#161 – Invisible Influence by Jonah Berger

I have to confess that I’m not reading as much anymore as I want to and it’s been a while since I’ve read consistently…but that’s definitely something that I want to get back to. I just read Crush It by Gary Vaynerchuck (I’ll read it again!) and now I’m reading a book called Invisible Influence – The Hidden Forces That Shape Behavior by Jonah Berger.

It’s interesting to think about how much we’re actually influenced by other people in our everyday interactions – often without even knowing it. Without even seeing it or realizing it…until it’s pointed out to us and then it’s completely obvious.

The author writes about how invisible influence works to make people conform and fall into the lines of whatever other people around them are doing or expressing:

When we’re not sure about the right thing to do, we look to others to help us figure if out. Imagine looking for a parking spot. After driving around for what seems like forever, you find a whole side of a street free of cars. Success! But excitement quickly turns to concern: If no one else is parked here, maybe I shouldn’t, either. There might be street cleaning or some special event that makes parking here illegal. (P. 28)

Invisible social influence also happens e.g. when we walk into a place and there’s a lot of people lined up…we instantly and without thinking about it join the back of the line. Or when we look for a restaurant, we choose the one where there are already people sitting as opposed to the one that’s empty. If we’re at dinner and nobody wants dessert, we’re more inclined to also skip dessert, even though we might really want dessert, just because that’s what everyone else is doing.

Most of us go along. Most of us conform. Most of us do as others do because it’s easier and it’s a way to be part of “the group”.

Monkey see, monkey do.

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