Note: While reading a book whenever I come across something interesting, I highlight it on my Kindle. Later I turn those highlights into a blogpost. It is not a complete summary of the book. These are my notes which I intend to go back to later. Let’s start!

  • The High-Ground Maneuver: The High-Ground Maneuver is a persuasion method that involves elevating a debate from the details on which people disagree to a higher concept on which everyone agrees. Use the High-Ground Maneuver to frame yourself as the wise adult in the room. It forces others to join you or be framed as the small thinkers.
    • High-Ground Maneuver Example: Pundit 1: Your side didn’t do enough to end street violence. Pundit 2: I agree. Luckily we have learned a lot since then. A number of cities experimented with different approaches and some worked better than others. Let’s try to find the best practices and see if we can spread them to other cities. Result: Pundit 1 is framed as the child who has nothing to offer but complaints. Pundit 2 demonstrates an adult understanding of how to solve problems over time.
  • Pacing and Leading: Pacing involves matching the person you plan to persuade in as many ways as possible, including the way the person thinks, speaks, breathes, and moves. Pacing builds trust because people see you as being the same as them. After pacing, a persuader can then lead, and the subject will be comfortable following.

  • Persuasion Stack: A persuasion stack is a collection of persuasion-related skills that work well together.

  • Second Dimension: The second dimension describes the most common view of reality—the one in which we believe facts and logic are important to our decisions. This view says humans are reasonable 90 percent of the time, but every now and then we get a bit crazy.

  • Setting the Table: Setting the table refers to managing an opponent’s first impressions before negotiations begin.

  • Tells: I borrowed this term from poker. In a poker context, it means that a player is giving off a signal—a tell—about how good his cards are. In the context of persuasion, a tell is a signal that someone has been persuaded. But I also use the word generically to indicate any kind of signal.

  • Thinking Past the Sale: Thinking past the sale is a persuasion technique in which a subject is prompted to imagine what happens after a decision has been made, to bias the person toward making the decision.

  • Third Act: In movie terms, the Third Act is the point in the story in which the hero’s situation looks most dire. I use this terminology to describe any situation in which reality is likely to follow a traditional movie form.

  • Third Dimension: The third dimension is where trained persuaders operate. This worldview says humans are irrational 90 percent of the time. The only exceptions are when decisions have no emotional content.

  • Two Movies on One Screen: Two movies on one screen is how I describe the phenomenon in which observers can see the same information and interpret it as supporting two entirely different stories.

More Techniques

  • Master Persuaders can thrive in chaotic environments by offering the clarity people crave. And if an environment is not chaotic already, a skilled persuader who understands both social media and the news business can easily stir the pot to create an advantage through chaos. Candidate Trump was a champion of this method.

  • In the context of persuasion, you don’t need a physical picture if you can make someone imagine the scene.

  • Visual persuasion is more powerful than non visual persuasion, all else being equal. And the difference is large.

  • Trump had a natural visual advantage for his accomplishments in the form of Trump properties (hotels, golf courses, etc.) around the world. Every time you saw one of those hotels you were reminded of his success. Compare that with the Clinton Foundation’s accomplishments, which had no visual element.

  • People are more persuaded by contrast than by facts or reason. Choose your contrasts wisely.