How to Influence People (With Help From Charles Munger)

How to Influence People (With Help From Charles Munger)

(Bloomberg Opinion) -- When psychology professor Robert Cialdini, this week's guest on Masters in Business, wrote his 1984 book, "Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion," he had no idea just how much influence the book would have. The book sold 3 million copies in 30 languages.

Not long after publication, he received a package in the mail. It contained a personal note from Charles Munger, Warren Buffett’s colleague. He had read and enjoyed "Influence," immediately recognizing that the decision-making errors highlighted by Cialdini also are made by investors. The package included one share of Berkshire Hathaway stock, along with Munger’s personal phone number and an invitation to come to the next Berkshire Hathaway annual meeting. Thus began a 25-year friendship.

In our conversation, Cialdini explained the differences between influence and persuasion in a variety of contexts, including how President Donald Trump chooses the former over the latter -- he is not seeking to change minds (influence), but to move the people who voted for him to go to the polls today. Cialdini newest book is "Pre-Suasion: A Revolutionary Way to Influence and Persuade."

His favorite books are here; transcript of our conversation is posted here.

You can stream/download the full conversation, including the podcast extras on iTunesBloombergOvercast and Stitcher. Our earlier podcasts can all be found at iTunesStitcherOvercast and Bloomberg.

Next week, we speak with Ray Dalio, founder of hedge fund Bridgewater Associates, and author of "Principles: Life and Work." His new book is "Principles for Navigating Big Debt Crises" was just published.

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This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.

Barry Ritholtz is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist. He founded Ritholtz Wealth Management and was chief executive and director of equity research at FusionIQ, a quantitative research firm. He is the author of “Bailout Nation.”

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