Review: The Small Big: Small Changes That Spark Big Influence

The Small Big: Small Changes That Spark Big Influence
The Small Big: Small Changes That Spark Big Influence by Robert B. Cialdini
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I just finished THE SMALL BIG yesterday and have already implemented one of the 52 ideas today. I have plans to use another idea later today, and I’ll still be implementing these ideas tomorrow and the next day. Here’s my advice: buy this book and keep it near your desk.

Similarly-themed books feature studies done by other scientists—which is cool—but there was a surprising amount of research conducted by the authors themselves. The intimate feel of the self-conducted research and their writing made each small BIG feel approachable and applicable. There’s a plethora of journal studies conducted by other formable scientists, too. Each of the 52 chapters feature one-to-three studies each: all referenced in the back of the book.

Every chapter is short (about three to five pages), making it perfectly digestible for reading a few a day. They are all outlined at the beginning so you can pick and choose what you think you’ll need. Some chapters build on each other; the authors do a great job of highlighting what you may have missed. Everything is covered from employee productivity to gaining effective online reviews. The writing is clear and concise. I would have liked more bullet-pointed features or bolding, such as their counterpart books offer, but the brevity of chapters and italicized subjects worked fine.

The biggest issue I want addressed is the length of each study. For instance, one small BIG was to provide meaning to the task. The authors used a study where call center employees were given something to read that provided intrinsic motivation for the job. This group’s calls drew more donations compared to the control groups. However, what happens to their motivation over time? Would this approach desensitize if used daily over a month or a year?

The authors include a final chapter showing how some techniques can be combined, while other combination effects could come across as gimmicky or un-authentic. That’s the catch of it all: knowing and implementing these tools without appearing as the stereotypical used car salesman. You know what I mean. Learn the tools of influence, but keep it real. You’ll sleep better at night.

Whether you are the boss or the employee, the parent or the teacher, the neighbor or the friend, these are some great tools powered by the latest research that will surely benefit your life. Like I said before, keep this book at your desk and you’ll be using this tools today and tomorrow, too.

Thanks to Grand Central Publishing for sending this book to me for review.

You can find this book’s preview and other reviews on Amazon: The small BIG: small changes that spark big influence

Or, you can find this book at independent Powell’s:



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