CTech Book Review: Discovering the Six Principles of Persuasion

Aviv Canaani is the vice president of marketing at DataRails. He joined CTech to share his review of “Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion” by Dr. Robert B. Cialdini. Here he describes how persuasion tools relate to developers as well.

Title: Influence: the psychology of persuasion

Author: Dr Robert B. Cialdini

Format: Delivered

Or: Homepage

Aviv Canaani, Vice President of Marketing at DataRails. Photo: Data rails


Cialdini’s book, “Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion,” written in 1984, deals with how you can influence other human beings. Despite what it might sound, this book isn’t about how you manipulate people – it’s a book about how to become more persuasive. Dr Cialdini sets out six principles of persuasion and uses great examples that are fun to read, even for people who aren’t in tech or the business world (yes, they do exist).

Important topics:

The six principles of persuasion as defined by Cialdini are: reciprocity, consistency, social proof, taste, authority and scarcity.

  1. Reciprocity: If you help other people or buy them gifts, they will feel pressured to give you back. Has anyone ever bought you a beer? Did you later feel like you had to? This is the oldest trick in the book.
  2. Commitment and consistency: As humans, we regularly make many decisions and want to feel like we know what we are doing. Where are you in the Android / iOS debate? After advocating for your favorite mobile operating system with a friend, how open are you to changing alliances in the future?
  3. Social proof: We are all suckers for the following recommendations. Have you ever chosen an item from a menu just because it was the most popular on Yelp? And when was the last time you ordered something from Amazon that was less than 4 stars?
  4. To like: If you like someone, there is a better chance that you will buy from them. Have you ever wondered why email marketing, especially by startups, has gotten so much cuter and personal over the years?
  5. Authority: We trust people whom we consider to be experts in their field. Have you ever viewed software just because someone you follow on LinkedIn recommended it?
  6. Scarcity: We want things that are more difficult to obtain or in short supply. Have you ever bought something just because it was on special promotion for a limited time? Did you get the feeling that if you didn’t buy the product now, you would be missing out? If you think this doesn’t apply to you, does the words “Black Friday” mean anything to you?

What I learned :

As a marketer, I find myself coming back to this book for ideas. For example, last year I was vice president of marketing at Workiz, a field service management software. We were faced with a challenge – we only had one review on the leading business review site, G2. We knew that many potential customers came to this site before making a purchase decision (based on the principle of “social proof”). We had to find a way to get more reviews from our customers, which we haven’t been able to do in the past. We decided to take advantage of two principles of persuasion: “Liking” and “Reciprocity”. We added a pop-up to users of our software with a note from our co-founder who was also a service professional in the past. The text read: “Hi X, it’s Dan. As a home service business owner, you know how important reviews are to your small business. As we grow up, we also need more advice. Can you spend 5 minutes writing a review on Workiz on G2? To thank you for your time, we’ll send you a $ 50 Amazon Gift Card.

It would be a disservice to classify this book as a non-fiction book for marketers and sellers. “Influence” gives very practical advice for any human being who engages with other human beings. This book has made me not only a better marketer, but also a better husband, father and friend. I have also added it to the curriculum of my “Startup Marketing” course which I teach at Reichman University.


Cialdini tries to simplify the art of persuasion into just six principles. It’s a daring attempt, but what also made this book a bestseller is that it’s fun and easy to read. Thirty-seven years have passed since the publication of this book and Cialdini, who has probably read hundreds of reviews of this book, was ready to make adaptations. He released an updated version in 2006 and another recently in May 2021, where he adds a 7th principle – Oneness.

Who should read this book?

Anyone who has never been able to persuade a friend / colleague / spouse / child to do whatever they want. So yes, it’s for everyone.

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