The Marketing Book Podcast: "Invisible Influence" by Jonah Berger

Posted by Douglas Burdett

"Invisible Influence: The Hidden Forces that Shape Behavior" by Jonah Berger

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Jonah Berger is a Marketing professor at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. He has published dozens of articles in top-tier academic journals, and popular accounts of his work have appeared in places like The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, Science, Harvard Business Review, Wired, BusinessWeek, and Fast Company.

Jonah has been recognized with awards for both scholarship and teaching, including being named Wharton's "Iron Prof" in recognition of awesome faculty research. He earned his Ph.D. from the Stanford Graduate School of Business.

 

The Host's Perspective:

If you’re like me, you’ve always assumed that choices and behaviors are driven by individual, personal tastes, and opinions. It turns out that’s not really true. I had always assumed we were pretty much in control of our own thoughts and opinions until I read “Invisible Influence.” Without our realizing it, other people’s behavior has a huge influence on everything we do at every moment of our lives, from the mundane to the momentous. Even strangers have a startling impact on our judgments and decisions.

At the beginning of the book, Jonah Berger makes a joke about the fact that most people don’t think they are influenced by others but by themselves. He states, “Sure, other people might follow the herd, but not me.” That’s what I thought.

The book then walks you through the how and why of this invisible influence that is exerted on people. But it’s not a matter of monkey see, monkey do. We’re talking about humans here, so things are not so simple. Sure, in some cases we conform, or imitate others around us. But in other cases we avoid particular choices or behaviors because other people are doing them.

Which explains why Gucci’s competitors sent free Gucci products to Snooki from Jersey Shore. Or why Abercrombie & Fitch paid Michael “The Situation” Sorrentino from the same show not to wear their clothes. After you read this book you won’t look at your own behavior, or the behavior of others, the same again.

 

 Listen to the Interview:


Show Notes: 

"Invisible Influence: The Hidden Forces that Shape Behavior" by Jonah Berger

"Made to Stick" by Chip Heath and Dan Heath

"Predictably  Irrational" by Dan Ariely

"Influence" by Robert B. Cialdini

"The Power of Habit" by Charles Duhigg

"Diffusion of Innovations" by Everett M. Rogers

"A Matter of Taste" by Stanley Lieberson

"The Mind Club" by Daniel M. Wegner and Kurt Gray

Jonah's Website (JonahBerger.com)

Jonah's Twitter (@J1Berger)

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