“How to Get People to Do Stuff: Master the art and science of persuasion and motivation” is a book written by Susan Weinschenk that totally delivers what the author promises. This book presents several ways on how to get staff to do things from the perspective of managers. This is the book ideal for you to read if you are in a management position. If you are a teacher or a parent this could be also a book for you – most of the strategies can also be applied with kids or students. Finally, many of the strategies of the book can also be used in everyday life.
According to Dr. Susan Weinschenk, ”The more you understand psychology, the better you’ll be able to sync what you want people to do with what they want to do. Ultimately it’s not about manipulation- it’s about understanding.” having read the book, I agree with the author as the book gives the reader varied types of tools to persuade and motivate. Of course the “recipes” of these book have to be adapted to circumstances and people. One size doesn´t fit all.
Susan Weinschenk has a Master and Ph.D. from the Pennsylvania State University. She worked as a professor at State University of New York and has written several books about applying psychology to business environments. She is as well an experienced behavioural psychologist.
The author starts the book by telling the readers that she studied a book about the science of cooking (about what chemicals in food react with others to enhance the flavours or make it more tender).
In the book, you will find a lot of useful information that one never though about such as: The more choices people have the more regret they will feel upon the choice they picked. It is important then to offer them fewer choices, if you want them to feel less resentful.
The strategies offered by the author have scientific studies behind them and the sources of the data can be accessed by the reader , in case he wants to gather more information. According to Dr. Susan Weinschenk, what motivates people are seven basic drives:
1- the desire for mastery
2- the need to belong
3- the power of stories
4- carrots and sticks
7- tricks of the mind
He doesn´t hurt if the reader has authority and charisma. However, one of strong points of the book is that most of the strategies are not a question of authority and/or charisma. Let me get you one or two examples. To increase competition among staff can be a good idea. However, only in certain conditions. The author mentions that to foment competition between a staff composed mostly of women isn’t a good idea, but if most of the staff is composed of guys then it is favourable to increase competition. On the other hand, if competition works as a motivating stragegy between a reduce number of people (20 or less) in greater groups isn´t such a good idea.
Personally, if I would have to classify this book, I would give it three and half stars in five. Why not four stars or more? Well, even though I don´t have any doubt that the book is useful for people in general (like parents, teachers and managers, in particular) I confess that I became bored after reading ten or more strategies in a row.
The book is structured as a handbook that offers the reader many strategies. You can see this book as a sort of “cookbook” full of “recipes” about how to get people to do stuff.
I believe the best strategy to read this book is actually to have it around and consult it like compendium of “motivational recipes”. You might read a little part of it here and there, and then you might try to apply what makes sense to you and your life. I don’t have any doubt that the book will help the reader learn how to persuade and motivate people.
Ivo Dias de Sousa is a Portuguese writer born in Mozambique. Ivo is also a Professor at Universidade Aberta, Portugal, giving courses on information management. Currently, Ivo is interested in using his experience on information management to construct applications (see http://windit-app.com/ ) for smartphones, in collaboration with others. Ivo holds a Master in Statistics and Information Management (Universidade Nova de Lisboa) and a Ph.D. in Information Management (Universidade Aberta). Amongst his main interests are information management, psychology of luck and literature.