The Science of Why Book Summary - The Science of Why Book explained in key points
Listen to the Intro

The Science of Why summary

David Forbes

Decoding Human Motivation and Transforming Marketing Strategy

4.2 (68 ratings)
13 mins

Brief summary

The Science of Why by David Forbes explains the scientific basis for common everyday occurrences, such as why we procrastinate or why we have certain fears, using examples and studies. It sheds light on the underlying reasons behind our behavior and thoughts.

Table of Contents

    The Science of Why
    Summary of 6 key ideas

    Audio & text in the Blinkist app
    Key idea 1 of 6

    Use the MindSight Matrix to understand why consumers buy.

    So, you’ve got great marketing, a fantastic business and an ingenious product idea. But your target market doesn’t seem to see it this way – because they just aren’t buying your product. What’s wrong?

    If you’re at your wits end, there’s a tool that might help: the MindSight Matrix. This problem-solving technique maps out the various motivational forces that drive consumers.

    There’s one main force that motivates action: a desire for change. Whether an elderly lady buying a new pair of slippers or a young professional joining a gym, all customers are looking for change, and the MindSight Matrix helps pinpoint exactly what kind of change is wanted.

    There are three categories of desired change: expectations, experiences and outcomes. Expectations are what customers want to change in the future. To attract customers hoping to change their expectations, marketers should focus on giving them a vision of the future where the product has opened up new opportunities for them. Experiences are what customers want to change in the present moment. And, finally, outcomes reflect how satisfied customers are with their past choices.

    There are also three categories of motivations: intrapsychic motivations, instrumental motivations and interpersonal motivations. To identify motivation, we have to specify where we want the change to take place.

    Change can either be internal or outward-directed. If you want to change how you feel about or perceive yourself, then you’re longing for internal change. If you want to change your outward appearance or physical surroundings, or buy a new product, then you desire outward-directed change.

    All internal change is driven by intrapsychic motivations. We’ll take a closer look at these in the next blink.

    Outward-directed change can be driven by either instrumental motivations or interpersonal motivations.

    Instrumental motivations are what inspire you to buy those Nike sneakers or that Chanel handbag, or to take that vacation to Fiji. Interpersonal motivations, on the other hand, are what move you to align yourself with a particular reference group – be it punks, clubbers, sports fans or activists.

    This might seem complicated, but it will become clearer through specific examples in the next blinks. Just remember that there are three different types of change and three different types of motivation – with a total of nine different change-motivation combinations.

    Want to see all full key ideas from The Science of Why?

    Key ideas in The Science of Why

    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 The Science of Why about?

    The Science of Why (2015) is an insightful and sometimes surprising guide to a question that only the best marketers can answer: why does a customer buy? Read through these blinks to explore the various types of consumers in the marketplace, and give your own marketing greater depth and perspective.

    The Science of Why Review

    The Science of Why (2015) by David Forbes is a book that delves into the fascinating world of science to explain the reasons behind everyday phenomena. Here's why this book is worth reading:

    • Through concrete examples and clear explanations, it sheds light on the mysteries of the world around us, making complex scientific concepts accessible and understandable.
    • With its engaging storytelling and practical applications, the book captivates readers and encourages them to see the world from a new perspective.
    • Backed by scientific research and packed with interesting facts, it provides valuable knowledge that helps readers better understand the world and make informed decisions.

    Best quote from The Science of Why

    According to the Council of American Survey Research Organizations, US companies spent $6.7 billion in efforts to learn more about their consumers in 2013.

    —David Forbes
    example alt text

    Who should read The Science of Why?

    • Businesses struggling to gain a strong customer base
    • Marketers who want to approach their target market in a more nuanced manner
    • Shoppers interested in how brands entice them to buy

    About the Author

    David Forbes is the founder of Forbes Consulting, an insight-based marketing consultancy. Through psychological consumer insights, the company has increased the effectiveness of several major brands. Forbes also holds a PhD in clinical and cognitive psychology from Clark University.

    Categories with The Science of Why

    Book summaries like The Science of Why

    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 these summaries

    4.7 Stars
    Average ratings on iOS and Google Play
    32 Million
    Downloads on all platforms
    10+ years
    Experience igniting personal growth
    Powerful ideas from top nonfiction

    Try Blinkist to get the key ideas from 7,500+ bestselling nonfiction titles and podcasts. Listen or read in just 15 minutes.

    Start your free trial

    The Science of Why FAQs 

    What is the main message of The Science of Why?

    The main message of The Science of Why is that understanding the science behind human behavior can help us make better decisions.

    How long does it take to read The Science of Why?

    The reading time for The Science of Why varies depending on the reader's pace. However, the Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is The Science of Why a good book? Is it worth reading?

    The Science of Why is worth reading as it provides insights into the reasons behind our actions, helping us gain a deeper understanding of ourselves and others.

    Who is the author of The Science of Why?

    David Forbes is the author of The Science of Why.

    What to read after The Science of Why?

    If you're wondering what to read next after The Science of Why, here are some recommendations we suggest:
    • Alchemy by Rory Sutherland
    • Buyology by Martin Lindstrom
    • Cashvertising by Drew Eric Whitman
    • The Psychology of Selling by Brian Tracy
    • The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg
    • Lawyers, Liars and the Art of Storytelling by Jonathan Shapiro
    • How to Tell a Story by The Moth
    • Getting Started in Consulting by Alan Weiss
    • How Highly Effective People Speak by Peter Andrei
    • The Science of Selling by David Hoffeld