Weapons of Influence #3: Social Proof

The time has come to jump back into Robert Cialdini’s . This time, we’re talking about the wisdom of the crowd.

Like both of the mental tricks we’ve covered so far in this series, following the rule of social proof is a good idea. But like all good things, it can backfire when you least expect it — both as a perfectly innocent coincidence and as a result of the ever persistent salespeople of the world.

Anyway, thousands of other people are going to be listening to this episode, so I shouldn’t have to convince you. It’s just to be good, right?

Things mentioned in this episode

This week’s episode is sponsored by:

  • Brilliant – Accelerate your learning in math, science, and computer science. Start learning for free at – and if you’re among the first 200 people to sign up, you’ll also get 20% off your subscription.

Other things we mentioned in this episode:

  • , by Robert Cialdini
  • Robert Cialdini
  • Weapons of Influence #1: Reciprocation (Ep. 186)
  • Weapons of Influence #2: Commitment and Consistency (Ep. 189)
  • HuffPost – The Jonestown Massacre
  • Binging with Babish YouTube channel
  • Do You Even Meditate? (Ep. 188)
  • Bystander effect
  • Pluralistic ignorance
  • , by Dan Ariely
  • , by Eliezer Yudkowsky
  • Listen Money Matters
  • The Telegraph – Rapper 50 Cent makes $10m after plugging stock on Twitter
  • The Bad Crypto Podcast

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


  • 0:01:12 – What is social proof and how does it affect us?
  • 0:08:26 – The two factors that make social proof powerful
  • 0:19:35 – Some practical examples of social proof
  • 0:26:13 – Sponsor: Brilliant (Learning problem-solving skills)
  • 0:28:40 – The story of a flying saucer cult
  • 0:36:11 – Pluralistic ignorance and the bystander effect
  • 0:46:28 – Exploiting people’s perspectives through social proof
  • 1:03:36 – Recap and conclusion

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Weapons of Influence #3: Social Proof (Ep. 193)