Apr 10, 2013

The 21 Principles of Persuasion - Forbes

Jason Nazar

How is it that certain people are so incredibly persuasive? Can we all harness those skills?  After  studying the most influential political, social, business and religious leaders, and trying countless techniques out myself, these are the 21 critical lessons I’ve identified to persuading people. This is an overview from a talk I’ve been giving to thousands of entrepreneurs for a few years now on “How to Persuade People.” More detailed examples are explained in the links below.


1. Persuasion is not Manipulation - Manipulation is coercion through force to get someone to do something that is not in their own interest.  Persuasion is the art of getting people to do things that are in their own best interest that also benefit you.

2. Persuade the Persuadable -  Everyone can be persuaded, given the right timing and context, but not necessarily in the short term.  Political campaigns focus their time and money on a small set of swing voters who decide elections.  The first step of persuasion is always to identify those people that at a given time are persuadable to your point of view and focus your energy and attention on them.

3. Context and Timing - The basics building blocks of persuasion are context and timing.  Context creates a relative standard of what’s acceptable.  For example the Stanford Prisoner Experiment proved that overachieving students could be molded into dictatorial prison guards.  Timing dictates what we want from others and life.  We chose to marry a different type of person than we date when we’re younger, because what we want changes.

4. You have to be Interested to be Persuaded  -  You can never persuade somebody who’s not interested in what you’re saying.  We are all most interested in ourselves, and spend most of our time thinking about either money, love or health.  The first art of persuasion is learning how to consistently talk to people about them; if you do that then you’ll always have their captive attention.


5.  Reciprocity Compels  –  When I do something for you, you feel compelled to do something for me.  It is part of our evolutionary DNA to help each other out to survive as a species.  More importantly, you can leverage reciprocity disproportionately in your favor.   By providing small gestures of consideration to others, you can ask for more back in return which others will happily provide.   (TIP: read  ”Influence” by Robert Cialdini)

6.  Persistence Pays - The person who is willing to keep asking for what they want, and keeps demonstrating value, is ultimately the most persuasive.  The way that so many historical figures have ultimately persuaded masses of people is by staying persistent in their endeavors and message.  Consider Abraham Lincoln, who lost his mother, three sons, a sister, his girlfriend,  failed in business and lost eight separate elections before he was elected president of the United States.

7.  Compliment Sincerely  - We are all so positively affected by compliments, and we’re more apt to trust people for whom we have good feelings.  Try complimenting people sincerely and often for things they aren’t typically complimented for, it’s the easiest thing you can do to persuade others that doesn’t cost anything but a moment of thought.

8.  Set Expectations - Much of persuasion is managing other’s expectations to trust in your judgment.  The CEO who promises a 20% increase in sales and delivers a 30% increase is rewarded, while the same CEO who promises a 40%  increase and delivers 35% is punished. Persuasion is simply about understanding and over-delivering on other’s expectations.

9.  Don’t Assume   - Don’t ever assume what someone needs, always offer your value.  In sales we’ll often hold back from offering our products/services because we assume others don’t have the money or interest.  Don’t assume what others might want or not want, offer what you can provide and leave the choice to them.

10.  Create Scarcity  – Besides the necessities to survive, almost everything has value on a relative scale.  We want things because other people want these things.  If you want somebody to want what you have, you have to make that object scarce, even if that object is yourself.

11.  Create Urgency  –  You have to be able to instill a sense of urgency in people to want to act right away. If we’re not motivated enough to want something right now, it’s unlikely we’ll find that motivation in the future.  We have to persuade people in the present, and urgency is our most valuable card to play.

12.  Images Matter  – What we see is more potent that what we hear.  It may be why pharma companies are now so forthcoming with the potentially horrible side effects of their drugs, when set to a background of folks enjoying a sunset in Hawaii. Perfect your first impressions.  And master the ability to paint an image for others, in their minds eye, of a future experience you can provide for them.

13.  Truth-Tell  – Sometimes the most effective way to persuade somebody, is by telling them the things about themselves that nobody else is willing to say.  Facing the hard truths are the most piercing, meaningful events that happen in our lives.  Truth-tell without judgement or agenda, and you’ll often find others’ responses quite surprising.

14.  Build Rapport - We like people who we are like.  This extends beyond our conscious decisions to our unconscious behaviors.  By Mirroring and Matching others habitual behaviors (body language, cadence, language patterns, etc.) you can build a sense of rapport where people feel more comfortable with you and become more open to your suggestions.


15.  Behavioral Flexibility - It’s the person with the most flexibility, not necessarily the most power, who’s in control.  Children are often so persuasive because they’re wiling to go through a litany of behaviors to get what they want (pouting, crying, bargaining, pleading, charming), while parents are stuck with the single response of “No.”  The larger your repertoire of behaviors, the more persuasive you’ll be.

16.  Learn to Transfer Energy - Some people drain us of our energy, while others infuse us with it.  The most persuasive people know how to transfer their energy to others, to motivate and invigorate them.  Sometimes it’s as straightforward as eye contact, physical touch, laughter, excitement in verbal responses, or even just active listening.

17.  Communicating Clearly is Key - If you can’t explain your concept or point of view to an 8th grader, such that they could explain it with sufficient clarity to another adult, it’s too complicated.  The art of persuasion lies in simplifying something down to its core, and communicating to others what they really care about.

18.  Being Prepared Gives you the Advantage - Your starting point should always be to know more about the people and situations around you.  Meticulous preparation allows for effective persuasion.  For example, you dramatically improve your odds in a job interview being completely versed in the company’s products, services, and background.

19.  Detach and Stay Calm in Conflict - Nobody is more effective when they are “On Tilt.”  In situations of heightened emotion, you’ll always have the most leverage by staying calm, detached and unemotional.  In conflict, people turn to those in control of their emotions, and trust them in those moments to lead them.

20.  Use Anger Purposefully - Most people are uncomfortable with conflict.  If you’re willing escalate a situation to a heightened level of tension and conflict, in many cases others will back down.  Use this sparingly, and don’t do it from an emotional place or due to a loss of self control.  But do remember, you can use anger purposefully for your advantage.

21.  Confidence and Certainty - There is no quality as compelling, intoxicating and attractive as certainty.  It is the person who has an unbridled sense of certainty that will always be able to persuade others.  If you really believe in what you do, you will always be able to persuade others to do what’s right for them, while getting what you want in return.

This article is available online at: 

Apr 8, 2013

Accueil - Lenvers du décor

We are a collective of authors worried about the development of serious dysfunctions in recent years within the Catholic Church which have not been taken seriously so far by the hierarchy of the Church.

Our duty of conscience, together with the prophetic mission that is attached to our baptismal vocation, obliges us to speak out against psychological, spiritual or physical abuses committed in deceptively religious communities.

Legionaries of Christ - victims of other sects (in various Catholic communities), as well as priests, nuns and people concerned have decided to create network, in order to inform and support.


'Rapist' Trinidad swami has a Nagpu

Indo Asian News Service
May 25, 2007
Shyam Pandharipande

Nagpur - Every saint has a past; every sinner, a future, goes a maxim. Kripalu Maharaj, an 85-year-old Hindu spiritual guru, charged with raping a 22-year old Guyanese woman in south Trinidad Sunday, has a similar case pending against him in the high court here.

Setting up an ashram near this city in central India in 1984, Kripalu Maharaj, who hails from Uttar Pradesh, attracted considerable following in the region. All was hunky dory for the swami until an elderly man filed a complaint against him in 1991 that Maharaj had kidnapped his two major daughters.

Following the complaint, the police came to know of at least two earlier cases of rape in which complaints were not registered, public prosecutor Prashant Sathiyanathan recalls.

The police filed a common first information report (FIR) against the swami putting together all four cases of kidnapping and rape allegedly committed over a period from 1985-91, Sathiyanathan told IANS.

Sex charges against Indian swami dropped

Indo-Asian News Service
July 28, 2007

Paras Ramoutar

Port-of-Spain - A local court has dismissed rape charges against an 85-year-old Indian Hindu religious leader after police announced that there was no evidence supporting the case.

Jagadguru Shree Kripaluji Maharaj, who is from Uttar Pradesh, was charged in May with the rape of a 22-year-old Guyanese woman at his centre in Phillipne, south Trinidad. In her police complaint the woman said she had gone to seek spiritual assistance and guidance from the swami when she was raped.

The local court dismissed the charges against the swami after police said the case was false.

The swami was defended by one of Trinidad's top lawyers, Prakash Ramadhar.
Last month, the swami was allowed to leave Trinidad to conduct his world tour preaching Hinduism. His Indian passport had been originally seized.

He had spent several hours in police custody following the rape charges.
The swami will continue his original religious programme here for a couple of weeks before returning to India. He is accompanied by his wife and daughters.

Judge won't suppress testimony in Hindu guru's sex crime trial

San Marcos Mercury
December 16, 2010
Brad Rollins

Testimony of a woman who was allegedly molested as a teen by an internationally known Hays County Hindu leader will be admissible in court despite a missing video recording of an investigator's interview with the victim, 22nd District Judge Charles Ramsay ruled on Wednesday.

Prakashanand Saraswati, who presides over a Driftwood area ashram as the spiritual head of the JKP-Barsana Dham sect temple, is accused of molesting two then-teenagers over a three-year period starting in 1993. Hays County Sheriff's Office Det. Jeri Skrocki interviewed the woman in November 2007, but a tape of the exchange has since been lost.

Lawyers for Prakashanand asked Ramsay to suppress the woman's testimony, a rare move that could have bedeviled attempts to prosecute any of the 20 counts of indecency with a child that stem from her allegations. A jury trial on the charges is scheduled to start in February.

In a filing, attorneys wrote, "The degree of negligence is relatively high, as an essential item of evidence has been lost, and the State has not given an adequate reason to explain the circumstances that led to this loss of evidence. ... This evidence was highly significant, as it represents the primary method by which Defendant's counsel can impeach [the complainant's] testimony at trial. Finally, there is no other evidence supporting this charge other than [the accuser's] own statements and her potential testimony."

In arguments Ramsay apparently accepted, prosecutors argued that Skrocki's detailed synopsis of the interview - which District Attorney Sherri Tibbe calls "almost a transcript" - is sufficient to substitute for the tape. In addition, the witness will testify and be subject to cross-examination by Prakashanand's defense attorneys.

Loss of evidence "doesn't happen very often but it does happen and it happens in every jurisdiction. The defense has known for over a year that there were issues with this tape [and] it's an issue that is certainly there but it doesn't affect our ability to move forward with the case," Tibbe said in an interview on Thursday. She said jurors would likely be told by the defense that an interview tape is missing.

After the court ruled in September 2009 that the state must turn over the tape, Skrocki gave what she thought was a copy to defense attorneys, who said they were unable to open or view the testimony. In a hearing on Wednesday, Skroki testified that when she sought the original copy from the sheriff's office evidence room, she was told it couldn't be found.
Electronic equipment used for duplicating DVDs at the sherrif's office has since been replaced and is not available for examination, testimony showed.

"Bottom line, whether the DVD was intentionally destroyed or simply lost, it is gone - that creates a real problem for the prosecution in this case. And not only is that evidence not available, today we learned that they have either lost or destroyed the computer itself," said Austin attorney Joe Turner, one of a half-dozen lawyers on Prakashanand muscular defense team.

Ramsay also rejected the defense's motion to conduct a sworn deposition of the accuser prior to trial. The Hays Free Press is withholding the accuser's name because the newspaper has a policy of not identifying alleged victims of sexual crimes.

Dueling views of accused guru open trial

The Austin American-Statesman
February 23, 2011
Eric Dexheimer

Was Prakashanand Saraswati , the spiritual leader of Barsana Dham, a lecherous old man who in the mid-1990s groped several teenage girls who lived on the ashram south of Austin? Or was he a devout holy man who has been made the target of a malicious smear campaign?

The two dramatically opposing views were aired in opening statements by prosecutors and defense attorneys Wednesday in the trial of the Hindu guru devotees call Shree Swamiji.

The 82-year-old Prakashanand has pleaded not guilty to 20 counts of indecency with a minor by sexual contact for allegedly groping two teenage girls more than 15 years ago. Each charge carries a potential sentence of up to 20 years in prison.

The Fugitive Guru

Daily Beast
June 20, 2011
Ben Crair

Prakashanand Saraswati led one of the top Hindu temples in the United States until a jury convicted him of molesting children and he took off for Mexico.

Before the guru, Prakashanand Saraswati, vanished in March-before a jury convicted him of sexual abuse; before he slipped across the border into Mexico overnight-he led the premier Hindu temple in Texas and, perhaps, the whole United States. Barsana Dham sat like the Taj Mahal in the hillsides south of Austin, a familiar sight to customers of the famous Salt Lick Bar-B-Que down the road. The Hindus there kept strictly vegetarian, but there was never any tension with the carnivores next door. "They were very gentle and nice people," says Salt Lick employee Tana Kent.

Religious compounds in rural Texas had a bad name after the Waco siege in 1993, but Barsana Dham opened itself to the outside world. The ashram offered yoga classes, concerts, and public tours; participated in interfaith circles; sheltered refugees after Hurricane Katrina; and hosted the mayor of Austin on special occasions. When PBS made its 2004 Many Voices documentary project about American congregations, producers chose Barsana Dham as their exemplar of the Hindu faith.

Barsana Dham was "very much an ecumenical mainstream Hindu organization," says Robert King, a former professor of Asian studies and dean at the University of Texas. And yet there was Saraswati, ordered to trade in the saffron robes for an orange jumpsuit. The charges were serious-20 counts of indecency with a child-but "Swami Ji," as Saraswati was known to his followers, seemed untroubled in the courtroom. Large and elderly, he parked himself in a recliner and kicked off his shoes, as though watching the afternoon soaps. (The judge had permitted him the chair due to his bad back.) Occasionally, he took a nap or picked his nose.

"He didn't really seem to be that concerned about the trial," says Hays County prosecutor Cathy Compton. It may have been because Saraswati was not used to answering to a higher authority. At Barsana Dham, Saraswati was the highest authority, a "Divine personality" by his own description. "On your own, you are helpless," Saraswati told his followers. "You need a Divine help, and only a Divine personality can give you a Divine help." He certainly looked the part, his long gray hair and beard like clouds around a mountaintop. As one follower explained the relationship to PBS: "He takes care of you when you surrender to him."

It is not difficult to imagine how such reverence might invite abuse. Still, Saraswati had been preaching in the U.S. for nearly 30 years when, in 2008, three women accused him of molesting them as children. Each alleged that Saraswati had kissed, groped, and locked them in his room. The statute of limitations had expired for one of the women, Kate Tonnessen, but her younger sister, Vesla, and a third woman named Shyama Rose pushed ahead with the charges. (All three women came forward publicly with their identities after the trial.)

Saraswati's lawyers successfully delayed the trial for three years, arguing that he was infirm and unfit to show up in court. In the meantime, however, several adult female devotees reflected on their own experiences and arrived at the conclusion Barsana Dham had worked so hard to avoid. Says Karen Jonson, a former devotee of 17 years: "I came to the conclusion that I was in a cult."

Saraswati called his central teaching "divine love-consciousness," a constant awareness of God maintained through chanting and meditation. Born in 1929, he had learned it in India after meeting his own spiritual guru, Jagadguru Shree Kripaluji Maharaj-a man whose own allegedly checkered past would set in motion a process that ended in Saraswati's conviction.

"This divine-love-consciousness grows in the heart of the disciple on the basis of his dedication and service to his Spiritual Master," Saraswati preached. There was nothing inherently suspect about the "dedication" Saraswati demanded. Hinduism directs its followers to spiritual teachers, who, according to traditional belief, are a necessary connection to God. "Guru are worshiped in a manner barely distinguishable from divine worship," Arthur Koestler observed in The Lotus and the Robot. "It is therefore unimaginable to question the [guru's] character or to disobey his whims. … He represents the will of God and God himself."

Hinduism is, however, an enormous religion without any central authority to say who or what exactly a guru is. Consequently, the saffron robes-meant to signify, among other things, the guru's chastity-have sometimes made a fine disguise for scoundrels. "By holding gurus as perfect and thus beyond ordinary explanations, their presumed specialness can be used to justify anything," Joel Kramer and Diana Alstad write in The Guru Papers: Masks of Authoritarian Power.

After traveling the world to spread his message, Saraswati established the International Society of Divine Love in the U.S. in 1981. "We believed that he descended from the divine abodes onto this earth," explains Joe Kelly, a cult-exit counselor who was an ISDL devotee from 1983 until 1988. Saraswati found an audience, in particular, with disgruntled Western practitioners of Transcendental Meditation, the '60s movement of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi.

Swami Prakashanand Saraswati

Prakashanand-SaraswatiPrakashanand Saraswati
Swami Prakashanand Saraswati or Swamiji is a spiritual leader from India who founded Radha Madhav Dham in the United States. He is a convicted felon for 20 counts of indecency with a child. He jumped bail and is a fugitive wanted by US Marshals. Wikipedia
Born: 1929, Ayodhya

Books: The true history and the religion of India: A
Concise Encyclopedia of Authentic Hinduism

Front Cover
Motilal Banarsidass Publ.Jan 1, 2001 - Religion - 800 pages
ABOUT THE BOOK: The True History and the Religion of India, A concise Encyclopedia of Authentic Hinduism is one of the most comprehensive books on human civilization. It is an authoritative view of the history of world thought. 

Apr 6, 2013

Two more babies stricken with herpes after ritual ultra-orthodox Jewish oral blood sucking circumcision in New York City

  • Since 2000 13 known cases of herpes have been contracted from the religious practice
  • Two deaths and two babies suffering brain damage have resulted
  • Department of health warns there being no safe way to perform the ritual that dates back more than 5,000 years

By Nina Golgowski
April 6, 2013

Two more infants have been infected with a deadly herpes virus in the last three months after undergoing a controversial religious oral circumcision in New York City.

The latest cases bring the count to 13 infants since 2000, two of which suffered brain damage and two died from the virus which can rapidly spread throughout its body.

The ultra-Orthodox Jewish practice of metzitzah b'peh requires a practitioner to orally suck the baby's penis to 'cleanse' the open wound following its circumcision, making them susceptible to the virus.

Contraction: The ultra-Orthodox practice of metzitzah b'peh requires a practitioner to orally suck the baby's penis to 'cleanse' the open wound following its circumcision, making them susceptible to the virus
Contraction: The ultra-Orthodox practice of metzitzah b'peh requires a
practitioner to orally suck the baby's penis to 'cleanse' the open
wound following its circumcision, making them susceptible to the virus

The department of health says one of the latest infants to contract the virus developed a fever and a lesion on its scrotum, seven days after the procedure. The boy later tested positive for HSV-1. That virus differs from HSV-2, the genital herpes, which is contracted during sexual intercourse.

'A herpes infection in a newborn baby has the risk of leading to severe illness and death,' Jay Varma, deputy commissioner for disease control at the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene told ABC News.

'The reason is that the baby doesn't have the same fully developed immune system as an adult. Instead of staying in the genital area, it extends throughout different organs in the body,' he explained.

He said it's too soon to tell whether the boys will suffer permanent effects.

The identify of the rabbi who performed the circumcision is being withheld by the boys' parents, preventing the health department to step in, they said.

The religious practice that dates back to more than 5,000 years defies warning by the city's department of health which says there is no safe way to perform the oral suction on an open wound.

More modern Jewish practices use a sterile aspiration device to clean the wound or a pipette opposed to the oral sucking.

But some rabbis stand grounded behind the practice, calling it a religious freedom while noting its long history.

In September the department voted to require parents to sign forms consenting to the risks of the practice after the death of two children who contracted the virus through the practice.

The parents of those newly infected boys are said to have not signed those forms.

According to Rabbi David Zwiebel, executive vice president of the Orthodox Jewish organization Agudath Israel of America, two-thirds of boys born in New York City's Hasidic communities are circumcised in the oral suction matter.
The health department claims they've had complaints in past by parents who say they weren't made aware that the oral practice would be performed on their child.


Apr 5, 2013

Scientology-linked nonprofit buys Larry Hagmans Ojai estate: Ventura County Star

By Stephanie Hoops
April 5, 2013

The Ojai estate actor Larry Hagman dubbed “Heaven” has been sold to a nonprofit Scientology group.

The 32-acre property atop Sulphur Mountain sold for $5 million cash to Social Betterment Properties International, a nonprofit that states its mission is to “develop and maintain buildings and other real estate utilized by social betterment organizations carrying out programs that utilize technology and methods developed by L. Ron Hubbard and that are associated with and supported by the Scientology religion.”

A phone call left at the nonprofit’s Los Angeles offices was not returned. It isn’t known what’s planned for the estate, which the Hagmans opened to the community, hosting politicians from either side of the aisle, charities, fundraisers, weekend getaways and Ojai Music Festival events.

The Hagmans moved to the home in 1991 and while the sanctuary is isolated behind two electronically-monitored gates, they became an integral part of the local neighborhood.

Larry Hagman died in November and his wife, Maj Hagman, has Alzheimer’s disease.

Their Realtor, Andrea Cope of Prudential California Realty’s Brentwood office, said the couple were discerning about selling the property.

“It took awhile emotionally to release the property,” she said. What they wanted was to sell to a buyer who was “going to love and make use of the place in the way that they could hope someone would because they called it Heaven.”

Maj Hagman built the stunning 23,000-square foot Tuscany-style house with its nine bedrooms, nine bathrooms, five fireplaces, three pools, a 28-foot ceiling with retractable roof, gym, creek and other amenities.

After Maj Hagman was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s the couple spent more time in Santa Monica and Hagman realized he had to sell Heaven. It took more than three years for him to separate himself from the estate, Cope said.

“That’s what had to happen before he could commit to selling the house,” she said.

It was originally listed for $6,495,000 and they did a price reduction, selling for $5 million cash in a quick escrow, Cope said. The sale closed March 5. In 1999 the property was valued at just under $3 million.

Social Betterment Properties International has received grants and renovated properties in use for combating literacy, improving morality and exposing “abusive and dangerous psychiatric practices,” according to a 2007 tax filing.

The nonprofit has also owned property in Oklahoma that’s been used for a controversial drug rehabilitation facility. According to The Tulsa World, the facility, Narconon International, uses non-drug paths to rehabilitation that focus on three activities: exercise, vitamins and sauna sessions. Several deaths have been related to the facility, which has been sued and investigated by Oklahoma state officials, according to The World.