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How do you take your persuasive power 

to a whole new level?

Discover the rules that define and enable persuasion in all forms of human communication and put them to work for you.

Carlos Alvarenga is a researcher, professor, author, and coach. His new book presents groundbreaking insights from years of coaching senior leaders on persuasive communications.

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"From my years of research and coaching experience, I have found that many leaders do not understand that all persuasive communications are based on three essential modes — character, argument, and emotion. My book explains what persuasion is, how persuasion really works, and how you can master it in any setting."

—Carlos Alvarenga

In a memorable scene from Kevin McDonald’s 2006 film, The Last King of Scotland, the Ugandan dictator Idi Amin explodes in anger at his personal physician Nicholas Garrigan for allowing him to expel all of the Asian nationals from the country. A hysterical Amin chastises Garrigan for not telling him to leave the Asians in peace. The terrified Garrigan defends himself by reminding Amin about the emphatic warning Garrigan had given that the expulsion would bring dire consequences and that the international press would condemn Amin mercilessly. Yes, says Amin, you told me all of these things, “but you did not persuade me, Nicholas. You did not persuade me.”

I begin my book with the scene above because it neatly encapsulates the problem my book examines: why is it that human communication, which is almost exclusively aimed at persuasion, so often fails to persuade? How is it that very senior leaders, accomplished and successful in so many ways, struggle when asked to convince their boards or employees to follow them or embrace their ideas?  On an everyday level, why is it that so many people fail to persuade colleagues, children, and friends when debating important issues or seeking support for a cause?


My book is meant for anyone who wants to understand how persuasion functions, how to put those techniques to work, and how to critique their use, both effectively and ineffectively, in virtually any form of human communication, from speeches to presentations, to film, literature, social media, music, advertising, and visual arts. From Homer to Shakespeare, from Magritte to Rothko, from Bach to Rakim, we will uncover insights and concepts, some of them secret and powerful, that will fundamentally alter how you think about persuasion. In the end, my goal is to help you understand how these insights can make you a thoughtful and persuasive communicator in almost any setting in which you may find yourself.

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"I was hooked from the first page—a must read for anyone who wants to understand how persuasion really works."

—Toby Gordon, Sc.D., Johns Hopkins Business School

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“Many of us in the arts struggle to communicate to different audiences in ways that inspire. The insights of Carlos Alvarenga draw on decades of experience helping leaders craft and convey their message. By laying out a clear approach with examples ranging from real-life coaching experiences to ad campaigns to artworks, he transforms the ‘art’ of persuasion into a practical framework that enables readers to sharpen their abilities to influence and motivate others.”

Amy S. Landau, Ph.D., Director of Education and Interpretation at Fowler Museum, UCLA

“This brilliant book packs more erudition and insight per square inch than any major university. We learn from a dazzling array of sources including Homer, Aristotle, Sterne, Hemingway, and YoYo Ma. At the same time, there are practical lessons on how to influ- ence audiences, either through force of character, strength of argument, or the power of emotion—with an ample supply of case studies that illustrate the concepts in action.”

Greg Stone, Author of the mystery Dangerous Inspiration and Branding with Powerful Stories: The Villains, Victims, and Heroes Model

“The Rules of Persuasion deserves to become a cornerstone of corporate communications programs. Its mesmerizing review of the history, science, and best practices of persuasion and its powerful case examples 

make it extremely useful both to business executives as well as to students learning negotiations, marketing, and customer service skills.”

Sandor Boyson, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus, Robert H. Smith School of Business, University of Maryland

“From Aristotle to Instagram, Carlos Alvarenga weaves together examples from ancient Greek and Roman texts to modern-day art, film, hip-hop, and social media to provide a useful overview of the tools and levers of persuasion in a variety of contexts. Informative and thought-provoking, this book illuminates the exact ways in which words and ideas, persuasively communicated, have shaped people’s actions and beliefs from antiquity to the present.”

Jason Steinhauer,

Bestselling Author,

History, Disrupted: How Social Media and the World Wide Web Have Changed the Past

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