Book Recommendations 

It doesn't matter what your job is, be it a designer, marketer, entrepreneur, CEO, or salesperson - you have to understand how to motivate behavior and persuade customers. But you can’t persuade people if you don’t understand how they think, and this list of book recommendations is a great place to start. 

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Beginner Fundamentals to Intermediate

"Thinking is to human as swimming is to cats. They can do it but they prefer not to."

- Daniel Kahneman 


Nobel laureate Daniel Kahneman conducts a deep dive into the biases and psychological principles that drive people’s behavior. Kahneman introduces the Dual Process Model of System 1 (fast) and System 2 (slow) thinking. Beware, this isn't an easy read but it's well worth it. 

thinking fast and slow

“Learning to choose is hard. Learning to choose well is harder. And learning to choose well in a world of unlimited possibilities is harder still, perhaps too hard.”

- Barry Schwartz, The Paradox of Choice 


In this book, researcher Barry Schwartz explores how people make decisions in a world overcrowded with options. Schwartz introduces the science-backed idea that less choice can make a big impact on everyone’s behavior and happiness.

“Our understanding of human behavior can be improved by appreciating how people systematically go wrong.” - Richard H. Thaler 


The book that launched a thousand ad agency “Nudge Units”, this is a well-written and easy read that introduces the concept of “nudging” — using science to arrange the environment so that people are more likely to choose a certain option or behavior.

nudge book

Choice Hacking, by Jennifer Clinehens  

What if you could use Nobel prize-winning science to predict the choices your customers will make? Customer and user behaviors can seem irrational. Shaped by mental shortcuts and psychological biases, their actions often appear random on the surface. In Choice Hacking, we'll learn to predict these irrational behaviors and apply the science of decision-making to create unforgettable customer experiences.

Choice Hacking Cover

“All humans are motivated to seek pleasure and avoid pain, to seek hope and avoid fear, and finally, to seek social acceptance and avoid rejection.” - Nir Eyal 


Author Nir Eyal explores the question, “Why do some products capture our attention, while others flop?” Eyal uncovers the patterns that make certain apps and technologies hook us. These insights form the basis of the author’s “Hook Model”, a four-step process that designers can use to build addictive products.

hooked book

“We usually think of ourselves as sitting the driver’s seat, with ultimate control over the decisions we made...but, alas, this perception has more to do with our desires...than with reality” - Dan Ariely


In this fascinating read, behavioral economist Dan Ariely outlines the ways people behave irrationally. From assuming that more expensive products are more effective to exploring the “power of free”, Ariely demonstrates how mental shortcuts, biases, and leaps in logic often win over rational thought.

predictably irrational experience book

“We usually think of ourselves as sitting the driver’s seat, with ultimate control over the decisions we made...but, alas, this perception has more to do with our desires...than with reality” - Dan Ariely


In this fascinating read, behavioral economist Dan Ariely outlines the ways people behave irrationally. From assuming that more expensive products are more effective to exploring the “power of free”, Ariely demonstrates how mental shortcuts, biases, and leaps in logic often win over rational thought.

alchemy

Intermediate to Advanced

"Philip Graves reveals the myriad tricks and psychological games high street shops play on consumers; the ways in which we are manipulated into buying things we don't want; the ways in which we deceive ourselves; and the cutting edge behavioural science being used to change our habits to even more significant degrees."

consumerology

"Convinced that there is a gulf between what we believe influences us and what actually does, [the author] set up a highly ambitious research project that employed the very latest in brain-scanning technology and called on the services of some 2000 volunteers. Buyology shares the fruits of this research, revealing for the first time what actually goes on inside our heads when we see an advertisement, hear a marketing slogan, taste two rival brands of drink, or watch a programme sponsored by a major company."

buyology

"Behavioral scientist Dr. David Halpern heads up the UK government's "Nudge Unit," the world’s first government institution that uses behavioral economics to examine and influence human behavior, to "nudge" us into making better decisions. Seemingly small and subtle solutions have led to huge improvements across tax, healthcare, pensions, employment, crime reduction, energy conservation, and economic growth. The Nudge Unit has attracted widespread media and public interest—large pieces have run in the New York Times and Economist; and it's been subject to case studies and reviews by the Harvard Business School and Goldman Sachs.

Inside the Nudge Unit: How Small Changes Can Make a Big Difference


Case Studies and Examples

If there’s a company synonymous with a seamless customer experience, it’s Netflix. Over the past two decades, the platform has become the default entertainment source for many. So much so, that fifteen percent of the world’s web traffic goes to Netflix. Netflix has grown from a plucky startup to a company with a market value of $247 billion. As of 2020, the platform had more than 200 million total customers. 

Netflix’s success is down to many factors, but its customer experience is one of the biggest. But how did Netflix create such an industry-leading experience? And now that they are at the top of their game, how can they evolve their experience without disappointing customers? It's down to Netflix’s application of behavioral science and psychological principles. 

In this book, we'll examine the behavioral science principles that helped make Netflix number one (and keep it there). We'll deep dive into Netflix's tactics, as well as its process for applying science-driven insights to their cusotmer experience.

Behavioral Science in Action Netflix

Behavioral Science in Action: IKEA, by Jennifer L. Clinehens

Started as a way to bring interior design to the masses, IKEA has grown into 400+ stores operating in 52 countries - it’s been the world’s largest furniture retailer since 2008.

But have you ever wondered about the secret behind IKEA's success? One element is how the brand applies behavioral science and psychology to its customer experience - consciously or not.


In this book, we'll examine the behavioral science principles that helped make IKEA number one (and keep it there). We'll deep dive into IKEA's tactics: the physical design of the store, streamlining its products, creating irresistible promotions, reducing friction in their experience, and nudging their customers at key moments.

IKEA Cover Behavioral Science in Action

Behavioral Science in Action: Walmart by Jennifer L. Clinehens

Walmart is a retail juggernaut. Despite competition from the likes of Amazon, Walmart is the world's largest company by revenue. It employs 2.2 million people  -  that's more than the population of New Mexico (and 15 other U.S. states). 

The company's reason to exist is value. Their entire brand hinges on their "Everyday Low Prices". But relying on low prices means Walmart's experience must deliver sales volume to create a profit.   

Have you ever wondered how Walmart is able to deliver such low prices and high sales volume? One way is by applying behavioral science and psychology to their customer experience.

In this book, we'll examine the behavioral science principles that helped make Walmart number one (and keep it there). We'll deep dive into Walmart's tactics: the physical design of the store, designing for easier choice, creating irresistible promotions, reducing friction in their experience, and nudging their customers at key moments. We'll also examine Walmart's process for applying behavioral insights to their experience. 

Behavioral Science in Action Walmart Cover


New and Interesting Reads

"In Barking Up the Wrong Tree, Eric Barker reveals the extraordinary science behind what actually determines success and most importantly, how anyone can achieve it. You’ll learn:

  • Why valedictorians rarely become millionaires, and how your biggest weakness might actually be your greatest strength
  • Whether nice guys finish last and why the best lessons about cooperation come from gang members, pirates, and serial killers
  • Why trying to increase confidence fails and how Buddhist philosophy holds a superior solution
  • The secret ingredient to “grit” that Navy SEALs and disaster survivors leverage to keep going
  • How to find work-life balance using the strategy of Genghis Khan, the errors of Albert Einstein, and a little lesson from Spider-Man"
butwt

"Shockingly, we spend nearly half our day repeating things we've done in the past without thinking about them. How we respond to the people around us; the way we conduct ourselves in meetings; what we buy; when and how we exercise, eat and drink – a truly remarkable number of things we do every day, we do by habit.

And yet, whenever we want to change something about ourselves, we rely on willpower alone. We hope that our determination and intention will be enough to effect positive change. And that is why almost all of us fail.

Professor Wendy Wood is the world's foremost expert on habits. By drawing on three decades of original research, she explains the fascinating science of how we form habits and provides the key to unlocking our habitual mind in order to make the changes we seek.

Combining a potent mix of neuroscience, case studies and experiments conducted in her lab, Good Habits, Bad Habits is a comprehensive, accessible and highly practical book that will change the way you think about almost every aspect of your life.

Please note: this article contains Amazon affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. If you click the link to purchase one of the items, I may receive a small amount of monetary compensation from Amazon at no additional cost to you. It doesn't influence what items I recommend, but I wanted to be transparent and make sure I disclose this relationship.