Sunday, May 20, 2012

Review: Influencer

This is the review I posted to Amazon on the book "Influencer: The Power to Change Anything":

This book condenses great tips on how to influence something - or as the subtitle says: "the power to change anything". It gives starting points on how to influence, and the main sources of influence, which are:
- Make the Undesirable Desirable (Personal Motivation)
- Surpass Your Limits (Personal Ability)
- Harness Peer Pressure (Social Motivation)
- Find Strength in Numbers (Social Ability)
- Design Rewards and Demand Accountability (Structural Motivation)
- Change the Environment (Structural Ability)

All sources of influences are full of good examples of influence masters weaving into the text to explain the concepts. While I enjoyed these examples, I believe the authors could have made the book shorter, still conveying the same message. That is pretty much the reason I did not give this book 5 starts.

On the content, some of the pieces of advice seem quite obvious. Either I had realized some of the influence techniques mentioned in the book and had started putting them into practice or I asked myself "why hadn't I thought about this before?". Others pieces of advice are definitely more subtle and amazed me when I read them.

The main lesson from the book is that there are many more techniques that can be used to influence than one probably learns just by observation. On top of that, probably not a single technique will be enough to promote change. Out of one's toolbox, some of the techniques must be picked according to the influence project and audience in order to accomplish the goal of changing something. Picking the "proper" set of influence techniques is a skill that one can learn with practice.

In order to be really effective in promoting influence, one could try to learn all techniques by himself. Another options is try to learn the techniques used by influence master and that's what this book does, it provides that knowledge and can save you substantial time in your process of being more influential.

What the book mentions, but do not stress enough, is that this is a process that takes time and patience. This is not a book to provide a quick way to change yourself or people around you. It's a very sensible book that, based on experience and research, teaches you down-to-earth techniques that can help you promote the change you want. Note that it won't be fast or easy, but like every other skill, it's about setting your mind to it and practicing.
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