Persuasion and Influence in American Life:  by Gary C. Woodward, Robert E. Denton, Jr.
445 pages, $64.95 list
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Persuasion and Influence in American Life
Seventh Edition
For more than twenty-five years, the authors have highlighted the complexities, subtleties, and pervasive influence of persuasive messages. The seventh edition again blends historical, rhetorical, and social psychological approaches to persuasion theory. The engaging discussions and multiple examples introduce the intricacies of social influence and highlight methods of presentation as well as evaluation.

The dynamic topic of persuasion presents a constantly changing palette for analysis. The authors dissect theory and practice in multiple contexts—from interpersonal interactions to public communication and persuasive campaigns to advertising to politics. Twitter, YouTube, and social networking sites offer new media for persuasive appeals. The means of persuading one another changes constantly, yet much of what was written by Aristotle continues to be relevant. The production of persuasive messages and the study of message effects have been and will continue to be fertile ground for exploration.

Persuasion is an interactive process requiring willing and attentive participants. Becoming responsible, ethical, and credible persuaders involves systematic thinking and informed preparation. The skills required for planning, composing, and delivering effective messages are equally useful for evaluating messages received. The seventh edition provides a thorough, up-to-date discussion of classic and contemporary theories of persuasion to aid readers in developing skills as effective persuaders and as critical consumers of persuasive messages.
“Excellent, as usual!” — Lawrence J. Prelli, University of New Hampshire

“A solid, informative textbook with both theoretical foundations and current examples.” — Amy Aronson, Fordham University

“I like the breadth and contemporary nature of the topics. The chapter on ethics is good and I particularly appreciate that [the text] considers both reception and production of persuasive messages.” — Susan North, University of Tennessee

“The book is comprehensive—a one-volume encyclopedia of the authors’ knowledge—with evocative pictures and funny cartoons. An excellent collection.” — Dale Wicklander, Western Kentucky University
Table of Contents
1. Persuasion and Influence
The Necessity and Challenge of Persuasion / Persuasion Defined / Five Introductory Settings / Persuasion in Everyday Life / What These and Other Persuasion Settings Suggest / Three Types of Communication / Summary


2. The Advocate in an Open Society
Freedom of Expression and Its Limits / Subduing Advocacy in a One-Party State / Weighing the Value of Public Opinion / How "Open" Is American Society? / Summary

3. The Advocate and the Management of Symbols
The Nature of Language / Language, Interaction, and Reality / Political Uses of Language / The Changing Nature of Public and Political Discourse / Summary


4. Persuasion and Reasoning
Understanding Practical Arguments: Key Distinctions / Common Forms of Defective Reasoning / How Persuasion and Logical Argumentation Differ / Summary

5. Theories and Models of Source Credibility
The Three Meanings of "Credibility" / Credibility as Authority: Strategic Dimensions / Summary

6. The Mind in Persuasion
Cognitive Elements Affecting Persuasion / Essential Theories and Models of Persuasion / Summary

7. Persuasion, Audiences, and Social Learning
A Conceptual Baseline: Social Learning / Audiences: The Generative Forces of Persuasion / The Audience Analysis Process / Advocates, Messages, and Audiences / Summary: The Ethics of Adaptation


8. Interpersonal Persuasion
Dimensions of Interpersonal Communication / Variables of Interpersonal Persuasion / Contexts of Interpersonal Persuasion / Summary

9. Public and Mass Persuasion
Public Communication and Persuasion / Persuasive Campaigns / Social Movements / Campaign Implementation / Summary

10. Advertising as Persuasion
Advertising Today / What Is Advertising? / The Evolution of Advertising from a Communication Perspective / The Role of Psychology in Advertising / How Advertising Works / Advertising as Myth / Common Advertising Appeals / How to Critique Ads / Criticisms of Advertising / What Can I Do? / Summary

11. Political Persuasion
Language, Communication, Politics, and Persuasion / Characteristics of Political Communication and Persuasion / Ideology / The Political Socialization Process / Forms of Political Persuasion / What We Can Learn from Political Persuasion / Politics and Trust / Summary


12. Ethical Considerations of Persuasion
Ethics, Values, and Principles / Communication, Ethics, and Society / Considerations for Ethical Communication / Areas of Special Concern / Summary

13. Constructing and Presenting Persuasive Messages
Strategic Considerations for Nondiscursive Persuasion / Strategic Considerations of a Set Presentation / Two Additional Considerations for Discursive Messages / Summary