The Influential Mind – Tali Sharot

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This book receives 10 out 10 possible stars. Everything about this book was just the way i like it: short and to-the-point, balanced content/wisdom density, humor and real world examples.

Tali gifts us with very valuable neuro-scientific knowledge with easy to understand explanations with applications in your everyday life. The latter is very important. You could read 10 books about neuroscience, but if you don’t find an application of that knowledge in your work/life, this knowledge is almost useless. The Influential Mind gives you some very important tips how to think, avoid cognitive biases and influence others effectively.

Published: August 2018

Cost: 10$

Pages: 256

Quotes you didn’t know you like

We experience a burst of pleasure when we share our thoughts, and this drives us to communicate.“ – p. 6

That statement is in sync with suggestions from Dale Carnegie in which he tells you to ask people open ended questions and let them talk. People love to talk about themselves.

We’ve become accustomed to finding support for absolutely anything we want to believe, with a simple click of the mouse“ – p. 7

Here Tali Sharot refers to looking up a topic on Google, Facebook, Twitter, etc. Because of the algorithms behind the searching engines it is really hard to find content that is not in sync with your previous browsing/consuming history. Using incognito window might help.

[…] the greater your cognitive capacity, the greater your ability to rationalize and interpret information at will, and to creatively twist data to fit your opinions.“ – p. 24

This one was surprising. It seems that your analytical intelligence could be counter-productive for you by fooling yourself – confirmation bias. Simply excelling in data-science probably won’t transform you into an open-minded person. Being aware of your cognitive biases seems to be more important. Here is an extended list of cognitive biases you didn’t know exist.

Influence behavior by building on common ground instead of trying to prove others wrong.“ – p. 32

When it comes to eliciting action, immediate rewards can often be more effective than future punishment.“ – p. 60

Something to remember whenever you want someone to do something (more often).

[…] to influence actions, you need to give people a sense of control. Eliminate the sense of agency and you get anger, frustration, and resistance. Expand people’s sense of influence over their world and you increase their motivation and compliance.“ – p.87

Tali mentioned that the sense of control can be fake. Humans do like to preserve our autonomy and so thinking that we will have control over the action that we are asked to do, will make us less resistant.

[Experiment participants] who decided to watch out for warnings [before a small induced pain] were more relaxed, because they knew they could avoid harm, and so they ended up feeling better“ – p. 125

This was counter intuitive since you might think that the ones who weren’t paying attention to the signals were more relaxed as they didn’t think about the coming pain. It turns out that if you know the pain/problem/issue will almost certainly arrive, you’re better off if you look for the clues.

If children constantly observe adults on their phones eating salty chips, it will be extremely difficult to convince them to instead read a book while eating a pear. “ – p. 156

This social/crowd learning is very important to remember. Not only to raise you child right. But also to become aware of your own subconscious choices of what you like and what you think you need.

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