Mr. Cialdini’s book opens our eyes to power of mental shortcuts, which we, humans, have programmed into ourselves to help us with all possible decisions made every day. The book approaches this subject twofold – on one side, it gives scientific reasons and examples of research confirming certain behavior, on the other hand it shows us how various mental shortcuts can be exploited.
The book was published originally in 1998 and since then a lot has changed around us. Weapons of influence – the six most important chosen by Mr. Cialdini – such as Reciprocation (urge to pay back in kind), Commitment and Consistency (we stubbornly stick to once made decision), Social Proof (a tendency to follow other people in their behaviour), Liking (we prefer what we like), Authority (we follow and agree to requests made by figures of authority) and Scarcity (we want what is difficult to get); are no longer as dangerous as they were. We no longer pay bay in kind all that much, we do not follow others stupidly (unless it is cool to do so), we balk at authorities or choose different ones to those generally approved… We have become immune to a lot of social pressures which have their roots in ancient history and had very good uses in not so distant past.
I think that someone should pick up this research and find out what are today’s weapons of influence, what new mental short cuts have we gained. Is “internet purchases are always cheaper” one of them? Or maybe “blond women have it better although they are silly”? I am sure we all have lost some and gained some in years since 1998. Regardless, you should read that book – it will give you a broader perspective and thank to this you will understand better reasons for a lot of seemingly stupid actions of your fellow humans.