Author: Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, David Maxfield, and Ron McMillan
From the authors of Crucial Conversations (another highly recommended book), Influencer is another brilliant guide book to day to day things that have a massive impact on people’s lives. This book in particular focuses on a specific set of strategies that anyone can use to influence people in difficult situations. It is not a motivational only type book or a set of vague principles, it has specific steps and real world examples from some of the world’s best influencers which help guide you to learning an effective approach. This book is also NOT a guide to getting people to say yes, its much deeper and longer laster than that, where you want to influence and change people’s lasting behavior!
The book is written in 2 parts, each worth the price of the book on its own!
Part 1 – The Power to Change Anything
The premise of the book is based on learning from the best influencers in the world and everything is presented clearly based on various real life studies that demonstrate each of the author’s findings perfectly. The reader is encouraged to learn more by seeking out and studying the best examples in the areas of interest and the author’s have certainly put that into practice throughout the book as well. Doing this helps to identify areas of influence in a situation, this is something I particularly liked. I’ve always believed that if you have something to learn, its most effective to seek out and learn from the best. Another major premise of the book is looking at behaviors of people and how that can be used with influence. This behavior based analysis is also very dear to me and reinforced with specific techniques well in the early chapters of the book. The last section of Part 1 is about various methods of changing people’s minds. I really like this section as well with regards to using story telling to influence others and change their minds. I’ve always been a good story teller which I now recognize as one of the reasons why I’ve had as much influence in my life as I’ve had. By this point in the book (only about 1/4 of the way through) I figured this is by far one of the best books I’ve EVER read. The rest of the book easily holds up to this as well. This is a book with so much actionable content and techniques, you could easily have to re-read this book each year to really practice and implement all the principles outlined.
Part 2 – Make Change Inevitable
The second part of the book focuses on the strategic model that works to master influence. Its outlined with great clarity using specific real life examples of each of the 6 sources of influence. The sources are categorized as follows:
|Personal||Make the Undesirable Desirable||Surpass Your Limits|
|Social||Harness Peer Pressure||Find Strength in Numbers|
|Structural||Design Rewards and Demand Accountability||Change the Environment|
All of these 6 sources are areas to overcome to be a great influencer. Its important to learn to recognize each of these 6 sources and learn to address all of them, not just one or two. Having a lasting influence requires major work and needs each of these areas to be recognized and addressed before a significant difference can ever be made. Learning to see these is the first step and the book’s examples show how difficult, yet effective it is to see each one. Putting effort into several of these sources (or all) will result in significantly more influence than if they are acted on individually.
I found the stories used as examples to be captivating and impressive since they are areas that most consider the toughest situations to deal with. One illustration of these techniques comes in stories about annihilating the nasty Guinea worm from villages in Nigeria. Another example throughout the book is in studying what Dr. Silbert has done at Delancey with transforming lifelong felons into productive citizens. There are other examples as well used throughout the book.
Overall, I think this is a fantastic book, but it is also not an easy take it and apply it kind of guide book. The data used to come to the conclusions is obviously massive and the work it takes in the stories of influence presented in the book are also huge. However, the book challenges you to change your thinking and to look outside your normal view when wanting to have more influence. I think scaling the steps and the model from the book into day to day life is fairly easy, since simply knowing what to look for helps in how you choose to respond. The difficulty is in how far you take the influence strategies presented. So, its a great book and I highly recommend it if you have ever wished to have more power to change things.
Note: If you’re interested, one of the author’s, David Maxfield, posted a short comment and summary about this book from another review here.
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