the more you know; the more you know, the more you can do; the more you can do, the more opportunities you have to succeed.

So, if you are a bookworm looking for good reads, or if you want to get used to reading, this is for you.

Okay, let’s get to the featured book: Yes!: 50 Scientifically Proven Ways to Be Persuasive by Noah J. Goldstein, Robert Cialdini, and Steve J. Martin.

While Cialdini’s classic book on persuasion, influence, more of an academic exploration of the science of, well, influence, than a practical playbook for influencing people (although the latest edition improves on this), Yes!: 50 Scientifically Proven Ways to Be Persuasive offers a compilation of different evidence-based techniques for more influential than just the theoretical grounds to understand why it works.

According to this, people who get the best from Yes! are those who can immediately apply its teachings—marketers, salespeople, negotiators, managers, executives, politicians, etc.—and while some of the methods discussed in the book are more interesting and meaningful than others, I have used the some of the information in the book to get real results in my businesses, it’s a fun read, it provides a lot of value for the number of pages it contains, and it delivers on its main promise— my four key criteria for judging a “problem. -solver” book like this one.

Let’s go to the takeaways.

My 10 Key Takeaways from Yes!


“When too many options are available, consumers often find the decision-making process frustrating, perhaps because of the stress of having to differentiate multiple options from one another in an attempt to make the most very decision. This may result in dismissal of the task, leading to a general decrease in motivation and interest in the product as a whole.

“A useful exercise is to review the size of your product portfolio and ask yourself the following question: If we have customers who are not clear about their requirements, could the number of options we offer may cause them to look elsewhere and may have little alternative elsewhere?”


“Although many companies often focus their training only on the positive—in other words, on how to make good decisions—the results of this study suggest that a significant portion of training should be devoted to how the others have made mistakes in the past and how those mistakes could (and could) have been avoided.”


“Arguing against your own interests, which may include mentioning a disadvantage of your arguments, proposals, or products, creates the perception that you and your organization are honest and trustworthy. This puts you in a position that can be more attractive if your true strengths are highlighted.


“. . . follow the wisdom of Benjamin Franklin: ‘Seek others for their virtues.’ Many of us spend a lot of time finding fault with the people we deal with in our daily lives. If, instead, we try to find their character for what we like about them, we like them more; and, as a result, they like us better. Everyone came out ahead.”


“Similarly, if you hope to persuade your colleagues to work with you on a particular project, it is important to point out not only what they stand to gain in terms of opportunities and experience but also what they are losing- In fact, research shows that potential losses are much more important in managers’ decision-making than the same things presented as gains.


“Often, people are so focused on the seemingly more influential aspects of their projects that they overlook the first piece of information to communicate to its audience—its name. All things being equal, the easier it is to read and pronounce, the more likely consumers, potential stockholders, and other decision makers will view it positively.”


“This research clearly shows the importance of giving gifts that are meaningful, unexpected, and personal.

“To ensure that any gift you give or favor you make is most appreciated, be sure to take the time to determine which gift, to the recipient, best fits three important criteria.”


“In cases where a business cannot secure even a small initial purchase of the product, this commitment-and-consistency strategy has other uses. For example, potential clients who are reluctant to use your service may be more inclined to do so if they are first asked to take a small step, such as agreeing to the first ten-minute appointment. Similarly, a marketing research department is more likely to get people to answer more survey questions by first asking them if they would be willing to answer a short survey.


“To make sure our message is persuasive, we must not only release them from their previous commitment, but also avoid framing their previous decision as a mistake. Perhaps the most fruitful way is to praise the their past decision that was right “at the time they made it.” Explain that the past choices they made were the right ones “given the evidence and information they had at the time” help free them from such a commitment and let them to focus on your proposal without the need to lose face or be conflicted.”


“A nationwide search revealed that 257 dentists were named Walter, 270 were named Jerry, and 482 were named Dennis. That means dentists are about 43 percent more likely to be named Dennis than you would expect if name similarity had no effect on career choice. Similarly, people whose names begin with “Geo” (eg, George, Geoffrey) are disproportionately likely to do research in the geosciences (eg, geology). In fact, even the first letter of a person’s name can influence his choice of career. For example, they found that hardware store owners were about 80 percent more likely to have names beginning with the letter “H” than the letter “R,” but roofers were about 70 percent more likely to have more likely to have names beginning with the letter “R” than the letter “H.”

“People move to states that share their own names. For example, people who move to Florida tend to be called Florence, and people who move to Louisiana are less likely to be called Louise. People move to cities with numbers matching their own birthday numbers. For example, cities with the number 2 in their names, such as Two Harbors, Minnesota, have a disproportionate number of residents who born on February 2 (2⁄2), while cities with the number 3 in their names, such as Three Forks. , Montana, have a disproportionate number of people born on March 3 (3⁄3). People choose to live on streets whose names are the same as themselves. In other words, a person named Mr. Washington is more likely to choose to live on Washington Street than someone named Mr. Jeffe rson. People choose to marry someone with the same sounding first or last name. All else being equal, when Eric, Erica, Charles, and Charlotte meet each other for the first time, Erica is more likely to be romantically involved with Eric than with Charles, and the opposite is more likely to happen with Charlotte. When asked to trust their feelings and intuition, people prefer products whose first letters are the same as the first letters of their own name. So, a person named Allan might be more likely to put the candy Almond Joy at the top of his list than a person named Nick, who would be more likely to put Nutrageous at the top of his list.

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