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The master of persuasion: Interview with BJ Fogg

Ramit Sethi

How do you use persuasion to change others’ behavior — or your own?

2 days ago, I held a live Q&A with my mentor, Stanford psychologist BJ Fogg. He’s the father of the field of Captology — Computers As Persuasive Technologies — and he taught me most of what I learned in psychology and persuasion early on.

It was a fascinating call.

We covered material on:

  • Classic psychology studies on behavioral change and persuasion
  • Theoretical concepts from academia as well as applied techniques we’ve developed — and tested — ourselves
  • Rich examples of how humans behave irrationally — and how to use this to ethically influence others
  • Using persuasion techniques to get a dream job
  • Live Q&A with readers on how to motivate themselves, how to stay focused on an idea, our favorite psychology books, and more

My new technology system limited the number of concurrent listeners to 1,001, and we had 1,001 the entire time.

I thought I’d share some of the comments from people who attended:


Here are some of the other areas we covered:

  • How a classic persuasion technique increased persuasion from 17% to 76%
  • How “self-persuasion” increased persuasion 3% to 32% — on a major behavior
  • The psychology of “baby steps”
  • Why “motivation” is overrated (ever say, “I just can’t get the motivation to work out / work on this project”?)
  • Using behavior to change attitude (read that again…it’s opposite of what most people think)
  • Why we’re certain we’d leave a dangerous smoke-filled room…but why a simple intervention reduced that number from 75% leaving the room…to only 10% (and how you can protect against negative social influence)
  • Why “educating others” with more information is overrated
  • Persuasive triggers that work better than information alone
  • BJ’s tip on having your clients fall in love with you
  • A killer technique when doing group presentations
  • What the best salespeople and extroverts have in common — and how to systematically study it and adopt it
  • The difference between deep academic studies and pop psychology (and the value in both)
  • Our respective favorite books on psychology, influence, and persuasion

I’ve put together the full 1-hour recording for you, along with a transcript and recommended book list.

This is free to readers of “I Will Teach You To Be Rich” — but if you find it useful, as others have, all I ask is that you do two things.

1. Treat it like something you spent $1,000 on. Use it. Implement it. Don’t just listen to it and then move on with your life. There are dozens of profoundly useful and applicable techniques that you can use to kickstart a project, get out of a rut, improve your health, make more money, improve your relationships, excel at work, and challenge your beliefs about behavioral change.

2. Tell 3 friends about it. Every one of your friends has an area of their lives where effective persuasion techniques could help them excel. I kept it free so you could spread the ideas that BJ and I talk about. In a profound way, you have the chance to help your friends accomplish more. What could be more powerful than that?

Again, I invested thousands of dollars and 16 hours of work to put this webcast together. And it’s yours free, because I know that by investing in you now, you’ll be back to invest in my work — whether my free material or my premium courses.

You can get the recording of BJ Fogg and me, Ramit Sethi, here:

Enter your details to receive the recording:

100% privacy. No games, no B.S., no spam. When you sign up, we'll keep you posted with a few emails per week.


  1. avatar
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    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by pok rap, jslade and Reader, Stephani. Stephani said: The master of persuasion: Interview with BJ Fogg: How do you use persuasion to change others’ behavior — or your… […]

  2. avatar


    I want to sign up, but the form doesn’t show up on this page *or* the linked page at /blog/hustle/week2/ !

    What’s a guy to do?

  3. avatar
    Ramit Sethi

    Turn off Adblocker

  4. avatar

    Looks like the “(Can’t see the above form? Click here to sign up.)” link 404’s. The form at /hustle/week2/ (which seems to be the correct URL) also doesn’t display a form for me. =(

  5. avatar

    I did. I also tried it in IE, which has no addons. It’s not there.

  6. avatar
    Ramit Sethi

    Sorry about that. Fixed. Please refresh the page and the link will work now.

  7. avatar
    Chris Bennett

    Thanks, Ramit. I’ve met BJ several times through the Lab and I’m pleased he is sharing his knowledge in this way.

    When are you going to post the link for those of us who already subscribed? I missed the live broadcast caring for my newborn!

  8. avatar
    Chris Bennett

    Checked my email and there it is. Looking forward to listening to it today. Thanks, Ramit:)

  9. avatar
    Danny Rosenhaus

    “Treat it like something you spent $1,000 on.” I love this quote. I wonder if that is why people don’t listen to free advice like they do advice that was paid for. If it is simply because advice you spent money on seems better than advice you got for free, plenty of people are missing out.

  10. avatar
    Chris S

    I had no bones about you not opening the interview up to people who could not attend live (I wasn’t there). With that said, I just listened to it now and it was so rich I’m almost overwhelmed. So many good takeaways but the two that I am going to use now are “small requests beget larger ones” (it’s all about baby steps) and the importance of becoming an expert in something extremely focused. I don’t know what my dream job is, but that’s how I’m going to find it.

  11. avatar
    kathryn meistrell

    would love to arm myself with techniques of psychology to feel more confident

  12. avatar

    Completely unrelated to this posting, but I had a table last night at Kastel in Trump Soho and could’ve sworn I saw you walk right past it… true or false?

  13. avatar
    Ramit Sethi

    True! My question is, how come my readers have tables at Trump Soho and I don’t?

  14. avatar
    Aurelius Tjin

    I have been reading articles and have been watching videos which say that human behavior and reaction are more product of the environment rather than personal belief and motivation. these would be very helpful especially for people in sales, marketing and advertising.

  15. avatar
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  17. avatar

    I want to fail on my own with my non-book deal and my non-making money blog. Did you read Chris Guillebeau’s manifesto he just put out? It’s celald 279 Days to Overnight Success. It’s a stark contrast to what you presented here, which I can only describe as naysaying.This is practical advice. No one could disagree with you there.However, do you really want to be the one to come in and say that someone’s dreams are too high for them? I want to make money from blogging. So, what? Let me fail at that on my own. And I’ve wanted to write a book since I was old enough to read just ask my parents. And, giving all that up because it’s difficult to accomplish is really silly.You set an example. You CAN make money from blogging. You’ve published a book. You have started and are running companies. You are doing what a lot of us want to do. I say instead of being a naysayer and chopping down what we want to do, you offer up some insight into how maybe we can get a little closer to where we want to be. You have an unending supply of empowering advice to offer up, but you go with: It’s too hard. Don’t even try ?You own a company designed to empower youth to go for what they want. Then you write a post denouncing the dreams of some of your audience. That doesn’t match up.

  18. avatar
    how I’m conditioning myself out of depression & you can too | janna marlies maron

    […] a bit like Pavlov’s dogs, right? Well, according to this interview (from the same author), humans are much more animal-like than we’d like to […]

  19. avatar
    Mill Valley Landscape Architect

    Hello friends, nice piece of writing and nice arguments commented at this place, I am genuinely enjoying
    by these.

  20. avatar

    I’ve come across that “defense” many times in the last few days. A couple of days ago, I got into an argument with a man who insisted that “if any pretty woman was in Lara’s situation, it would be expected for the men to rape her. It’s in a man’s nature.” I didn’t even know how to respond. All I could think was “wtf??!” There are plenty of women (pretty or otherwise) who are kidnapped or captured who are not raped by their captors, and there are plenty of men who would not even consider raping a woman in such a situation.

  21. avatar
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    […] to understand how he became such a trusted expert in his field. In my searching, I found a recorded interview he did with his former Stanford professor, BJ Fogg, about becoming an […]