Human Hacking Book Summary - Human Hacking Book explained in key points
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Human Hacking summary

Christopher Hadnagy with Seth Schulman

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

4.5 (317 ratings)
24 mins

Brief summary

"Human Hacking" by Christopher Hagnady and Seth Schulman is a guide to social engineering and cultivating interpersonal skills. Learn how to fine-tune communication and persuasion techniques to improve your interactions with others.

Table of Contents

    Human Hacking
    Summary of 8 key ideas

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    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. 

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    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.

    Human Hacking Review

    Human Hacking (2020) is an intriguing book that explores the art and science of social engineering and how it can be used for positive purposes. Here's why this book is worth reading:

    • It delves into the psychology behind human behavior, helping readers gain insights into how to influence and persuade others ethically.
    • With its practical tips and strategies, it equips readers with effective techniques to build trust, improve communication, and enhance relationships.
    • The book draws on real-life examples to demonstrate the power of human hacking and its potential applications in various domains, making it both informative and engaging.

    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

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    Human Hacking FAQs 

    What is the main message of Human Hacking?

    Human Hacking teaches us about the art of manipulation and how to protect ourselves from being manipulated.

    How long does it take to read Human Hacking?

    The reading time for Human Hacking varies depending on the reader. However, the Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is Human Hacking a good book? Is it worth reading?

    Human Hacking is a valuable read for anyone curious about social engineering. It provides practical insights on how to navigate human behavior.

    Who is the author of Human Hacking?

    Human Hacking is authored by Christopher Hadnagy and Seth Schulman.

    What to read after Human Hacking?

    If you're wondering what to read next after Human Hacking, here are some recommendations we suggest:
    • Social Engineering by Christopher Hadnagy
    • How to Make People Like You in 90 Seconds or Less by Nicholas Boothman
    • How to Be a People Magnet by Leil Lowndes
    • The Art of Public Speaking by Dale Carnegie
    • The Art of Influencing Anyone by Niall Cassidy
    • The Charisma Myth by Olivia Fox Cabane
    • How to Know a Person by David Brooks
    • Mindset by Carol Dweck
    • Phaedo by Plato
    • Speaker, Leader, Champion by Jeremy Donovan and Ryan Avery