This book is excellent.
It follows the familiar format of presenting a concept or making a declaration and then supporting it with anecdotes and study references--sort of like the science-y version of How to win Friends and Influence People.
Cialdini breaks down our abilities to persuade--and to be persuaded--into seven distinct categories. What follows is a brief example of each. Since I mostly consider myself a sucker, this is a very useful text for me--provided I apply it when appropriate.
1. Contrast principle: Sell the customer the expensive item first so that everything that follows seems insignificant by comparison.
2. Reciprocation: Give something away so that the potential customer feels obligated to buy something, like a sample in the supermarket.
3. Consistency: The drive to be--and to seem--consistent can cause us to act in ways that are clearly contrary to our best interests. This is exploited by gauging mood and then capitalizing upon it.
4. Social proof: If everyone is doing it, it must be a good idea!
5. Liking: We prefer to say yes to the requests of someone we know and like. "Positive comments produced just as much liking for the flatterer whether true or not."
6. Authority: Adults will go to almost any lengths on the command of authority, as was shown in Stanley Milgram's obedience to authority experiment.
7. Scarcity: Opportunities seem more valuable when availability is limited.
While these principles should theoretically improve my chances of selling successfully, reading this book has been an eye-opening look at all the ways I've been duped!
Since finishing it, I've already audibly pointed out when people have tried to use such tactics, which not everyone appreciates. The real trick, I suppose, will be recognizing these strategies in the presence of a skilled practitioner.