Weapons of Influence #1: Reciprocation

The art of persuasion comes in many forms.

We’ve been reading , by Robert Cialdini, and quickly realized it’s got far too much depth to review in a single episode. So today, we start our series on the weapons of persuasion — starting with the rule of reciprocation.

You’ve almost certainly participated in this rule before, as it’s one of the big things that holds human civilization together.

But, as with most good things, there are always those seeking to take advantage.

Learn to recognize this rule, and you can make sure you only participate when you choose.

Things mentioned in this episode:

  • , by Robert Cialdini
  • Robert Cialdini
  • How People Manipulate You: The 6 Principles of Influence
  • Indo Board Balance Board Original with Roller
  • , on Rotten Tomatoes
  • , by Steven Pressfield
  • Steven Pressfield
  • The War of Art (Ep. 161)
  • Price Intelligently – Price Anchoring to Optimize Your Pricing Strategy
  • J.C. Penney
  • Suitsupply
  • Room&Board
  • , by David Graeber
  • David Graeber
  • Alvin Ward Gouldner
  • Lessons from The Personal MBA (Ep. 166)
  • Hardcore History podcast
  • Dan Carlin
  • MoneyLab’s “Email Page”
  • Jeff Bezos

Want more cool stuff? You can find all sorts of great tools at my Resources page.


  • 0:03:55 – What is “Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion” about?
  • 0:06:48 – The anchoring effect when comparing and contrasting things
  • 0:19:39 – The importance of reciprocity in human society
  • 0:22:58 – Scams, forced donations and other exploits
  • 0:45:05 – How much it can cost you to feel obligated to return a favor
  • 0:48:22 – Example of blackmail (extreme reciprocity) in House of Cards (SPOILERS)
  • 0:50:45 – The three main obligations when it comes to reciprocity
  • 0:55:13 – Whittling down from the most expensive options to cheaper ones
  • 0:59:14 – Sensing the underlying principles of reciprocity
  • 1:02:10 – The emotional impact of “actual” gifts in contrast to money
  • 1:05:38 – Recap and conclusion

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Weapons of Influence #1: Reciprocation (Ep. 186)