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To Sell Is Human: The Surprising Truth About Moving Others by [Pink, Daniel H.]
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To Sell Is Human: The Surprising Truth About Moving Others Kindle Edition

4.5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Kindle Edition, 31 Dec 2012
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Length: 273 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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#1 New York Times Business Bestseller
#1 Wall Street Journal Business Bestseller
#1 Washington Post bestseller

From the bestselling author of Drive and A Whole New Mind comes a surprising--and surprisingly useful--new book that explores the power of selling in our lives.


According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, one in nine Americans works in sales. Every day more than fifteen million people earn their keep by persuading someone else to make a purchase.

But dig deeper and a startling truth emerges:

Yes, one in nine Americans works in sales. But so do the other eight.

Whether we’re employees pitching colleagues on a new idea, entrepreneurs enticing funders to invest, or parents and teachers cajoling children to study, we spend our days trying to move others. Like it or not, we’re all in sales now.

To Sell Is Human offers a fresh look at the art and science of selling. As he did in Drive and A Whole New Mind, Daniel H. Pink draws on a rich trove of social science for his counterintuitive insights. He reveals the new ABCs of moving others (it's no longer "Always Be Closing"), explains why extraverts don't make the best salespeople, and shows how giving people an "off-ramp" for their actions can matter more than actually changing their minds.

Along the way, Pink describes the six successors to the elevator pitch, the three rules for understanding another's perspective, the five frames that can make your message clearer and more persuasive, and much more. The result is a perceptive and practical book--one that will change how you see the world and transform what you do at work, at school, and at home.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 3453 KB
  • Print Length: 273 pages
  • Publisher: Riverhead Books (31 December 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0087GJ8KM
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews
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This is a book full of surprises, and it would be easy to assume its targeting sales professionals or those who manage sales professional. It really is a book on life and managing people and relationships. Everybody can benefit from Mr Pink's insight and easy to read style and it can be easily and readily applied to every business for good measure.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
What a great book.

Awesome collection of data that proves 'To Sell is Human'

Love your work Dan Pink and team!

Well done!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta) (May include reviews from Early Reviewer Rewards Program)

Amazon.com: 4.4 out of 5 stars 656 reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars love love love! 20 May 2015
By T Rizzle - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
This was my first Daniel Pink book (I also own "Drive," but haven't read it yet), and I was extremely impressed/satisfied with it.

Awesome sales book. I especially liked how he spent the first third of the book talking about how pretty much everyone in the world today is in some form of selling. You might not see yourself as a "traditional salesman," but whatever you're line of work is, your survival/success will depend on how well you can "move people" (i.e. get them to part with their resources, such as time/money/energy, in exchange for some value you can provide to them).

I'm following this book up with "Instant Influence" by Pantalon, which Pink references and recommends as additional reading in this book.

Disclosure: I've read most of the classic books like Influence by Cialdini, How I Raised Myself from Failure to Success in Selling by Bettger, Pitch Anything by Oren Klaff, etc. and still found this one to be extremely helpful.

The measure of any book is the value you can get out of it - i.e. what can you apply to your life/goal from the author's work/recommendations. I definitely found quite a few ideas that I could apply to a venture I'll be undertaking in the very near future (fundraising for a new hedge fund).
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book for Pastors & Communicators 22 May 2013
By Joshua Reich - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Let me be honest, I love the work of Daniel Pink. This book is not exception.

Pink starts out by telling us how his book is for more than just salesman. The reality though, is that everyone is in sales. You may not make cold calls or get people to buy things, but you are seeking to motivate people everyday. Whether that is a boss, a child, a spouse or a friend.

For leaders, this concept is enormous, but it is even more important for pastors. Every week, when a pastor preaches, they are seeking to move people. Through the power of the Holy Spirit, they seek to help people move from where they are to their next step with God. This takes motivation. According to Pink, this takes sales. While pastors will bristle at this idea, it is also true. Call it motivation or sales, it is the same thing. According to Pink, "The average person spends 40% of their life trying to move others. We're persuading, convincing, and influencing others to give up something they've got in exchange for what we've got."

One of the problems Pink points out that we have when it comes to communicating is that we don't help people identify the correct problem. This is huge for preaching, helping people see what they could fix. Pastors often answer questions people aren't asking, and therefore don't move the people they are preaching to.

Another takeaway for me as a preacher is helping people to see what a truth could look like in their life 5 years from now. I've started to say in sermons, "Imagine what your life would be like if you believed ____________." People are often unmoved, not because they don't understand something, but because they can't see the benefit or goodness of something.

Here are a few things that jumped out:

-One of the most effective ways of moving others is to uncover challenges they may not know they have.
-To sell well is to convince someone else to part with resources--not to deprive that person, but to leave him better off in the end.
-The correlation between extraversion and sales was essentially nonexistent.
-You have to believe in the product you're selling--and that has to show.
-Once positive emotions outnumbered negative emotions by 3 to 1--that is, for every three instances of feeling gratitude, interest, or contentment, they experienced only one instance of anger, guilt, or embarrassment--people generally flourished.
-Next time you're getting ready to persuade others, reconsider how you prepare. Instead of pumping yourself up with declarations and affirmations, take a page from Bob the Builder and pose a question instead. Ask yourself: "Can I move these people?" As social scientists have discovered, interrogative self-talk is often more valuable than the declarative kind. But don't simply leave the question hanging in the air like a lost balloon. Answer it--directly and in writing. List five specific reasons why the answer to your question is yes.
-The problem we have saving for retirement, these studies showed, isn't only our meager ability to weigh present rewards against future ones. It is also the connection--or rather, the disconnection--between our present and future selves.
-The third quality necessary in moving others today: clarity--the capacity to help others see their situations in fresh and more revealing ways and to identify problems they didn't realize they had.
-We often understand something better when we see it in comparison with something else than when we see it in isolation.
-So if you're selling a car, go easy on emphasizing the rich Corinthian leather on the seats. Instead, point out what the car will allow the buyer to do--see new places, visit old friends, and add to a book of memories.
-Clarity on how to think without clarity on how to act can leave people unmoved.
-The purpose of a pitch isn't necessarily to move others immediately to adopt your idea. The purpose is to offer something so compelling that it begins a conversation, brings the other person in as a participant, and eventually arrives at an outcome that appeals to both of you.
-Questions can outperform statements in persuading others.

Overall, a worthwhile book for leaders or preachers.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars We're all salespeople now! 21 January 2013
By Dave Kinnear - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
There are many volumes written about sales. There are myriad training courses on sales and how to be efficient, effective and top of the heap at the game of sales. This book is not like any of the ones I have read prior to this nor is Pink espousing any of the usual hype about overcoming objections, how to close and/or how to manipulate folks into buying your product or services.
Instead, Pink is proposing something that I have been struggling with for the past five years and suggesting to anyone who would listen: traditional sales isn't any longer anyone's job. It's everyone's job because sales has fundamentally changed. Pink states that "Most of what we think we understand about selling is constructed atop a foundation of assumptions that has crumbled." He further states that sales has changed more in the past 10 years than it had in the previous 100 years.

Pink replaces the old standard ABC rule in sales; "Always Be Closing" with a new ABCs-- Attunement, Buoyancy, and Clarity. He proceeds to explain what he means by each in the following chapters of the book. Briefly, attunement is bringing oneself into harmony with individuals, groups and contexts. Buoyancy is the quality that combines grittiness of spirit and the sunniness of outlook. It's what allows salespeople to overcome the "ocean of rejection" they face every day and still function. Clarity is the capacity to make sense of complex situations, that gray area we all try to avoid. Salespeople become problem finders rather than problem solvers.

To Sell is Human is broken into three parts: Part 1 is Rebirth of a Salesman, Part 2 is How to Be and Part 3 is What to Do. He develops a new category he introduces as "non-sales selling" where we (all of us not in the traditional sales position) are "persuading, convincing, and influencing others to give up something they've got in exchange for what we've got." i One of the more important changes that Pink underscores is that the salesperson is no longer needed as a curator of information. Sellers are able, if they so choose, to be as well informed about the products and services as the salesperson. He coins the phrase caveat venditor - seller beware.

At the end of each chapter in parts 2 and 3 are dozens of techniques assembled from fresh research and best practices around the world. Pink maintains that the ability to move others to exchange what they have for what we have is a crucial ability that is required for our survival and wellbeing. The capacity to "sell" isn't some unnatural adaptation to the merciless world of commerce. It is a part of who we are.

On a personal note, I found this book to be both refreshing and humorous. Refreshing because Pink gave me a way to think about and express what I have been seeing and talking about for a long time now. Specifically that sell is a four-letter-word. More and more people are turned off by traditional sales (even the so-called "consultative selling" is now seen as manipulative.) And I found the book humorous because I found that I was laughing at myself. Pink introduces us to Norman Hall. Hall is shadowed as he goes through his usual (and traditional in many ways) sales job in San Francisco. Hall is the very last Fuller Brush Salesman. Why that made me laugh is because I am old enough that I brush my hair almost every morning with a Fuller Brush that my mother gave to me one Christmas when I was a young teenager. I have been using it ever since. I remember the Fuller Brush man (and yes, they were all men as far as I know) ringing our doorbell and brining new products into the house for my parents to purchase. By the way, what product do you still use that was purchased more than 50 years ago?

Since I spent many years as a professional salesperson, the passing of the traditional sales model is, for me, more disturbing than the passing of our usual business models or the accelerating obsolescence of products. There is no going back though, and those who work in the sales function would do well to read Pink's view on how things have changed. For those of us not in a direct sales function would do well to understand that fundamentally we are all selling in one way or another. Indeed, to sell is human.
569 of 609 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars To sell is human; to give a referral, divine 1 January 2013
By David Garfinkel - Published on Amazon.com
What, another book about selling?

No, this is not "another" book about selling. I've read a lot of them, written a few of them, and I can tell you: This book stands alone in a special category.

Why? Because Dan Pink was just an eentsy-teentsy bit uneasy about the notion of himself as a salesperson when he started researching the book. He doesn't say so directly, but you can tell, reading between the lines.

Now, fast-forwarding to the end of the book, you can see he is TOTALLY comfortable with the identity of someone who sells. As a result of what he learned.

That's important -- because most people are uncomfortable with sales, whether that means being a salesperson, doing the act of selling, being sold something, or, in many cases, they are fundamentally uncomfortable that the activity of "sales" exists at all, anywhere in the world.

I know, because I sell for a living. I do it behind the keyboard of a computer, for the most part. As an advertising copywriter.

You might wonder if I'm selling you right now. My answer is no, and maybe, since I made a decision in my career long ago never to sell something to someone for whom I don't think that something is right; and always to do my best to give a person I think a product or service is right for, EVERY opportunity to consider getting it, so they will get it.

That's my definition of selling. Since I don't know you, I would have to break my own rules to try and sell you this book.

But I can give you five categorial "if-then" statements to tell you what kind of people I think this book is for, and what kind of people it is not for:

1. If you are committed to hating selling no matter what, forget about it. Don't read this book, seeing as Dan will make you hate yourself in the morning, because you won't have any reasons left to keep hating selling -- and all that hatred would have to go somewhere else, now wouldn't it?

2. If you like the idea of selling and/or selling is part of your job, but you think you're "just not cut out" for selling, I STRONGLY recommend this book. That's because Dan proves very logically and plausibly that there simply is no such thing as a "natural" when it comes to selling. He also shows that anyone can learn to sell effectively in a style that is consistent with their values -- a style of selling that lets them sleep well at night.

3. If you think you know all that there is to know about selling, don't get this book. You'll be disappointed that there's "nothing new." You have to think that, since you are predisposed to coming to that conclusion, regardless of the facts.

4. If you love to learn for the sake of learning, you'll love this book. Because you'll find plenty of new and delightful insights that will make this book worth reading for those insights alone.

5. If you are a top salesperson and you want to stay that way, you might as well get this book. It's all but required reading for you. Because Dan makes a distinction I haven't seen made as pragmatically anywhere else. A distinction that will help you sell more and keep you from making boneheaded mistakes that even the best of salespeople could get away with, and frequently did, as recently as a few years ago.

The distinction I'm referring to is the effect of the Social Web on everything we say, do, see, think, feel and experience. Yes, everything.

Specifically, the importance of all the readily available factual information about products and services online, as well as customer opinions (this one, for example; and those on: Yelp; Facebook; blogs; and the list goes on).

To his credit, Dan also provides information in the book about how to prosper in the new Social environment.

I was particularly pleased to see that Dan even ventured into the exotic realm of selling that is my specialty: advertising copywriting. He tells a charming if somewhat disturbing story about advertising legend Rosser Reeves, many decades ago. Reeves and a friend were sitting in a New York City park, when Reeves saw a blind man with a tin cup.

The man had a cardboard sign next to himself with the words "I AM BLIND" written on the sign.

Reeves made a bet with his friend -- that by adding just four words to the sign, he could greatly increase the amount and frequency of donations the blind man received.

His friend was skeptical, so he accepted the bet. Reeves then went up to the blind man and asked permission to make the change on his cardboard sign. The man agreed.

Reeves added the four words "It is springtime and"

"Almost immediately," Dan writes, "a few people dropped coins into the man's cup. Other people soon stopped, talked to the man, and plucked dollar bills from their wallets. Before long, the cup was running over with cash, and the once sad-looking blind man, feeling his bounty, beamed."

His sign now said: "It is springtime and I AM BLIND."

Mention of springtime made passers-by unconsciously (and immediately) compare THEIR situation to the THE BLIND MAN'S. They realized how fortunate they were, and how helpless he was. Empathy kicked in; and purse strings were loosened.

The instant and heart-wrenching comparison people made in their minds came from the contrast Reeves (with his trademark diabolical brilliance) set up with those four words: "It is springtime and"

Thus, the principle of contrast is vividly demonstrated. Contrast turns out to be one of the most important elements of a sales argument ever discovered.

The book is chock-full of other examples that not only give you immediately usable techniques, but also create lots of "aha's" that you can use to strengthen your sales repertoire.

As you can see, I'm a big fan.

But before I wrap up, a mandatory disclosure...

I know Dan Pink. He is a friend of mine. He has written about me in Fast Company Magazine and in one of his earlier books. We once had coffee at Starbucks on Chestnut Street in San Francisco.

We also both have the dubious life advantage of having nuclear physicists for fathers.

So if you were looking for an objective review, you'll have to read another one. Of course I'm biased in his favor.

Dan did not compensate me to write this review, although I did receive an advance copy of the book, at my request.

And while I am biased, please understand this: I also have a professional reputation in the areas of selling, marketing, strategy, and entertainment.

So while I would not go out of my way to slam this book if I didn't like it, I would also not risk damaging my reputation by recommending any resource on Amazon unless I fully believed in it myself and thought it would be of use, and of interest, to others.

The good thing about this book is it comes with a guarantee. If you don't like it, Amazon will take it back less shipping costs and give you a refund.

I hope I have given you enough information to help you make a good decision.
22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Whole New Way to Look at Sales 4 January 2013
By Jennifer Lee - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
As someone who loved A Whole New Mind, I was excited to receive an advanced review copy of To Sell is Human. Just like A Whole New Mind blew my mind and helped me to embrace my right-brain gifts, To Sell is Human has helped me to look at sales in a whole new, empowered way (thank goodness, considering the traditional way of thinking of sales makes me cringe!).

Dan has an incredible talent for distilling research and data down to core concepts and actionable steps. Plus he throws in some good humor and well-told stories to illustrate his points, too. His easy-to-follow framework for "moving others" includes the 3 qualities of Attunement, Buoyancy and Clarity (How to Be) and the 3 skills Pitch, Improvise, and Serve (What to Do). Each chapter ends with A Sample Case including resources and tips to help you implement the ideas right away (something that I find really helpful).

Being the right-brainer that I am, I was pleasantly surprised to see some "softer skills" like listening, mirroring, asking questions, and even doing improv show up in a book about sales. Just like with a Whole New Mind, it was nice to these more right-brain aspects being valued in the business world.

A few of my favorite take-aways (there were many more) included learning about ways to problem-find rather than problem-solve to help frame offers in a more compelling way. And his section on Buoyancy gave me some valuable perspective on how to deal with the rejection that inevitably comes with putting yourself out there.

As a creative entrepreneur, I think To Sell is Human is a fantastic and accessible resource to help you feel more comfortable selling yourself, especially when you reframe it to being of service - "make it personal and make it purposeful." I've already shared some of the ideas from the book with my clients and community and they've been excited about it.

As someone who spent a decade in corporate America, I also can see how concepts like the 6 different ways to effectively pitch (from the Twitter Pitch to the Pixar Pitch) could help leaders and managers gain organizational buy-in on internal initiatives.

Whether you're officially in sales or not, in this day and age it's vital to effectively influence and persuade others. That's why I would recommend To Sell is Human to anyone looking to make a difference and move others. Order a copy for yourself and let it inspire you to make the world a better place with what you have to offer.

(Disclosure: I'm part of the volunteer book launch team and received an advanced copy of the book from the publisher. The comments and opinions expressed in this review are my own and have not been edited or approved by anyone. I liked the book so much I bought my own copy.)