Thanks, Scott, for joining us here today.
Thanks for having me.
Yeah, you got it.
You're the creator of Dilbert among other things.
I decided, "Okay I'm going to check out this blog," because I'll be honest, somebody who's
a fan of the show said, "This guy's crazy, what do you think?"
Was crazy the word?
Crazy was the word.
That's like the best thing anybody's said about me this year.
Yeah, this year, maybe!
But it was late last year.
You were in your predictive mode.
And the reason that people were saying this was because, in large part, you had said some
pretty crazy-ish sounding things about the election and you essentially predicted a Trump
A year in advance.
A year in advance.
And my prediction was different than anybody else's in the sense that I had a specific
reason for it, that was different from other people's reason.
Some people said, "Oh it's his policies," or it's, "People wanted change."
You know, they had lots of different reasons.
I think CNN printed twenty-four different explanations after he won.
Different pundits said, "Well it was this one reason."
Of course it's never one reason.
But my theme was persuasion.
So I'm a trained hypnotist; I learned hypnosis when I was in my twenties.
And when I saw Trump enter the stage, I saw a level of persuasive talent that didn't look
He's someone who has acquired these skills over a lifetime.
He wrote a book on it.
The Art of the Deal is essentially persuasion in the form of negotiating.
And he talks about persuasion.
He talks about it all the time.
And when I saw it, I thought, "I think I'm seeing something other people aren't seeing
because I have a certain training."
You know, I've been learning persuasion for decades after I learned hypnosis specifically.
And I just saw more technique and I thought, "He's bringing a flame thrower to a stick
fight and this isn't going to be fair."
A lot of the predictions were a little spooky -- or at least people thought they were spooky,
especially after they became true.
I guess predictions aren't spooky until they become true.
Otherwise they're just crackpot theories.
And that's the way that it came across in the beginning.
So you experienced maybe a little bit of like, I don't want to say smugness, because you're
not smug, at least not so far.
Well I couldn't be smug at all until the actual election.
That was the flagship prediction.
If I got that wrong, the other ones didn't matter.
But then the election happened and this strange thing immediately happened, which is, you
saw the country sort of going insane.
Because people didn't expect it.
They were thinking that Hitler had just been elected, you know, the people on the other
And it was a dangerous situation.
I went on Periscope as soon as the soon as the election was certain and advised people
to stay cool.
You know, and don't go out.
And I tried not to go out myself for the same reason.
They just don't need any more trouble.
I mean it's good enough to win, if that's what you wanted as your result.
I didn't really need to rub it in.
So I tried to resist that.
And you -- what'd you say live tweet?
Or is it live Periscope commentary throughout the election and the debates and things like
That must have been interesting.
So I did a combination of lots of tweeting and lots of Periscopes.
Periscope, for anybody who doesn't know, it's a live streaming service owned by Twitter.
So I could just turn on my phone at any moment, hit a couple of buttons, and I was, you know,
live to usually a thousand people at a time as soon as I went on.
Congrats on being one of the last people to use Periscope.
I feel -- (laugh)
I'm not sure how -- I'm not sure if that's even still the king of the hill, but you're
doing more YouTube stuff now?
Yeah so I'm transitioning to probably Facebook and YouTube.
Great, we'll see you on there as well.
I do want to say though, a lot of people who say, "Well you know, you could have predicted
Hillary or you could have predicted Trump.
A lot of people one way or the other.
Even a broken clock is right twice a day."
What makes your prediction different than just -- you didn't pick wrong?
Yeah, so there's always going to be the survivor thing, right?
So like you say, somebody was going to be right no matter what.
And those people are going to say, "Because I'm a genius."
And of course I'm doing the same thing.
Why wouldn't I?
Because I can predict a coin flip and I have a 50 percent chance of looking like I can
tell the future in that -- in that case.
So what I tried to do, since I assumed this situation would happen, if I were right, I
would be one of the many people who said, "Hey I was right and here's my reason, and
here's my reason."
And so I tried to make a lot of subsidiary predictions along the way, you know?
So that they could see that mine were being right on a fairly regular basis when other
people were less right.
So for example when Carly Fiorina was in the debates in the primaries, her big move -- she'd
made a big push about abortion.
And she described in vivid details, things I'm not going to describe for the benefit
of the viewers.
Just a horrible, abortion went wrong scene.
And I predicted at the moment, based on persuasion, not based on logic or policies or any of those
things, which people largely ignore -- I predicted that nobody wanted in their head that image
any longer than they needed it.
And electing her, kept it in their heads.
That was the top of her polls, the day that she was talking about that.
And she dropped from fifteen percent to four or five percent within a few weeks.
Just because of the anchoring and the negative association?
Well that was my prediction based on such a horrible image that is now associated with
her brand, she just ruined her brand accidentally.
Now I make a distinction between what I call the 2D world and the 3D world of persuasion.
In the 2D world, facts matter and policies matter and all that stuff.
But I think we've seen that that's not the case.
When I was saying it a year ago, it was actually radical.
And I'm pretty sure no one else was saying it, you know, a year ago.
But if you look at any of the headlines the past month, you're going to see a lot of people
saying, "Why is it that people are so irrational?
Why do people make decisions this way?
How did we get Brexit?
How did we get Trump?"
So the world has moved over to my point of view.
Essentially that people are guided by these sets of emotions rationalizing behavior.
I noticed some of that on your blog as well, about our feelings and emotions guiding us.
Yeah so, other smaller predictions I made.
When Trump started going at Ben Carson, when Ben Carson pulled even, or a little bit ahead
of him, in the primaries.
If you remember, probably everybody saw this video of Trump acting out the belt buckle
stabbing incident from Ben Carson's own book.
Where Trump came out from behind the lectern, and actually did a pantomime of the attack,
where he was pretending to stab and it was hitting his belt buckle, and he mocked it
and he called Ben Carson pathological.
Because that's a word I guess Carson had used himself in his own book.
And I watched that performance and it was so visual that I thought, "This is going to
be way more powerful than people think."
And I predicted that was the end of him.
And that turned out to be the high of his polls as well.
Because the visual persuasion is just so good.
It's sort of one of the kings of persuasion.
Up there with fear and identity and a few others that are a little bit higher.
So if we can associate somebody with something negative, such as Carly Fiorina with gross
depictions of surgical procedures and abortions, can we do the opposite and create associations
that are positive with people?
So that our polls go up in theory?
I don't give dating advice --
Yeah -- no need.
-- but I'll just use this as an example.
If you were to meet somebody for the first time, whatever you say first ends up sort
of sticking in their mind as their first image of you.
So one of the best things you can say, "Hey, how you doing?"
If the first thing that you say takes them to a visual place, like, "Hey have you good
any vacations," or "Good day for the beach.
Have you been to any tropical islands?"
You know as soon as you can work that in, their mind goes to their own memory of their
best vacation tropical paradise and just puts them in this warm mood and then you're standing
So the association happens and people have a hard time shaking a first impression.
So that lasts longer than it should.
So basically, we are using their own associations and then taking one wire out of there, just
connecting it to ourselves.
One of the tricks of persuasion is you want to directionally tell somebody to imagine
a certain thing, but you don't want to overspecify.
Because as soon as you overspecify, people say, "Oh that wasn't what I was seeing."
Or, "Yeah I don't have a memory of that exactly."
But if you say, "Imagine you're in a -- you're in nature or you're in the forest," people
just see their own forest and then that makes them happy.
Then they're on last month's hike through the Redwoods.
Yeah, it takes them back to a happy place.
We want to let their mind fill in the blanks.
Yes, you have to be careful about it.
You need to, you know, bound it intelligently so that when they fill it in, it still works
Right, otherwise we end up with the misuse of persuasion which -- I saw this weird example
There's these -- what's the name of this?
It's like regressive hypnosis therapy where they basically are programing people to think
they've been abducted by aliens.
They're implanting these memories by letting people go back and associate things, but they're
also adding this little creative element in there that kind of runs away in their subconscious
So I have a version of that.
When I was learning hypnosis, we had to practice on real people and it was better if you charged
them because one of the things you learn in hypnosis is if somebody pays for something,
they give it more credibility.
And once they've given it credibility, you actually are a better persuader.
They've actually given you that.
So I would charge people to regress them to their prior lives --
-- under hypnosis.
Now I don't believe that people have prior lives, but they sure did.
And they would describe these detailed scenarios and they would talk in, you know, sort of
the voice of the person.
You know, at the time I was doing it, this was a long time ago, I was a young man.
At the time I was thinking, "Well I'm open to the possibility that there are prior lives,
I haven't seen anything that rules it out, right?"
But after I was done with this, I definitely didn't believe because all these people had
exquisite detailed memories that had a weird coincidence.
None of them were Chinese.
A quarter of the world is Chinese.
Somebody out of 20 people is going to be Chinese in a prior life, you know?
So, but none of them were.
I mean they were all things that you would see on movies.
"I'm Cleopatra," you know or, "I'm a viking," you know?
Right out of HBO, basically.
I noticed that people, whenever they tell me about their quote unquote past lives -- and
I tend to limit my contact with people who tell me these types of these things but -- I
noticed no one's ever like, "Yeah I was just a farmer and before that I was a farmer and
before that I was a farmer and before that I shoveled donkey poop into a furnace."
It's always, "I was a warrior."
"I was the -- you know, the king's hand."
I don't know, statistically speaking, you're much more likely to be some homeless guy who
got hit by a horse cart and died young.
Yeah, you go back a hundred years, there weren't too many happy people.
No, and you're right, most of us would have been Chinese and or -- and if we go back far
enough, everyone would have been African.
But no, we're royalty from Egypt.
But even when they have bad lives, they're always soldiers.
Yeah, I noticed that.
And -- with men, anyway.
It's always soldiers.
Yes, soldiers who died bravely in battle.
And very few people, I don't know if anybody was a different gender.
Ooh, that's interesting.
Well you could do a prolonged study on that if you had all the time in the world.
Maybe in your next life you and do that.
You mentioned that Trump is a master persuader and that he's a hypnotist.
And when you write master persuader on your blog, you're capitalizing "master persuader."
Is there a reason that you do that?
Is that just a term that you've coined or are you --
No, it's to call it out so that people can see it's a term that I'm trying to popularize.
At least for Trump in particular.
And you mentioned some specific examples, such as the Rosie O'Donnell comment and things
Can you explain that?
Yeah, so the first moment when I thought to myself, "Oh my goodness, he's going to win,"
and I noticed his skill, was during the first debate, in which Megyn Kelly had set a trap
She had a question about his past crude comments about women.
Which if you imagined this happening to any other candidate up there, just being asked
and quoted back your own just horrible quotes, it's just a death trap.
He should have been done on the first debate in the first minute.
That should have been the end of it.
And that's what I sort of expected, at that moment.
And she starts bringing up the comments he's made about women and then he just, sort of
semi interrupts her and he says, "Only Rosie O'Donnell."
The whole place goes nuts, and you know, we remember the answer but we've already forgotten
He made the answer so much more interesting than the question.
And by the way, it wasn't even an answer to the question.
It was just something he said that was sort of related.
Now what's beautiful about that is that Rosie O'Donnell is a character that the Republican
base, the people who cared about the primaries, have a strong feeling about.
So he immediately got emotion on his side.
He was against her, then they must be on his side right?
Because they're against her.
But she's also a visual.
Everybody knows who she is.
And so you imagine her, right?
So this will be a theme you'll probably hear a few more times in our time together.
That as soon as you can make something visual, you're already the king of the senses, right?
What Megyn Kelly had, were a bunch of words that we don't have a person to put to, you
know it's just sort of --
It's an abstract concept.
He just moved that off the page with his perfect visual, emotion-attracting reference.
And I literally stood up.
I just said, "Okay, that's not normal."
That's the best you've ever seen anybody handle any question -- a hard question.
Because if you get that cannon aimed at you from Megyn Kelly, and you start going, "Well,
you know, I meant it in this context and this other thing is taken out of context," you're
You're just continually digging a nice little grave for yourself --
Nothing you can do.
-- with these words lining the sides.
But instead he took the cannon and he twisted the barrell around and he basically aims it
at Rosie O'Donnell, a common target for his own base, and everybody just goes roaring
with laughter and they forget about everything that came before that because he'd managed
to just dodge that entirely
Yeah, and then he used it as his platform to talk about political correctness.
And I have to admit, when I first heard him talk about that, I thought, "Well, people
have been talking about political correctness forever, and it's never really gotten any
kind of purchase."
But he made it such a brand --
-- that you sort of almost wanted it and expected it.
If you were a Trump supporter, you just wanted him to be politically incorrect.
It was just more fun after a while.
He likes to, obviously, attack the media.
But he does it in a way that's not just, "Well this journalist this, this, and that, and
the other thing," he really does aim specifically at credibility targets.
So he'll say something like, "Check your facts," and then he'll name the person.
So now you're associating, in a way, that person with, "Well they don't do their homework."
Even if it's completely unfounded.
By the way, I have adopted that very phrase.
The, "Check your facts," thing.
Because on Twitter, often people will say, "Hey you said blah, blah, blah," and it'll
be just something I didn't say or anything.
I used to try to correct it.
Like what we said earlier, as soon as you start explaining somebody immediately says,
"Ah you're backpedaling."
You can't win.
"I'm not backpedaling, I'm just explaining what you got wrong."
So instead I say, "Check your facts."
And it just ends the conversation just so perfectly.
Because all they can say is, "I did and you still said that," but by then you're calling
on someone else or there's another part of the --
Yeah, life is moving on.
The same thing with fake news.
He's constantly saying, "Fake news, fake news!"
Is this just a matter of say it enough times and people start to believe it?
Well first of all it was -- I believe he flipped around the attack, which you see him do.
So the fake news was really aimed at the Republican side with their literally fake news where
somebody just made up stories.
When he's talking about it a little more often, it's something out of context, that sort of
That still ends up being fake, because if you leave the context out, it's the wrong
And I think he does it strategically and he does it to lower the credibility of the -- I
would call him the opposition media.
Because they're definitely not there now --
No, that's definitely true.
And I think they're also pretty pissed that he's treating them the way that he's treating
them and they're pissed that he won in the first place, which is understandable from
Why not just go with Occam's razor on some of this Trump stuff?
Whereas people say, "Well, look, if you think about it this way and you look at it that
way, then it's really skilled and it's really clever."
What about the Occam's razor explanation, which is, "Nah, he's just the jackass."
That wouldn't explain his consistent success all the way through.
He went from nothing, with no experience, to President of the United States.
You don't do that by being a jackass that just is fun to watch on TV.
Firing at -- ready, fire, aim type situation?
There are just too many things that he did right.
If you even look at the things that people say he did wrong, you know, the chaos and
If you look at the people he fired and when he did it.
First he had Corey, right?
And Corey had some issues with you know, touching an elbow of a woman in public or something
and he wasn't exactly the right person for the next phase of the nomination and securing
the nomination -- he fired his friend who got him that far and did probably an amazing
job for that phase, he was the right person.
Scrappy, street fighter kind of personality.
Then he got Paul Manafort who was, you know, the smooth operator -- got him through the
And then he went with Kellyanne Conway to close it.
So a lot of the stuff that looks like, "What's wrong with him?
He can't keep his staff together."
Whatever the criticisms people are making, they all seem to work.
You can very easily find the business reason that any of this happened.
I'm not saying they didn't make mistakes because it's a long, long process; they do a lot of
He made a share.
What you mentioned with Trump in the blog as well -- and we'll of course link to that
in the show notes -- you mentioned a concept called pacing and leading.
And this is familiar to me from my hypnosis, NLP stuff that I took a million years ago
that I did not really keep certification on.
Tell me what's going on here.
Tell us what's going on here.
What is pacing and leading and ideally how can we maybe take a page out of that manual?
So pacing and leading is the most fundamental hypnosis technique, all right?
There are lots of techniques that you have to layer together to get a result.
But pacing and leading means that first you match your subject in some way, for example,
I'm matching you right now.
All right --
That -- was that an accident?
Did you do that or did I do that?
No, you did that.
Because I paced you earlier, but that's another story.
So you match them either physically or the style of their talking -- It could be emotionally
you're matching them.
So you're matching them in some way that they recognize as, "Hey you're one of me."
Because people are not really that rational.
If you act like them, you talk like them, must be a family member.
I don't mean literally, but some part of your brain you just have an automatic trust for
somebody who's doing whatever you're doing at the same time.
So Trump does this with emotion.
Meaning that all the things that he says that are just wrong, like factually wrong -- like
factually wrong and they don't pass the fact-checking -- and we all know there are lots of them,
Whether you're a supporter or anti-Trump or a lot of things that didn't pass the fact
But if you look at all of them, they're all directionally, emotionally, correct.
Meaning that, if you said you know, "Blah, blah, blah.
Terrorism is bad for 10 different reasons that aren't exactly true," the people who
have the same fear of terrorism said, "Yeah he's sort of where I am, emotionally."
The facts really didn't matter that much.
He agreed with you and then he agreed with you more than you agreed with yourself.
If you were a little afraid of terrorism, he was a lot afraid.
So he sort of paced everybody in their emotional state.
Once he had that, the second part, people trust him and then he can lead.
And he's obviously doing that now.
So if you watch the number of things which he's said he's going to do in the primaries,
and you see sort of a softening and moving to the middle, and you see very little complaint
from the far right, the people who you would expect to complain.
And the reason is, he brought them a victory, he brought them a unified congress, he emotionally
agreed with them on every issue, from abortion, to terrorism, to jobs to immigration, and
that was enough.
So that gave him the credibility to lead.
When you say pacing and leading in the context I should say of, "Well, I paced you earlier,"
are we talking about mirroring body language and things like that?
Because I feel like I do a lot of that as a habit.
I learned it back in law school because it works.
But it's -- it can be really clunky when people are starting to apply this, when they're new.
So for example, I notice when I have people on the show, that they'll often do exactly
what I'm doing or face me in a certain way.
And I do that deliberately to make people comfortable most of the time.
I don't really care about how they sit, I just want them to feel good.
But I do find it that it's very hard to resist that because you actually want to create comfort
physically with somebody if you have rapport with them.
And of course if you don't, then it becomes a whole different ball game as I cross my
Is this something you do consciously now, or is this something that is so autopilot
for you that it just happens?
The pacing is conscious but it's also, you know, the details of it are somewhat automatic.
It's like anything you learn, it just becomes part of you.
It's not something you think to apply.
But if I'm meeting a new person, I'm very much thinking, "What -- you know, how can
I make this a good situation?"
And I think the people who have high emotional intelligence tend to do at least some elements
of this almost automatically.
I think it's because people with high EQ often are trying to gain rapport with other people,
and one of the -- a great way to do that is typically to pace and lead, or at least to
That would make sense.
That would be a good tool.
And so this just happens for you automatically in a lot of ways.
Yeah, I mean, I'm always looking for the way to match somebody when I first meet them.
What elements are there of matching?
Are you talking about verbal and nonverbal communication, eye contact?
Yeah it's everything.
So it's from the physical to the emotional to the specific way you word things.
The best example, this is straight from NLP Hypnosis Training.
If somebody uses, let's say a lot of war analogies, like, "Oh I jumped on a hand grenade, we have
to take that hill," any number of war analogies -- if you also do that, they'll feel more
comfortable with you.
They won't know why; they'll just think, "Yeah, this is a good guy."
When I was in college and I started learning this stuff, I started to do it with everybody
And what would happen was, if I were drinking, which I don't do that much of anymore, I would
get into a cab with, say, a driver from Samoa.
And towards the end of the ride, my girlfriend, after we got out of the car would go, "Okay,
did you do that on purpose?" and I would say, "What are you talking about?"
And my friends are all in the back with my girlfriend and they go, "We thought that guy
was going to get mad.
You talked with the same accent as him, same cadence, we thought you were imitating him."
And you know, just because my calibration was so far off, because I'd had four beers
or something like that --
But the person never noticed.
The person never noticed.
You can pace people in the most obvious ways and
they do not notice.
In fact, for practice, I was working my day job in a big corporation at the time.
And they would tell us to sit across from somebody in a meeting and, you know, do the
Where if they're like this, you do this.
The exact -- the clunky, precise mirroring --
-- of body language.
And then you change, and then you do this and you watch them do this just immediately.
Same process as a yawn.
You know a yawn makes everybody yawn.
Why does that happen?
Do you know why that's contagious?
I've read about it.
But there's a reason, right?
I think there's --
There is, I just --
-- an actual reason, right?
I actually don't know.
I wasn't testing your knowledge.
I actually don't know.
At The Art of Charm, our live programs, we teach a lot of special forces and intelligence
And one of the tricks that I'd found a long time ago, and I'm sure I'm not the first person
to come up with this was, if -- it's a counter surveillance technique, where if you're sitting
down and you think, "Is this person paying undue attention to me?" if you can get a very
real yawn going, which you often can by tweaking with your jaw, and you see them yawn -- it's
not a guarantee.
Because often people are seeing us out of their peripheral vision and it has nothing
to do with their focus.
But if you can do it a few times, and they do it each time, you start to get the feeling
that, "That guy right there's not reading because every time I yawn, he's yawning,"
and it's so involuntary.
And if you get really good, you can see their jaw muscles tighten when they try to hold
that yawn in.
And that's been pretty effective, at least in some scenarios.
Or it's just a good gimmicky thing to teach.
But we've had good results with things like that.
So I love your example of watching the jaw tighten.
One of the things you learn from hypnosis, and apparently you learned the same stuff,
is that detailed observation.
Looking for very small changes and skin tone, muscle tone, you know, posture and all those
I was going to ask you, my observation after learning these skills, is that you can detect
lying real easily.
Oh, have you found that in your own life that you're the one in the room who can tell some
-- if somebody's lying?
Actually, I would say I probably should be better at it than I am.
But I tend to, in many ways, over think that situation.
When I finally get my conscious mind out of the equation as much as possible, then I'm
much better at it.
All right, let me give a demonstration for your listeners --
-- of a lie versus the truth.
So ask me twice, "Are you the murderer?" and I'll give you two different answers and see
which one is obviously the lie.
So ask me if I'm the murderer.
Are you the murderer?
Where did you get that information?
Who told you I'm a murderer?
All right, now ask me again.
Are you the murderer?
What the hell are you talking about?
I'm not a murderer.
I don't even know what you're talking about.
Which one of those was the lie?
Well, this is all dependent on whether or not you've actually killed someone.
So let's assume you haven't.
I would say the second is the most authentic, more immediate reaction.
Yeah, so the person who says, "What is your evidence?" is always the liar.
Because if you have good evidence, then maybe they have to confess and they better just
do it in the best possible way or just start running.
And if you don't have good evidence, maybe you just a got lucky guess and they can stick
with their lie.
So the liar always asks you about the source of your evidence.
The person who didn't murder anybody, doesn't need to ask.
Because there was no evidence.
Or they assume, "The justice system will prove me innocent."
Because that works every time.
That works every time.
I think that there's a lot of truth to that.
I'm sure some people are better liars than others.
We know the body's really -- it's tough to get your body to lie in concert with your
People who do that well win awards on stages in front of millions of people.
My old boss who taught interrogation to police and military gave me a really good trick which
was, if you ask somebody who's guilty what should happen to the person who gets caught
perpetrating a particular crime, they usually start rationalizing.
"Well you know, it depends how badly was the person beaten up, you know?
Because if they just got their stuff stolen, they weren't hurt, then maybe we're a little
Whereas the normal innocent person just goes, "I don't care.
Hang him, shoot him, I don't give a crap," because it has nothing to do with them.--
It has nothing --
-- and they know it.
So their emotional reaction is total indifference or super harsh punishment because they're
not that kind of person.
Can you imagine being that guy's kid?
It would just be terrible.
It would be tough.
He was a parent.
So we'll -- I'll have to get back in touch and se how his now teenage kids are doing
or if they've since been locked in the basement for life.
So pacing and leading involved matching people, creating a bond with them.
Can you give us some examples of Trump doing this in things that we've seen or we'll be
able to see on YouTube?
Yeah, primarily the emotional stuff.
So he goes hard on the immigration thing, because people are afraid, hard on terrorism,
because people are afraid of that.
But he'll also quickly change if he needs to.
If he's made a mistake, like he said something about abortion -- maybe there should be a
penalty for the woman who seeks an illegal abortion.
And you know, if he didn't know anything about politics, and he was new to it, right, it
was almost reasonable because he was just like, "And, well, people commit crimes, they
should be punished."
But it turns out that is a special case in which it just makes that the doctor is the
-- the only one you punish.
So he'll sometimes change.
But when you see him with his extreme, you know, anchor, I call it.
His extreme emotional anchor.
He's getting everybody to not only imagine the extreme, so that when he moves to the
middle it doesn't look so extreme.
He does that all the time.
And he talks about.
He says, "I do that."
But it's also emotionally bonding with people.
So at -- really every one of his policies has an emotional hook to it.
How is it different from just flip flopping, right?
Because if he's pushing us in one direction and then goes, "Actually, just kidding, we're
going to go over here."
If it's not somebody who's a master persuader or a hypnosis trained person, it just looks
like they're changing their mind because it's convenient.
Maybe there's an example that I can't think of, but with Trump I've only seen him on the
far end of the spectrum and just sort of move in the spectrum.
I've never seen him go to the other side.
Is there an example of this?
Uh, you know-- I should have come armed with one.
I think I was mostly looking at things like, "The wall.
Well, maybe we'll do a fence.
No, we're going to have a wall now."
I mean it just keeps constantly bouncing around.
Well let's talk about that.
I love -- this is one of my favorite examples, the wall.
So when he first started saying, "Wall, wall, wall," everybody said, "It can't be a solid
wall the entire way.
Maybe some fences and drones and water hazards."
Sounds like a mini golf course.
And at one point he said that, "Oh yeah, might be different solutions in different places."
But he rapidly and wisely, went back to the incorrect statement that it's going to be
Now here's why.
The incorrect statement makes you talk about it all the time.
And the stuff you focus on just becomes more important to you because it's the only thing
you've been talking about.
So this whole wall thing, the whole immigration thing -- before he ran, I didn't even know
it was a big issue.
I thought it was an issue but not really the biggest one.
But now it feels like it's the biggest issue just because he made it so.
It's so important in our minds.
But the wall, when he says, "It's a wall.
It's a big beautiful wall."
JORDAN;It's a great wall, if you will.
Yeah and it'll have a door.
You can picture it.
But he didn't give you so many details that you can't picture the wall you want to see.
So everybody's seen the wall they want to see.
It's incredibly visual.
Compare that to, "Well, we need border security, in a variety of ways.
Each section will have its own solution that matches the section."
And our eyes are glazing over.
Concept, concept, where's my picture?
Give me a picture.
Trump gives you a picture every time.
And he does it at the cost of being wrong.
Meaning, it's not going to be a solid wall the whole way.
He said it won't.
Everybody says it won't.
That's a hundred percent true.
But he still says it's true.
And it's the wrongness that actually keeps you thinking about it and, "Ah it's not a
And of course, the term "great wall" is just a hat tip to the big wall that everybody knows
and has known since they were a kid.
Right, and you know, contrast is always an important thing, right?
So if you can you know, get the right contrast, you can sell anything.
So people who are saying, "We can't possibly build a wall."
But if he calls it "the great wall" and you think of the Great Wall of China, well, they
were doing that stuff -- did they have the wheel yet when they built the -- when they
I would hope so because I've been there and it's amazing.
But they were sticking these rocks together with, I believe, rice gruel.
And it's still there.
I mean the dang thing's still there.
There are buildings in San Francisco that haven't been around nearly as long that are
in worse states of repair than the Great Wall of China in certain places.
So it's a good thing to pair yourself with the people who are wondering if we have the
wherewithal to build a wall.
Yeah, we can build a wall.
We just have to make it a priority if we care.
You write on the blog there may be an objective reality in our world, but our brains did not
evolve to be able to see it.
This is fascinating.
Can you tell me about this?
So this is not based on science; this is based on sort of a commonsensical look at things.
Evolution doesn't care about your feelings.
It doesn't care about the details; it doesn't care what shirt you're wearing.
It just cares if you create more of you, right?
So winning, in an evolutionary sense, is just being able to make more of you than other
animals are making more of them.
There's no part of that that required us to be right all the time.
Or even much of the time.
All we need is a consistent view of the world that fits.
So the example I like to use is that if you believe you are reincarnated from a Tibetan
monk, and I believe that my prophet flew to heaven on a horse, we're not living in the
But we can both go to the grocery store, both buy our groceries, have a conversation, go
out for a drink.
None of it matters.
So it turns out that you can have entire weird fantasies in your head that usually don't
If you look at the country now, or right after the election, it immediately causes cognitive
dissonance of the people who lost and they started thinking that they're literally living
in a -- in 1930s Germany and that Hitler had just been elected.
And this is real.
I mean they were actually living in this hallucination that the world had fallen apart and this is
the worst thing.
The people that won, just thought, "Hey we got some policies we like."
Right, finally, yeah.
But we share the same highways, we're all living, we can all reproduce.
It just didn't matter.
It does seem that every election cycle, if I look back at really old writing -- it's
hard to find this stuff, but if you look, you find that when Obama was elected, "Oh,
my God, it's the antichrist."
Before that, when Bush was elected, "This is going to be a police state."
It's the same fatalistic crap, it just has a slightly different meme, a different picture,
or now people are talking about it on Snapchat whereas before they were talking about it
I remember, I think it was three years into the Obama presidency and I was talking with
an older gentleman and he mentioned that Obama was a Muslim.
I said, "Now you don't really mean that you think he's actually a practicing Muslim."
And he said, "Yeah, it's well known.
He's actually a Muslim."
And I had to, you know, go to the Internet and show him that wasn't true.
And you were able to prove to this person, from the Internet, that that was not the case?
I don't know if he changed his mind or not --
I'm pretty sure --
-- he probably --
I'm pretty sure you're pissing into the wind there, Scott.
Yeah, that may have been a waste of time.
But the point is, his world of living in a -- in what looked like a, you know, caliphate
forming in the United States, was just pure fantasy.
But it didn't stop him from reproducing or anything else.
So essentially, all we need is a model that's loosely tied to a few pillars somewhere on
Other than that, we can bounce around all we want, in between the constraints --
-- and we'll survive just fine.
And you see it all the time when people go on pharmaceutical drugs.
Somebody will have one personality and one way of looking at the world and either they're
afraid or whatever it is.
You give them the drug, you check back in a week, the drug works, they have a different
personality, and the world is different to them.
The whole world looks different.
All the cause and effect looks different.
I mean it's completely upside down.
But they can still function.
Better, actually, because if the drug worked...
So yeah, we don't really need any kind of sense of actual reality in order to survive.
It just was never necessary.
We didn't evolve to have it.
And so we're essentially run by social programming, cultural programing, and our emotional filters
as to how we perceive cause and effect then.
Beyond that --
Well a lot of variables bumping those around, but yes.
Also at the bottom of your blog post, every post, says, "You might enjoy reading my book,
either because you vote or you don't."
Or, "You might like reading my book because kittens are so cute."
Is this the copy machine effect, where you just use the word "because" and then everything
after that is irrelevant?
So the copy machine effect you're referring to, Robert Cialdini's book --
-- Influence, in which he talks about when you use the word because, it almost doesn't
matter what you say after because; people register it as a reason.
And if you have a reason, well I guess I'll give you what you want.
You've got a reason.
So yes, I actually have been using nonsense reasons because I talk about that effect in
my blog so that people who get there know exactly what I'm doing.
So it's both funny to them because they see it in context, but it also works.
People have been telling me that, "Damn it that actually worked!"
"I bought your book because of this."
So I tested the copy machine effect and it's
disturbing how effective this thing really is.
I did it in the exact same context -- well, sans coffee machine or copy machine --
-- I went to Chipotle, which is the modern day coffee shop, Kinko's, whatever.
"Hi, can I cut in front of you because I have a scooter?"
I literally just had a mini Razor scooter with me.
And very few people would go, "Why would that affect the need for you to get in?"
I think one person went, "What does a scooter have anything to do with it?" and I went,
"Ah, I'm just kidding."
And then he went, "What, I'm trying to figure out -- you can go ahead of me, I just wondered
why the scooter has anything to do with it."
So it still worked!
It still worked!
It still worked even though the guy went, "Scooter?"
I picked dumber and dumber reasons that were more arbitrary and I even tested not picking
a reason until it came out of my mouth, which forces ridiculous things to come to the surface.
One of the ways that even before I'd read about it in the book, is you always have this
awkward situation about who picks up the check.
And so, especially if you're a guy, you know, there's a little more social pressure.
And so I'll have these situations where you know you go to dinner and you're thinking,
"Okay, in this situation, it's sort of a tie.
I could pick up the check, the other person could."
Sometimes you want to be the one who picks it up because it's better to be the one who
does than the one who didn't.
If it's sort of a tie.
You just feel a little better.
And so here's the way I always win the tie.
I will come up with a fake because before dinner.
It'll be something like this.
"I'll pay because you drove."
Or, "I'll pay because it's your birthday."
Or, "I'll pay because you had a bad day."
"I'll pay because you had a success in that contract that we were just talking about."
And it doesn't matter what you say.
After the word because, people go, "Oh, thank you."
And they'll put their wallet away.
But if you don't say that, if you say, "Let me get it," you'll be there all day.
Now it's in a constant -- Now you're fighting about it.
The only thing that wouldn't work would probably be some sort of negative connotation like,
"I'll pay because I heard your business is doing terribly."
Yeah, here --
"I'll pay because I heard your book is not doing so well."
"I hear you're a cheap bastard.
Let me get this."
"Nobody likes you."
I love, "I'll pay for this one, you get the next one."
Because often times it's somebody that you're -- maybe you're not going to see for a long
You're not going to remember this and nor should you try.
Don't do that.
"Remember when I paid last time and said you would get the next one?
You're up, buddy."
But I do -- I love the because -- the copy machine effect, the because technique if we
can coin that.
It's so representative of what our minds do, which is just kind of accept any reason given
to justify the previous request.
And this is almost universally applicable.
Yeah, that one and the McGurk effect.
You may be familiar with that --
-- if not, I'll tell you about it -- are the two things that are simplest to explain with
the most profound like changes in your life forever.
So the McGurk effect, if I'm saying it right, is the observation that --well, I'll just
tell you what the experiment was.
They have somebody just say the words, "Bah, bah, bah."
B-A-H, like a -- like a sheep.
And they just show the lips going, "Bah, bah, bah," then they keep that tape on, the same
words, "Bah, bah, bah," except they do a closeup of the same person's lips, except he's forming
the letters that would have said, 'Fa.'
"Fa, fa, fa."
Your brain instantly translates 'bah' to 'fa' in real time while you know it's a trick,
while you know that the word is 'bah.'
They tell you.
And all it is is a visual, completely changes your sensation to a hallucination.
And it's instant.
And you can go back and forth as many times as you want, as long as you're showing the
lips going fa, fa, fa, you'll hear fa, even though that's not what it is.
And when you see that, you can't unsee that.
How quickly the brain is reprogrammed and fooled, even when you know what the trick
is, every part of the trick, there's nothing about the trick you don't understand and it
Why does this work because it -- it would make sense to me if we learned speech by reading
people's lips and talking, but blind people learn how to speak fine all the time.
I'll tell you why it works.
It's because the visual persuasion just is so powerful.
It overpowers the --
-- the auditory persuasion.
Yeah, if there's one thing that people could take away from this whole thing, is that if
you're describing things in a visual way, and someone isn't, you're going to win.
It's just that powerful.
That's a really good takeaway.
The McGurk effect.
Yeah I think it's M-C-G-
We'll have to Google that and throw it in the show notes.
You mentioned also in your blog, in the news, that Google's trying to dehypnotize potential
ISIS recruits by manipulating what content they see when they try to search for pro-ISIS
Have you been following this at all recently?
Well, I suspect there's a lot going on in that regard.
Both in and outside the government.
So yeah, I would imagine that the government has contacted the search engines to serve
up the kinds of things that would help the national security.
I don't have any details on that.
At one point I did have sort of a connection into that world, but I didn't really follow
up on it.
I think that having a master persuader, Trump, in the White House, is probably the only way
ISIS could be defeated.
Because if you think about it, war itself and killing people, is just persuasion.
You're not trying to kill every single person on the other side.
You're trying to kill enough of them to persuade the others to stop fighting.
So war is persuasion.
Trump just has another weapon that isn't just, you know, military.
He can frame things differently.
And I think you're going to see a lot happening in that regard.
You may never know it happened, but I think you'll see it.
Take, for example, Trump's idea of these safe zones in Syria.
That's -- on the surface, it's just a way to keep people safe and separate the bad guys
from the good people, but it's really persuasion.
Because think what's going to happen when all the fighters are on one side and the women
and children have been filtered out to the safe spaces and they can't get to them.
What are you fighting for when all the women are gone?
Just think about that --
-- from a persuasion perspective.
They've still got all the weapons, they've got all the anger, they've got all the religious
reasons, but all the women are gone.
Or enough of them are gone that, you know, the average person has no access to mating.
When you take it down to mating, now you can't mate.
I think that's pretty powerful persuasion.
I think you throw your gun away at that point.
Yeah, all you've got is this sweaty guy next to you that's also hungry.
Yeah, let's not get into that but --
Yeah, yeah -- that's a whole other can of worms.
That might be persuasive enough for some folks.
You do mention that Google, Facebook, the Internet, things like that are already kind
of -- take our political choices and even our free will away.
I would love to hear more about that in the context of persuasion and things like that
because -- and we have seen that things like Facebook, even when they're not trying to
be biased, the algorithms still filter for things that we click 'like' on, which are
things that we agree with and shows us more of that so we can end up segregating ourselves
into these little bubbles which inform our political choices as well.
Which is why everybody who voted for Trump thinks, "The whole country must have voted
for this guy" --
-- and everybody who voted for Hillary thinks, "Who in the heck voted for this guy?
How did this even happen?"
Because of what they're seeing, in a large part of the media, and especially social media.
Yeah, I've been testing that with some of my liberal friends who will love to send emails
to criticise what's happening or what was happening.
And I just simply asked them, "Are you familiar with, say Project Veritas or anything that
is well known on the right?"
You know, "Have you even heard it?"
Forget about whether you agree with it.
Forget about whether you think it's pertinent.
"Have you even heard it?"
And it's shocking the things that I think are just common knowledge are only common
knowledge on one side.
And I'm pretty sure that, you know, the same blindness works both ways.
It's not a one way thing, but it certainly tells you that reason, if it ever had a role,
it's certainly less now.
And I think it's becoming easier and easier because our brains do look for facts to back
up our existing beliefs.
That's not new to anybody who's been watching or listening to The Art of Charm for any period
However, now it's so much easier to find facts that fit our narrative when we're essentially
training computers to then train us that those facts are so easy to access that they show
up everywhere whether we want them to or not.
By the way, there's something way bigger than just influencing politics going on and it
comes down to the nature of the human being.
Free will, in my view of the world, is nothing but an illusion.
Our brains are subject to the rules of, you know, cause and effect and the rules of physics,
so a certain number of inputs, for a certain condition at a certain time is only going
to give you one output.
We have an illusion that we're deciding things, but science has also done a pretty good job
that that's not the case.
In fact our rational faculties don't even fire until we've done things in some cases.
That's a recent discovery, is it not?
I was reading a lot of news about this in the past couple -- now we're both straightening
These damn chairs, or you're very persuasive.
I went first, I'm just --
That's -- no, I know you did, that's why I had to call it out.
Because I'm like, "Dang, that looks more comfortable.
Oh, but now everybody's going to think I did it because of you."
We've seen a lot of brain science recently where they're actually able, through I think
fMRI, to find that they can predict, within a few milliseconds or seconds before somebody
does something, that their brain had already decided, subconsciously, to take that action.
I first heard that in a hypnosis class.
I heard that the science had already discovered that in hypnosis class in the '80s.
Maybe now they just have more proof that that's the case.
I think that better -- because of the better imaging and stuff like that.
It wasn't new to me, but it's certainly getting more attention.
Well we know, and again, things we teach at The Art of Charm all the time, rationalization
of behavior is kind of a cornerstone of persuasion, influence, talking with Robert Cialdini on
this show before.
Any time you can get somebody to take an action first, you can change their belief.
Even if the action is seemingly unrelated to the belief, you can get people to then
wrap their beliefs around that action nicely.
I mean if you can get -- and this is for good or bad -- if you can get someone to go to
the gym, even if it's just to pick up a power bar for a snack for me, you can get them to
work out that much more easily the next time they walk in there.
I mean, there's all kinds of crazy things that our brains will do because, as you mentioned,
we're evolved to simply wrap ourselves into that bubble.
And now, so right now, people are programing computers and software and then those things
are programing humans.
So your Fitbit, your search engines, and all that.
So it still seems like humans are affecting other humans, they're just using this tool
But we're very close to the point where the machines will make those decisions themselves.
So imagine -- and this is not science fiction very far away.
Imagine you've got a few more sensors on your body.
You know, just normal stuff that we could already do, and the machine says, "Hey, you're
a little dehydrated.
Take a drink."
Well, the first few times it does that, you're going to say, "Well, I might.
I might not.
I don't want to walk over there."
But as you continue to follow the suggestions of the machines, you'll find they work because
they're all based on science.
They've studied, they know you need this.
Eventually it won't be a choice anymore.
On some level, you could force yourself not to have the drink --
But it would require a lot of willpower.
Why would you hurt yourself?
So your free will is going to be -- basically the illusion is going to disappear, I think,
in our lifetime.
Then we will actually feel like we're just sort of going along with the plan because
the machines are telling us what to do, and where to go, and when to do it, and we're
just sort of doing it.
Do you have a problem with that type of guidance and persuasion because -- just to bring back
the comment you made earlier, "Well, I straightened up first."
We almost don't want to admit that we're under any sort of influence, even though it's completely
normal, completely human --
-- and we're doing it to other people deliberately; we don't want it done to us.
Yeah, ego is the enemy.
Another persuasion -- important element is that if your ego is making your decisions,
then they're just all going to be bad, right?
So the more you can -- you can tell yourself that ego is just a problem and not a thing
You know, I see it as a defect.
Any time ego crawls in when I don't want it, it's a defect.
But I also think it's a tool, because I sometimes will amp up my ego because it makes my physiology
When you act confident, you know this is basic persuasion -- if you stand up straight, if
you do the victory pose, your body immediately changes to match what you're doing physically
and what your mental state is.
You can change your health, your performance, and everything else by manipulating your ego.
But if you start thinking your ego is sort of important and you should bow to it, like
if it's embarrassed about something, you shouldn't do that thing.
If I'm embarrassed by something, I do that thing.
Sure, that's the idea.
That's how you grow, right?
I think somewhere along the line, and I want to say probably somewhere in puberty at least
for me and for guys in general -- we go from our ego being something that's used to protect
us to us protecting our ego --
-- and everything that happens after that is a freaking disaster.
An absolute disaster.
Yeah, you can actually look at people who are successful and I think the people who
can manage their ego the best, almost always do better.
You find that because then it becomes a non consideration when they're trying to get somebody
For example, our persuasion context.
If you're trying to get somebody else to do something, and you have a choice between doing
exactly what needs to get done in order for them to do that, or you have to somehow damage
your ego, you often end up fighting against yourself and you do the wrong things.
Which is unfortunately why sociopaths are so good at what they do, in many ways, because
they are completely unafraid to just ignore everything beneficial and negative about their
own ego, if it's going to get a desired result.
And then after that, they'll get their ego back tenfold by essentially getting one over
on their victim.
And we find that those people are highly effective.
In part because they are able to just separate themselves from that ego for just long enough
to manipulate the heck out of somebody in a very dastardly way often enough and get
That's why accusations of narcissism, whether it's Trump or me or anybody else, are somewhat
missing the point, that there is a positive amount of narcissism.
You know, healthy good feeling about yourself -- that just makes you more effective.
And then there's too much that just makes you a jerk who can't see the world clearly.
If you know the difference between those two states, it's pretty useful to be a little
Just narcissistic enough.
That might be the title of this episode.
So what are you working on now?
Well I'm writing a book.
It's going to be called, "Win Bigly."
You can imagine what that's about.
But it's about -- it's mostly about persuasion.
But the context is the election.
I also have a startup called the WhenHub and we can tell stories with time.
So it's a platform for telling any kind of story about things that happened in the past
or schedules of the future in a visual way.
Again, it's visual persuasion.
So instead of a texty little calendar, you can have, you know, video and pictures and
graphs and maps and stuff.
And we will link to all that of course in the show notes as well as your book.