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*A Book Review*

The Science of Influence

By Kevin Hogan

by Michael C. Gray

January 31, 2005

Everyone is interested in improving their effectiveness in influencing others. We may have a product, service or idea to sell, or want to persuade our child, spouse or significant other on the merits of our way of thinking.

Kevin Hogan has made an extensive study of how people respond in different influential situations.

According to Kevin Hogan, "People do not necessarily decide what is best for them; they decide what presentation of facts is more attractive."

For example, in Situation A, you receive $1,000 in a game. In addition you have a choice between a certain gain of $500 or a 50% chance of winning an additional $1,000 and a 50% chance of winning nothing. Which do you choose?

In Situation B, you receive $2,000 in a game. In addition, you have a choice between a certain loss of $500 or a 50% risk of losing $1,000 and a 50% chance of losing nothing. Which do you choose?

The dollar results of these two propositions are exactly the same, but in Situation A, 84% of people chose the certain $1,500 (option 1) and 16% choose to gamble. In Situation B, 31% chose the certain $1,500 (option 1) and 69% choose to gamble.

The situations are 100% identical, but how the proposition is framed makes a dramatic difference in how people decide.

Kevin Hogan also demonstrates other important human tendencies. For example, when people have two or three choices, they can usually make a decision fairly efficiently. When people are given many choices (an example was given of twenty jam samples), they freeze up and won't make a decision.

The Science of Influence is written from the perspective of the company or salesperson. Dr. Robert Cialdini's Influence is an academic work written from the perspective of the consumer. Anyone who wants to become more effective at influencing others should study both books.

I highly recommend having The Science of Influence on your desk when you are crafting a sales letter or your "million dollar sales presentation."

Buy it on Amazon: The Science of Influence: How to Get Anyone to Say "Yes" in 8 Minutes or Less!.

For our new reviews of business and self-improvement books, subscribe to our newsletter, Michael Gray, CPA's Tax & Business Insight!

The Science of Influence, by Kevin Hogan, can help you learn how to influence others, especially if your job is sales or marketing.


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Michael Gray, CPA
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San Jose, California 95128
(408) 918-3162
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