Influence, Casino and Trading
Words fall short in praise for the work by Robert Cialdini who is a Professor of Psychology. Detailed effort and experience of several years shared generously. I have
repelled all books dealing with subject of self help, motivation, persuasion etc. We tend to think that we already know all there is to know, secondly getting a self help book partly means
you have fallen flat on the floor and are in “need” of help. I fortunately never felt I was. Books like “how to win friends and influence people” are completely absurd for someone who is not in business of chasing monthly targets. This is the first book or article in its genre I skimmed through.
I am not so much inspired by the idea of making sick people better as in becoming a Doctor, not that it is not noble profession in itself, we do need dedicated doctors. But I’m more inspired with the thought of making already great people into supermen. Not that I am a superman myself :).
This books is not a product of someone going into a room and delivering 300 pages in 6 months, it has taken heaps of research and work.
How this book can help you is – in providing lovely stories, safe guarding you from marketing tactics, compliance tools like reciprocity, commitment and consistency, social proof, authority etc. that may be used on you every single day.
Some examples I’d like to recount.
– You can ask someone for a bigger favour, after its rejection, once you accept rejection, retreat and request for a smaller favour, it has a higher chance of success than asking smaller favour alone. All the while, all you were stalking for was a smaller favour.
– Toy stores increase the sales of toys in Jan – March, by first advertising for a few toys they intentionally don’t stock during Xmas. They are aware that parents have promised children for a particular set of toys that were massively advertised before Xmas. During Xmas parents ended up buying some other toys. They would resort to re-stocking them and advertise their availability in Jan-Feb, post Xmas. It wasn’t after all a co incidence that the author met several parents annually post Xmas in toy store.
– A small fish has symbiotic relationship with much bigger fish, whose parasites are cleaned up by this smaller fish. This happens through a certain dance that this fish does which makes bigger fish immobile. This trick has been learnt by a carnivorous fish which is able to replay click, whirr tape and take a bite out of bigger fish and scoot before it comes to senses. Humans have many such tapes that are replayed by shrewed marketers.
– Humans associate expensive with good merchandise. Interesting story is covered where all failed attempts to sell cheap stones through persuasion, threat, increased margin, placing in high visibility area were overcome accidentally by increasing price to 2X.
I personally know from a mechanic, that in 90s there wasn’t a single BMW car that would do 300,000 Kms without engine work, same is not so for Toyota’s. Yet BMW manages to sell at premium.
Another example I realized post reading this book was the Pizza Hut has tried compliance on me a zillion times whenever I call up for a pizza. It starts with “Deal of the day is 2 Pizza, a drink and cake for 25$, how does that sound”, reply, “No, just one pizza”, “How about one garlic bread for 2$ extra”. I never have become a patsy in this retreat and reciprocation compliance fortunately.
– Some of the most dangerous tools are gradual brainwashing and changing self image about yourself. Examples of volunteer appearing in your home to paste a 3″ sticker of “I love Delhi clean and safe” and then a completely unrelated volunteer (just for you) asking you to to put 3 Foot square board in your front yard “DRIVE CAREFULLY” is because your self image has been changed in your mind as “good citizen”.
American prisoners of war were treated very differently in China than they were in Korea. Chinese goal was to start small and build. They started with “American society is not perfect. In Communist country nobody has to worry about employment.” It gets interesting. Prisoners are required to enlist 10 points about shortcoming of American society and capitalism. Later than are supposed to elaborate each point with an essay. Next, they have voluntary debates on capitalism and communism, with a prize at the end. Similar to P&G contests of I Like Gillette because…
Only those prisoners letters were allowed to reach back home who had a little praise for communism. The news readers in China would claim that American prisoners have written in favour of communism without any coercion. In short they would be called collaborators with China and Chinese were able to spread their propaganda inside American homes that Communism is not so bad through their own kin.
I went to Casino recently with an objective of understanding about this business firsthand and not losing more than 10$, I was more than successful by having lost only 4$. Something strange happened towards the end. It was a huge casino with losers and dullards all around. I could not imagine how 70 year old gravely weak people are gambling whole day. Its the ambiance, dance, feeling of celebration they intend to maintain until all of your wallet is empty. I took a round of whole casino, and if they worked as it was shown in Oceans Eleven then I must have been labeled as someone to watch out for. Just when we were about to leave a lady stood next to us on a slot machine, just within 2 minutes as if she knew what she was doing – she earned 10s of 2$ coins. Everyone else was seated and she did not even bother to take a seat. It was as if it was programmed for her to win. Pretty silly if you ask me, the whole casino thing is just designed to take money from you to pay salaries and rent for an expensive building.
I have turned into a short term trader for 10% of my portfolio. Rules of trading are in contrast to investing so it needs active oversight if not minute by minute check and one has to book losses. As I cannot update blog so frequently one has to know when to buy and sell. Puneet Resins offers both trading and investing opportunity. It is one stock that has both strong tailwinds for short term and can be a multibagger over 2-3 years. It has management bandwidth and has MOU with Excel Polymers. Excel Polymers in turn has been recently acquired by Swedish giant Hexpol, a leader in polymers with over 1 billion $ in revenues. One has to watch this commodity industry. Its a nice hedge for Relaxo Footwear Ltd and the likes & those animals who love the long-short game.