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The Power of Persuasion: How We're Bought and Sold Paperback – Jan 23 2006
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From Publishers Weekly
This valuable and nonacademic guide reveals the extent to which we are surrounded by persuasion, and how we can resist. Levine (A Geography of Time), a professor of psychology at Cal State Fresno, opens by demonstrating that all of us (including himself) can be persuaded under the right circumstances. He goes on to study financial manipulation and the use of the sense of obligation (which exists in all cultures, even if it is most strongly visible in Japan), and then proceeds to a nuts-and-bolts analysis of salesmanship by describing what he learned and did (and had done to him) as an automobile salesman. He offers an admirably concise and unemotional analysis of the famous Milgram experiment, involving the (claimed) administration of ever-stronger electric shocks to test the impulse to obedience. Inevitably, he moves to cults, the Moonies and the ultimate persuasion horror story, Jonestown. Not so inevitably, he avoids hysteria and demonization, even of Jim Jones, and points out that brute force is required at the extreme end of the persuasion spectrum. Levine's final chapter offers ways of dealing with unwelcome persuasion while remaining part of a society in which some persuasion is part of almost any social interaction. The final results are bout as far as possible from the shrill Hidden Persuaders tradition or the cult deprogrammers who become cult gurus themselves-and quite persuasive about the author's credentials, common sense and ethics.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
"This valuable and nonacademic guide reveals the extent to which we are surrounded by persuasion, and how we can resist it." Publishers Weekly "An interesting book... Levine puts his analysis in the service of his real mission - to arm the reader against manipulation." The Wall Street Journal "If you're like most people, you think advertising and marketing work - just not on you. Robert Levine's Power of Persuasion demonstrates how even the best-educated cynics among us can be victimized by sales pitches." The Globe and Mail "Levine's style of writing makes the reader feel as though they are in the story with him. An excellent read and well-recommended to those particularly interested in advertising, group dynamics, and occupational psychology." Psychologist,The --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
I had two minor complaints, neither sufficient to reduce my rating from five to four stars. While the book is replete with fascinating anecdotes and synopses of various studies, Levine also peppers the text with tongue-in-cheek remarks. Most of them are funny, but he spends a few paragraphs too many chuckling at his own jokes (or his pal, Lenny). More significantly, Chapter Nine ("Jonestown") comes from left field. For 200 pages, Levine writes about sales and marketing -- and then suddenly he spends 20 pages pontificating about a religious cult. It's interesting, but misplaced. If I'd wanted to read a book about Jonestown, there are dozens. I wouldn't have picked Levine's.
That said, I recommend this book. There are no surprises (apart from Jonestown): If you're intrigued by the teaser, you'll like the book. Aside from a general education about impressionability, I took away several specific notes. Levine's comments about Matisse struck a chord with me, and I'm currently reading Paco Underhill's "Why We Buy" based on Levine's reference. This is a worthwhile book. I'm glad I bought it, and I expect to pick it up again in a few years.
Levine writes and gives due credit to everyone from his students (by name) to the many researchers who make the field more fascinating and understood year by year.
I can't say enough about this book. When I wrote The Psychology of Persuasion in 1996, I knew that persuasion was a field that would become more fascinating and important as each year would come and go. This book is like a bible of persuasion,influence and contains an enormous amount of research about how you and I might not know each ourselves as well as we think. Get this book! You will get new ideas and tips that I had not seen prior to this book and that is rare indeed. Buy this book. It is one of the best in the field. [...]
Product : Excellent condition as shown. Price was very reasonable. Will buy again.