Good, but not great

In the Invisible Influence book review, I cover the 5 major concepts that Jonah Berger presents throughout the book.

Invisible Influence by Jonah Berger is overall good but, but I did not think it was great. I came across this book by fluke. While sitting in the airport waiting to board my plane on the way to Miami, FL, I decided to check the convenience store in the airport. 

I walked into the airport convenience store, and it was the only business book that appealed to me! At the time, “influence” was top of mind for me as I was expanding the podcast and trying to get it into the ears of more listeners. 


Authenticity and Great Content

I typically pick books that are around a topic that I don’t understand or want to learn more about. If I am at Barnes & Noble, I wouldn’t be picking up this book, mostly because my thoughts were concrete in believing that being authentic and producing great content is the way to influence. 

If you have to game influence, chances are, you won’t have that influence for a long time. The book forces you to look at the big picture when it comes to gaining influence. The book will make you stare at other people’s discussions, knowing why they are doing certain things. 

Who is Jonah Berger, Author of Invisible Influence?

Great question! I had the same thoughts when picking up the book. 

Jonah Berger is a marketing professor at the Wharton School of Business in Pennsylvania. He was also a New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestseller with his book, Contagious; Why Things Catch On. Through Jonah’s accomplishments, I would say that he is capable of writing a book on influence. 

Are you deeply influenced by those around you?

Before I read the book, I thought that my choices in life were driven by myself. Whether it was from what I ate, to what I wore, to the business I was starting. It just all felt like my choice.

Probably similar to you, I thought my interests were my interests, and my actions were based on my interests, but it turns out that is not the case. The decisions I was making were as a result of my surroundings, which were based on the people in my community and how they affected my thoughts. 

5 Different Insights from Invisible Influence Book Review

The book has 5 major insights that make up the book, which I will go into detail. These insights are important to us as business owners, entrepreneurs, side hustlers, and employees. The 5 insights allow us to know what is going on, how we can approach situations difficulty, and how to gain leverage (ie. influence).

Chapter 1: Imitation & Mimicry

In the first chapter, Berger explains that people imitate each other, just by human nature. You may have heard the common tip when you’re asking your boss for a favor, mimic him!

In my opinion, the most interesting experiment Jonah did was say that at high-end restaurants waiters and waitresses will repeat your order, using the exact same words, in the exact same order. By doing this, the perceived value of the meal increases, and the tip will increase as much as 70%.

After I read that, I thought that it was impossible! I went to a local high-end steakhouse and ordered a $60 steak with mashed potatoes. The waitress did not even repeat my order (mistake 1)! Now, we enjoyed the meal and it definitely was great, but I think my perceived value of the meal was just the same before I ordered.

Going to a nice restaurant, you are already expecting a great experience (which includes food!). In regards to the tip, well, that was hard to measure because I knew that I wanted to tip what I always do, rather than giving up to 70% more.

A few days later, my friend had invited me to grab lunch at a local bakery, something we typically do on Sundays. I ordered a veal sandwich that was $7, plus a side salad.

By no means is this bakery high-end, but it is definitely authentic and delicious. The cashier repeated my order! At the bakery, they do not ask for tips, however, when my friend went to pay, he told the cashier to keep the change.

Was that because the cashier imitated our meal? It is hard to say!

I would love for you to try this next time you’re out at a restaurant, let me know the results!

Chapter 2: Drive To Differentiate

Have you ever been to a restaurant and last-second changed what you ordered because another person at the table chose that? 

As humans, we want to be different and unique to ourselves, and we subconsciously make decisions where we differentiate ourselves.

We all have the friend that likes “Eminem’s old rap better than new rap”, right? People just want to be different and gain a level on top of others, by doing that, they gain influence.

How can this help you?

In your hobby hustle, you need a differentiator. You need your ideal client to want to choose you because you are different in a specific way. People want the feeling of influence and leverage by using your product or experiencing your service. If everyone has your product, you have no influence.

The book goes into some interesting research which I am still trying to see if I agree with to this day. Jonah says that the middle class prefers similarity to differentiation, whereas the upper class prefers differentiation.

Chapter 3: Unique vs. “Others”

Which group are you choosing? Well, it depends who the “other” group is.

You will find yourself subconsciously asking yourself, “Do I belong to them? Do we have the same values and morals? Would we be friends?” These are all things you quickly scan through in your head before making a decision.

Have you ever wore a watch even though the hands didnt work? Probably. That is because you want to be associated as wealthy or a “business person”.

In the book, Jonah shared an example on binge drinking. Part of a larger campaign for binge drinking, a poster was published that had a geeky nerd holding a drink. When other students say this, they were 50% less likely to drink or if they drank, they would drink about 50% less than normal. In their heads, they did not want to be associated with the geeky nerds who do a certain activity.

When constructing your brand, ask yourself what the other group is and how you can use that in your marketing campaigns to make people choose you. By doing this, you can increase your prices and margin. More people will be drawn to you and they will have an easier time deciding on which company to go too. 

Chapter 4: Familiarity and Novelty

I looked at this chapter almost as “switching costs”. The first thing I thought of was when I had to purchase my new phone.

I was doing a lot of research, watching a ton of YouTube videos, and asking people what phone they had and what they liked/disliked about it.

What did I end up doing?

I narrowed it down to two phones, an Android from Samsung or an iPhone from Apple. My previous phone was an iPhone 5s.

Of course, I ended up getting the new iPhone! 

I was already familiar with the iPhone interface. Because of that, I knew it would be easy to transfer my contacts, photos, etc. I knew that my music would sync no problem. Why would I stress myself out and go to something unfamiliar? 

When you’re putting a product or service out with your hobby hustle, you need to ask yourself, “is it different enough?”.

If your product or service is not 10x better, faster, or cheaper than what is already on the market, people will not make the switch because your value doesn’t outweigh the novelty and familiarity of what your customer is currently using.

This is the same reason lots of companies stay with the same suppliers even though they may not be extremely happy with the service. They do not want to go through the hassle of searching for new suppliers, setting up a consultation call, talking to a new customer service rep, and ordering different than they currently do. People don’t want to get uncomfortable! 

Chapter 5: Motivation

In order to keep motivated, you should try and tie yourself to something that is concrete. The way I saw this is through the eyes of a typical business owner with employees. If you give 3 employees a task to do, they will lack motivation, take longer, and probably make more mistakes. They will end up talking to each other and not paying 100% attention to the task at hand.

If you want an employee to gain motivation, talk to them individually. They know that they are 100% accountable in the job and they will work hard and perform the task accurately, up to your standards.

When you hire your first employee for your hobby hustle, remember this. Do not share tasks with them, instead, inspire them. Show them the big picture and what they are apart of. And most of all, hold them accountable.

Overall, I thought the book was decent. Did it give me any life-changing insights that I’m implementing in my day-to-day life? No.

Did it give me tactics to gain influence in certain situations? Yes, it is a very light read and quite easy. I would recommend this book to someone who is about to get started with their hobby hustle and they are specifically trying to become an influencer in a specific niche.

If you enjoyed the Invisible Influence book review, you can purchase it on Amazon!

If you are looking for another business book, check out Grant Cardone’s 10X Rule Book Review.