11 Best Books on Persuasion and Influence That Every Guy Should Read

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by  Joshua Sigafus | Last Updated: 

Back when I was a younger man just starting out with my own business endeavors, I used to really struggle to find clients, make sales, close deals, and increase my income.

Eventually, I realized that something needed to change. I started trying to learn what other people were doing to maximize their own success, and discovered that I had a blind spot.

I wasn’t networking effectively.

But perhaps even worse than this—when I did network, I often ruined my chances to take advantage of great opportunities. 

How?

By lacking the ability to persuade and influence the people around me in a positive, charismatic fashion.

Once I learned how to level up this skill, my income drastically increased—almost overnight. 

In fact, during this period of time, I actually doubled my yearly income with one local networking meeting—all due to the fact that I’d learned and deployed a few simple persuasion and influence techniques gleaned through reading several of the books on this list.

As creatures that evolved to survive and succeed through social interaction and cooperation, humans tend to maximize their potential in life when they learn how to create solutions to problems—and then share those solutions by persuading and influencing other people to listen to what they have to say, buy their product, take their advice, etc.

These are crucial charisma skills.

And unfortunately, men who fail to learn them will suffer from a lack of opportunity in life.

People often say that your network is your net worth.

And this is 100% true.

So in this post, you’re going to learn the 11 best books (in my experience and opinion) about persuasion and influence to give you your best odds for success as you engage with other people, expand your network, and share your ideas with the world.

How Did I Come Up With My List?

learning how to influence others

About a third of the books in this list were actually books that I found and read on my journey to learn the basics of sales, charisma, persuasion, and influence. 

They were titles that directly contributed to teaching me how to succeed in business and sales, as well as in other areas of life—like dating and relationships. 

The rest of them are books that I’ve come across more recently on my journey. And each one was profoundly beneficial in adding new knowledge to my existing framework.

Whenever I’m looking for a good book, I look for 3 things:

  1. I want to read something that was written by an expert.
  2. I want it to hold my attention, engage me, and make the information absorbable. 
  3. I want to walk away from the experience with a transformed mindset and crucial lessons that I can immediately apply to my own life.

And in my experience, every book on this list fits the bill.

Alright, let’s get into the list.

Stephen R Covey quote

11 Best Books on Persuasion and Influence in 2023

Cues: Master the Secret Language of Charismatic Communication – Vanessa Van Edwards

Cues: Master the Secret Language of Charismatic Communication - Vanessa Van Edwards
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This Wall Street Journal best seller, written by my favorite human behavior expert Vanessa Van Edwards, is a book aimed at helping you to improve your professional relationships through the power of social and behavioral cues. 

At the core, Cues: Master the Secret Language of Charismatic Communication helps you learn how to be naturally charismatic—which is actually really powerful. 

Not only does it break down the necessary components required for natural charisma, but it also instructs you on how to develop those components in your own life. 

Every man who wants to be successful should consider this book a must-read.

How to Win Friends & Influence People – Dale Carnegie

How to Win Friends & Influence People - Dale Carnegie
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True story.

I was first exposed to How to Win Friends & Influence People at the age of 7.

My mom bought it to help her make more sales in her business. 

I’ve revisited it several times over the years, and it’s never failed to teach me valuable lessons about how to interact with people in the best possible manner to facilitate successful outcomes.

In this book, you learn things like: 6 ways to make people like you, 12 ways to win people over with your ideas, and 9 different ways to change people’s minds and create organic influence without causing needless friction, drama, or resentment.

This is simply one of the best, most time-tested manuals for winning people over that exists in our modern world.

It’s truly a timeless masterpiece. 

48 Laws of Power – Robert Greene

When I became aware of 48 Laws of Power and started consuming it, it actually drastically changed the course of my life for the better.

Robert Greene is one of the most under-recognized social geniuses of our modern world when it comes to breaking down and understanding power dynamics within social hierarchies. 

And honestly, this book is a must-read for anyone who wants to lead, influence, and persuade effectively.

It distills 3,000 years’ worth of human power dynamics history (and associated psychology) down into 48 clear, concise, well-explained, and descriptive laws—making it easy to absorb (even for a simple guy like me). 

It’s bold, ruthless, actionable, and absolutely essential for anyone who wants to truly understand the human power dynamics that are constantly at work in and around us. 

Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion – Robert B. Cialdini

Influence, New and Expanded: The Psychology of Persuasion – Robert B. Cialdini
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This renowned international bestseller has sold over 5 million copies worldwide.

It’s also been re-released in a new and expanded version that includes some updated research, insights, and examples that weren’t available when the first iteration was written.

If you’re not familiar with the work of Robert B. Cialdini, you’re definitely missing out. 

He’s truly an expert in the fields of influence and persuasion.

In Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, he goes deep into these topics—explaining the psychology that leads people to say ‘yes’ to things, and how to ethically back-engineer and apply these psychological principles to make you more successful in business and in life. 

It’s also filled with relatable stories to help demonstrate the points and explain how to apply the techniques in a wide range of different types of situations.

Simply put—your knowledge of the topic of persuasion is just going to be seriously limited if you don’t read (or listen) to this book at least once. 

Methods of Persuasion: How to Use Psychology to Influence Human Behavior – Nick Kolenda

Methods of Persuasion: How to Use Psychology to Influence Human Behavior - Nick Kolenda
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If the name Nick Kolenda sounds familiar to you, it may be because you’ve either seen one of his absolutely unbelievable mind reading/subconscious thought injection demonstrations, either live or on YouTube—or because you’ve come across his YouTube channel while researching ‘business psychology hacks’ online.

Well, Nick Kolenda used to hold these seminars where he would perform mind reading and suggestion demonstrations for a crowd of people. 

At this point, over a million people have watched his demonstrations. And honestly, these performances were wild and almost unbelievable—because they worked. 

Well, as it turns out, Nick Kolenda isn’t really a mind reader. He’s actually a master of persuasion and an expert at using principles from cognitive psychology to subconsciously influence people’s thoughts and behavior.

In Methods of Persuasion, he divulges his deepest persuasion secrets and explains exactly how they work. 

This book is actually a shocker.

To say that it’ll ‘blow your mind’ is probably an understatement. 

If you really want to understand how to persuade people and how you can use cognitive psychology to influence people’s decisions and behavior—then this one is a must-read. 

Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In – Roger Fisher and William Ury

Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In - Roger Fisher and William Ury
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If you’re just getting started on the path to learning the skills of negotiation, persuasion, and influence, then Getting to Yes is probably one of the better options to start with.

It’s based on the work of the Harvard Negotiation Project and offers a step-by-step, scientifically proven strategy and system for creating mutually acceptable agreements in all kinds of different types of conflict.

It teaches you how to separate people from the problems, how to focus on interests (as opposed to positions), and equips you with the skills needed to work together with people to get a deal that satisfies both parties.

Captivate: The Science of Succeeding with People – Vanessa Van Edwards

Captivate: The Science of Succeeding with People - Vanessa Van Edwards
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I originally purchased this book after seeing an interview that Vanessa Van Edwards published on her YouTube channel.

My intent was to hopefully glean some insights from it that would help me with business networking.

But it ended up being so valuable as a tool for succeeding with people in all kinds of different contexts that it also helped me with my dating life (In fact, I included it in my favorite dating books list as well) and in navigating relationships with friends and family.

Captivate breaks down the formula for charisma to such an understandable level that anyone can use it to improve their social prowess and abilities.

For this reason, I consider it a must-read for anyone who wants to learn the art of persuasion and influence to become more charismatic and successful.  

Pre-Suasion: A Revolutionary Way to Influence and Persuade – Robert Cialdini

Pre-Suasion: A Revolutionary Way to Influence and Persuade - Robert Cialdini
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When it comes to persuading or influencing others, a lot of people focus on the wrong part of the conversation.

And in Pre-Suasion, renowned social psychologist Robert Cialdini explains why the secret to persuading others doesn’t necessarily lie within the message itself.

Instead, it’s found in the moments of the conversation that occur before the message is ever actually delivered.

Learning how to influence the listener’s attitude before you deliver your topic, idea, or selling point is really the key to persuasion success.

In this book, you’ll learn valuable pre-suasion techniques to help you master the art of persuasion—boosting your odds for success even before you ever present your ‘big idea.’

Thinking, Fast and Slow – Daniel Kahneman

Thinking, Fast and Slow - Daniel Kahneman
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This book, a major New York Times bestseller, was chosen by the New York Times Book Review as one of the 10 best books of 2011.

In Thinking, Fast and Slow, renowned psychologist and winner of the Nobel Prize in Economics, Daniel Kahneman, explains the groundbreaking science behind the two different, yet interconnected systems that drive humans in their decision-making processes.

  • One of these systems is fast and emotional.
  • The other is slow and logical.

Understanding how these systems work and how to navigate them when persuading others is truly a foundational key to being successfully influential.

And this book will help you to understand the entire process, from beginning to end. It’s truly revolutionary, and a must-read for influencers who are striving to better their craft. 

To Sell Is Human: The Surprising Truth about Moving Others – Daniel H. Pink

To Sell Is Human: The Surprising Truth about Moving Others – Daniel H. Pink
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To Sell Is Human delves deeply into social science to uncover some counterintuitive insights about how humans think about not only the act but also the perception of selling. 

Sometimes, as consumers, we walk through life with a weird, almost unhealthy mindset about what selling is and why it’s so deeply integrated into the human drive for success. 

This book offers a fresh look at not only the art but also the science of selling.

It covers concepts like:

  • 6 successors to the elevator pitch
  • 3 rules for understanding another person’s perspective
  • 5 different frames that can help you to make your message more influential and persuasive

It’s packed with common sense knowledge that’ll help you to reshape your whole mindset in regards to sales, and is a must-read if you want to grow your influence to become a better salesperson. 

Yes!: 50 Scientifically Proven Ways to Be Persuasive – Noah J. Goldstein, Steve J. Martin, and Robert B. Cialdini

This New York Times best-seller helps to demonstrate that small changes really make the biggest difference when it comes to influencing and persuading others. 

It’s based on more than 60 years of research in the field of the psychology of persuasion—and it condenses the findings of that research down into 50 simple, yet highly effective strategies that’ll help you to improve your skills of persuasion and influence. 

Whether you want to learn how to be persuasive in your personal life, improve your relationships, make more sales at work, earn better promotions, etc. the strategies contained in Yes! are truly life-changing. 

If you only ever read one book about persuasion and influence, this may be the title to grab—simply due to the fact that it packs so much value into such a concise and compact package.

Feeling More Persuasive?

At the end of the day, leveling up your mind is a crucial part of succeeding as a man. 

And the truth of the matter is that every successful man really needs to learn how to influence others, share his ideas, sell his products, and make a ‘dent’ in the universe. 

And you can’t do that without learning how to be influential and persuasive. 

So grab yourself a few of these books, and start leveling up. 

And don’t forget to subscribe to our YouTube channel for more life tips and advice. 

Go with grace, and never give up your power. 

FAQs

What are the 6 persuasion techniques?

Robert Cialdini outlined the 6 classic persuasion techniques in his book Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion. These 6 techniques are:
1. Reciprocity (people will tend to want to do good things for you if you’ve done good things for them)
2. Commitment/Consistency (people tend to behave as they’ve always behaved)
3. Social proof (people tend to take you more seriously if other people also take you seriously)
4. Authority (people tend to trust you more if you’re an established or trusted expert on the topic)
5. Liking (if people like you more, you’ll find it easier to persuade them)
Scarcity (people tend to not want to ‘miss out’ on a transformative opportunity)

How can I improve my persuasion skills?

The thing about learning how to be persuasive is that if you aren’t currently good at it, you’ll probably need some outside education to help you get ‘unstuck.’

This is why it’s always a good idea to consume some good books, courses, or education on the topic if you really want to level up your skills to become a more influential and persuasive person.

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