In the venture capital and startup world, The Tim Ferriss Show podcast is a popular source for innovative ideas from some of the biggest names in business and the arts.
Many of those big names—people like angel investor Naval Ravikant, Nasty Gal founder Sophia Amoruso, and even Dilbert creator Scott Adams—have referred to Dr. Robert Cialdini and his foundational book Influence during their interviews with Ferriss.
In case you’re not familiar with Tim Ferriss, he’s the author of multiple bestsellers including The 4-Hour Workweek and an early investor in such companies as Uber, Facebook, Twitter, and Evernote. An intensely curious and analytical person, he uses his podcast to deconstruct his guests’ habits and skills during his interviews. In particular, he focuses on tools his audience can use to improve their work and personal lives.
Ferriss himself spoke at length about Influence in an interview with Ahalya Kumaran. When asked how entrepreneurs can keep up with rapidly changing technology and identify future business opportunities, he said:
“I think it is extremely important to understand human behavior or behavior modification before you focus on technology. … You can spend a lot of time jumping from one tool to another without developing any core skill. So I would really encourage people to study books like Influence by Robert Cialdini … so you get a fundamental set of principles that you can apply online, offline, to different tools, to direct copy, to complex sales in big organizations. That is number one.”
An even more glowing recommendation came during a Tim Ferriss podcast episode featuring angel investor Naval Ravikant, who said:
“We didn’t talk about this but I’m positive you’ve read this book, Robert Cialdini’s Influence—classic, classic book. Everybody should read it, memorize it, understand that the way that people influence other people is consistency, liking, authority, social proof, scarcity, and reciprocity, and once you know that, that any time you’re trying to persuade anybody of anything, you can use those to your benefit.
But you have to be very careful because there is a tendency when we’re trying to persuade other people to be dishonest, and when you’re dishonest with somebody else, you’re going to be dishonest with yourself. And when you’re dishonest with yourself, you’re disconnected from reality, you’re going to make poor decisions, you’re going to drop out of the moment, you’re going to be less happy, and you’re going to be wrong. So you have to maintain your honesty while doing it.”
You can listen to the whole interview here: Naval Ravikant: The Person I Call Most for Startup Advice (he refers to Influence at 1:41:17).
Dilbert creator Scott Adams also referred to the book as an important tool for success.
“If you’re looking for a book that I think everybody should read, it would be a book called Influence by [Robert Cialdini],” he said. “… 100% of effective people seem to have read that book. It’s one of those things where I meet somebody and they’re operating at a pretty high level, if you mention that book, they’ve all read it.”
You can listen to the whole interview here: Scott Adams: The Man Behind Dilbert
(he refers to Influence at 1:50:43).
Influence by Dr. Robert Cialdini explores the psychology of persuasion and how consistent, predictable human behaviors can be used to exert ethical influence in almost any scenario. Since the book was originally published, it has sold over three million copies and has been translated into 30 languages.
Robert Cialdini continues to be the leading expert in influence and persuasion. He travels around the world speaking about his research and its ethical business applications and has developed a training program for Cialdini Method Certified Trainers (CMCTs) to make his techniques available to a broader audience.
Keep your eyes peeled for Dr. Cialdini’s new book later this year.