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Persuasion: Dark Psychology by RJ Anderson

The full title of this book by R.J. Anderson is

Persuasion: Dark Psychology – Secret Techniques To Influence Anyone Using Mind Control, Manipulation And Deception“.

In my review at Amazon.co.uk, I gave it a Four Star Rating, meaning that I consider it to be good to very good.

Here is what I posted.

Steps into dodgy territory. More what to look out for than what to do.

The book says that it will tell you everything you need to know to master the art of persuasion.

It’s a bold claim to make.

As soon as I started reading, I realised it wasn’t going to meet that goal.

The problem is that it is broad in scope and lacks depth of detail. This means that technique after technique whizzes past without proper explanation, or guidance on how to use or the background of how the techniques were developed and proven.

It’s more suitable as a revision guide on persuasion than an introduction. That said, I did read about some new ideas that I need to investigate further.

Several books I’ve read have discussed whether persuasion is manipulation but this is the first one that opens up about manipulation. This is the realm of the sociopath who doesn’t care about damaging others provided he or she comes out ahead. It was interesting as it reviewed tactics that work best on emotionally vulnerable people but also left me queasy about becoming the person I’d never want to be.

The book goes on to talk about hypnosis and NLP before looking at deception, mind games and mind control. Once again we’re in more dodgy areas. I like to think of these as things to look out for when done to you, than things for you to do to each other.

I tend to review as I read through the book on my tablet. My initial rating was down at the two star level indicating my disappointment with the early content but I’ve finished at the four star level. This reflects the fact that I learnt quite a lot about the bad stuff. I don’t want to do it but I do want to recognise the tactics when done to me so I’m on my guard and can make a suitable judgement about anyone trying to manipulate or deceive me. There is plenty to think about in here although I’m not entirely happy about the author’s stance on these highly dubious practices.

I finished the book and found myself asking philosophical questions. Is it ever right to use manipulation to do something helpful for someone,never if they don’t want it? For example, giving up smoking or recreational drugs? Or is free will and being allowed to make your own decisions the most important thing meaning persuasion is OK but outright is bad?

It is available to buy from Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com. It is also available to borrow under the Kindle Unlimited subscription at Amazon.co.uk.


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