How to Get People to Do Stuff: Master the art and science of persuasion and motivation

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We all want people to do stuff. Whether you want your customers to buy from you, vendors to give you a good deal, your employees to take more initiative, or your spouse to make dinner—a large amount of everyday is about getting the people ar...
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We all want people to do stuff. Whether you want your customers to buy from you, vendors to give you a good deal, your employees to take more initiative, or your spouse to make dinner—a large amount of everyday is about getting the people around you to do stuff. Instead of using your usual tactics that sometimes work and sometimes don't, what if you could harness the power of psychology and brain science to motivate people to do the stuff you want them to do - even getting people to want to do the stuff you want them to do.
In this book you’ll learn the 7 drives that motivate people: The Desire For Mastery, The Need To Belong, The Power of Stories, Carrots and Sticks, Instincts,  Habits, and Tricks Of The Mind. For each of the 7 drives behavioral psychologist Dr. Susan Weinschenk describes the research behind each drive, and then offers specific strategies to use. Here’s just a few things you will learn:
  • The more choices people have the more regret they feel about the choice they pick. If you want people to feel less regret then offer them fewer choices.
  • If you are going to use a reward, give the reward continuously at first, and then switch to giving a reward only sometimes.
  • If you want people to act independently, then make a reference to money, BUT if you want people to work with others or help others, then make sure you DON’T refer to money.
  • If you want people to remember something, make sure it is at the beginning or end of your book, presentation, or meeting. Things in the middle are more easily forgotten.
  • If you are using feedback to increase the desire for mastery keep the feedback objective, and don’t include praise.

Product Details


Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Susan Weinschenk has a Ph.D. in Psychology, and over 30 years of experience as a behavioral scientist. She is a consultant to Fortune 1000 companies, start-ups, educational institutions, non-profits, and US government agencies. Susan is the founder of the Weinschenk Institute, LLC. She is a speaker and teacher, and has written several books, including How To Get People To Do Stuff, 100 Things Every Presenter Needs To Know About People, 100 Things Every Designer Needs to Know About People, and Neuro Web Design: What makes them click? Susan writes two popular blogs: the Brain Wise blog at Psychology Today, and her own blog at her website:

More About the Author

Susan M. Weinschenk


Susan has a Psychology and over 30 years of experience as a behavioral psychologist. She speaks, consults, teaches, and writes books about applying psychology to the workplace. 

While working on her Ph.D., Dr. Weinschenk conducted research on the left and right half of the brain. She was a college psychology professor at State University of New York (Oswego) and then began consulting. Early in her career she focused on applying cognitive psychology (how people think, remember, perceive), to make technology more usable. Recently she's gone back to her neuropsychology roots, studying the newest brain science and research on unconscious mental processing -- decision-making, persuasion, and emotion.

Susan started college at Virgina Tech and finished her undergraduate degree in Psychology at Northeastern. She then earned a Masters and Ph.D. at Pennsylvania State University.

Susan founded and runs the Weinschenk Institute, LLC in Wisconsin (USA), where she lives with her husband. Her two children are grown and "launched". When not teaching, speaking, writing, or blogging, Susan performs in community theatre, sings jazz, reads books, and watches movies.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

44 of 45 people found the following review helpfulBy J. Brown on May 30, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I am a believer that exceptional leaders are masters of human behavior. When I teach leadership to professionals my mantra is "human behavior is not logical but it is predictable." When we study and understand this predictability we are able to successfully navigate our way to the achievement of goals both individual and organizational regardless of our official authority level.

A lot of what is in Ms. Weinschenk's book is not new and I have read and recommended some of her references for years. However, the book is EXCEPTIONAL BECAUSE IT PULLS TOGETHER A LOT OF GREAT INFORMATION FROM A VARIETY OF SOURCES IN A READABLE, ACTIONABLE MANNER. This book will now be the first book I recommend to my leadership class participants when it comes to human behavior.

To quote Ms. Weinschenk "The more you understand psychology, the better you'll be able to sync what you want people to do with what they want to do. Ultimately it's not about manipulation- it's about understanding."

Below are just 10 excerpts from the book that ring true with me... these may seem simple or obvious but the book provides powerful context associated with the statements below.

1. "When people feel they are working with others as a team to reach a goal, they are more motivated to achieve the goal, even without any extrinsic reward, than if they are working alone."

2. "...our brains react in a special way to people we know. People are more likely to do stuff if they know the person asking them, regardless of whether they have differences of opinion with the person."

3. "Research in psychology over the last 15 years has revealed that people process information unconsciously and make very quick (a second or less) unconscious decisions about people.Read more ›
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23 of 26 people found the following review helpfulBy Todd Cherches - BigBlueGumball on April 2, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If you ever need to get other people to do stuff (and who doesn't!), then this terrific book is a must-read.

As a huge fan of Susan Weinschenk's two excellent "100 Things" books, I just finished "How to Get People to Do Stuff" and absolutely loved it! In fact, after an initial first read, there were so much thought-provoking ideas in it that I went back to the beginning and started going through it all over again, page by page, with red pen in hand, to underline, circle, and strategize on how I might take advantage of all the insightful and valuable tips it has to offer.

And I've been recommending it to my students and to all my corporate training and coaching clients as well.

One of the things I really like about it is that it is a practical, short-and-straight-forward, easy to understand (though definitely not simple to do!) handbook and toolkit for motivating and influencing people. Unlike so many other similarly-themed books out there, it is not overloaded with filler and repetitive examples, or too much academic research. This practical guidebook gets right to the point with a collection of powerful, well-organized tips and strategies, accompanied by numerous impactful and memorable real-life examples.

There are few skills in business or in life more necessary and valuable than having the ability to negotiate a positive outcome, gain buy-in for your ideas, and/or lead others with confidence. And this book, drawing on the work of some of the top, current thought-leaders in the field of influence and motivation (Robert Cialdini, Dan Pink, Barry Schwartz, Charles Duhigg, Daniel Kahneman, and others), will help increase your odds of successfully achieving your people-related objectives...whatever they may be.


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