• David de Souza

Win Bigly Summary

Updated: Jul 9


Many people do not like the author of this book because he appears to go against their politics. Be careful to avoid disregarding a message because you don't like a messenger. This is a useful life lesson in itself. The hierarchy of persuasion was the most useful tool that I took from this book.

Want to dig deeper than the core principles? Check out:



Core Principles:


I have summarised 'Win Bigly', distilling the book into 21 core principles:

  1. Facts and reason only influence our decisions on trivial things. With important decisions, emotion is attached, and we make decisions first and then rationalize after.

  2. When we become emotional our sense of reason shuts down. We don't realize when this is happening.

  3. Kant stated that our brains don't have access to reality. We interpret the world through our senses.

  4. To spot cognitive dissonance, look for the trigger. The trigger is what made you realize that your actions were in conflict with your self-image.

  5. 'Master persuaders move your energy to the topics that help them, independent of facts and reason'.

  6. "By now you are wondering...." is a hypnosis technique that implies that you know what your audience is thinking. This creates a connection between you, and everything else that you say will be more interesting.

  7. The High Ground Manoeuvre: Moving an argument from the details on which there is disagreement to higher ground where everyone agrees.

  8. Frame your choice to your audience as: 2 ways to win and no way to lose. This is a natural high ground maneuver.

  9. Ideas that are not concrete and can't be visualized are weak for persuasion.

  10. When someone is indecisive using a 'fake because' will give them self justification to go ahead.

  11. Displaying confidence (both real and fake) increases persuasiveness.

  12. When you confront a person about their beliefs, they will harden their belief even if your argument is perfect.

  13. Strategic ambiguity is where you intentionally leave out words from your message. People use their imagination to fill in the gaps which is more persuasive than you can be yourself.

  14. Thinking Past The Sale: Ask your audience to imagine making a decision, to bias them to make that decision.

  15. Use: "Many people are saying...." to invoke social proof.

  16. Every decision is a comparison of alternatives. If you can influence how people see the alternatives you can sell any decision.

  17. People defer to experts. When you show your credentials it will allow you to influence them. Don't brag - ask someone to highlight them for you.

  18. When there is confusion people are attracted to the most confident person.

  19. Remove details that give your audience the opportunity to think "That's not me". Have enough blank space so they can incorporate their own narrative.

  20. A visual message is more persuasive than audio or written one. However, an oral or written presentation can be more persuasive than a visual one if it is higher in the pervasive stack.

  21. The Hierarchy of Persuasion:

  • Big Fear

  • Identity

  • Small Fear

  • Aspirations

  • Analogies

  • Reason

  • Hypocrisy

  • Work Think


Let me know how these summaries can be improved? Contact me via Email (david@thisdomain.co) or on Twitter.



The 80/20 of Worldly Wisdom: