Invisible Influence: The Hidden Forces that Shape Behaviour

Posted November 30, 2016 in What We're Reading

invisible-influenceBook Review: Invisible Influence: The Hidden Forces that Shape Behaviour, by Jonah Berger

Reviewed by: George Davis

The Premise: Jonah Berger, New York Times bestselling author of Contagious takes us in a new direction with his latest book Invisible Influence. This time out, Berger explores the often subtle, secret influences that affect our behaviour – from what we buy, to where we live, to the careers we choose and even to the people we marry.

Invisible Influence combines years of research in the Social Sciences with easy to understand stories that demonstrates how others (often without our awareness) influence our behaviour and choices. The main premise follows that Social Influence is neither bad nor good but by understanding how it works in influencing behaviour we can harness its power.

The book is divided into four main topic areas; The Role of Conformity – Why People Conform, The Drive for Difference – Why People Diverge, Similar but Different – Lessons in Managing Innovation and Using Comparison (Competition) as a Motivating Force. Each topic area ends with a segment focused on practical application – this helps the reader put social influence to work.

Invisible Influence is quite an engaging read and is not overly complex in terms of structure or scientific language. You do not need an advanced degree in the Social Sciences to enjoy this book – it’s very easy to pick up and be drawn directly into the content.


The Bottom Line: I enjoyed this book. As you read the various research studies/stories you are skillfully lead by the author to that “ah ha” moment where it all makes perfect sense. At times you feel like kicking yourself because it’s pretty simple once you really think about it.

There are a few standout segments that I found particularly valuable. In one segment the author explores “Behavioural Mimicry”. I found this revealing when linked to negotiating successful deals/resolution of issues. The author also walks through several studies/stories about differentiation and how we make choices – very revealing for those without a Marketing background. In another segment, the author looks at “Innovation”. Anyone considering marketing a new/innovated product should read this segment. Towards the end of the book the author looks at “Competition”. I found this particularly interesting when viewed through the lens of goal setting – why some people achieve and some people give up. Anyone setting team/individual goals should check this out.


Roundtable Recommendation: Great for leaders who are looking for something interesting but not overly taxing to read – a great read particularly while on vacation.   The studies/stories are highly relatable and you come away with a better sense of how others influence our choices and why we tend to behave the way we do.

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