Book Reviews
Book Review of 'The Small Big'
One more in the global glut of books on how to influence people
 
Steve Martin, Noah Goldstein and Robert Cialdini—the co-authors of The Small Big-Small Changes that Spark Big Influence—have more than 50 tips on how to convince others. The highly anecdotal, smartly written 260 pages of the book are divided into 53 readable chapters, one pointer per chapter. 
 
Hoteliers, doctors, sales-persons, managers, policy-makers, charities, retailers, teachers, parents—just about everyone stands to benefit from the book. The threesome has managed to tell us what to do and, more importantly, how to do it without being didactic. 
 
How to get citizens to pay taxes, patients to keep their appointments, find the right pricing, or clinch that dream job? Well, the solution can be as simple as addressing mails that seek to extract a commitment or making a presentation that highlights your future potential and not just past achievements. 
 
If ever that Rs1,999.99 price tag has bothered you, you know where to look for the answer. And it seems Ron Johnson, a former senior vice-president at Apple, got himself fired as the CEO of JC Penny by rounding off those .99 price tags for whole integers. 
 
To set apart these titbits that can get you to influence others, experiments in behavioural science, economics and social psychology have been pressed in evidence. Yet, the trio has steered clear from being pedagogic. Instances from everyday life, longest running television shows, advertisements that tanked, sermons that worked miracles in shoring up donations, bids that were laughably pricey, make for an easy and useful reading. 
 
The easy listening show sounds jarring (page 125) with the words “In this information-saturated world where so many claim to be an expert, how do we know who to follow?” Perhaps, the use of ‘who’ instead of whom is an error. If not, then, like so many other rules, thanks to our American friends, the use of whom is slated to be shelved. 
 
It’s a small price for a whole new vocabulary in the science of persuasion that one learns: reciprocity, peak-end experience, escalation commitment, commitment and consistency, astroturfing, etc.
 
Thus, we find out that astroturfing, besides being fake grass used in sports, is the practice of launching fictitious reviews as part of a grassroots campaign. We also discover that, in some countries, such conduct is punishable. The example is from Taiwan and extracted from the book: 
 
“In October 2013, the Fair Trade Commission of Taiwan fined the Samsung Corporation 10 million New Taiwan dollars (around US$ 350,000) for allegedly paying people to post review and comments on social media and websites attacking the products of Samsung’s long time rival HTC and at the same time praising its own.” 
 
Hope someone in Delhi is reading this and giving us genuine ‘likes’. A book that’s full of solutions does not need much publicity. But, the authors go a step further and demonstrate the flip side of their suggestions and the proper dosage of their antidotes. 
 
Your product may have 10 different and highly laudable attributes; but, in your advertisements, you are well advised to limit yourself to the best three; mentioning anything more may distract rather than attract readers. My husband’s generation used to call it the ‘KISS RULE’: ‘Keep it simple, stupid!’
 
For a brief moment, the book does appear to be old wise men’s tales, dovetailed American style. However, sometimes, even old tales need retelling; pun intended. In case you are at the airport on your way to negotiate a deal, now, you know which book to buy. Seal the deal, at Rs399, not Rs400! 

User

COMMENTS

Kiran Aggarwal

2 years ago

Hope someone in Delhi is reading this and giving us genuine ‘likes’

What does this line mean in this article ?
Any relevance to book review?

REPLY

Kiran Aggarwal

In Reply to Kiran Aggarwal 2 years ago

I reside in Delhi Divya !!!

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Nifty, Sensex may move sideways– Thursday closing report

Nifty has rallied for six days in a row. It is time for a small dip

 

Gains on the indices continued today for the sixth consecutive session. Today for the first time ever has Sensex crossed the level of 29,000 and managed trading above this level for a substantial time. Though mid-way through the session, it lost some strength but it subsequently recovered and closed with good gains.
 
S&P BSE Sensex opened at 28,958 and moved down to 28,892 after reaching upto 29,060, while CNX Nifty opened at 8,746 and moved from a high of 8,774 to 8,727. Recovering from the low, the Sensex closed at 29,006 (up 117 points or 0.41%) while Nifty closed at 8,761 (up 32 points or 0.37%). NSE recorded a volume of 100.99 crore shares. India VIX rose 4.81% to close at 18.5650.
 
In the government's Housing for All Mission, the Prime Minister Narendra Modi has directed all concerned departments to immediately finalise the programme and the financing models for alternate sets of housing requirements. The programme proposes to build 2 crore houses across the nation by 2022.
 
In his foreword to the fourth edition of the annual Status Paper on Government Debt which gives detailed analysis of the government's debt position released yesterday, the Finance Minister Arun Jaitely has said that the overall liabilities of the Central Government are on a medium-term declining trajectory with low roll-over risk, notwithstanding the slight increase in a couple of years in recent past due to stimulus spending in the wake of the global financial crisis.
 
On the sidelines of the World Economic Forum meeting yesterday Minister for Power and Coal Piyush Goyal reportedly said that the country's power sector is set for $250 billion investment across different segments. He also said investments are expected across diverse areas of the energy sector including in renewables as well as transmission and distribution segments.
 
The government wants to reduce the subsidy bill, estimated at near 2% of its gross domestic product, to cut down state expenditure and transfer funds to other sectors, the finance minister said.
 
Media reported that the Union Minister of Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises Anant Geete on Thursday made a strong case to extend the excise duty relief to auto makers and increase in import duty on electrical equipment to help local industries. However, he did not divulge details with regard to his ministry's proposals made in this regard to finance minister.
 
Chief Economic Advisor Arvind Subramanian has said the real investment flows should begin picking up from next fiscal, but it will be a gradual process. Sun Pharma Advanced (17.04%) was top gainer in ‘A’ group on the BSE. The stock hit its all-time high today.
 
Suzlon Energy (7.45%) was the top loser in ‘A’ group on the BSE. Suzlon Group today signed a binding agreement with Centerbridge Partners LP, USA to sell 100% stake in Senvion SE, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Suzlon Group.
 
Sun Pharma (3.65%) was the top gainer in Sensex 30 pack while NTPC (2.44%) was the top loser. On Wednesday US indices closed in the green. Canada's central bank, the Bank of Canada, delivered a shock interest-rate cut after a monetary policy review yesterday. Except for NZSE 50 (0.45%) and Seoul Composite (0.02%) all the other Asian indices were trading in the green. SET Composite index of Thailand (1.49%) was the top gainer. China's central bank injected 50 billion yuan ($8 billion) of liquidity into the financial system. The move to keep the banks flush with cash comes ahead of the Lunar New Year holiday next month when demand for funds normally increases substantially as people spend on gifts and dining.
 
European indices were showing mixed performance while US Futures were trading higher. European Central Bank may unveil a bond-buying stimulus programme later in the day in an attempt to revive the flagging euro zone economy.
 

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