Persuasion in a World Where Facts Don’t Matter

by Scott Adams

Read:  2017-04-12, Rating:  7/10.

How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big is still one of my favourite books to recommend. I followed Scott Adam’s blog throughout the 2016 election race. This book repeats much of his blog content on the persuasion techniques Trump used.


Impossible to ignore by dr Carmen Simon. The jist of it is you need to surprise the brain to make it work a little extra to form memories.

Emmanuel Kant held that the human mind creates the structure of human experience.

Quantum entanglement and the double slit experiment. I’ll spare you the wonky science but if you do some reading on those topics you will quickly learn that the human brain doesn’t have the capacity to understand the nature of reality.

I submit that the best filter on politics is the one that makes you happy and is the most accurate at predicting what will happen next. I used the persuasion filter to predict Trumps presidency when others thought it was madness and I predicted a lot of steps along the way, that I’ll describe in this book.

In psychology, cognitive dissonance is the mental stress or discomfort experienced by an individual who holds two or more contradictory beliefs ideas or values at the same time performs an action that contradictory to their beliefs ideas or values or is confronted with new information that conflicts with existing beliefs ideas or values

For example, if you believe you’re a smart and well informed person and then you do something that is clearly dumb it sends you int a state of cognitive dissonance and once you’re in that uncomfortable state of mind your brain automatically generates an illusion to solve the discomfort.

Having lots of different explanations is usually a clear tell for cognitive dissonance.

Confirmation bias is the human reflex to interpret any new information as being supportive of the opinions we already hold.

People are more influenced by the direction of things than the current state.

Posted December 1 2016: so what does a master persuader do to make a first impression that lasts for years? He looks for opportunities that was visible, memorable, newsworthy, true to his brand, and easy to change.

And those three words were: We, the people
The original wizards four word code still survives as well… the four words were: Turn the other cheek.

The Persuasion Stack

  1. Big fear,
  2. identity,
  3. smaller fear,
  4. aspirations,
  5. habit,
  6. analogies,
  7. reason,
  8. hypocrisy, and
  9. word thinking.

Whenever you see claims of hypocrisy you are also likely to see opportunities for the high manoeuvre

Persuasion tip 13 : use the high ground manoeuvre to frame yourself as the wise adult in the room

Persuasion tip 14 when you attack a persons beliefs, the person under attack is more likely to harden his belief thank to abandon it, even if your argument is airtight

Persuasion tip 15 studies say humans more easily get addicted to unpredictable awards than to predictable awards

Persuasion tip 16 it is easier to persuade a person who believes you’re persuasive

Power of Contrast

Participate in activities where you excel compared to others

In business always present your ideas in the context of alternatives that are clearly worse

Persuasion tip 20: people are more persuaded by contrast than by facts or reason. Choose your contrast wisely

Positive thoughts lift my energy which in terms lifts my mood and even my immune system

Trump won the branding battle, bigly

Persuaders know that humans out more emphasis on the first part of the sentence

My mom had a saying. You can get used to anything

August 5 2015: I believe Donald Trump could become president of the United States if he promised to shave his head upon winning

Nothing kills humour like a general and boring truth

A Grab Bag of Trumps Quickest and Easiest Persuasion Tools

  • Social Proof… people say
  • Ask directly for what you want… believe me
  • Reputation. It’s true it’s true
  • Simplicity
  • Match the speaking style of your audience
  • Occam’s razor
  • Memorable
  • Strategic Ambiguity

Blog post June 16 2007 how to be a better writer

The Day You Became A Better Writer by Scott Adams

I went from being a bad writer to a good writer after taking a one-day course in “business writing.” I couldn’t believe how simple it was. I’ll tell you the main tricks here so you don’t have to waste a day in class.

Business writing is about clarity and persuasion. The main technique is keeping things simple. Simple writing is persuasive. A good argument in five sentences will sway more people than a brilliant argument in a hundred sentences. Don’t fight it.

Simple means getting rid of extra words. Don’t write, “He was very happy” when you can write “He was happy.” You think the word “very” adds something. It doesn’t. Prune your sentences.

Humor writing is a lot like business writing. It needs to be simple. The main difference is in the choice of words. For humor, don’t say “drink” when you can say “swill.”

Your first sentence needs to grab the reader. Go back and read my first sentence to this post. I rewrote it a dozen times. It makes you curious. That’s the key.

Write short sentences. Avoid putting multiple thoughts in one sentence. Readers aren’t as smart as you’d think.

Learn how brains organize ideas. Readers comprehend “the boy hit the ball” quicker than “the ball was hit by the boy.” Both sentences mean the same, but it’s easier to imagine the object (the boy) before the action (the hitting). All brains work that way. (Notice I didn’t say, “That is the way all brains work”?)

That’s it. You just learned 80% of the rules of good writing. You’re welcome.