The Personal MBA

Master the Art of Business

A world-class business education in a single volume. Learn the universal principles behind every successful business, then use these ideas to make more money, get more done, and have more fun in your life and work.

Buy the book:


What Is A 'Reason Why'? (Psychology)

Research shows that giving a Reason Why for your request increases dramatically people's compliance rate.

Humans are predisposed to look for behavioral causes. People will be more receptive if you give them a Reason Why.

Any reason will do.

Josh Kaufman Explains 'Reason Why'

Here's a fascinating quirk about asking people to do something: they'll be far more likely to comply with your request if you give them a reason to do what you ask.

In Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, Dr. Robert Cialdini describes an ingenious experiment that demonstrates this principle in action.

In the 1970s, Ellen Langer, a psychologist at Harvard University, conducted a set of famous experiments about compliance-what makes people agree to a request. The experiments centered around a busy copy machine on the Harvard campus. Langer's students asked people waiting in line to use the copy machine if they could move to the front of the line, using various approaches.

A straightforward request was honored 60% of the time, but Langer found that adding a reason for the request increased the compliance rate to 95% - an astounding improvement.

The technique worked even if reason was vacuous - "because I have to make copies" worked just as well as "because I'm late for class" or "because I'm in a rush." All the reason had to do was supply a "because," and it was enough make people agree to the request.

Humans are predisposed to look for behavioral causes. People will be more receptive to any request if you give them a reason why.

Any reason will do.

Questions About 'Reason Why'


"Civilization advances by extending the number of operations we can perform without thinking."

Alfred North Whitehead, mathematician and philosopher


From Chapter 8:

Working With Others


https://personalmba.com/reason-why/



WANT TO BE NOTIFIED WHEN UPDATES ARE PUBLISHED? Subscribe to Josh Kaufman's email newsletter. You'll receive Personal MBA updates, Josh's award-winning research, and useful resources that will help you make more money, get more done, and have more fun. It's free!

The Personal MBA

Master the Art of Business

A world-class business education in a single volume. Learn the universal principles behind every successful business, then use these ideas to make more money, get more done, and have more fun in your life and work.

Buy the book:


About Josh Kaufman

Josh Kaufman is an acclaimed business, learning, and skill acquisition expert. He is the author of two international bestsellers: The Personal MBA and The First 20 Hours. Josh's research and writing have helped millions of people worldwide learn the fundamentals of modern business.

More about Josh Kaufman →