I just finished a book that does a fantastic job of describing many of the ways we are influenced every day to act irrationally. I’ve had on my reading list for a very long time, and I’m stunned at how clearly I can see it’s lessons in my day-to-day life. Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion by Robert Cialdini explains the concepts well, and then supplies some strong examples and case studies that help flush out the concepts further.

There are six “weapons of influence”:

When someone does something nice for you – even if you didn’t request it, or accept it – you feel compelled to return the favour in kind.

Commitment and Consistency
Once you’ve made a public commitment to an idea or goal, you feel compelled to honour that idea, and extensions of that idea.

Social Proof
Simply, you will do things that you see other people doing.

You will tend to obey those that you perceive as an authority figure, even if you are asked to perform objectionable acts.

You are more easily influenced by people you like.

You value things more highly if you believe that they are scarce.

Cialdini does a great job of flushing out these concepts in a compelling and relevant way. This book is a must-read for marketers.