I should probably preface what follows with the fact that I am a big fan of Jonah Berger’s work. As a researcher, Berger has a knack for asking intriguing questions and finding ways to analyse those insights through interesting experiments. As a writer, Berger is extremely talented in conveying scientific research in a way that isn’t just easy to understand, but enjoyable to read. And in all of this, Berger’s latest book Invisible Influence: The Hidden Forces that Shape Behaviour lives up to prior expectations.

In Invisible Influence Berger explores examples of social influence, or ways people are swayed by the choices and actions of others around them.  Berger shares findings on how familiarity, difference, and competition, among others, encourage people to behave in certain ways. In so doing, Berger draws from his own research, as well as the work of many more scientists, including other favourites such as Robert Cialdini.

Berger builds engaging narratives with each type of social influence, creating chapters based around human stories and examples. With each aspect of social influence explored, Berger applies this understanding to practical examples where using persuasion could encourage people to make better decisions.

Invisible Influence is an immensely enjoyable read – almost too much so. I breezed through this book so quickly I was left wanting more. Berger’s style is so simple and fun to digest it makes Invisible Influence the perfect summer or holiday read. It’s definitely a book I will be revisiting in the future, both for the fun of it, but also the 15 pages or so of footnotes and source material.

Well done, Jonah, give me more!

Invisible Influence is available on Amazon.


About Author

La Generalista is the online identity of Alicia Wanless – a researcher and practitioner of strategic communications for social change in a Digital Age. Alicia is the director of the Partnership for Countering Influence Operations at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. With a growing international multi-stakeholder community, the Partnership aims to foster evidence-based policymaking to counter threats within the information environment. Wanless is currently a PhD Researcher at King’s College London exploring how the information environment can be studied in similar ways to the physical environment. She is also a pre-doctoral fellow at Stanford University’s Center for International Security and Cooperation, and was a tech advisor to Aspen Institute’s Commission on Information Disorder. Her work has been featured in Lawfare, The National Interest, Foreign Policy, and CBC.

Comments are closed.