Review :

Small things can have big impacts. That's the theme of this book, and it largely delivers. We get 52 shortish chapters on a different aspect of persuasion.

Like this ... people are more likely to give money to a hurricane disaster appeal if the hurricane has the same name as them. Or if the name of the hurricane begins with the same letter as their name.

And to back it up each of these little nuggets is backed up with genuine research. Scientific research. By blokes with white coats and pens in their top pockets.

It's well written, informative, credible. Unlike many of similar self-help books it doesn't take one little scrap of wisdom and blow it up into an entire book.

There are slight niggles. For one thing the book is crying out for a summary. Each chapter heading is a question "What small change could achieve X and Y". And while that makes for a teasing start to a chapter, it makes it difficult to find the nugget that you want. A simple list of the 52 ideas would be great (although it might remove the need to buy the entire book).

One other niggle is that there is one example of schoolboy humour that ought to have been zapped in the edit. The footnote to chapter 7 doesn't add anything and will annoy some readers. Please delete it for the next edition.

Recommended if you are in the business of trying to persuade people to do something.

I have one hesitation. The science of persuasion is becoming more and more sophisticated. If businesses and politicians use these sorts of techniques, then we all need to know about them. Not only do we need to know how to use these techniques, we also need to be able to spot when they are being used against us.

Perhaps that's another reason to buy this book. Five stars. If the rating system allowed it, I'd knock of a couple of percentage points for the lack of a summary and that footnote to chapter 7. But it's still five stars. Good book.

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