Extraordinary Influence Book Summary - Extraordinary Influence Book explained in key points
Listen to the Intro

Extraordinary Influence summary

Tim Irwin

How Great Leaders Bring Out the Best in Others

4.2 (155 ratings)
19 mins
Table of Contents

    Extraordinary Influence
    summarized in 7 key ideas

    Audio & text in the Blinkist app
    Key idea 1 of 7

    The human brain loves affirmation, but it needs more than a pat on the back. 

    Losing can be devastating. Take it from the author’s son, the captain of his school’s football team. The athletes he was leading had put a ton of effort into improving their performance but still ended up losing a vital match. 

    After the game, the opposing team’s coach came up to the author’s son and told him that it’d been an honor playing against him and his team. Despite the loss, he added, they’d played their hearts out and shown tremendous courage. It was just what the boy needed to hear, and it took the sting out of the defeat. After that pep talk, he even felt inspired. 

    No wonder: the human brain craves affirmation. That’s backed up by hard evidence. Neuroscientific research carried out over the last couple of decades has shown that the brain responds physically to positive emotional feedback. 

    How? Simply put, it releases neurochemicals which increase our sense of wellbeing. According to a 2005 study by the American psychologists Creswell, Welch and Taylor, affirmation reduces stress and sharpens our problem-solving skills. And that, in turn, boosts our overall performance. 

    That said, it’s important to remember that affirmation comes in different forms. Social life is full of low-key acts of affirmation. We often compliment someone on their clothes, for example, or tell a coworker that they’ve done a “great job.” These small pats on the back are nice enough, but they’re not the same thing as real affirmation. 

    The difference becomes apparent when you look at the etymological roots of the term itself. “Affirmation” comes from the Latin noun affirmatio, which is derived from the verb “to strengthen” or “fortify.” True affirmation, then, is deeper than a throwaway compliment. It’s about accompanying someone through a process and offering constant reinforcement through constructive feedback and – when it’s deserved – high praise. 

    A good example of how that might play out comes from the culinary world. In Japan, sushi apprentices spend years doing menial work before they’re allowed to complete even simple cooking tasks like preparing eggs. When they’ve finally mastered their craft, they receive the honorific title of shokunin or “artisan” from their master. 

    That’s the final act of support and affirmation bestowed by their teachers, the sushi masters who’ve spent years closely guiding their apprentices through the tricky process of mastering sushi-making. 

    Want to see all full key ideas from Extraordinary Influence?

    Key ideas in Extraordinary Influence

    More knowledge in less time
    Read or listen
    Read or listen
    Get the key ideas from nonfiction bestsellers in minutes, not hours.
    Find your next read
    Find your next read
    Get book lists curated by experts and personalized recommendations.
    Shortcasts New
    We’ve teamed up with podcast creators to bring you key insights from podcasts.

    What is Extraordinary Influence about?

    Extraordinary Influence (2018) delves into the latest neuroscientific research to shed light on the secrets behind effective leadership. The key? Communication. Getting that right, clinical psychologist and corporate consultant Tim Irwin argues, doesn’t just keep team members motivated – it also drives them to go the extra mile and perform at their highest level. 

    Best quote from Extraordinary Influence

    There is a huge difference between affirmation and a pat on the back.

    —Tim Irwin
    example alt text

    Who should read Extraordinary Influence?

    • CEOs and business leaders
    • Team leaders looking to up their game 
    • Coaches and communication experts

    About the Author

    Tim Irwin studied organizational and clinical psychology at Georgia State University. An adjunct professor at his alma mater, Irwin is also a contributor to Business Week and the Wall Street Journal as well as a regular guest on Fox Business News. He is also an acclaimed consultant who has worked with major firms in both North and South America. Irwin’s previous books include Derailed and the best-selling Impact


    © Tim Irwin: Extraordinary Influence 2018, John Wiley & Sons Inc. Used by permission of John Wiley & Sons Inc. and shall not be made available to any unauthorized third parties.

    Categories with Extraordinary Influence

    Books like Extraordinary Influence

    People ❤️ Blinkist
    Sven O.

    It's highly addictive to get core insights on personally relevant topics without repetition or triviality. Added to that the apps ability to suggest kindred interests opens up a foundation of knowledge.

    Thi Viet Quynh N.

    Great app. Good selection of book summaries you can read or listen to while commuting. Instead of scrolling through your social media news feed, this is a much better way to spend your spare time in my opinion.

    Jonathan A.

    Life changing. The concept of being able to grasp a book's main point in such a short time truly opens multiple opportunities to grow every area of your life at a faster rate.

    Renee D.

    Great app. Addicting. Perfect for wait times, morning coffee, evening before bed. Extremely well written, thorough, easy to use.

    People also liked

    Start growing with Blinkist now
    26 Million
    Downloads on all platforms
    4.7 Stars
    Average ratings on iOS and Google Play
    Of Blinkist members create a better reading habit*
    *Based on survey data from Blinkist customers
    Powerful ideas from top nonfiction

    Try Blinkist to get the key ideas from 5,500+ bestselling nonfiction titles and podcasts. Listen or read in just 15 minutes.

    Start your free trial