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The Power of Persuasion: How We're Bought and Sold by Robert Levine

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1 month ago by theflash48

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Product description "An engaging, highly readable survey of the sophisticated methods of persuasion we encounter in various situations. From television to telemarketing and from self-deception to suicide cults, Levine takes a hard look at all the ways we attempt to persuade each other--and how and why they work (or don't). . . . The next time you wonder what possessed you to pay $50 for a medallion commemorating the series finale of Friends, you'll know where to turn." --Slashdot.org "If you're like most people, you think advertising and marketing work--just not on you. Robert Levine's The Power of Persuasion demonstrates how even the best-educated cynics among us can be victimized by sales pitches." --The Globe and Mail "Levine puts [his] analysis in the service of his real mission--to arm the reader against manipulation." --The Wall Street Journal "This wonderful book will change the way you think and act in many realms of your life." --Philip Zimbardo former president, American Psychological Association 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. Review 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), 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. (Mar.) ( Publishers Weekly, February 24, 2003) "an interesting book". (The Wall Street Journal, July 23, 2003) "If you're like most people, you think advertising and marketing work--just not on you. Robert Levine's The Power of Persuasion demonstrates how even the best-educated cynics among us can be victimized by sales pitches." --The Globe and Mail's website, www.globeandmail.com Review "If you read this book, you’ll be privy to the tactics of those who wish to part you from your money, your freedom, your time. How you use this knowledge is up to you." —Ellen B. Tabor, M.D., Psychiatric Services magazine "Outstanding and thoroughly engrossing... a must-read survival guide... in the 21st century." —Harry Reis, Ph.D., Psychology Professor, University of Rochester "Wonderful book... will change the way you think and act in many realms of your life." —Philip Zimbardo, President, A.P.A. "Witty and wise... I couldn't put it down. A great book..." —David Myers, Hope College, author Intuition: Its Powers and Perils "Important and very interesting. Both our students and the public should read it." —Ed Diener, Psychology Department, University of Illinois From the Inside Flap "Learn from the mistakes of others. You can’t live long enough to make them all yourself."–Eleanor Roosevelt Do you believe most people are susceptible to persuasion, but not you? According to renowned social psychologist Robert Levine, you are more susceptible than you think and just how vulnerable you are depends on the talented subtlety and skill of the persuader. Drawing heavily on both extensive field research and scientific findings, The Power of Persuasion offers an incisive new take on the mindsets of those who prod, praise, debase, and manipulate others to do things they never thought they’d do–and are usually later sorry they did. Whether they’re pushing Tupperware or eternity, professional persuaders are skilled artisans who often leave their prey unaware that they’ve been influenced or even conned. In researching this penetrating work, Dr. Levine and a host of students went undercover to observe and expose the tactics of persuasion professionals, from hucksters selling everything from cosmetics to health, timeshares to kitchenware, as well as religious and cult leaders and others who use their skills to control others’ lives. The Power of Persuasion features vivid testimonies from individuals on the receiving end of the process, varying from those who are convinced they’ve been saved to those who believe they’ve been ruined by psychobabbling control freaks. In an effort to fully understand and disclose how these smooth operators work, Dr. Levine took a hands-on approach by attending training sessions for magicians honing their craft. He even took on the most educational jobs of them all: selling cars and hawking cutlery door to door. Focusing on the subtle, almost invisible processes of effective manipulation, The Power of Persuasion exposes the many tricks of the trade, including how: The "sunk=cost trap" encourages you to throw good money after bad "Free gifts" are offered to make you feel obligated to make a purchase or donation The "anchoring trap" may be used to make a high price appear lower "Decoys" are craftily used to make other products in their line look more attractive The Power of Persuasion then offers you some rules for protecting yourself from becoming an unwitting victim of manipulation, such as: Beware of simple answers to complex problems Question reputations Recognize the apparent lack of pressure as a type of pressure Distrust time limits Realize that the most dangerous sales men don’t look like salesmen at all From the Back Cover "An engaging, highly readable survey of the sophisticated methods of persuasion we encounter in various situations. From television to telemarketing and from self-deception to suicide cults, Levine takes a hard look at all the ways we attempt to persuade each other—and how and why they work (or don't). . . . The next time you wonder what possessed you to pay $50 for a medallion commemorating the series finale of Friends, you'll know where to turn." —Slashdot.org "If you're like most people, you think advertising and marketing work—just not on you. Robert Levine's The Power of Persuasion demonstrates how even the best-educated cynics among us can be victimized by sales pitches." —The Globe and Mail "Levine puts [his] analysis in the service of his real mission—to arm the reader against manipulation." —The Wall Street Journal "This wonderful book will change the way you think and act in many realms of your life." —Philip Zimbardo former president, American Psychological Association About the Author Robert Levine, Ph.D., is professor in the psychology department at California State University, Fresno, where he has also served as Department Chair and Associate Dean of the College of Science and Mathematics. He has received many awards for his teaching and research. He has been a visiting professor at Universidade Federal Fluminense in Niteroi, Brazil, at Sapporo Medical University in Japan, and at Stockholm University in Sweden. He has published articles in Psychology Today, Discover, and American Scientist and has appeared on ABC's World News Tonight, Dateline, NBC, CNN, The Discovery Channel, and All Things Considered. He is currently President-Elect of the Western Psychological Association.

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