Human Hacking Book Summary - Human Hacking Book explained in key points
Listen to the Intro

Human Hacking summary

Christopher Hadnagy with Seth Schulman

Win Friends, Influence People, and Leave Them Better Off for Having Met You

4.5 (285 ratings)
24 mins
Table of Contents

    Human Hacking
    Summary of 8 key ideas

    Audio & text in the Blinkist app
    Key idea 1 of 8

    Set out to exert influence on people with their best interests in mind.

    Not long ago, author Christopher Hadnagy was checking in at London’s Heathrow Airport with his family. While he was rummaging in his suitcase for passports, his wife spontaneously complimented the attendant behind the counter on her scarf. The attendant smiled and said thank you. 

    Maybe this seems like a completely forgettable – if pleasant– moment. But if that’s what you think, you’d be missing out on a chance at human hacking.

    When faced with this scenario, the author – a security expert – sensed an opportunity for social engineering. So he stepped up to the desk and casually asked how much an upgrade would cost. The attendant took one look at his wife and whispered: “I’m putting you all in first class.” 

    The key message here is: Set out to exert influence on people with their best interests in mind. 

    So what exactly happened here? The author figured that this woman usually had to deal with grumpy and stressed-out passengers day in and day out. In this moment, though, she’d just received an unexpected compliment, and by her genuine smile, he could tell that her mood had been boosted.

    Since the author had a social engineering background, he knew that this combination of events was advantageous for him and his wife. So he decided to make a request – and was doubly rewarded for it. 

    What’s important is that he didn’t try to coerce the attendant into offering a free upgrade. Unlike ethical human hacking, criminal hacking involves preying on people’s emotions to compel compliance, regardless of how negatively it affects them. But when you apply social engineering ethically, it enables others to feel happier about themselves by giving you what you want, as in the case of the airline attendant. It’s a win-win situation. 

    In the following blinks, we’ll introduce practical tools to influence both people of interest and strangers alike, for your mutual benefit. As you start using these tools, keep the human hacking code of ethics in mind, which asks that you pledge to “leave others better off for having met you” in every interaction. Employ these tactics with compassion, not for the sake of manipulation!

    But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Before you can influence others, you have to be able to hack yourself. 

    Want to see all full key ideas from Human Hacking?

    Key ideas in Human Hacking

    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 Human Hacking about?

    Human Hacking (2021) is a guide to the art of ethical social engineering. Using the same tools of psychology and influence deployed by security hackers, it demonstrates how to boost social interactions in daily life. It covers a range of tips on how to adjust your natural communication tendencies to steer encounters to your advantage, with practical tools on how to influence others using empathy and compassion.

    Who should read Human Hacking?

    • Those interested in becoming more persuasive
    • People interested in making new friends
    • Anyone interested in social engineering

    About the Author

    Christopher Hadnagy is a global security expert and founder of Social-Engineer, LLC. He is the best-selling author of multiple technical books for security professionals, including Social Engineering: The Art of Human Hacking and Social Engineering: The Science of Human Hacking

    Categories with Human Hacking

    Books like Human Hacking

    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
    27 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 7,000+ bestselling nonfiction titles and podcasts. Listen or read in just 15 minutes.

    Start your free trial