The best 57 Manipulation books

Manipulation is a complex topic that affects us in various aspects of life, from personal relationships to professional settings. Understanding the dynamics of manipulation is key to navigating such situations. That's why we've compiled a carefully selected list of books on this theme.

Delve into our collection to gain insights into manipulation tactics, protect yourself from manipulative behaviors, and learn to communicate assertively. Ready to equip yourself with the knowledge to spot manipulation and safeguard your relationships? Start exploring our recommended titles now!

The best 57 Manipulation books
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1
Manipulation Books: Influence by Robert B. Cialdini

Influence

Robert B. Cialdini
The Psychology of Persuasion
4.5 (2,062 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's Influence about?

Influence (1984) explains in detail the fundamental principles of persuasion. How do you get people to say yes? How do other people get you to say yes?  How are you manipulated by sleek salesmen, clever marketing folks and sneaky confidence tricksters? These blinks will help you understand the psychology behind their techniques, enabling you to unleash your own persuasive powers, while also defending against their tactics of manipulation.

Who should read Influence?

  • Anyone working in marketing or sales
  • People who sometimes find it hard to say no to salespeople or marketers
  • Those interested in how their decision-making is constantly being manipulated

2
Manipulation Books: Give and Take by Adam Grant

Give and Take

Adam Grant
A Revolutionary Approach to Success
4.4 (360 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's Give and Take about?

Give and Take offers a breath of fresh air to traditional theories of what it takes to be successful. Backed by ground-breaking research, Give and Take demonstrates how giving more to others, rather than competing against them, may be the secret to profound success and fulfillment.

Who should read Give and Take?

  • Anyone who wants to understand how those who give become so successful
  • Anyone who wants to learn how to influence others without being domineering
  • Anyone who suffers from burnout by giving too much to others

3
Manipulation Books: Snakes in Suits by Paul Babiak and Robert D. Hare

Snakes in Suits

Paul Babiak and Robert D. Hare
When Psychopaths Go to Work
4.1 (89 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's Snakes in Suits about?

Snakes in Suits (2006) examines what happens when a psychopath doesn’t wind up in jail, but instead puts on a suit and gets a job. The book outlines the tactics these predators use, how they damage companies and how you can protect yourself.

Who should read Snakes in Suits?

  • Anyone who thinks their boss, colleague, subordinate, friend or partner may be a psychopath
  • Anyone who wants to know how to protect themselves or their company from the destructive influence of psychopaths

4
Manipulation Books: You Are Not So Smart by David McRaney

You Are Not So Smart

David McRaney
Why Your Memory Is Mostly Fiction, Why You Have Too Many Friends on Facebook, and 46 Other Ways You’re Deluding Yourself
4.3 (106 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's You Are Not So Smart about?

You Are Not So Smart (2011) explores the many different ways we have of deluding ourselves. By delving into a wide range of psychological research, the author challenges the notion that we are logical, rational beings who see the world as it really is and makes a case that we mislead ourselves every single day, for better and for worse.

Who should read You Are Not So Smart?

  • Anyone who believes that they’re quite rational in their thinking and behavior
  • Anyone interested in how we delude ourselves every day

5
Manipulation Books: The Charisma Myth by Olivia Fox Cabane

The Charisma Myth

Olivia Fox Cabane
How Anyone Can Master the Art and Science of Personal Magnetism
4.2 (498 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's The Charisma Myth about?

The Charisma Myth (2013) defies the popular notion that charisma is inherited, arguing instead that everyone can cultivate their own charisma, and in doing so can have a more positive attitude, find more success, and handle obstacles more successfully.

Using wide-ranging examples of charismatic people, from state leaders to CEOs to employees, the book also outlines the different styles of charisma and how to practice demonstrating each, and offers some useful tools and exercises with which to improve their psychological well-being.

Who should read The Charisma Myth?

  • Anyone who wants to know what constitutes charisma
  • Anyone who wants to learn how to become more charismatic

6
Manipulation Books: Spy the Lie by Philip Houston, Michael Floyd, Susan Carnicero and Don Tennant

Spy the Lie

Philip Houston, Michael Floyd, Susan Carnicero and Don Tennant
Former CIA Officers Teach You How to Detect Deception
4.0 (122 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's Spy the Lie about?

Spy the Lie reveals the typical strategies that liars use to try to deceive you, as well as the tools to help you detect them. This book draws on field-tested methods for lie detection developed by former CIA officers, which helps to spot the signs of a lie and ask the right questions to uncover the truth.

Who should read Spy the Lie?

  • Anyone who conducts interviews
  • Anyone who works in sales, marketing or law enforcement
  • Anyone interested in communication

7
Manipulation Books: Bad Science by Ben Goldacre

Bad Science

Ben Goldacre
4.3 (61 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's Bad Science about?

We often swallow scientific-sounding language used in advertisements or on the news without any further thought. But if we analyze it a little, we often find that it’s merely pseudoscience. Bad Science shows us that this bogus science can lead to serious misunderstandings, injustice and even death.

Who should read Bad Science?

  • Anyone worried about science reporting in the media
  • Anyone who thinks understanding science is beyond them
  • Anyone who buys vitamins or homeopathic remedies

8
Manipulation Books: Mindwise by Nicholas Epley

Mindwise

Nicholas Epley
How We Understand What Others Think, Believe, Feel and Want
3.7 (93 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's Mindwise about?

In Mindwise, author Nicholas Epley looks at our ability to read the minds of other people, arguing that we believe ourselves to be far more adept at “mind reading” than we actually are. He reveals the common mistakes we make when trying to figure out what other people feel or want, and provides an entirely new perspective on how to handle both your own stereotypes and those of other people.

Who should read Mindwise?

  • Anyone wanting to understand the desires of people around them
  • Anyone curious about the common mistakes we make when guessing others’ feelings
  • Anyone interested in learning how their own mind works

9
Manipulation Books: Think Like a Freak by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner

Think Like a Freak

Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner
4.3 (182 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's Think Like a Freak about?

Think Like A Freak is a blueprint for thinking unconventionally and creatively. It demonstrates the benefits of letting go of conventional wisdoms, and teaches you to dig deeper to find out how things really work. By learning to think like a "freak", you’ll gain access to an entirely new way of solving problems and making sense of the world.

Who should read Think Like a Freak?

  • Anyone who likes to challenge conventional beliefs
  • Anyone interested in how statistics can help solve problems
  • Anyone who wants to learn how to think more creatively and unconventionally

10
Manipulation Books: The Prince by Niccolò Machiavelli

The Prince

Niccolò Machiavelli
4.5 (415 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's The Prince about?

The Prince is a 16th century guide on how to be an autocratic leader of a country. It explains why ends like glory and power always justify even brutal means for princes. Thanks to this book, the word “Machiavellian” came to mean using deceit and cunning to one’s advantage.

Who should read The Prince?

  • Anyone who wants to understand how autocratic leaders think
  • Anyone interested in political philosophy/history
  • Anyone who wants to know what truly cold, amoral leadership looks like

11
Manipulation Books: The Upside of Your Dark Side by Todd Kashdan and Robert Biswas-Diener

The Upside of Your Dark Side

Todd Kashdan and Robert Biswas-Diener
Why Being Your Whole Self – Not Just Your “Good” Self – Drives Success and Fulfillment
4.1 (220 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's The Upside of Your Dark Side about?

The Upside of Your Dark Side looks into the darkest depths of the human psyche, only to discover that the painful emotions that we often wish we could just make go away – anger, anxiety, guilt – are sometimes the key to our success. Backed by many fascinating scientific studies, The Upside of Your Dark Side makes it clear that psychological health means wholeness rather than happiness.

Who should read The Upside of Your Dark Side?

  • Anyone who’s fed up with the happiness-hype in popular psychology
  • Anyone who tries to bottle up his or her negative emotions
  • Anyone interested in psychology

12
Manipulation Books: The Small BIG by Steve J. Martin, Noah J. Goldstein and Robert B. Cialdini

The Small BIG

Steve J. Martin, Noah J. Goldstein and Robert B. Cialdini
Small Changes that Spark Big Influence
4.3 (70 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's 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.

Who should read The Small BIG?

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

13
Manipulation Books: You are Now Less Dumb by David McRaney

You are Now Less Dumb

David McRaney
How to Conquer Mob Mentality, How to Buy Happiness, and All the Other Ways to Outsmart Yourself
4.0 (42 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's You are Now Less Dumb about?

You Are Now Less Dumb provides thought-provoking studies and examples on how our brains often misguide us. It also enlightens readers with tips on how to uncover these unfounded beliefs and find out what’s actually happening in and around us.

Who should read You are Now Less Dumb?

  • Anyone who wants to feel a little bit smarter
  • Anyone interested in how our minds play tricks on us
  • Anyone interested in psychology

14
Manipulation Books: The True Believer by Eric Hoffer

The True Believer

Eric Hoffer
Thoughts on the Nature of Mass Movements
4.0 (86 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's The True Believer about?

The True Believer (1951), published in the aftermath of World War II, is an exploration of mass movements and the means by which they attract followers. These blinks will take you on a walk through history – showing how, under certain circumstances, be they right or wrong, anyone can become a true believer.

Who should read The True Believer?

  • People wanting to learn about the history, logic and component parts of mass movements
  • Those interested in group psychology
  • Anybody with an interest in politics and how change is affected

15
Manipulation Books: 59 Seconds by Richard Wiseman

59 Seconds

Richard Wiseman
Think a Little, Change a Lot
4.1 (267 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's 59 Seconds about?

59 seconds (2010) lays out some handy tips and insights backed by scientific research. Apply them today, and experience the change you want in your life.

Who should read 59 Seconds?

  • People sick of the same old self-help books
  • Creative thinkers
  • Psychology enthusiasts

16
Manipulation Books: Social Engineering by Christopher Hadnagy

Social Engineering

Christopher Hadnagy
The Art of Human Hacking
4.2 (101 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's Social Engineering about?

Social Engineering (2011) reveals the secret methods hackers and con artists use to manipulate their targets and scam their victims. The book provides detailed step-by-step depictions of how criminals plan a scheme, and gives you all the tools you need to prevent yourself from being duped.

Who should read Social Engineering?

  • Anyone who wants to know how hackers and scammers plan a heist
  • Anyone interested in how to influence a stranger’s behavior
  • People who watched the BBC series Hustle or The Real Hustle

17
Manipulation Books: Out of Character by David DeSteno and Piercarlo Valdesolo

Out of Character

David DeSteno and Piercarlo Valdesolo
Surprising Truths about the Liar, Cheat, Sinner (and Saint) Lurking in All of Us
4.0 (40 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's Out of Character about?

Out of Character (2011), introduces a more flexible idea about character that goes beyond the classic dichotomy of the saint and the sinner. These blinks use psychological experiments to demonstrate how many of the traits we consider fixed are prone to influence by outside events, often in surprising ways.

Who should read Out of Character?

  • Students of psychology and philosophy
  • Anyone who is interested in human behavior

18
Manipulation Books: The Upside of Irrationality by Dan Ariely

The Upside of Irrationality

Dan Ariely
The Unexpected Benefits of Defying Logic at Work and at Home
4.2 (101 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's The Upside of Irrationality about?

In The Upside of Irrationality (2011), Dan Ariely uses behavioral economics to show us why we behave irrationally, how it affects our decision-making processes, and what we can do to make better choices.

Who should read The Upside of Irrationality?

  • Psychology and behavioral economics students
  • People who want to know why they act irrationally sometimes
  • People curious about human behavior

19
Manipulation Books: In Sheep’s Clothing by George Simon Jr.

In Sheep’s Clothing

George Simon Jr.
Understanding and Dealing with Manipulative People
4.1 (115 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's In Sheep’s Clothing about?

In Sheep’s Clothing (1996) reveals the aggressive, undercover agenda of manipulative individuals, whose covert tactics would otherwise remain hidden. These blinks offers you tools to become aware of, prepare for and deal with the tricks used by manipulative colleagues, family members and friends.

Who should read In Sheep’s Clothing?

  • People who are overly anxious and fearful of social rejection
  • People who believe they might be in a relationship with a manipulator
  • People who want to learn how to fight back against manipulators

20
Manipulation Books: Phishing for Phools by George A. Akerlof and Robert J. Shiller

Phishing for Phools

George A. Akerlof and Robert J. Shiller
The Economics of Manipulation and Deception
4.0 (122 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's Phishing for Phools about?

Phishing for Phools (2015) reveals the ways in which modern free-market systems, so often praised as the epitome of rational exchange, are fueled instead by willful deceit, with the goal of pushing you to act against your self-interest.

Who should read Phishing for Phools?

  • Economists or students examining free-market systems
  • Any consumer interested in how the market works
  • Socially-conscious business owners

21
Manipulation Books: Thank You for Arguing by Jay Heinrichs

Thank You for Arguing

Jay Heinrichs
What Aristotle, Lincoln, and Homer Simpson Can Teach Us About the Art of Persuasion
4.2 (214 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's Thank You for Arguing about?

Thank You for Arguing (2013) is a guide to the art of rhetoric. These blinks explain what rhetoric really is, how persuasion works and how to win a debate by drawing on in-depth research, anecdotes and theories from the great orators of history.

Who should read Thank You for Arguing?

  • Anyone interested in making good arguments
  • Politicians or anyone who debates politics
  • Parents looking for techniques with which to persuade their children

22
Manipulation Books: Games People Play by Eric Berne

Games People Play

Eric Berne
The Psychology of Human Relationships
3.6 (584 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's Games People Play about?

Games People Play (1964) explores the fascinating and bizarre world of psychological games, where players unconsciously manipulate each other into acting in alienating and self-destructive ways. Eric Berne dissects the hidden dynamics beneath the games people play – and shows how to escape from them and find true intimacy.

Who should read Games People Play?

  • People interested in human behavior
  • Life coaches and therapists
  • Anyone who wants to learn how to deal with difficult people

23
Manipulation Books: Emotional Blackmail by Susan Forward with Donna Frazier

Emotional Blackmail

Susan Forward with Donna Frazier
When the People in Your Life Use Fear, Obligation, and Guilt to Manipulate You
4.5 (173 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's Emotional Blackmail about?

Emotional Blackmail (1997) helps us understand, identify, confront and remedy manipulation in our closest relationships. These blinks are filled with insightful explanations about the true nature of toxic relationships and provide you with the tools you need to break out of this vicious cycle.

Who should read Emotional Blackmail?

  • Anyone tired of fighting a losing battle with a loved one
  • People who suspect they let fear run their life
  • People who want to empower themselves in their relationships

24
Manipulation Books: Talking to Crazy by Mark Goulston

Talking to Crazy

Mark Goulston
How to Deal with the Irrational and Impossible People in Your Life
4.0 (52 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's Talking to Crazy about?

Talking to Crazy (2015) acknowledges that each person has the potential to be a little crazy, giving into irrational behavior when the mood strikes. These blinks offer sound advice on how to empathize and communicate with a person in “crazy mode” so you can keep yourself from going off the deep end, too.

Who should read Talking to Crazy?

  • People with anger management issues
  • Anyone struggling with constructive communication in a relationship
  • Parents and teachers dealing with young adults

25
Manipulation Books: Risk by Dan Gardner

Risk

Dan Gardner
The Science and Politics of Fear
4.2 (34 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's Risk about?

We live in a society that pushes us to fear what’s out there. Risk (2008) delves into the psychological and sociological reasons why fear is so deeply rooted in modern times, and why the world isn’t really as bad as we’re made to think it is.

Who should read Risk?

  • Students of psychology, sociology or politics
  • Anyone interested in the media

26
Manipulation Books: Nonsense by Jamie Holmes

Nonsense

Jamie Holmes
The Power of Not Knowing
4.1 (87 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's Nonsense about?

Nonsense (2015) is all about ambiguity and the effect it has on our lives. We encounter situations we don’t understand all the time, both in regular daily life and in extreme situations like natural disasters. These blinks outline the widespread effects, both negative and positive, that this nonsense has on our behavior, and why it’s so important to understand it.

Who should read Nonsense?

 

  • Anyone tasked with important decision-making
  • Negotiators and mediators
  • Language teachers

 

 


27
Manipulation Books: The Confidence Game by Maria Konnikova

The Confidence Game

Maria Konnikova
Why We Fall For It . . . Every Time
4.0 (172 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's The Confidence Game about?

The Confidence Game (2016) reveals exactly how con artists can strike it rich by taking advantage of some major flaws in human nature. Find out why people believe incredibly unlikely stories and ignore incriminating evidence, and discover how basic human trust and optimism can be used to a con artist’s advantage.

Who should read The Confidence Game?

  • Aspiring con artists who want to learn how anyone can be fooled
  • People who think they could never be fooled by a con artist
  • Students of human nature and human behavior

28
Manipulation Books: Irresistible by Adam Alter

Irresistible

Adam Alter
The Rise of Addictive Technology and the Business of Keeping Us Hooked
4.2 (166 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's Irresistible about?

Irresistible (2017) shows how dangerously dependent we’ve become on the smartphones, tablets, video games and social platforms that we’ve surrounded ourselves with. Is our attachment to these devices strictly related to the convenience they provide? Or have we actually grown addicted to the psychological rewards they offer?

Who should read Irresistible?

  • Psychology students
  • Technology addicts
  • Anyone looking to be more productive

29
Manipulation Books: Lawyers, Liars and the Art of Storytelling by Jonathan Shapiro

Lawyers, Liars and the Art of Storytelling

Jonathan Shapiro
Using Stories to Advocate, Influence, and Persuade
4.0 (130 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's Lawyers, Liars and the Art of Storytelling about?

Lawyers, Liars and the Art of Storytelling (2016) reveals the unexpected relationship between screenwriting and the art of presenting a legal case. These are two disciplines that both rely on great storytelling skills and effective rhetoric. So with the aid of real-life examples and tips people in television and film, you’ll find out how you can use the art of storytelling to craft compelling cases that will keep the courtroom riveted.

This is a Blinkist staff pick

“I love all the quirks and oddities of human behavior showcased in these blinks, they make for great conversation!”

– Ben H, Head of Editorial at Blinkist

Who should read Lawyers, Liars and the Art of Storytelling?

  • Lawyers looking to up their storytelling game
  • Anyone wanting to uncover how successful lawyers win cases
  • Budding public speakers interested in the art of rhetoric

30
Manipulation Books: Experiments With People by Robert P. Abelson, Kurt P. Frey and Aiden P. Gregg

Experiments With People

Robert P. Abelson, Kurt P. Frey and Aiden P. Gregg
Revelations From Social Psychology
4.4 (99 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's Experiments With People about?

Experiments With People (2003) is a survey of social psychology throughout the twentieth century, and everything we have come to learn from it. These blinks will teach you about yourself, the hidden sides of human nature, why we make the choices we do and how altruistic humans really are.

Who should read Experiments With People?

  • Students of psychology and the social sciences
  • Impulsive people looking to include more rationality in their daily lives
  • Highly social people interested in the intricacies human nature

31
Manipulation Books: Stick with It by Sean D. Young

Stick with It

Sean D. Young
A Scientifically Proven Process for Changing Your Life – for Good
4.3 (117 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's Stick with It about?

Stick with It (2017) offers sensible advice that you can start using today to make positive changes in your life. Drawing from real-world case studies and the latest behavioral research, author Sean Young provides a thorough and rational plan for how you can combat your bad habits and follow through on your dreams and goals.

Who should read Stick with It?

  • Anyone struggling to make lasting changes in their life
  • Readers who are eager to break bad habits
  • Professionals keen to improve ineffective personal work routines

32
Manipulation Books: Political Tribes by Amy Chua

Political Tribes

Amy Chua
Group Instinct and the Fate of Nations
4.3 (32 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's Political Tribes about?

Political Tribes (2018) is an insightful study of one of today’s most pressing issues: tribalism. From postwar Iraq to Chavez’s Venezuela and Trump’s America, political life has become increasingly polarized. That’s a problem. Once people stop trying to understand each other and retreat into the safety of their own tribes, conflict becomes inevitable. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Amy Chua argues that foreign and domestic policy can defuse tensions as long as those policies are based on a sound understanding of tribalism.

Who should read Political Tribes?

  • Anyone who’s wondered what exactly went wrong in Iraq
  • Citizens tired of endless political partisanship
  • Fans of penetrating social analysis

33
Manipulation Books: Skin in the Game by Nassim Nicholas Taleb

Skin in the Game

Nassim Nicholas Taleb
Hidden Asymmetries in Daily Life
4.1 (489 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's Skin in the Game about?

Skin in the Game (2018) explores the ways in which our interactions with others are secretly influenced by risk and symmetry. By drawing on ideas from the field of probability, and applying them to everyday scenarios, Taleb reveals unexpected and often dazzling insights about what really makes society tick.

Who should read Skin in the Game?

  • Anyone interested in risk analysis
  • Anyone looking for fresh insights into economics
  • Social psychology students and enthusiasts

34
Manipulation Books: Neuro-linguistic Programming for Dummies by Romilla Ready and Kate Burton

Neuro-linguistic Programming for Dummies

Romilla Ready and Kate Burton
4.0 (290 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's Neuro-linguistic Programming for Dummies about?

Neuro-linguistic Programming for Dummies (2015) is an introduction to the basic principles behind NLP. If you’ve ever struggled to say what’s on your mind, NLP may be of use to you. Discover the human traits that can keep us from understanding each other and the helpful methods that can lead to clear and effective communication.

Who should read Neuro-linguistic Programming for Dummies?

  • Readers who strive to communicate clearly
  • Students of neuroscience and linguistics
  • Anyone open to new ideas and techniques for improvement

35
Manipulation Books: Captivate by Vanessa Van Edwards

Captivate

Vanessa Van Edwards
The Science of Succeeding with People
4.0 (269 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's Captivate about?

Captivate (2017) is your guide to human behavior and social success. Whether you’re trying to connect with others at home, at work or out in the world, Van Edwards set about breaking down the mechanics of how to capture people’s attention and engage in meaningful interaction.

Who should read Captivate?

  • Young people who want to improve their social skills
  • Singles looking to become dating pros
  • Managers and entrepreneurs who want their employees to do their best

36
Manipulation Books: The Laws of Human Nature by Robert Greene

The Laws of Human Nature

Robert Greene
4.5 (741 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's The Laws of Human Nature about?

The Laws of Human Nature (2018) takes an in-depth look at the many aspects of the human condition that often go overlooked or unacknowledged. As author Robert Greene explains, we are all a bit narcissistic, irrational, short-sighted and prone to compulsive and aggressive behavior. But once we accept and start to understand these aspects of human nature, we can begin to control and even benefit from them.

Who should read The Laws of Human Nature?

  • Students of psychology and human nature
  • Those seeking to understand their behavior
  • People who want to live a better life

37
Manipulation Books: I'm Judging You by Luvvie Ajayi

I'm Judging You

Luvvie Ajayi
The Do-Better Manual
2.7 (25 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's I'm Judging You about?

I’m Judging You (2016) provides a uniquely humorous take on all the ways modern society can produce annoying, absurd and downright terrible people. Whether it’s misusing hashtags on social media or being an unbearable sexist monster, author Luvvie Ajayi is ready to call out their awfulness and provide readers with some pointers on how to avoid her judgemental wrath.

Who should read I'm Judging You?

  • Anyone looking to get more woke
  • People fed up with racism and sexism
  • Readers who want a humorous take on American society

38
Manipulation Books: Super Thinking by Gabriel Weinberg with Lauren McCann

Super Thinking

Gabriel Weinberg with Lauren McCann
The Big Book of Mental Models
4.3 (531 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's Super Thinking about?

Super Thinking (2019) is a conceptual toolkit designed to help you cut through complexity and make better decisions. Drawing on insights from fields as varied as biology and economics, entrepreneur Gabriel Weinberg and statistician Lauren McCann present the “mental models” used by today’s top problem-solvers and decision-makers. But this isn’t a dry academic treatise on logic: apply these models to your personal and professional conundrums and you’ll be well on your way to becoming a super thinker in your own right!

Who should read Super Thinking?

  • Thinkers and logicians
  • Science buffs 
  • Self-optimizers 

39
Manipulation Books: Talking to Strangers by Malcolm Gladwell

Talking to Strangers

Malcolm Gladwell
What We Should Know about the People We Don’t Know
3.9 (2,575 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's Talking to Strangers about?

Talking to Strangers (2019) is a powerful exploration of how little we know about the people we don’t know. It explores how we misjudge and misunderstand strangers, sometimes with terrible consequences, making a powerful case for more tolerance and patience in our dealings with others.

In these blinks, you’ll learn

  • why real life is nothing like an episode of Friends;
  • how the look on our face when we are surprised is itself surprising; and
  • that artificial intelligence can assess a person’s character better than high court judges.

Who should read Talking to Strangers?

  • City dwellers living in a crowd of strangers
  • Malcolm Gladwell fans
  • Those who think they’re a good judge of character

40
Manipulation Books: Loserthink by Scott Adams

Loserthink

Scott Adams
How Untrained Brains Are Ruining America
3.9 (112 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's Loserthink about?

Loserthink (2019) looks at the various ways in which we fall victim to unproductive thinking habits. Drawing upon history, psychology, global affairs, and business to reveal the pitfalls of such habits, these blinks will sharpen your thinking in an increasingly irrational world.

Who should read Loserthink?

  • Entrepreneurs seeking motivation
  • Frustrated political debaters or Twitter fanatics
  • Dilbert fans

41
Manipulation Books: Messengers by Stephen Martin and Joseph Marks

Messengers

Stephen Martin and Joseph Marks
Who We Listen To, Who We Don’t, And Why
4.4 (156 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's Messengers about?

Messengers (2019) is a fascinating exploration of why we listen to, follow, or believe in some people but not others. It explains why thoughtful experts are sometimes ignored in favor of confident blowhards. And it reveals why apparently irrelevant details, like the color of someone’s lipstick or the roundness of their face, can make a huge difference to how we respond to them. 

Who should read Messengers?

  • Communicators who want to step up their influence 
  • Professionals who want to be more persuasive 
  • Anyone who wants to find more ways to connect with the people in their lives

42
Manipulation Books: The Power of Bad by John Tierney and Roy Baumeister

The Power of Bad

John Tierney and Roy Baumeister
How the Negativity Effect Rules Us and How We Can Rule It
4.5 (175 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's The Power of Bad about?

The Power of Bad (2019) is a thorough exploration of the outsized influence negativity has in our personal lives and our society. Based on well-researched insights from social psychology, political science, and economics, it unpacks how this “negativity bias” came about and what we can do to overcome it.

Who should read The Power of Bad?

  • Pessimists looking for a brighter perspective
  • Amateur psychologists seeking insight into human behavior
  • Anyone desiring a new perspective on what shapes society

43
Manipulation Books: The Life-Changing Science of Detecting Bullshit by John V. Petrocelli

The Life-Changing Science of Detecting Bullshit

John V. Petrocelli
Harnessing Critical Thinking Habits to Combat False Information
3.6 (215 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's The Life-Changing Science of Detecting Bullshit about?

The Life-Changing Science of Detecting Bullshit (2021) uses real-world examples to help you build critical thinking habits – which will enable you to recognize and resist all the false information that pervades society.

Who should read The Life-Changing Science of Detecting Bullshit?

  • Bullshit detectors who want to hone their skills
  • People who think they’re immune to bullshitting
  • Anyone who yearns for a bullshit-free world

44
Manipulation Books: Surrounded by Narcissists by Thomas Erikson

Surrounded by Narcissists

Thomas Erikson
How to Effectively Recognize, Avoid, and Defend Yourself Against Toxic People (and Not Lose Your Mind)
4.3 (803 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's Surrounded by Narcissists about?

Surrounded By Narcissists (2022) is a guide to recognizing narcissists and understanding how they operate. Erikson suggests simple, effective methods for dealing with any narcissists you know, whether it’s your partner, a relative, someone you work with, or possibly all three – you may be surrounded.

Who should read Surrounded by Narcissists?

  • Victims of narcissists
  • Empaths who are worried about being manipulated
  • Anyone who’s interested in psychology or personality types

45
Manipulation Books: The Secret History by Donna Tartt

The Secret History

Donna Tartt
A Novel
4.4 (28 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's The Secret History about?

The Secret History (1992) is the gripping tale of a group of Classics students at a New England college who are involved in the murder of a classmate. The novel explores the complex relationships between the friends, and the impact the incident has on their lives.

Who should read The Secret History?

  • People who enjoy psychological fiction
  • Fans of the “dark academia” genre
  • Anyone with an interest in Classics

46
Manipulation Books: Collective Illusions by Todd Rose

Collective Illusions

Todd Rose
Conformity, Complicity, and the Science of Why We Make Bad Decisions
4.5 (77 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's Collective Illusions about?

Collective Illusions (2022) explores the idea of conformity bias: how it shapes our decisions for better or worse, and how we can overcome this behavior and even use it for good.

Who should read Collective Illusions?

  • Amateur brain scientists
  • People who want to be the change
  • Dissenters and activists

47
Manipulation Books: Adult Daughters of Narcissistic Mothers by Stephanie M. Kriesberg

Adult Daughters of Narcissistic Mothers

Stephanie M. Kriesberg
Quiet the Critical Voice in Your Head, Heal Self-Doubt, and Live the Life You Deserve
4.6 (94 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's Adult Daughters of Narcissistic Mothers about?

Adult Daughters of Narcissistic Mothers (2022) explores the ramifications of having a narcissistic parent, and what you as an adult can do to release yourself from your mother’s toxic hold. Its toolkit will help you manage the difficult feelings that come with being raised by a narcissist – like self-doubt, shame, and anxiety – so that you can start living on your own terms. 

Who should read Adult Daughters of Narcissistic Mothers?

  • Adults with controlling, manipulative, or domineering mothers
  • Those who have struggled with anxiety and insecurity since they were young
  • Anyone who has felt fundamentally flawed since they were a child

48
Manipulation Books: Should I Stay Or Should I Go by Ramani Durvasula

Should I Stay Or Should I Go

Ramani Durvasula
Surviving A Relationship with a Narcissist
4.1 (77 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's Should I Stay Or Should I Go about?

Should I Stay Or Should I Go (2015) is a comprehensive survival guide for those in a relationship with a narcissist. Dr. Ramani breaks down what narcissism is, highlights the red flags to look out for, and offers two concrete roadmaps – one for deciding to stay, and one for deciding to go. 

Who should read Should I Stay Or Should I Go?

  • Anyone not feeling seen, heard, or respected by a partner
  • People dealing with a narcissistic parent, friend, or colleague
  • Those struggling to decide whether they should stay in or leave a relationship

49
Manipulation Books: If You Tell by Gregg Olsen

If You Tell

Gregg Olsen
A True Story of Murder, Family Secrets, and the Unbreakable Bond of Sisterhood
4.2 (22 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's If You Tell about?

If You Tell (2019) details the story of Michelle “Shelly” Knotek, the mother of three daughters who subjected her family to an ongoing nightmare of abuse and torture. Those who got close to Shelly had a way of succumbing to her methods of manipulation and control. For some, it meant their death.

Who should read If You Tell?

  • True crime fanatics
  • Anyone interested in stories of incredible resilience
  • People curious about the psychology of serial killers

50
Manipulation Books: Propaganda by Edward Bernays

Propaganda

Edward Bernays
4.7 (374 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's Propaganda about?

Propaganda (1928) is a plain-speaking and unashamed defense of the techniques of political and social manipulation. Far from being a dark art practiced by despots and dictators, Bernays suggests that propaganda instead plays an essential and necessary role in the life of modern democracies. Not everyone agrees, of course, but nearly 100 years later the enduring influence of Bernays’s arguments is reason enough to engage with them.

Who should read Propaganda?

  • Anyone who works in PR, advertising, or marketing
  • History buffs
  • Politicos interested in American democracy

51
Manipulation Books: Flipnosis by Kevin Dutton

Flipnosis

Kevin Dutton
The Art of Split-Second Persuasion
4.3 (133 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's Flipnosis about?

Flipnosis (2010) looks at the role of persuasion in our lives, and the social and biological underpinnings that allow some people to quickly and successfully encourage and convince those around them. By examining the science and looking at real-world master persuaders – from magicians and advertisers to criminals and psychopaths – you too can tap into the art of persuasion.

Who should read Flipnosis?

  • Would-be social engineers, looking for a few tricks to improve their influence
  • Free-thinkers who want to make sure that their choices are, in fact, their own
  • Anyone who has been sold something they didn’t want, and were left wondering: What just happened?

52
Manipulation Books: Exactly What to Say by Phil M Jones

Exactly What to Say

Phil M Jones
Your Personal Guide to the Mastery of Magic Words
4.7 (1,235 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's Exactly What to Say about?

Exactly What to Say (2017) is designed to provide you with the key phrases and words to make your conversations count and bring you success. It contains magic words. Words that are heard and interpreted by the subconscious mind. Words which will help you get the results you want.

Who should read Exactly What to Say?

  • Anyone interested in how words can influence others at a subconscious level
  • Success-driven individuals who want to up their game
  • Entrepreneurs who want to get their prospects to say yes more often

53
Manipulation Books: Gaslighting by Stephanie Moulton Sarkis

Gaslighting

Stephanie Moulton Sarkis
Recognize Manipulative and Emotionally Abusive People - and Break Free
4.3 (335 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's Gaslighting about?

Gaslighting (2018) is an illuminating guide in the obscure world of emotional manipulation. It reveals how to identify and break free from the devastating impact of gaslighting, so you can regain control of your life and restore your sense of self.

Who should read Gaslighting?

  • Emotional abuse victims searching for coping strategies
  • Friends and relatives hoping to understand their loved ones' gaslighting experiences
  • Mental health professionals seeking deeper insights into gaslighting and its effects

54
Manipulation Books: The Uses of Delusion by Stuart Vyse

The Uses of Delusion

Stuart Vyse
Why It's Not Always Rational to Be Rational
4.3 (57 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's The Uses of Delusion about?

The Uses of Delusions (2022) ventures into the intriguing realm of irrational beliefs and delusions, highlighting their essential role in shaping our lives and detailing how these misconceptions surprisingly confer benefits. These beneficial delusions serve as crucial contributors to our happiness, relationships and even survival, constructing a compelling narrative about the paradoxical power of irrationality. 

Who should read The Uses of Delusion?

  • Psychology enthusiasts fascinated by the human mind’s quirks and misconceptions
  • Self-help seekers desiring to understand and improve their own mental processes
  • Skeptics and rational thinkers keen on understanding the roots of superstition and irrational behavior

55
Manipulation Books: The Highly Sensitive Person's Guide to Dealing with Toxic People by Shahida Arabi

The Highly Sensitive Person's Guide to Dealing with Toxic People

Shahida Arabi
How to Reclaim Your Power from Narcissists and Other Manipulators
4.4 (158 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's The Highly Sensitive Person's Guide to Dealing with Toxic People about?

The Highly Sensitive Person’s Guide to Dealing with Toxic People (2020) sheds light on why empathetic individuals tend to attract those with toxic personalities and harmful behaviors. It provides a practical guide to recognizing, mitigating, and recovering from the manipulative tactics of toxic people.  

Who should read The Highly Sensitive Person's Guide to Dealing with Toxic People?

  • Sensitive types who are prone to manipulation
  • Targets for narcissists and other toxic people
  • Those seeking emancipation from controlling partners or family members

56
Manipulation Books: Cultish by Amanda Montell

Cultish

Amanda Montell
The Language of Fanaticism
4.0 (139 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's Cultish about?

Forget mind control. In Cultish (2021), Amanda Montell exposes the verbal tricks that bind groups, from Heaven’s Gate to your Peloton Group. A fascinating look at how words shape beliefs and persuade us. Decode the language of domination and reclaim your power.

Who should read Cultish?

  • Word wizards
  • Cult detectives 
  • True crime fans

57
Manipulation Books: It's Not You by Ramani Durvasula

It's Not You

Ramani Durvasula
Identifying and Healing from Narcissistic People
4.5 (200 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's It's Not You about?

It’s Not You (2024) delves into the complexities of narcissistic personality traits and their devastating effects on personal and professional relationships. With a compassionate and pragmatic approach, it offers strategies and insights to help navigate these challenging dynamics.

Who should read It's Not You?

  • Those who have experienced, or are currently in, relationships with narcissistic partners, family members, friends, or colleagues
  • Human resource professionals and managers who want to understand narcissistic behavior in the workplace better
  • Anyone who is navigating complex relationships with narcissistic personalities they can’t walk away from

Related Topics

Manipulation Books
 FAQs 

What's the best Manipulation book to read?

While choosing just one book about a topic is always tough, many people regard Influence as the ultimate read on Manipulation.

What are the Top 10 Manipulation books?

Blinkist curators have picked the following:
  • Influence by Robert B. Cialdini
  • Give and Take by Adam Grant
  • Snakes in Suits by Paul Babiak and Robert D. Hare
  • You Are Not So Smart by David McRaney
  • The Charisma Myth by Olivia Fox Cabane
  • Spy the Lie by Philip Houston, Michael Floyd, Susan Carnicero and Don Tennant
  • Bad Science by Ben Goldacre
  • Mindwise by Nicholas Epley
  • Think Like a Freak by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner
  • The Prince by Niccolò Machiavelli

Who are the top Manipulation book authors?

When it comes to Manipulation, these are the authors who stand out as some of the most influential:
  • Robert B. Cialdini
  • Adam Grant
  • Paul Babiak and Robert D. Hare
  • David McRaney
  • Olivia Fox Cabane