Book review: Dr Shelley Wilkinson 

Looking for an easy, but ethical way to influence people?  Be sure to read this book so you don’t miss a great opportunity to learn some simple, but effective persuasion techniques. Woven through the 50 easy to read and well-referenced chapters in this slim 216 page book, the authors outline illustrated examples of the six universal principles of social influence that are:

Reciprocity (we return favours that are performed for us);

Authority (we look to experts to show us the way);

Commitment/consistency (we act in line with our values and commitments);

Scarcity (the less something is available, the more we want it);

Liking (the more we like people, the more likely we’ll say yes to them); and

Social proof (we look to what others do to guide our behaviour).

.. this book gave me an insight into the science behind what I always found out to be a very effective ‘getting someone on side’ technique – the simple act of buying and taking a coffee for the person I’m meeting to discuss my project ­– Clinical Dietitian

As you work through the chapters, you will easily identify situations in your work, research (and home) life where these very transferable learnings can be applied.

I’ve been using these techniques at work, but also with my GP and internet provider – to great effect! – Health Service Researcher

Those familiar with social psychology will recognise landmark and other well-executed studies, lending strength to the credibility of each chapter’s suggestions. But, be warned, after reading this book you’ll never look at a workshop name tag, brainstorming session or infomercial in the same way again…


PS. You seem like the type of person who’d also be interested in a more detailed exploration of these six principles of persuasion. Go ahead and write Robert Cialdini’s book, Influence – Science and Practice (2009) on the top of your shopping list.


Book details: Goldstein, Martin and Cialdini (2005). Yes! 50 scientifically proven ways to be perusasive. New York: Free Press.