I read my fair share of non-fiction books, most of them not directly related to the legal industry. If I had to recommend a book that would be insightful for lawyers and law students alike, I would suggest Influence by Robert Cialdini. While it’s a bit old, Cialdini provides a fascinating look at how humans are vulnerable to certain persuasion techniques.
He argues that in certain scenarios, humans behave in “mechanical, tape-activated ways.” This automatic behavior often occurs because it’s efficient. Simply put, we need shortcuts to get through the day, as we don’t have time to sit down and analyze every situation that we encounter.
The fact remains that these shortcuts can be exploited—for better or worse. And throughout the book, he touches on six “weapons of influence.” They are reciprocity, commitment and consistency, social proof, liking, authority, and scarcity.
These six tools can be valuable in a wide range of scenarios. For instance, they’re valuable if you’re a lawyer trying to pitch your services to a new client or if you’re simply trying to convince your spouse to do something.
Influence should be a mainstay not only in the libraries of lawyers and law students, but individuals who are curious about the way that humans influence each other.