15 extra minutes (David Bowie and the art of influencing people, not manipulating them)

The only way you can get people to do anything is by giving them what they want.

But what the heck do people want?

Sigmund Freud used to say that everything we humans do springs from two motives: our sex urge and our desire to be great.

While this might sound over simplistic, there's one thing Freud was absolutely right. The desire for a feeling of importance is one of the main things that truly distinguishes us humans from other animals.

Now let me tell you a short story. It involves the legendary Rockstar David Bowie.

In 2009, before publishing a big cover story on the many lives of David Bowie, Word magazine interviewed a bunch of journalists who'd met Bowie.

This was the moment when they all realized that Bowie used the same persuasion technique on almost all of them. This was a something he'd been doing for years. He wasn't really trying to be sneaky or trying to trick them. It was a simple way to charm and influence people.

Long story short, Bowie's team would book journalists for a 45-minute interview. And about 5 minutes before the interview ended, his press officer would show up to wrap it up.

Then Bowie would smile and say, "Look, I know we're on a schedule, but - honestly, we're having such fun here, could we do an extra 15 minutes? This is going really well."

In reality, Bowie was scheduled for an hour - but the journalist didn't know that.

So the journalist would react as any normal human being would react. The journalist would think, "Wow! I'm so interesting that even a legend like David Bowie wants to chat with me for 15 extra minutes".

Whatever album Bowie was promoting, this simple persuasion trick would usually earn him good press, and glowing album reviews.

Your pal,


Miguel Ferreira
Founder & Chief Copywriter, Teardwn + Nishi + Jack Had A Groove FM

(Good copywriting that helps you sell more this year than last. Work with me).