Book To Sell is Human - Daniel H. Pink

To Sell is Human - Daniel H. Pink

Discover how the skill of selling should be part of who we are and learn tools, tips, and recommendations to be more effective in your persuasion.

Add to Favorites
Add to read
Mark as read

The author Daniel H. Pink brings, in his work “To Sell is Human: The Surprising Truth About Moving Others”, tools, tips, and recommendations for you to become more effective in inducing others.

Have you ever found yourself selling ideas to colleagues, influencing people, persuading investors, or flattering children to convince them?

So, you, in a broader sense, are spending more time selling than you think!

Continue reading, as we will explain all of these methods that are discussed throughout the book.

The book “To Sell is Human”

Written by Daniel H. Pink, “To Sell is Human: The Surprising Truth About Moving Others” (2013) is a 272-page work divided into 9 chapters.

The book addresses the fact that at all times we are selling something, either through traditional selling, in which there is a commercial trade of product/service for a certain value, or by selling without selling, where there is a dynamic of induction and persuasion, involving products or ideas.

In this way, the author Daniel H. Pink brilliantly presents more effective tools to influence people through knowledge.

Who is Daniel H. Pink?

Daniel H. Pink, born in 1964 in the city of Bexley, Ohio, received a law degree from Northwestern University, having subsequently received a graduate degree from Yale Law School and worked as Editor-in-Chief of the Yale Law & Policy Review.

Between 1995 and 1997, he was Chief of Speech for Vice President Al Gore and, in 1997, he left his political career to become an entrepreneur, an experience he describes in an article for Fast Company, the Free Agent Nation, and which became the basis of his first book.

For the past six years, the London-based Thinkers 50 has appointed him, along with Michael Porter and Clayton Christensen, as one of the top 15 business thinkers in the world.

Check out the summary of two of his other works:

Why should I read “To Sell is Human”?

“To Sell is Human: The Surprising Truth About Moving Others” is suitable for everyone because, as Daniel H. Pink explains, we are all in a constant sales process, that is, selling is part of human nature, and this is intrinsically linked to our daily activities, to our daily lives.

Thus, this book is recommended for those who believe it is extremely important to know the best tools to improve these constant sales processes, because, in this way, it is possible to improve interpersonal relationships, influence people, and effectively transmit ideas and knowledge.

What can I learn from “To Sell is Human”?

  • We are all always in a sales process;
  • The ability to influence others to exchange what they have for what we have is crucial to our survival and our happiness;
  • The most efficient salespeople are ambivalent, that is, those who manage to find a balance between the traits of extroverted and introverted personalities;
  • Whenever you are tempted to sell to someone else, stop what you are doing and do your best. Don’t try to point out what they can do for you, but emphasize what you can do for them;
  • Tuning in with others – leaving your own perspective and entering theirs – is essential to convince them;
  • Knowing how to stand firm in the midst of an ocean of rejection is the second essential quality to convince others. Daniel H. Pink calls this “quality buoyancy”;
  • On average, people who self-question solve 50% more problems than those who self-affirm;
  • The author points out that salespeople with an optimistic explanatory style – who see rejections as temporary instead of permanent, specific instead of universal, and external instead of personal – sell more and stay in their jobs longer;
  • You must do more for the other person than they expect, or what you initially planned, by taking the extra steps that make a mundane interaction a memorable experience.

In this summary, we will explain the 3 aspects defined in the book to build a great company: disciplined people, disciplined thinking, and disciplined actions.

Download the "To Sell is Human" Book Summary in PDF for free

Do you have no time to read now? Then download the free PDF and read wherever and whenever you want:

[Book Summary] To Sell Is Human - Daniel H. Pink

Part I – A salesperson’s rebirth

In the opening part of the book, Daniel presents arguments to encourage us to question the way we know the sales process:

Now we’re all in sales

The author Daniel Pink essentially shows data that prove that even with today’s digital world, the sales market is still very busy and, besides that, every human being participates in this type of process in one way or another.

In the United States alone, for example, 1 in 9 workers still make a living trying to get people to buy products they have to offer.

Also, the author clarifies that the other 8 of these 9 are in constant sales processes, the so-called “sale without selling”, as they are persuading and influencing people.

  • Traditional selling refers to exchanging a product or service for a certain amount;
  • Selling without selling is about trying to convince, influence others with your ideas and knowledge.

For Daniel H. Pink, sellers are not dead, they are alive because they are us!

According to an unprecedented survey, we are dedicating more than 40% of our time at work to inducing others. And we consider this to be crucial to our professional success.

Entrepreneurship, Elasticity, and Ed-Med

How did so many of us end up in the induction business?

The second chapter of the book “To Sell is Human: The Surprising Truth About Moving Others” answers this question from 3 main points:


With the increase of investments in technology, the tools that were created and that were supposed to destroy salespeople, instead opened up to small entrepreneurs and turned many of us into salespeople.


Many of us are realizing that our professional skills need to extend and overcome previously created barriers, encompassing traditional sales and, above all, sales without sales.


It is a sector that includes the fastest growing industries in the world, medical and educational, and its jobs are related to the induction of people.

In the end, Daniel Pink says that the sales sector doesn’t really have a good reputation, however, this concept is being transformed more and more.

From caveat emptor (buyer attention) to caveat venditor (seller attention)

The author Daniel H. Pink deconstructs the idea that sales are synonymous with cheating and deception.

The balance of buyer-seller power has shifted as we move from the need for the buyer to always be alert to risk, to that of the seller to always be careful. Honesty, integrity, and transparency have become the only viable path.

When buyers know more than sellers, sellers are no longer the protectors and providers of information. They only clarify, giving the temporal meaning of facts, data, and opinions.

If the seller no longer has an information advantage and the buyer has the means and opportunity to interact, the lower path becomes more difficult to pass, and the upper path – of honesty, integrity, and transparency – becomes the best route, the most pragmatic and long-term.

Part II – How to be?

In the second part of the book “To Sell is Human”, the author presents the three most important qualities to convince someone:

  • Tuning refers to getting in harmony with the buyer. It is clarified that the most successful salespeople are on the threshold between extroversion and introversion;
  • Cheer is about maintaining firmness and courage in the face of the various rejections that are likely to come. It explains the importance of staying afloat during and after your sales battles;
  • Clarity refers to the ability to find light in obscure moments, that is, the meaning in problem situations. It is pointed out that the most important thing is to find the problem, unveiling difficulties that others didn’t even know they had.

Part III – What to do?

Finally, Daniel H. Pink, in a practical and objective way, describes the skills that matter most when selling:


The pitch has the purpose of presenting an idea that is striking enough to arouse the interest of the buyer so that a conversation starts, reaching an outcome that pleases both parties.

Today, however, attention spans have shrunk and everyone is looking at their phones, which has made this technique outdated.

In chapter 7 of the book, the author presents the possible successors of the elevator pitch:

The one-word pitch

Associate your brand with a single word. When anyone says that word, they will think of you.

The interrogative pitch

According to the book “To Sell is Human: The Surprising Truth About Moving Others”, unlike when something is stated, when a question is asked, people are obliged to answer it out loud or in silence, demanding at least a little effort on their part, urging them to come up with their own reasons for agreeing or not.

The rhymed pitch

Rhymes drive our minds to make sense of the stimulus, helping information to be processed more easily and emphasizing reason.

The title-phrase pitch

Only with a sentence that encompasses the principles of utility, curiosity, and specification is it possible to draw the buyer’s attention to the whole proposal.

The Twitter pitch

Twitter is used as a platform and its character count as a limit on eloquence, to avoid prolixity and to be quick, painless, and straight to the point, encouraging the continuation of the conversation.

The Pixar pitch

It focuses on the format of only six sentences to reproduce a speech. Being such a malleable and attractive format and, at the same time, being within a framework that forces conciseness and discipline.


  • Listen to offers: few of us really know how to listen. Daniel H. Pink emphasizes that the opposite of speaking is not waiting, but listening. When we listen to others, we notice things that we had missed and realize that what seems like objections are often offers in disguise;
  • Say “yes”: Instead of saying “no”, say “yes”. Emphasize positivity, that is, instead of getting frustrated, raise the possibilities;
  • Make your partner look good: Make the person you are selling to look good. When both sides see that they have opportunities, the desire to defeat the other disappears.


The author points out in his book that traditional sales and sales without sales are mainly based on services.

However, service is more than just smiling at customers or treating them well: it is making it personal, improving the lives of others and the world. When inducing people, you need to achieve something bigger, more meaningful and lasting than just an exchange of resources.

Books about persuasion and sales

In “Influence: Science and Practice”, the author Robert Cialdini delves into the idea of personal marketing, providing tools on how to influence people with ideas, which, in a negotiation, is extremely important.

Thus, the book is based on 6 psychological principles that influence the customer’s purchase decision to instruct salespeople and marketers in winning a purchase.

In the book “How to Win Friends and Influence People”, Dale Carnegie also talks about praise as a way of influencing: one of the strongest characteristics of human behavior is the desire to be valued by other people; we all like to receive compliments and hear that we are doing a good job.

Finally, in “Contagious: Why Things Catch On”, the author Jonah Berger clarifies that mental triggers are intended to allow your brain to function better, without an overload of information.

They serve to link one thing to the other, that is, when we talk about a certain thing, we automatically remember another, making that connection between them and, thereby, increasing their power of persuasion when negotiating their sales.

How can I apply the ideas from “To Sell is Human”?

After reading the work, we can clearly see the practical points we can apply:

  • When using pitches, during a conversation, both professionally and personally, always aim at objectivity and arouse interest;
  • In improvising the speech, always be positive, listen more, and treat the other better;
  • In the way of presenting our speech, always aim to improve the lives of others and give a purpose to your idea.

Rate the book summary of “To Sell is Human”

Did you like our summary of “To Sell is Human: The Surprising Truth About Moving Others”? Leave your feedback in the comments!

Also, if you are interested in the book, you can buy it by clicking on the image below:

Book To Sell is Human - Daniel H. Pink