I Smell a Rat! The Prisoner’s Dilemma

Did you know the original Universities were designed as Prisons to keep unruly young men caged up while their hormones drove risky behavior that threatened the local social harmony?

Rather than allow young people to take risks that help them to grow and experience life, we continue to indoctrinate them with social rules to help keep the order.

The risks available to busy students are far less violent than what may be the alternatives.

I don’t remember everything from University. There certainly weren’t a lot of dangerous risks in the small town where I studied.

Dorm life was a party — and we could smoke indoors! A “career” after graduation seemed a lifetime away. Econ 101 taught me the benefits of Free Trade.

I hated this class! Photo "Amherst63-012" by NealeA, Flickr, CC-By-2.0
I loved this class! Photo “Amherst63-012” by NealeA, Flickr, CC-By-2.0

And while I learned a lot I’m sure, there is plenty that I didn’t learn.

Maybe you, too?

•We didn’t learn how to start a business in university — the mindset of an entrepreneur.

•We didn’t learn how to create and maintain a budget — the mindset of habit.

•We didn’t learn to negotiate — the mindset of persuasion.

This is the reason I’ve started PersuasionReadingList.com — to learn what I should know to understand what moves the human mind, and to share these concepts of influence with you. Continue reading “I Smell a Rat! The Prisoner’s Dilemma”

“I aim very high, and then I just keep pushing”

Not everyone is born a deal-maker, Trump warns us. Some people have the instincts, and some don’t. Even if someone has the instincts, they may never get off their couch to try something more ambitious. People are afraid to take chances and that holds them back.

I think we can agree that Trump has been in business for a very long time. He probably knows a thing or two about deals.

"Trump Tower" by Tripp, Flickr, CC-By-2.0
“Trump Tower” by Tripp, Flickr, CC-By-2.0

Chapter two of The Art of the Deal covers Trump’s approach to deal making.

Continue reading ““I aim very high, and then I just keep pushing””

Lies and the Limbic Brain

Think about a time when you pretended to continue an uncomfortable conversation as you moved into another room. Sure, you could still talk back and forth, but it was more difficult. Another item soon occupied your focus, which ended the exchange.

Discomfort rules your limbic brain. That limbic lizard brain inside is what moves your body to a safer room when you’re uncomfortable.

I found myself doing exactly this earlier last week. Fleeing the scene of an accidental argument. Continue reading “Lies and the Limbic Brain”

Reading the Confidence Tells of the Face

We’ve trained our faces to lie.

Social order depends on the cooperation of people to accomplish tasks, people that may not otherwise get along. From the Great Wall of China to your office this week, we’ve all put on a happy face to make a situation less confrontational. If you’re looking for truth, the face is one of the least likely places to find it.

Is this smile real or fake? How do you know? Image "t smile" by halbag, Flickr, CC-By-2.0
Is this smile real or fake? How do you know? Image “t smile” by halbag, Flickr, CC-By-2.0

It makes life easier for everyone.

The face is controlled by 43 muscles, adding up to a wide variety of expressions! Even if we can control our facial muscles to an extent, our limbic system still reacts. It’s difficult for most people to maintain a mask covering their true emotions, Continue reading “Reading the Confidence Tells of the Face”

Confidence Tells of the Hands

Our hands help tell our stories.

Old scars. Class rings. Emphatic speeches to the masses! Insert rude gesture here!

Image "/approve" by hobvias sudoneighm, Flickr, CC-By-2.0
Thumbs Up is a display of confidence. Image “/approve” by hobvias sudoneighm, Flickr, CC-By-2.0

Before spoken language, our hands described the large monsters in the forest. Hands are used to protect the tribe, signalling for silence. They’re used to show gratitude and love.

As a result, we’ve learned to pay special attention to hands. They’re humanity’s primary form of communication. They’re extremely useful in persuasion.

Because our brain naturally is drawn to watching hands, Continue reading “Confidence Tells of the Hands”

Happy Feet and More:
20+ Secrets to Decoding Leg Movements

We’ve trained our faces to lie, but not our feet. Our feet telegraph our intentions.

I see it every week. My kid says she likes dinner but her body is literally climbing out of her seat, feet pointed towards her toys. Her priorities are evident, regardless of her words.

Through most of human history, we’ve relied on our feet to keep us safe without conscious thought. They just react.

Legs crossed towards someone indicates comfort with that person. Image "our bench days" by phlubdr, Flickr, CC-By-2.0
Legs crossed towards someone indicates comfort with that person. Image “our bench days” by phlubdr, Flickr, CC-By-2.0

Surprisingly, the feet are the most honest part of our body. They can exhibit both positive and negative emotions… if you know what to look for. Continue reading “Happy Feet and More: 20+ Secrets to Decoding Leg Movements”

How Your Lizard Brain Gives Away Your Secrets

Your head contains three brains. They’re all tasked with their own jobs to keep you alive. These brains have evolved over millions of years along with humanity.

"Brained" by Jose, Flickr, CC-By-2.0
“Brained” by Jose, Flickr, CC-By-2.0

The oldest of the three brains is the reptilian stem. It controls our primitive drives for survival, like our desire for food and sex.

To witness the reptilian drive to stay alive, check out this exciting video from the BBC: Continue reading “How Your Lizard Brain Gives Away Your Secrets”

The IRS called me yesterday. I may not return for 3 years.

Last night I was picking up some adult beverages when my phone lit up. Incoming call from what Google’s Caller ID displayed as US Internal Revenue Services, from Oakland CA. Wary but curious, I picked up.

Immediately, the man knew my name and address. Score one for believably. “Paul White” gave me a case number and started to explain why he was calling: the IRS was doing an audit of all Americans to crack down on fraud, and I had under-reported income from 2010-2011 tax year by $1000 per month. I owed $850 in back taxes for that $12k, said the man.

I don't want to go to jail! "MM00014750x" from Florida Keys Public Library, Flicker CC-By-2.0
I don’t want to go to jail!
“MM00014750x” from Florida Keys Public Library, Flicker CC-By-2.0

I was uncomfortable and disbelieving. But it was also a heart-racing scenario if this were true. Al Capone went down like this. Was I next? Continue reading “The IRS called me yesterday. I may not return for 3 years.”