The Small BIG Book Summary - The Small BIG Book explained in key points
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The Small BIG summary

Steve J. Martin, Noah J. Goldstein and Robert B. Cialdini

Small Changes that Spark Big Influence

4.2 (69 ratings)
16 mins

Brief summary

"The Small BIG" by Steve J. Martin, Noah J. Goldstein and Robert B. Cialdini is a practical guide on how to influence people through small changes that can result in significant results. It draws on behavioral economics and offers actionable tips for achieving success.

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    The Small BIG
    Summary of 8 key ideas

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    Key idea 1 of 8

    A few small changes in persuasion can have a big impact in getting people to commit.

    Did you know that some simple, small changes can significantly alter how persuasive a message is?

    More than a crafty tactic, persuasion is important, and lack of it can have costly consequences. For example, as a society, we lose a lot of money when we don’t fulfill our commitments. So persuading others to fulfill their commitments can be very beneficial.

    One industry which suffers as a result of lack of commitment is health-care. A popular phrase in healthcare is DNA, standing for “Did Not Attend.” This is when we schedule an appointment but don’t show up. In the UK alone, the problem of DNA has accounted for a £800 million loss.

    Governments and organizations are responsible for collecting funds in a prompt manner. Yet, due to late or absent payments, governments, organizations and customers alike are all charged fees.

    Fortunately, even slight changes in the approach can have a surprisingly large effect.

    You might think that if we were to offer people detailed information and a rational explanation on the subject, it would change their behavior. Take turning off the lights in an office, for example: a common approach is to give your co-workers reasons why it’s important to switch them off, such as cost efficiency and environmental friendliness.

    But persuasion science studies tell us that these rational methods are likely to fail.

    There is a better way to get workers to switch off their lights. It’s a small change that has a big effect: put a garbage bin under the light switch. This way, workers will be predisposed to flip the light switch as they throw out their waste when they leave the office.

    This is just one of the small bigs that can effect people’s behavior.

    As the rest of the blinks will show, these small bigs can also solve the aforementioned DNA problem and much more.

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    What is The Small BIG about?

    The Small BIG offers 52 examples on how minor changes in your behavior can make you more confident and successful when it comes to negotiating with and persuading others. Those who read this book will be able to draw value from the examples and make significant improvements to their persuasion style.

    The Small BIG Review

    The Small BIG (2014) is an insightful book that explores the remarkable power of small, subtle changes and how they can have a profound impact. Here's why this book is worth reading:

    • With practical examples and real-world experiments, it reveals the hidden forces that influence our decisions, making it a fascinating read that sheds light on human behavior.
    • Backed by scientific research, the book presents effective strategies that can be easily applied to everyday situations, empowering readers with practical tools to influence others positively.
    • Through its engaging storytelling, the book captivates readers and keeps them hooked from start to finish, ensuring that it is anything but boring.

    Best quote from The Small BIG

    … Strategies that simply attempt to inform people into making a change carry a high likelihood of failure.

    —Steve J. Martin, Noah J. Goldstein and Robert B. Cialdini
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    Who should read The Small BIG?

    • Anyone who manages individuals or teams
    • Anyone with children
    • Anyone who wants to improve his or her persuasiveness

    About the Author

    Dr. Noah Goldstein is Associate Professor of Management and Organization at UCLA Anderson School of Management and also holds joint appointments in the Psychology Department and the David Geffen School of Medicine. He has won awards in both teaching and research and was on the Scientific Advisory Board of two Fortune Global 500 companies.

    Dr. Robert Cialdini is the most cited living psychologist in the field of influence and persuasion. His career has centred on researching the science of influence. He is the best-selling author of Yes: 50 Scientifically Proven Ways to be Persuasive.

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    The Small BIG FAQs 

    What is the main message of The Small BIG?

    The Small BIG explores the hidden forces that influence our decision-making and reveals how small changes can have a big impact.

    How long does it take to read The Small BIG?

    The reading time for The Small BIG varies, but it typically takes a few hours. The Blinkist summary can be read in about 15 minutes.

    Is The Small BIG a good book? Is it worth reading?

    The Small BIG is worth reading as it uncovers powerful persuasion techniques that can be applied in various areas of life. You'll discover how small actions can lead to big results.

    Who is the author of The Small BIG?

    The Small BIG was written by Steve J. Martin, Noah J. Goldstein, and Robert B. Cialdini.

    What to read after The Small BIG?

    If you're wondering what to read next after The Small BIG, here are some recommendations we suggest:
    • Influence by Robert B. Cialdini
    • The Discomfort Zone by Marcia Reynolds
    • Influence is Your Superpower by Zoe Chance
    • The Hard Thing About Hard Things by Ben Horowitz
    • Power Questions by Andrew Sobel & Jerold Panas
    • Be the Unicorn by William Vanderbloemen
    • The Five Dysfunctions of a Team by Patrick M. Lencioni
    • The Coaching Habit by Michael Bungay Stanier
    • The Gap and the Gain by Dan Sullivan with Benjamin Hardy
    • Never Eat Alone by Keith Ferrazzi