Extraordinary Influence Book Summary - Extraordinary Influence Book explained in key points
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Extraordinary Influence summary

Tim Irwin

How Great Leaders Bring Out the Best in Others

4.2 (161 ratings)
19 mins

Brief summary

Extraordinary Influence by Tim Irwin is a leadership book that explores the science behind becoming a highly influential individual. It provides actionable insights on how to develop character, communication, and presence to increase your impact and influence.

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    Extraordinary Influence
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    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. 

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    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. 

    Extraordinary Influence Review

    Extraordinary Influence (2017) enlightens readers about the power of influence and how to harness it to create impact in both personal and professional relationships. Here's why this book is worth reading:

    • It offers compelling insights into the psychology of influence, equipping readers with practical strategies to build meaningful connections.
    • The book explores real-life stories and case studies, making it relatable and applicable to various situations where influence matters.
    • With its engaging narrative and thought-provoking exercises, it ensures that readers stay captivated and motivated throughout their journey of self-improvement.

    Best quote from Extraordinary Influence

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

    —Tim Irwin
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    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.

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    Extraordinary Influence FAQs 

    What is the main message of Extraordinary Influence?

    The main message of Extraordinary Influence is how to have a positive impact on others by building trust and genuine connections.

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    The estimated reading time for Extraordinary Influence varies depending on the reader's speed. But you can read the Blinkist summary in just 15 minutes.

    Is Extraordinary Influence a good book? Is it worth reading?

    Extraordinary Influence is definitely worth reading. It offers valuable insights and practical strategies for becoming a more influential and effective leader.

    Who is the author of Extraordinary Influence?

    Tim Irwin is the author of Extraordinary Influence.

    What to read after Extraordinary Influence?

    If you're wondering what to read next after Extraordinary Influence, here are some recommendations we suggest:
    • Influencer by Joseph Grenny
    • Influence and Impact by Bill Berman & George Bradt
    • The Art of Influence by Chris Widener
    • Dopamine Detox by Thibaut Meurisse
    • The 80/20 Principle by Richard Koch
    • You're Invited by Jon Levy
    • Emotional Intelligence by Daniel Goleman
    • Influence is Your Superpower by Zoe Chance
    • Good Leaders Ask Great Questions by John C. Maxwell
    • Communicate to Influence by Ben Decker & Kelly Decker