Understanding human behavior is essential for a successful business. Whatever your field of expertise is, when you decide to start your venture and create online courses, you'll need to know your audience well.
Psychology offers valuable insights into the mind of the consumer and into your own. It's important to know yourself before you decide to pursue your goals to the very end, dose your efforts and use your strengths. A good grasp of psychology is valuable to all course creators whether they are seasoned entrepreneurs or merely starting out.
Here are seven books to read on the subject:
1. Strangers to Ourselves: Discovering the Adaptive Unconscious
Timothy Wilson focuses on our unconscious mind, responsible for many aspects of our personality. Backed by research and with some philosophical debates on the table, the book takes you on a journey of self-discovery and sheds light on how our unconscious shapes the way we think, feel, behave and make decisions.
The point of all this introspection is to find the key to unleashing our full potential in our personal lives and in business. It's a great read to start with, as you will always be at the center of your entrepreneurial journey.
2. Emotionomics: Leveraging Emotions for Business Success
Dan Hill focuses on how you can leverage emotions to gain a competitive advantage. Decisions, including decisions to buy something, are emotion-based. People tend to rationalize them after they are made.
The author shows how this fact can help you find your target audience and speak to them so that they are convinced to buy your products. He also talks about the importance of emotions in the workplace and how they make the difference between a decent employer and a great one.
Read more: What’s emotion got to do with my online course?
3. Thinking, Fast and Slow
This book by Daniel Kahneman is, in my opinion, the book to read if you only find time for one. The renowned psychologist writes about the two parts of the human mind – the instinctive, primal part and the critical, rational part. The first one is programmed to think fast. During evolution, swift decisions, such as fleeing from danger, were necessary to survive. The second one takes longer to formulate thoughts and needs logic and structure.
Apart from explaining the different functionalities of the brain, Kahneman shows that there are times when we should trust our intuition and times when logical thinking is better for decision making. The author also talks about cognitive biases and the enormous effect they have on our decision-making process.
Read more: 6 Neuroscience tips for better online course design
4. Consumerology: The truth about consumers and the psychology of shopping
Philip Graves gives excellent insights into the buyer's mind and scrutinizes some of the frequently used tactics to get them to close a deal. The author emphasizes the unreliability of conventional market research findings. Their methods, he argues, are not effective in finding out what the target audience really wants.
Questionnaires and discussion groups are often proved wrong by the complete lack of interest in a product or service. Furthermore, in some instances, products succeed specifically by ignoring what the focus groups say. The book offers a fresh point of view on consumer behavior.
5. The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business
This book written by Charles Duhigg, the investigative reporter for The New York Times, is based on many scientific studies. The author summarizes the findings about habit formation, drawing on the conclusions of social and clinical psychology and neuroscience.
Employing engaging anecdotes, Duhigg demonstrates that habits can be changed. Once we understand that, we are free to transform our lives by making positive changes in our repetitive behaviors.
6. Mindset: The New Psychology of Success
This book by Carol Dweck is built on the premise that success comes from our mindset rather than our natural talents. While it is true that our genes have a big say in our intelligence and capabilities, these are not fixed. The appropriate mindset, doubled by practice, and grit can tremendously positively impact our success.
The author distinguishes between two different types of mindsets — a fixed mindset and a growth mindset. The fixed mindset refers to the belief that our capabilities are determined by nature. People with a growth mindset, on the other hand, believe that abilities can be trained, and that effort and determination are the ingredients for success.
7. Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion
Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion is one of the most influential books ever written. Professor Robert Cialdini's theory of influence is based on six fundamental principles, which he calls “weapons of influence” in his work. These six principles are reciprocity, commitment and consistency, social proof, authority, liking, and scarcity.
The author offers an in-depth understanding of these six principles, as well as tips on how to employ them both personally and professionally. The book is a true game changer for marketers and a must-read for anybody setting out to convince an audience.
Read more: 6 Tips on how to become an influencer as a knowledge entrepreneur
Psychology and neuroscience are nowhere near being done with discoveries and surprising insights. Marketing, sales and advertising are all under the influence of these findings. It's essential to stay connected to recent developments if you want to compete on the e-learning market. This knowledge is highly valuable to entrepreneurs, offering the tools to understand and persuade others and find the right ways to live up to their full potential.