Please Don’t Read This Blog Post

Please Don’t Read This Blog Post

Disclaimer: There are so many reasons why you shouldn’t read this post:

  • You don’t have time
  • You’ve never heard of the author
  • It blurs in with the 1000 other blog posts and articles people will ask you to read today
  • You should be working on some other project/life goal/meaningful activity
  • It piggybacks off another, smarter person’s idea
  • It’s not particularly well written…

The list goes on.

There is one reason, however, that you might want to read this post: it will teach you something about the power of the Sarick effect.* Roughly stated, the Sarick effect is negative sales – it’s emphasizing all of the downsides of the thing you’re selling in order to preempt the savvy, even cynical minds of the people you’re selling to. In other words, it’s putting your worst foot forward to hock your wares.

It works because we’ve grown accustomed to being told how gloriously wonderful products are at every turn and it’s kind of annoying. According to Adam Grant, whose ideas I’m riffing on here willy-nilly, if you lead your sales pitch with all of the downsides, it puts people at ease. They are less likely to look for reasons to dismiss you, and more likely to start using their own brain power to solve the problems you present. In the process, they become invested in what you’re selling, and are more likely to see problems as small and fixable.

The big question is, then, can anyone help me fix this damn blog post into something people would want to read?

*BTW, The Sarick effect is a phony name for a real phenomenon. Blame Adam Grant, not me!

You Might Also Like


  • Iris

    March 14, 2016

    I smiled when you discuss the up-side of discussing the down-side of what one is selling or promoting. When I do it in my field, I recognize that I’m using Cognitive Dissonence – a concept from psychology from 40 or so years ago and still useful today. It occurs when we hold competing ideas about something in our head at one time – such as, ” I’m working so hard for such little pay” and gets resolved by a third idea – possible a rationalization, “this job must hold great meaning for me”.

    I have used this approach to challenge clients to commit to the often hard slog of getting better through psychotherapy. Like many things in life, getting better is not a straight line and is often longer and more difficult that people thought it would be. When I explain that the process is not a tea party but if they are honest and open with me and perseve we will get to a much better place, most people comitt and get much better than they ever thought possible.

  • Lis

    March 16, 2016

    This reminds me of this scene in Crazy People in which they propose ads based on ‘honesty’ (highlighting some negatives):


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *