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  • Writer's pictureLars Christensen

Influence by Robert B. Cialdini, PH.D

I finished this book in December 2023. I recommend this book 5/10.

You should read this book if you are looking for a book full of research on how humans easily fall into "click-run" patterns, something that marketers have exploited for a long time. 

Get your copy here.

🚀 The book in three sentences

  1. We are very easy to manipulate with "click-run."

  2. Advertisers have us figured out, but it can backfire as we are suspicious in nature.

  3. Tell people that you like them. Unite the team around logos, brands, and names like "Autodeskers." 

🎨 Impressions

The book is well written, but it is a long read. I do feel like you learned a lot about human behavior, but it is difficult to take many takeaways.

📝 My notes and thoughts

P13. When you buy products online for either yourself or your business, reviews probably weigh heavily in your decision-making. We check to see other buyers' opinions on Amazon, opt for the five-star option rather than the one with only four and a half stars, or book the Airbnb with the most enthusiastic former guests. According to research, you should be aware of:

  • Lack of detail. It's hard to describe what you haven't actually experienced, which is why fake reviews often offer general praise rather than digging into specifics.

  • Included more first-person pronouns. If you're anxious about coming across as sincere, apparently, you talk about yourself more.

  • Has more verbs than nouns. Language analysis shows that the fakes tend to include more verbs because their writers often substitute pleasant (or alarming) sounding stories for actual insights.

  • P15. My friend the jewelry-store owner. Although she benefited by accident the first time, it didn't take her long to begin exploiting the expensive = good stereotype regularly and intentionally. Now, during the tourist season, she first tries to speed the sale of an item that has been difficult to move by sustainably increasing its price. She claims that this is marvelously cost effective. When it works on the unsuspecting vacationers, as it frequently does, it generates an enormous profit. And even when it is not initially successful, she can then mark the article "Reduced" and sell it to bargain hunters at its original price while still taking advantage of their expensive = good reaction to the inflated figure.

  • P19. The company maintained an unappealing house or two on its list at inflated prices. These houses were not intended to be sold to costumers but only to be shown to them so that the genuine properties in the company's inventory would benefit from the comparison. Not all the sales staff make use of the setup houses, but Phil did. He said he liked to watch his prospects' "eyes light up" when he showed the places he really wanted to sell them after they had seen the unattractive ones. "The house I got them spotted for looks really great after they've first looked at a couple of dumps." Automobile dealers use the contrast principle by waiting until the price of a car has been negotiated before suggesting one option after another. In the wake of the many-thousand-dollar deal, a couple of hundred extra dollars for a nicety such as an upgraded sound system seems almost trivial in comparison. The same will be true of the added expense of accessories, such as tinted windows, better tires, or special trim, that the dealer might suggest in sequence. The trick is to bring up the options independently of one another so that each small price will seem petty when compared to the already determined much larger price.

  • P22. So, if you make the price high, people will automatically assume the item is of a higher quality.

  • P23. Several years ago, a university professor tried a little experiment. He sent Christmas cards to a sample of perfect strangers. Although he expected some reaction, the response he received was amazing—holiday cards addressed to him came pouring back from people who had neither met nor heard of him. The great majority of those who returned cards never inquired into the identity of the unknown professor. They received his holiday greeting card, click, and run, they mechanically sent one in return.

  • P30. Throughout the United States military involvement against the Taliban in Afghanistan, its intelligence officers face a significant influence problem. They frequently needed information from local Afghans about the Taliban's activities and whereabouts, but many of the locals showed little interest in providing it for a pair of reasons. First, doing so would make them susceptible to Taliban retribution. Second, many harbored a strong distaste for the United States' presence, goals, and representatives in Afghanistan. A CIA officer who had experienced both of these sources of reluctance with a particular tribal patriarch noticed the man seemed drained by his twin roles as tribal leader and husband to four younger wives. On the officer's next visit, he came equipped with a small gift he placed discreetly in the elder's hand, four viagra tables—one for each wife. The "potency" of this gift was evident on his return a week later when the chief "offered up a bonanza of information about Taliban movements and supply routes."

  • P72. Want to borrow $10? Ask for $20, when denied, then ask, "How about $10, then?"

  • P75. Anybody familiar with the workings of a Tupperware party will recognize the use of various principles of influence covered in this book:

  • Reciprocation: To start, games are played, and prizes are won by the partygoers; anyone who doesn't win a prize gets to choose one from a grab bag so that everyone has received a gift before buying begins.

  • Authority: The quality and safety of Tupperware products are shown to be certified by experts.

  • Social proof: Once the buying begins, each purchase build the idea that other, similar people want the products, therefore, they must be good.

  • Scarcity: Unique benefits and limited-time offers are always described.

  • Commitment and Consistency: Early on, participants are urged to make a public commitment to Tupperware by describing aloud the uses and benefits they have found for the Tupperware they already own.

  • Unity: Upon making a purchase, guests are welcomed to "the Tupperware family."

  • P79. A Nielsen Company survey tells us why the Shaklee Corporation's "endless chain" technique is so successful: 92 percent of consumers trust product recommendations from someone they know, such as a liked friend, which is far more than any other source, and 22 percent more than the next highest source, online reviews. This elevated level of trust of friends turns into what researchers termed "stunning profits" for the recommended companies. An analysis of one bank's refer-a-friend program found that, compared to ordinary new customers, those referred by a friend proved 18 percent more loyal to the bank over a three-year period and 16 percent more profitable.

  • P88. The desire to be liked is a basic human goal, but its achievement doesn't justify falsification, as in the presentation of fabricated similarities. On the other hand, working strategically to be liked, perhaps by expending effort to uncover and communicate genuine parallels with others, doesn't strike me as objectionable at all. In fact, I'd consider it commendable in many situations as a way to prompt harmonious interactions. Commendable or not, such a goal isn't easy to achieve because, as a rule, we tend to pay attention to differences rather than similarities.

  • P92. Give a compliment behind a deserving person's back. My new habit of complimenting my students publicly in research meetings has worked well for me, in part because I'm in charge. In many meetings, though, you might not be the leader, and it might not be appropriate to be the one dispensing praise. Suppose you are at work and, in a meeting, your boss says something you consider very smart. It could be awkward and may appear self-serving to speak up and say so. What could you do instead? To be clear, my students were rarely confronted with this problem. Nonetheless. I have a solution: during a coffee break at at the end of the meeting, tell the boss's assistant of your opinion: "You know, I thought what Sandy said about XYZ was brilliant." Several outcomes are likely. First, because people want to be associated with good news in the minds of others and actively arrange for it, the assistant will most probably tell your boss what you said. Second, because you didn't offer your positive assessment for the boss's ears, no one (observers or boss) should ask you for an unattractive ulterior motive. Third, because of what we know about the psychology of received compliments, your boos will believe your (sincere) praise and like you more for it.

  • P109. In one study, men who saw a new-car ad that included a seductive female model rated the car as faster, more appealing, more expensive looking, and better-designed than did men who viewed the same ad without the model. Yet when asked later, the men refused to believe that the presence of the young woman had influenced their judgment.

  • P110. In a set of studies, he got some fascinating—and disturbing—results. First, restaurant patrons gave larger tips when paying with a credit card instead of cash. In a second study, college students were willing to spend an average of 29 percent more money for a mail-order catalog items when they examined the items in the room that contained some MasterCard logos; moreover, they had no awareness that the credit card insignias were part of the experiment. A final study showed that when asked to contribute to charity (the United Way), college students were markedly more likely to give money if the room they were in contained MasterCard insignias that if it did not (87 percent versus 33 percent).

  • P116. In the final analysis, then, that is why those good-looking models stand around in the magazine ads. That is why radio programmers are instructed to insert the station's call-letters jingle immediately before a big hit song is played. And that is even why the women playing Barnyard Bingo at a Tupperware party must yell the word Tupperware rather than bingo before they can rush to the center of the floor for a prize. It may be Tupperware for the players, but it's Bingo! for the company.

  • P124. A second factor that influences liking and compliance is similarity. We like people who are like us, and we are more willing to say yes to their requests, often in an unthinking manner. Another such factor is praise. Compliments generally enhance liking and, hence, compliance. Two particularly useful types of genuine compliments are those delivered behind the recipient's back and those selected to give the recipient a reputation to live up to by continuing to perform the desired behavior.

  • P125. Tell people that you like them; everyone likes to be liked.

  • P127. Although they found a label that worked particularly well, they were surprised it wasn't one they'd thought to use preciously for this purpose, such as "Specialty of the house" or "Our chef's recommendations for tonight." Rather, the label merely described the menu item as the restaurant's "most popular." The outcome was impressive. Sales of each dish jumped by an average of 13 percent to 20 percent. Quite simply, the dishes became more popular because of their popularity. Notably, the increase occurred through a persuasive practice that was costless, completely ethical (the items were indeed the most popular), easy to implement, and yet never before employed by the managers. Something similar happened in London when a local brewery with a pub on its premises agreed to try an experiment. The pub placed a sign on the bar stating, truthfully, that the brewery's most popular beer that week was its porter. Porter sales doubled immediately. Click, run.

  • P131. Healthy eating: After learning that the majority of their peers try to eat fruit to be healthy, Dutch high school students increased fruit consumption by 35 percent—even though, in a typical adolescent fashion, they had claimed no intention to change upon receiving the information.

  • P143. All the levers of influence discussed in this book work better under some conditions than others. If we are to defend ourselves adequately against any such lever, it is vital that we know its optimal operation conditions in order to recognize when we are most vulnerable to its influence. In the case of social proof, there are three main optimizing conditions: when we are unsure if what is best to do (uncertainty); when the evidence of that is best to do comes from numerous others (the many); and when the evidence comes from people like us (similarity).

  • P144. Consider how this simple insight made one man a multimillionaire. His name was Sylvan Goldman, and after acquiring several small grocery stores in 1934, he noticed his customers stopped buying when their handheld shopping baskets got too heavy. This inspired him to invent the shopping cart, which in its earliest form was a folding chair equipped with wheels and a pair of heavy metal baskets. The contraption was so unfamiliar-looking that, at first, none of Goldman's customers used one—even after he built a more-than-adequate supply, placed several in a prominent place in the store, and erected signs describing their use and benefits. Frustrated and about to give up, he tried one more idea to reduce his customer's uncertainty, one based on social proof. He hired shoppers to wheel the carts through the store. His true customers soon began following suit, his invention swept the nation, and he died a wealthy man with an estate of over $400 million.

  • P157. One poster included an image of a single person doing so; the other poster was identical, except the image was of several such visitors. Reminding customers of the opportunity for an early lunch (as the first poster did) proved successful, predicting a 25 percent increase in customer activity in the food court before noon. But the real success came from the second poster, which lifted pre-noon consumer activity by 75 percent.

  • P160. There's an age-old truism that makes this point: "If one person says you have a tail, you laugh it off as stupid, but if three people say it, you turn around."

  • P174. Consider the fatal consequences of one locally published suicide in which a teen stepped in front of a speeding train. In the next six months, a second, third, and fourth student from the same high school followed his lead and died in the same way. Another such suicide was prevented by a fifth classmate's mother, who noticed her son was missing from the house and suspected his intent. How did she know where to go to intervene and stop the teen's deadly action? She went directly to the rail crossing where his peers had died.

  • P189. Those who'd learned that only a minority of their peers tried to conserve now used even more water; in fact, they used the most water of all. They could do the math, recognizing that if only a minority bothered to conserve, then the majority didn't bother, so they followed the majority's lead. But this pattern was revered by the subjects who learned that even though only a minority of peers conserved, the number who did conserve was increasing. So informed, these subjects used the least water of all while brushing their teeth. How can we make sense of this last finding? It seems to run counter to the studies we've covered, showing people prefer to conform to the majority. Does it indicate that when a trend is visible, social proof is no longer all-powerful? Yes and no. Existing levels of social proof may no longer win, but another version of the concept may. Because we assume they will continue in the same direction, trends don't just tell us where others' behaviors have been and are now; we think they also tell us where others' behaviors will be. Thus, trends give us access to a special and potent form of social proof—future social proof.

  • P197. The principle of social proof states that one important means people use to decide what to believe or how to act in a situation is to examine what others are believing or doing there. Powerful such effects have been found among both children and adults and in such diverse activities as purchase decisions, charity donations, and phobia remission. The principle of social proof can be used to stimulate a person's compliance with a request by communication that many other individuals (the more, the better) are or have been complying with it. Therefore, simply pointing to the popularity of an item elevates its popularity.

  • P198. Social Proof. Think about getting up on a closed road and decide to follow the car in front. Or, in a new airport, and you follow the crowd.

  • P229. Perhaps the clearest illustration of Buffett's zeal for demonstrating his transparency by admitting his shortcomings appeared in his annual report of 2016, a banner year in which his company's share-price increase doubled that of the S&P 500 and in which there were no investing missteps to report. What did Buffett do to ensure that evidence of his openness and honesty would remain at the top of the minds of shareholders? On the report's second page of text, he noted a previous year's investing mistake that he described as the "particularly egregious error of acquiring Dexter Shoe for $434 million in 1993. Dexter's value promptly went to zero." Immediately thereafter, he detailed what he'd learned from the fiasco: he had not only misjudged the future worth of Dexter but made the mistake of paying with Berkshire Hathaway stock, something he promised shareholders he would never do again: "Today, I'd rather prep for a colonoscopy than issue Berkshire shares." It's clear to me that Buffett knows more than how to be an impressively successful investor; he knows how to communicate impressively about being an impressively successful investor.

  • 234. Perhaps they will mention a small shortcoming in their position or product. Invariably, though, the drawback will be a secondary one that is easily overcome by more significant advantages—Avis: "We're #2. We try harder"; L'Oreal: "We're more expensive, and you're worth it." By establishing their basic truthfulness on relatively minor issues, the compliance professionals who use this practice can then be more believable when stressing the important aspect of the argument.

  • P240. How you dress and your title does influence people, and so does a small failure at the beginning of a conversation, as it creates trustworthiness: "I'm looking for advice on one problem I'm encountering." And everyone is all ears.

  • P244. In the world of business, for example, research has found that managers weigh potential losses more heavily than potential gains in their decisions. The same is true in professional sports, where decision-makers deliberate longer in situations involving possible losses than in those involving possible gains; as a result, golfers on the PGA tour spend more time and effort on putts designed to prevent losing a shot to par (avoiding bogies) than on those designed to gain a shot to par (getting birdies).

  • 278. For example, a real estate agent who is trying to sell a house to a fence-sitting prospect sometimes calls the prospect with news of another potential buyer who has seen the house, liked it, and is scheduled to return the following day to discuss terms. When wholly fabricated, the new bidder is commonly described as an outside with plenty of money: Favorites are "an out-of-state investor buying for tax purposes" and "a physician and his wife moving into town." The tactic, called in some circles "goosing 'em off the fence," can work devastatingly well. The thought of losing out to a rival frequently turns a buyer from hesitant to zealous.

  • P282. On June 14, 2001, almost all US soldiers changed their standard field headgear to the black berets previously worn only by US Army Rangers, an elite contingent of the specially trained combat troops. In a move designed to boost army morale, the change had been ordered by US Army Chief of Staff General Eric Shinseki to unify the troops and serve as "a symbol of army excellence." There is no evidence that it did anything of the sort among the thousands of affected soldiers who merely received a black beret. Instead, it incited denunciations from current and former Rangers, who felt robbed of the earned exclusivity the beret represented. As one Ranger, Lieutenant Michelle Hyer, expressed: "This is a travesty. The black berets are something the Rangers and special operations people worked hard for to separate themselves. Now ... His solution was inspired. He allowed the Rangers to select another color of beret besides black to designate membership in their elite group. They selected buckskin tan, a hue that would be unique to Ranger berets (and that they still wear proudly today). Brilliant. As he had aimed, Shinseki got to bestow black beret on the great majority of his troops, who liked the flattering new style; in addition, the Rangers got to retain their distinctiveness with the larger change. Double brilliant.

  • P284. Fortunately, there is information available on which we can base thoughtful decisions about scarce items. It comes, once again, from the chocolate-chip-cookie study, where the researchers uncovered something that seems strange but rings true regarding scarcity. Even though the scarce cookies were rated as significantly more desirable, they were not rated as a better-tasting than the abundant cookies. So. despite the increased yearning that scarcity caused (the raters said they wanted to have more of the scarce cookies in the future and would pay a greater price for them), it did not make the cookies taste one bit better. Therein lies an important insight. The joy is not in the experiencing of a scarce commodity but in the possessing of it. It is important that we not confuse the two; whenever we confront scarcity pressures surrounding some item, we must also confront the question of what it is we want from the item. If the answer is that we want the thing for the social, economic, or psychological benefits of possessing something rare, then fine; scarcity pressures will give us a good indication of how much we should want to pay for it—the less available it is, the more valuable to is it will be. However, often, we don't want a thing for the pure sake of owning it. We want it, instead, for its utility value; we want to eat it or drink it or touch it or hear it or drive it or otherwise use it. In such cases, it is vital to remember that scarce things do not taste or feel or sound or ride or work any better because of their limited availability.

  • P286. Each prospect who was interested enough to want to see the car was given an appointment time—the same appointment time. So, if three people were scheduled, they were all scheduled for, say, 2 p.m. that afternoon. This device of simultaneous scheduling paved the way for later compliance by creating an atmosphere of competition for a limited resource. Typically, the first prospect to arrive would begin a studied examination of the car and would engage in standard car-buying behavior, such as pointing out any blemishes or deficiencies and asking if the price was negotiable. The psychology of the situation changed radically, however, when the second buyer drove up. The availability of the car to either prospect suddenly became limited by the presence of the other. Often, the earlier arrival, inadvertently stoking the sense of rivalry, would assert his right to primary consideration. "Just a minute now, I was here first." If he didn't assert that right, Richard would do it for him. Addressing the second buyer, he would say: "Excuse me, but this other gentleman was here before you. So, can I ask you to wait on the other side of the driveway for a few minutes until he finishes looking at the car? Then, if he decides he doesn't want it, or if he can't make up his mind, I'll show it to you." Richard claims it was possible to watch the agitation grow on the first buyer's face. His leisurely assessment of the car's pros and cons had suddenly become a now-or-never, limited-time-only rush to decision over a contested resource. If he didn't decide on the car—at Richard's asking price—in the next few minutes, he might lose it for good to that...that...lurking newcomer over there. The second buyer would be equally agitated by the combination of rivalry and restricted availability. He would pace about the periphery of things, visibly straining to get at this suddenly more desirable hunk of metal. Should 2 p.m. appointment number one fail to buy or even fail to decide quickly enough, 2 p.m. appointment number two was ready to pounce. If these conditions alone were not enough to secure a favorable purchase decision immediately, the trap snapped securely shit as soon as the third 2 p.m. appointment arrived on the scene. According to Richard, stacked-up competition was usually too much for the first prospect to bear. He would end the pressure quickly by either agreeing to Richard's price or by leaving abruptly. In the latter instance, the second arrival would strike at the chance to buy out of the sense of relief coupled with a new feeling of rivalry with that...that...lurking newcomer over there.

  • P290. Scarcity. This happened to us when we were looking for our house. Someone else showed up to look at the house while we were leaving.

  • P294. Under normal conditions, subjects were reluctant to put themselves in harm's way by challenging the thief—only four people did so in the twenty times the theft was staged. But when the same procedure was tried another twenty times with a slight twist, the results were dramatically different. In these incidents, before leaving the blanket, the accomplice would simply ask the subject to please "watch my things," something everyone agreed to do. Now, propelled by the rule of consistency, nineteen of the twenty subjects became virtual vigilantes, running after and stopping the thief, demanding an explanation, often restraining the thief physically or snatching the radio away.

  • P301. I just happen to know how several of the big toy companies jack up their January and February sales. They start prior to Christmas with attractive TV ads for certain special toys. The kids, naturally, want what they see and extract Christmas promises for these items from their parents. Now, here's where the genus of the companies' plan comes in: they undersupply the stores with the toys they've gotten the parents to promise. Most parents find those toys sold out and are forced to substitute other toys of equal value. The toy manufacturers, of course, make a point of supplying the stores with plenty of these substitutes. Then, after Christmas, the companies start running the ads again for the other special toys. That jacks up the kids to want those toys more than ever. They go running to their parents whining. 'You promised, you promised,' and the adults go trudging off to the store to live up dutifully to their words."

  • P304. Steven J. Sherman. He simply called a sample of Bloomington, Indiana, residents as part of a survey he was taking and asked them to predict what they would say if asked to spend three hours collecting money for the American Cancer Society. Of course, not wanting to seem uncharitable to the survey-taker or to themselves, many of these people said that they would volunteer. The consequence of this subtle commitment produce was a 700 percent increase in volunteers when, a few days later, a representative of the American Cancer Society did call and ask for neighborhood canvassers. Using the same strategy, but this time asking citizens to predict whether they would vote on Election Day, other researchers have been able to increase significantly the turnout at the polls among those called. Courtroom combatants appear to have adopted this practice of extracting a lofty initial commitment designed to spur future consistent behavior. When screening potential jurors before a trial, Jo-Ellen Demitrius, reputed to be the best consultant in the business of jury selection, asks an artful question: "If you were the only person who believed in my client's innocence, could you withstand the pressure of the rest of the jury to change your mind?" How could any self-respecting prospective juror say no? And having made the public promise, how could any self-respecting selected juror repudiate it later?

  • P307. To change this outcome, he began employing the consistency principle on his own behalf. After assuring evaluators he wanted to answer all their questions as fully as possible, he added, "But, before we start, I wonder if you could answer a question for me. I'm curious, what was it about my background that attracted you to my candidacy?" As a consequence, his evaluators heard themselves saying positive things about him and his qualifications, committing themselves to reasons to hire him before he had to make the case himself. He swears he has gotten three better jobs in a row by employing this technique.

  • P310. They reported the results of an experiment in which a researcher, posing as a volunteer worker, had gone door to door in a residential California neighborhood making a preposterous request of homeowners. The homeowners were asked to allow a public-service billboard to be installed on their front lawns. To get an idea of the way the sign would look, they were shown a photograph depicting an attractive house, the view of which was almost completely obscured by a large, poorly lettered sign reading Drive Carefully. Although the request was normally and understandably refused by the great majority of the residents in the area (only 17 percent complied), one particular group of people reacted quite favorably. A full 76 percent of them offered the use of their front yards. The prime reason for their startling compliance was a small commitment to driver safety that they had made two weeks earlier. A different "volunteer worker" had come to their doors and asked them to accept and display a little three-inch-square sign that read Be a Safe Driver. It was such a trifling request were striking. Because they had innocently complied with a trivial safe-driving request a couple of weeks before, these homeowners became remarkably willing to comply with another such request that was massive in size. Signing a beatification petition changed the view these people had of themselves. They saw themselves as public-spirited citizens who acted on their civic principles. When, two weeks later, they were asked to perform another public service by displaying the Drive Carefully sign, they complied in order to be consistent with their newly formed self-images.

  • P336. Social scientists have determined that we accept inner responsibility for a behavior when we think we have chosen to perform it in the absence of strong outside pressure. A large reward is one such external pressure. It may get us to perform certain actions, but it won't get us to accept inner responsibility for the acts.

  • P356. Psychological research indicates that we experience our feelings toward something a split second before we can intellectualize about it. I'd guess the message sent by the heart of hearts is a pure, basic feeling. Therefore, if we train ourselves to be attentive, we should register the feeling slightly before our cognitive apparatus engages. According to this approach, were Sara to ask herself the crucial "Would I make the same choice again?" question she would be well advised to look for and trust the first flash of feeling she experienced in response. It would likely be the signal from her hearts of hearts, slipping through undistorted just before the means by which she could fool herself streamed in.

  • P368. If shared ethnic identity can help explain how Ali Reda—while closely following Joe Girad's methods—could outpace Joe's performance, perhaps the same factor can explain a separate business mystery. Easily the greatest investment swindle of our time was the Ponzi scheme orchestrated by Wall Street insider Bernard Madoff. Although analysts have focused on certain remarkable aspects of the fraud, such as its size (over $15 billion) and duration (going undetected for decades), I've been impressed by another remarkable feature: the level of financial sophistication of many of the its victims. The list of those taken in by Madoff is rife with names of hardheaded economists, seasoned money managers, and highly successful business leaders. This, even though the alleged profits for his clients were so unusual, distrust should have quickly prevailed. With Madoff, it wasn't just another case of the fox outwitting the chickens; this fox duped his fellow foxes. How? It's almost never the case that big occurrences in human response are caused by any one thing. Almost invariably, they are due to a combination of factors. The Madoff affair is no different. The man's longtime presence on Wall Street, the intricacy of the derivatives-based financial mechanism he claimed to be employing, and the supposedly limited circle of investors he "allowed" to join his fund all contributed. But there was another active element in the mix, shared identity. Madoff was Jewish, and so, too, were the majority of his victims, who were often recruited by Madoff's lieutenants, who were also Jewish.

  • P416. It should even prove effective in our interactions with superiors. Of course, it is rational to worry about a potential downside—that by asking a boss for advice, you might come off as incompetent or dependent or insecure. While I see the logic of such a concern. I also see it as mistaken because the effects of co-creation are not well captured by rationality or logic. But they are exceedingly well captured by a particular, socially promotive feeling in the situation—the feeling of togetherness. The novelist Saul Bellow reportedly observed, "When we ask for advice, we are usually looking for an accomplice." I'd only add on the basis of scientific evidence that if we get that advice, we usually get that accomplice. And what better abettor to have on a project than someone in charge.

  • P436. We will feel more connected to people like us. We-ness can also appear when there is a common enemy.

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