It’s such an interesting time to explore what and who influences us and why. We are living in a time when experts and politicians are flooding our media streams every day with COVID updates, telling us about vaccines and how we need to behave. Celebrities have long held influencing power over what we wear, buy, eat and even how we feel about ourselves. Leaders likewise often hold the title of influencer, because someone somewhere once upon a time decided that they will navigate us to some form of success.
It’s fascinating to watch what makes people angry, what brings great comfort and who we are attracted to when it comes to giving away our trust. Many of us are in roles where we need to persuade people to invest their money with us, or buy our products, or otherwise listen to whatever it is we have to say. Professional influencers are a source of inspiration as well as affirmation of our own beliefs; it’s why they’re increasingly used in marketing campaigns, with people more likely to copy the behaviours and ideas of those around them.
There’s no doubt about it: the art of influencing and persuasion is seeing a new chapter, so we’ve collated three books here that explore this deeply and from different perspectives. Happy reading!
Messengers: Who We Listen To, Who We Don't, and Why written by Stephen Martin and Joseph Marks, published by PublicAffairs
Have you ever wondered why seemingly ignorant people somehow end up in positions of power? (A certain ex-US president no doubt comes to mind…) In this book, the authors explain why we’re often persuaded to follow ‘messengers’, not because of the message they’re conveying, but because of certain personal attributes, ranging from their appearance and financial status to their dominance and connection with their audience. In the era of fake news, it’s important for us to understand the factors that determine why we will (or won’t) listen to someone, so we can learn to separate the idea that’s being communicated from the person who’s delivering it.
The Likeability Trap: How to Break Free and Succeed as You Are written by Alicia Menendez, published by HarperCollins Publishers
There are so many double standard that complicate life for professional women – chief among them the expectation that they ‘play nice’ and aren’t seen to be too ambitious (unlike men, who are typically celebrated for their success). In this book, author Alicia Menendez examines the pressure put on women to be amiable at work, home and in the public sphere, and explores the price they pay for internalising those demands. She offers practical solutions, encouraging women to examine how they perceive themselves and to throw out the rule book when it comes to perception and likability in the workplace.
The Loudest Voice in the Room: How the Brilliant, Bombastic Roger Ailes Built Fox News – and Divided a Country written by Gabriel Sherman, published by Random House US
This book charts the rise of Roger Ailes: television executive and one-time chairman and CEO of Fox News, who not only helped turn the US political and media landscape on its head, but also flew the flag for a number of Republican presidential candidates along the way. It outlines how, “through sheer willpower, the flair of a showman, fierce corporate politicking, and a profound understanding of the priorities of middle America”, Ailes played a defining role in the great social and political controversies of recent years and built the most influential television news empire of our time.
- The Coach Place Global team.
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