Influence Is Your Superpower (Summary & Review)

BusinessPsychology

What’s in it? Quick Summary

“Influence Is Your Superpower” by Zoe Chance is a book that aims to change the reader’s perception of influence and teach them how to use it to their advantage. The book covers topics such as the psychology of influence, the importance of saying ‘no’, the power of listening, and timing requests. Overall, the book provides practical advice for anyone looking to improve their ability to influence others.

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About the author

Zoe Chance is the author of “Influence Is Your Superpower.” She is a professor of marketing at the Yale School of Management and has also worked as a consultant and speaker on topics related to consumer behavior and persuasion. Chance received her Ph.D. from Harvard University and has been recognized for her contributions to the field of marketing and consumer behavior.

Bullet Summary: Influence Is Your Superpower

  • Influence is not inherently bad, but can be used for manipulation by bad people.
  • Understanding how people think and make decisions can make it easier to influence them.
  • The lizard brain, or instinctive brain, often controls our initial reactions and decisions.
  • Salespeople and marketers use tactics to trigger impulsive behavior and influence people.
  • Saying “no” can make you stronger and more charismatic, and increase your value to others.
  • People are more likely to cooperate when they are in a trance state, which triggers their instinctive brain.
  • Asking people for help or favors, even for small things, can increase your influence and build connections.
  • Listening to others and making them feel heard and understood can also increase your influence.
  • Timing and approach are important when making requests or trying to influence someone.
  • The best influence is when people don’t realize that they were influenced.

Influence Is Your Superpower Detailed Summary

The word “Influence” has a bad reputation because bad people use it for manipulation.

However, the truth is that you don’t need to become a bad person to get things done.

Influence is only bad when it’s used by a bad person.

You can be a good person and still influence others to do good things.

This book summary teaches you valuable lessons on how to influence others and increase your own value.

Alrighty, so without further ado, let’s dive right in.

Lesson #1: Learning how other people think can make it easier for you to influence them.

Before we discuss how to influence, we need to understand how do we get influenced in the first place.

The author divides the brain into two parts: Gator brain and Judge.

Gator brain is our lizard brain. In simple words, it’s our instinctive brain that helps us in survival.

For instance, when we see beautiful people, we instinctively associate positive qualities with them and start thinking that they must be good people.

But as soon as we learn a bit about them, our conscious brain or Judge kicks in.

That’s when you realize that physical beauty has nothing to do with inner beauty.

Most people think from their lizard brain, when they stop being conscious.

Let this sink in for a moment. This is the key to influencing people.

Have you noticed how we all expect situations to be a certain way, but things don’t usually turn out how we want them to.

That happens because most people let their very first thought make decisions.

Most people never learn higher order thinking.

As a result, they think what comes to them automatically. Or you can also say that they think unconsciously. And that too very fast.

The moment you slow down, your Conscious Brain or Judge kicks in, and then you start seeing things differently.

This is when you become highly rational.

Now this might sound a bit dark, but that’s how salespeople influence.

They ask you to do things when you are not rational, when your Gator brain is in control.

For instance, you must have noticed how you tend to buy unwanted things when you buy impulsively.

Or you will also notice how you are more likely to do a certain thing if it’s easier to do, don’t you?

You may prefer to do business with companies that prioritize making your life easier, even if they are not the cheapest option.

Marketers or influencers always keep using smart tactics to trigger your impulsive behavior. That’s the moment when you get influenced.

Now, what did we learn from this?

The best way to learn influence is to reverse engineer the entire process.

Always pay attention when you are being told to do something and you feel that you should do it even when there is no need to take action.

This will help you learn influence on a deeper level.

Lesson #2: Be fearless and learn to say “no” to other people.

We perceive “no” as a survival threat. We see it as a danger.

Because if you are told no, it usually means that your idea is rejected.

And attach our sense of self with our idea.

So it’s only natural that our minds see it as a threat.

Nobody like rejections.

But the best part is: Rejections make you stronger.

The more comfortable you become by saying no, the easier your life gets.

People start to realize that you are not an average person who would agree to just any mindless request.

That you have boundaries and that you know exactly what you want.

This makes you instantly charismatic.

People subconsciously place you higher on the value ladder.

You don’t become charismatic, when you try too hard to appear charismatic, says the author.

Real charisma is when you don’t even need to try because you already know that you are the best on the planet.

Lesson #3: People are more likely to cooperate when they are in trance state.

This is the dark manipulation psychology that cult leaders often use to get people do what they want.

When someone is in such a state, their lizard brain takes over, and therefore they are not able to think clearly and use their rational brain.

This is the same technique used by salespeople.

They throw their pitch when the person on the receiver end is more likely to accept.

Ever wondered why, when salespeople have to sell a product, they show you a long webinar or presentation?

They do not do that because they genuinely care about you, it’s their way to put you in a trance state.

If you pay attention, you will notice that those presentations are usually one hour long.

There is a big reason why is this so.

Watching a 1-hour long webinar can lead to boredom.

There is a limit to how much you can listen consciously.

As soon as boredom kicks in, your lizard brain or “Instinctive brain” takes over.

And we know, it’s easy to control instinctive brain compared to conscious brain.

Our conscious brain tends to get tired after a few minutes, and by that time salespeople make sure that they have got enough “yes” from you.

According to basic psychology, if you get enough “yes” from someone, we are more prone to say “yes” if another request is made.

We stop judging when rapport and trust are built.

However, that’s a mistake.

And that’s why you must not lose your rational thinking even when you trust someone.

If you want to influence someone, you have to put them in a trance state, a state of mind when it’s relying on instincts and not on rational thinking.

Also, this trick becomes even more powerful when other people are involved.

That’s because you are likely to do something if other people are doing it.

For example, for example, when a movie trailer starts trending, people start talking about it.

And this triggers fear or missing out in you. You feel that you will miss a great experience if you don’t go out to watch that movie like everybody else.

That’s not your rational brain.

It’s your instinctive brain making you think that.

That’s the power of influence.

If you master influencing people, you can do anything.

Lesson #4: It never hurts to ask people if you want something.

One of the reasons many people aren’t able to influence others is because they never ask.

They feel underconfident while asking other people to do something.

Society has taught us to be nice and not to be selfish.

However, if you want to influence other people, you have to simply ask.

Asking is not selfish. However, asking for the wrong reasons is.

If you are genuine, there is no problem in making requests.

And you’ll be surprised by how many people would actually like to do something for you and help you.

Most people don’t want to appear bad.

After helping, they feel good.

But if you don’t ask, they will never know that you need help.

In the worst case, they will simply say “No” to you.

It’s completely understandable to feel hurt when you ask for something and the other person doesn’t reciprocate.

You might feel embarassed or egoistic while making requests.

But since we are afraid of failures while making requests, so we avoid it at all costs unless it’s extremely important.

Obviously, you can’t expect people to fulfill big requests if they haven’t done anything small for you in the past.

To increase your chances, the author recommends that you ask others for small favors first.

The only way to become comfortable asking others to do things for you is to become comfortable with rejections.

The more rejections you face, the easier it gets.

Just remember this:

If you never try, you never know.

Lesson #5: If you can listen, you can influence.

Imagine a person is talking to you, but all he is doing is talking about himself, would you like to do anything for him?

Obviously not. Unless you owe the other guy something or you already have a deep connection.

Lot of people don’t know this. But deep down we all want to be heard, felt, and understood by other people.

It’s difficult to feel a connection when you are not heard.

Just think about all the people in your life who have the ability to influence you.

Chances are that those are people who already have some kind of emotional connection with you.

If you want to influence people, start listening to them first.

This might not make sense at first, but the more you practice it, you will see your influence growing.

That’s because most people can’t influence.

The author says that “listening” is one of the most charismatic qualities.

It shows that you have patience, empathy, and the ability to understand the situation.

It shows self-control.

It’s easier to influence when you appear charismatic.

Listening ability alone can make you stand out if you do it right.

For instance, if you are addressing a group of people, genuinely try to connect with one person first.

Don’t just focus on speaking all the time.

And then you’ll see that other people are also taking more interest.

Lesson #6: When you ask sometimes matters more than what you ask.

You can be very influential, but sometimes, you may ask people at very bad timing.

People live in their heads worrying about their daily lives.

So even when they appear idle, there is a high chance that so much is going on in their minds.

To influence people, you have to get in their head first.

But if their head is already filled with other things, it’s not very smart to approach them and ask them to do something.

The only problem here is that you never know when is the right time.

Also, it’s super difficult for a normal person to read body language and know exactly what’s going on in someone’s head regardless of how much psychology you know.

There is a workaround though.

Before you make a request, try using phrases like “Is this the right time to talk to you?” or “Would you mind if I ask you something right now?”

Again, don’t expect the other person to say Yes.

It’s fine if they say No.

Also, it’s not always our fault.

You can do the best approach in the world and still get a No.

Also, sometimes, how and what you say can also lead to a rejection.

Some people may also raise objections. In that case, you have to listen attentively and minimize the resistance.

Finally, you never know how other people will respond.

So never take rejctions too seriously.

Influence is a skill that comes with practice and experience.

Lesson #7: The best influence is when you impact people, and they are unaware that they have been influenced.

Think about the times when you were influenced.

It’s hard to tell, isn’t it?

Unless you are super aware and have a good memory obviously.

However, the truth is that we all have been influenced so many times in the past, and even now you are being influenced by so many influencers, tv shows, media, etc.

It’s just that we don’t realize when we are influenced.

To realize, our conscious mind has to pay attention to what’s going on with us.

Deep down, we all want to be free beings.

Anything that takes away our freedom, we just unconsciously reject it.

Now think what would happen if you are trying to influence someone, and if they find out that they are being controlled.

It’s obvious that influencing them will become harder.

The best influencers know this.

To influence someone you have to make them feel that they have a freedom of choice even if they don’t have much options.

That way it’ll be easier to influence.

They would feel that they are in control and will be more likely to do what you want them to do.

Influence Is Your Superpower Review

I believe that the book does not provide sufficient information on how to become more influential. My expectations of the author were higher.

There were too many stories that seemed to be included simply to fill the pages. The author should have included more focused chapters on influence.

Although there were a few helpful techniques, having read many books, I did not come across anything particularly groundbreaking. The book could have been improved if it had been written in a different style.

The author started the book well by establishing a solid foundation, but my interest dwindled after a few chapters. Ultimately, completing the book felt like a chore.

Overall, the book is enjoyable, but I’d suggest not to have high expectations.

You can buy the book in your preferable format below.

Get the Audiobook: Listen free with Audible Trial

Get the Paperback version: View price on Amazon

Get the Hardcover version: View price on Amazon

Now It’s Your Turn

There you have it. I hope this book summary was helpful.

Now you tell me:

What are your best takeaways from this book summary?

Do you have some feedback?

You can contact me anytime and let me know.

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Thanks for reading.

Shami Manohar


The Brain Behind Wizbuskout.com

I am Shami Manohar, the founder of WizBuskOut. My obsession with non-fiction books has fueled me with the energy to create this website. I read at least one book every week on topics such as business, critical thinking, mindset, psychology, and more.

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