Jon Levy is a human behavioural scientist, consultant, writer and keynote speaker who is well respected for his work in the fields of influence and adventure. Jon has worked with many companies, supporting their efforts in consumer engagement, customer acquisition and product development. Jon Levy’s expertise in human behaviour allows him to apply the latest behavioural research, whether that be neuroscience, economics or biology to his work with brands. Jon’s study of influence can be summarised by understanding what causes people to make the decisions they make. His study of adventure involves him identifying what causes people to live fun, exciting and remarkable lives. Jon Levy’s new book, The 2am Principle, came out this week to a series of five star reviews. Please enjoy my interview with Jon Levy…
When someone asks you ‘what do you do for a living?’ – How do you respond?
I make the little umbrellas in tropical drinks; mostly by hand… Then I wait for them to realize I’m joking and I explain that I’m a human behaviour scientist, specializing in Influence and Adventure.
Pre-Suasion: A Revolutionary Way to Influence and Persuade by Robert Cialdini – he is a brilliant researcher showing how vulnerable we are to influence.
When you think about your childhood, what book comes to mind?
What did you want to be when you were growing up?
What do you think your school aged self would think of the present day you?
I think he would be a little dumbfounded, I never imagined this life, I figured I would have been married with a bunch of kids, working in middle management at a tech company. Instead I’m a scientist who travels around the world and convinces people far more impressive than myself to cook me dinner. I can’t imagine it gets more interesting.
If you could wrap up a single book and gift it to yourself as you left education – which book would it be?
Does your reading have routine? Is there a particular time or place that you like to read?
I read when im on the New York City subway. It is my chance to disconnect from my phone and have some me time.
Which book has had the biggest impact on your career so far?
Unexpectedly Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie, after reading it, I dedicated myself to living a life of childlike wonder and adventure. I believe everything I attempt to create lives within that context.
This is a bit of a copout answer but since The 2 AM Principle: Discover The Science of Adventure is a book about me and my closest friends going on adventures together, I would have to pick that. The book is full of our most embarrassing failures and greatest successes.
What book have you recommended the most to friends and family?
Possibly The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho.
Do you prefer fiction or non-fiction?
Do you think reading is important?
I think exposure to knowledge and ideas is important, and reading lets you do that in a way that you are completely absorbed.
What’s the best book you’ve read in the last 6 months?
The Rise of Superman: Decoding the Science of Ultimate Human Performance by Steven Kotler, it lead me to have a deep understanding of flow state, the state of peak performance, and how to utilize it best.
Do you prefer real books or digital books?
I like digital, non-backlit kindle. I do a lot of searching and referencing of books in my writing so I need to be able to quickly look back.
Name a book that you feel every human should have to read by law.
That is a tough question. As an informed society it is important to understand what influences us. What makes us susceptible to manipulation, so probably a book by one of the great psychologists or behavioural economists.
What is the book that you feel has had the single biggest impact on your life?
I would have to say Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie again, for the same reason I said before.
Countless, all the books by Dan Ariely, Daniel Pink, Daniel Gilbert, etc. Also Natural Born Heroes by Christopher McDougall, and many more
What books or subject matter do you plan on reading in the next year?
I’ll be reading more books on human behaviour, science or marketing
If you were to write an autobiography – what would it be called?
Under The Influence.