Win Bigly: A Review

We as human beings like to think of each of us is rational most of the time. But what if we aren’t?

In Win Bigly, Scott Adams takes you through how persuasion works and why we make decisions. His primary example throughout the book is the largely unexpected win of Donald Trump in the recent election. But if Scott is to be believed, he was pretty certain Trump would win from the get.

The book is a great read and has tons of value in it. I will just briefly talk about some of the points I found both memorable and interesting.

Techniques that Stuck

The whole book is fascinating, as well as each of the persuasion tools. But some of them stuck out and lodged in my brain.

Anchoring: starting off with an extreme or unreasonable request. If you want negotiations to land on your side of the middle, start with a valuation strongly in your favor. This will influence people to believe that the middle is closer to your anchor value. One of the reasons this tool stood out is I had heard of it before. It is a negotiating tool I learned about in Never Split the Difference, a great read on how to become a better negotiator.

High Ground Maneuver: when you take a problem out of the details and generalize it to something everyone agrees on, you both take away specific targets and make people who want to take it back down to the details look petty. The example in the book was how Steve Jobs handled a problem with the iPhone 4.

If you don’t remember, there was a problem where when you held the phone in a specific way (the way most people held the phone) you ended up covering the cell antenna with your thumb and it would drop calls. Did Jobs come out and apologize? No way. He came out and said that all phones have problem and they wanted to keep there customers happy. The High Ground Maneuver. One of the reasons this stuck is because it seems practical in daily disagreements and debates.

Two Ways to Win, No Way to Lose: if you can come up with a strategy that has positive outcomes whether it succeeds or fails, you can persuade people to use that strategy. Who doesn’t want to do things that only have upside? One of the reasons this stuck with me is a key to success is having this mindset about almost everything. If you “fail” at a job or a business, you still win because you learned.

Interesting Bits

The following list is of other parts of the book that I found thought provoking and entertaining:

  • Cognitive Dissonance and Confirmation Bias
  • Hypnotism
  • The Persuasion Stack
  • How to tell if you are living in a simulation

Further Reading

If you want more information from scholarly sources on whether or not people are rational and how they are persuaded, you might try Predictably Irrational by Dan Ariely or perhaps Robert Cialdini’s books Influence and Pre-Suasion.

Keep getting wiser, stronger, and better.

I Want to Be a Better Developer