If you’ve ever felt ineffective, invisible, or inarticulate, chances are you weren’t actually any of those things. Those feelings may instead have been the result of a lack of awareness we all seem to have for how our words, actions, and even our mere presence affect other people.
In You Have More Influence Than You Think social psychologist Vanessa Bohns draws from her original research to illustrate why we fail to recognize the influence we have, and how that lack of awareness can lead us to miss opportunities or accidentally misuse our power.
Weaving together compelling stories with cutting-edge science, Bohns answers the questions we all want to know (but may be afraid to ask): How much did she take to heart what I said earlier? Do they know they can push back on my suggestions? Did he notice whether I was there today? Will they agree to help me if I ask?
Whether attending a meeting, sharing a post online, or mustering the nerve to ask for a favor, we often assume our actions, input, and requests will be overlooked or rejected. Bohns and her work demonstrate that people see us, listen to us, and agree to do things for us much more than we realize — for better, and worse.
You Have More Influence Than You Think offers science-based strategies for observing the effect we have on others, reconsidering our fear of rejection, and even, sometimes, pulling back to use our influence less. It is a call to stop searching for ways to gain influence you don’t have and to start recognizing the influence you don’t realize you already have.
“There is a hidden side of human nature that, when illuminated, makes so much sense you wonder how you didn’t appreciate it before. You will wonder, after reading this marvelous new book by Vanessa Bohns, how you overlooked the power you have to make another person’s day, or life, better, and you will know how to use that power wisely.”
“The book contains a lot of positive messages about better understanding your influence and putting it to good use. For instance, it turns out that we all tend to fall short in expressing our gratitude to the very people who would most appreciate hearing it. There is also a very strong case for us to use our influence less — to not say something if it hurts someone who holds us in high regard.”— Financial Times, top business titles of September
“[J]ust as it is always helpful to take stock and be grateful for what we have in life, it is important to step back and be conscious of the influence we already wield. Vanessa Bohns’ new book, You Have More Influence Than You Think, is vital for that very reason.”— Porchlight Books, Books to Watch
“Bohns offers a fascinating look at the hidden forces of persuasion that have shaped cultural phenomena like the #metoo movement and viral misinformation, and she also helps us recognize these forces in our daily lives. Bohns shows that by experiencing our influence and fully understanding it, we can take steps to wield it not just more effectively but also more ethically.”— Notre Dame Deloitte Center for Ethical Leadership 2021 Book List
“Bohns sheds light on what we all want to know about our effect on other people, but rarely get to see. This book will make those in positions of power think twice about the weight their own words can carry and will reassure anyone who has ever walked away from an interaction feeling invisible that they had impact.”— Reshma Saujani, New York Times best-selling author of Brave, Not Perfect and founder of Girls Who Code
“Bohns guides us to the insight that we are influential beyond our wildest dreams. Through her rigorous research and relatable voice, she helps us make sense of the world and our non-trivial place in it. The result is an exhilarating, evidence-based, expert read that you will not want to miss.”— Dolly Chugh, best-selling author of The Person You Mean to Be
“Soulful, eloquently written, and vital reading for anyone who wants to leave the world a better place. Bohns strikes the perfect balance between cutting-edge science and vivid storytelling.”— Adam Alter, New York Times best-selling author of Drunk Tank Pink and Irresistible
“You Have More Influence Than You Think achieves the rare feat of being both rigorous and affirming. Built on a solid base of research, it offers an inspiring guide to doing better and contributing more. This remarkable book will change the way you see your own potential.”— Daniel H. Pink, #1 New York Times bestselling author of When, Drive, and To Sell is Human
“[Bohns] teaches a profound lesson: We are more influential than we think. This latent superpower, the first topic I cover in my MBA class on negotiation, must be handled with care. Read this essential book!”— Eli Finkel, author of The All-Or-Nothing Marriage
“Influencing people is a tricky business. Most of us think that real influence requires natural charisma and a communication style that leaves people thinking, ‘I’ll take whatever they’re selling.’ Bohns’s book dispels this notion and takes you on a science-based journey of how to best answer the questions, ‘What is influence, exactly, and how do I know when I have it?’ The answers are different from what you’d think.”— Tessa West, author of Jerks at Work
“Read this outstanding and long-needed book to feel empowered, but also read it because it will make you more mindful of the influence you have on other people every day. It will forever change how you understand and see influence.”— Amy Cuddy, best-selling author of Presence
“One of the most enticing and entertaining books I’ve ever read on persuasion. Vanessa Bohns is not only an expert in social psychology — she’s also an excellent communicator. She makes a convincing case that we all matter more than we realize.”— Adam Grant, #1 New York Times best-selling author of Think Again
“With this book, Bohns reveals an enormously empowering secret: In many situations, we don’t recognize the great influence we possess.”— Robert Cialdini, New York Times best-selling author of Influence and Pre-Suasion
Vanessa Bohns is a social psychologist and a professor of organizational behavior at Cornell University. She holds a PhD in Psychology from Columbia University and an AB from Brown University. Her research has been published in top academic journals in psychology, management, and law, and has been featured in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Atlantic, The Economist, and on NPR's Hidden Brain, among other media outlets. Her writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Harvard Business Review, Fast Company, Business Insider, and elsewhere, and her first book is called You Have More Influence Than You Think (2021, Norton). Professor Bohns is an expert on help-seeking, social influence, compliance, consent, and why it’s so hard to say no.