Daniel Pink has been studying the science of persuasion for over 20 years. He’s written several NYT bestselling books all about sales and persuasion, including “WHEN” and “DRIVE”.
The promise of the Daniel Pink MasterClass is that he’s distilled years of learning into a concise, actionable online course that will transform your sales and persuasion abilities.
This balanced Daniel Pink MasterClass review is here to help you cut through the noise to figure out if it’s actually worth it or not.
We’ll be looking at what you will learn, how unique the content is, and whether there’s anything better.
But first, the highlights:
You will learn:
- The most effective way to persuade someone according to science
- Questions you can ask to influence the other side’s thinking
- What makes a pitch successful and 6 different pitch techniques
- A toolbox of 9 frames you can use when selling
- How to improve your commercial decision-making
- How to gain perspective and what you should do with it once you have it
- To read a room and understand group dynamics
- To create meaningful connections
- Scientifically proven techniques that actually work
- Great selection of strategies taught
- Well structured, actionable lessons
- Could benefit from even more examples and role plays
- Not all of the ideas are unique to this course
- Not for everyone
Length of course: Daniel Pink’s MasterClass is 2 hours and 57 minutes long and consists of 16 videos divided into 5 sections.
Best for: Those that are serious about improving their sales and persuasive skills and are looking for a science based approach, backed by data. Less suited to those looking for a traditional sales course that has you selling ice to Eskimos!
Overall: A well curated list of the most effective techniques according to science. Very comprehensive, actionable, and memorable. While it does have some downsides I think it’s well worth the investment (view details).
Here’s what’s in store in this Daniel Pink MasterClass review:
- About Daniel Pink and MasterClass
- A sneak peak of what’s included
- Pros and cons
- Who it’s for
- How much it costs
- Is there anything better?
- What other people thought of the course
- How unique the content is
- The bottom line: is it actually worth the money?
So let’s get started:
About Daniel Pink
Daniel H Pink is an American author who has devoted his life to the science of persuasion.
For those of you who don’t know him:
- He’s written 6 books: WHEN, To sell is human, DRIVE, A whole new mind, The advantages of Johnny Bunko, and Free agent nation
- He’s a NYT #1 bestseller with DRIVE and To sell is human. While WHEN and A whole new mind have been long standing bestsellers
- 3,000,000 books sold, translated in over 40 languages
And if you haven’t seen the trailer for his MasterClass yet, you gotta check it out:
MasterClass is a platform that allows a curated list of world class experts to teach you how they became successful.
You’ll find over 90 different classes all taught by major names in their respective fields.
Just how MasterClass is able to attract and persuade all these celebrities to teach you what they know is beyond me!
That being said, having taken many of the classes offered I can safely say that they aren’t all amazing – (though most are).
And so in this Daniel Pink MasterClass review I’ll be helping you decide if this is the right course for you.
An inside look into Daniel Pink’s MasterClass
Daniel Pink’s MasterClass is 2 hours and 57 minutes long and consists of 16 videos.
The course itself is divided into 5 key sections:
- Meet your instructor
- Understanding your audience
- Persuasive communication
- The mindset of an effective persuader
- Use time persuasively
You’ll also get a 14 page workbook which follows the class and provides further reading.
To give you a better idea of whether this course is for you I’ll cover the highlights of each lesson, starting first with:
Section 1/5: Meet your instructor
“This approach is built on science”
Pink explains that this is a class for everyone, because ultimately we are all selling and persuading — even if we don’t realise it.
Right off the bat it’s clear this course isn’t going to focus on anecdotal experience or one man’s view of what it takes to make it. Rather, the focus is on techniques that have been proven by science.
Pink then explains what the course is all about, he’s going to teach you how:
- To pitch your ideas effectively
- You can frame your messages in ways that will get people to act
- Our brains work and what makes people tick
- You can do this while remaining human — acting with integrity and not being sleazy
Section 2/5: Understanding your audience
This lesson covers:
- Why it’s important to develop and improve your sales and persuasive skills
- Why you might need to rethink what you already know about these topics if you want to be successful
- How the sales landscape has changed and its implications on what you need to do to be effective
All these points are supported by actual data and hard facts, not just Pink’s subjective view.
You’ll also learn about key concepts such as information asymmetry, caveat emptor, and information parity.
You’re not going to learn practical tips in this lesson. This is more about changing your own mindset so that you are prepared for what’s to come.
And I have to say, Pink certainly does a great job of putting his points across!
Attunement: find common ground
“Knowing how to take someone's perspective and actually doing it will allow you to become a better persuader.”
This lesson is all about perspective. You’ll learn:
- Why it's important
- How to get it
- Then, what to do with it once you actually have it
There’s a great blend of theory and practice in this class. You’ll get to know the science as well as real techniques that you can use immediately.
Pink then walks through several relatable examples and explains how you can use these tactics in each one to reach your desired outcome. This is a great way to learn.
I have to say I was pleasantly surprised by this segment. I feel that “perspective” and “seeing things from the other person's side” have become somewhat cliched terms in business books. But I can safely say that I walked away with something concrete and actionable that I could see myself applying.
Serve your audience
“To be a good persuader… be a decent human being”
Have you ever felt overwhelmed with information and don’t know what signals to dial in to? Wondered whether you were pursuing the right strategy or saying the right thing?
This lesson covers the 2 key questions Daniel Pink recommends you ask of yourself when trying to persuade to get on the right track.
Exercise: creating a discussion map
“What I’m about to show you is a tool to notice the hidden dynamics of any meeting or situation”
Here, Daniel Pink teaches you “step by step” how to read room dynamics and how these influence the persuasive strategy you should pursue.
Pink teaches you the technique, which is surprisingly simple, and then exemplifies this by narrating over a scene in the famous political drama, “True Colours”.
I have to say — I’m a little skeptical of the technique itself. I’m not sure I’ll apply it exactly as described as while it's simple it’s also a little convoluted.
For me, the real value of this lesson was how Pink verbalised his thought process as he read the room, which provided insight to how I could do the same.
Section 3/5: Persuasive communication
Getting others to act
“If you want somebody to do something, the most important thing you can do is ____”
This is where Pink really takes his sales and persuasion MasterClass to the next level.
This lesson is packed with 5 highly actionable tips that you can apply right away.
Moreover, the way they are introduced is really strong:
- Pink explains the concept
- Walks through the science
- Demonstrates the technique in a series of practical examples
What I liked about the concepts is that they are easy to understand and apply, while at the same time, they are likely to produce long lasting results. It’s not about getting someone to agree to something in the moment that they then might regret. It’s about long lasting change.
If, like me, you've read Robert Cialdini’s “Influence” or are familiar with the concept of social proof, then you will already know 1 of the 5 techniques taught. Although I do have to say — hearing Pink verbally explain the concept did hit harder for me than what I previously had known. The other 4 tips were new to me.
Clarity: make your message count
“What we want when we’re selling and persuading is to __”
This lesson is all about information: what’s important and how to get it.
You will learn:
- That you should be finding problems (not just solving them)
- The power of 5 whys
- Information curation and expertise
- The Percentage rule
Along the way Pink provides several real life examples to clearly illustrate the points he is making.
Create a connecting by mimicking
“This is one of those pieces of folklore that is totally true. Believe this one folks!”
Here, you’ll learn:
- What mimicry is
- Why it’s important
- How to mimic effectively
- The three steps to strategic mimicry
You might be familiar with mimicry (sometimes referred to as mirroring) already. But as Pink puts it — this is something that, “if you look at the research [you’ll see] it’s a powerful skill”.
The point is whilst mimicking is well known, it’s important that you know what it is and how to use it in the correct way.
“I want to equip you with a whole set of frames… so in certain circumstances you can say, oh, I want to use that one”
This lesson goes deep on human psychology, enabling you to understand the minds of others as well as your own.
Pink provides you with 9 frames that you can use like tools in a workshop when you’re selling and persuading.
Frames are a way in which you can take advantage of quirks or ‘innate glitches’ in the human brain to put your message across in a way that will resonate well with the person you’re speaking with.
These are tried and tested techniques that have been scientifically proven to make you more convincing and more persuasive.
The format of the lesson follows many others: the concept is introduced, backed by data, explained by Pink, and then exemplified through a series of practical examples.
Pitching like a pro
“No matter what kind of pitch you are using, I want you to think first about the three essential questions you need to be able to answer to bring the pitch into focus.”
Here, you’ll learn:
- How you should think about pitching (turns out, it’s quite counter intuitive)
- What makes a winning pitch successful
- The three questions you need to answer to deliver a great pitch
- A framework for pitching effectively through 6 pitch sets
What’s really interesting about this class is the examples Daniel Pink goes through.
- Pitches an idea for a company (there are helpful on screen notes which highlight which part of the framework he’s using)
- Analyses one of the most ingenious, persuasive moves in American political history
- Walks through the Pixar pitch – turns out every Pixar movie can be broken down in to 6 sentences
- Shares examples from OJ Simpon’s murder trial
Ever felt unsure what to pitch? Or wondered how you can make your pitches more successful? This class will help.
Exercise: asking for a raise
“No matter where you are in the course of your life, you want to be directing it”
This is a practical class in which Daniel Pink demonstrates (through role play) how to ask for a raise.
- How to approach this situation
- How this differs from other persuasive activities
- What you should focus on
- How to overcome feelings on unease when asking for a raise
Section 4/5: The mindset of an effective persuader
Buoyancy: develop a resilient mindset
“Now we’re going to talk about the most important mindset you should cultivate to be an effective persuader”
- How to deal with rejection
- What Interrogative self talk is, why it trumps traditional “guru” self talk, and how to do it
- How to deconstruct what went wrong using the 3 Ps
Happy to report that this lesson was surprisingly really enjoyable. My fear when I saw that it was about “rejection” was that it would wishy-washy advice. However, there were several really helpful tips here.
Introvert, Extrovert, or Ambivert
Have you ever felt like you don’t have the right personality for sales? Not sure if you have what it takes to make it?
You might be surprised when you look at the science. In this class you’ll learn:
- The surprising science on what personality type is best suited for sales
- How you can optimise your strengths and minimise weaknesses
- How to react based on your view of the other side’s personality
Persuade yourself: how to self motivate
Here you’ll get to know effective strategies for overcoming a lack of motivation and metal blocks. These include: the off ramp, the just 5 more approach, and public goals.
You’ll also hear how different types of mental blocks require specific types of remedy, such as heuristic work.
(Quick note: I actually used one of these techniques to motivate myself to finish writing this article, it worked!)
Section 5/5: Use timing persuasively
Using time to become a better persuader
“A lot of times when we’re focused on being effective we focus very much on what we’re going to do and how we’re going to do it. But we often give short shrift to the when of these decisions. And it turns out that when we do things can have have a big effect“
As it turns out, when you pitch can have a bearing on your success.
Here you’ll learn when you should go first (taking advantage of the primacy effect), when you should go last, when you should give bad news, and when in the day is a good time to reach someone.
This is about getting incremental advantages to increase success rates at the highest level.
Beginnings, middles, and endings
“We’ve covered a lot of ground in this class. A lot of ideas, tools, tips, and tactics. But let’s get to the big picture. There are three meta lessons about persuasion, influence, and selling.“
This is the last lesson in the course and it’s really split into two halves.
Pink teaches you how to be conscious of where you are in the sales cycle and what that means for the strategies you deploy. You’ll learn about premortems and encoded endings, plus a bunch of other tactics.
Pink finishes by summarising everything in the course in a clear and concise way, that ties everything together into 3 meta lessons about sales and persuasion.
It was great that the course ended with this big picture moment.
What I liked about Daniel Pink’s MasterClass
Learn scientifically proven techniques that actually work
As mentioned earlier, Pink has been studying persuasion for well over 20 years.
During that time, he has focused on techniques that have been scientifically proven to work.
He’s selected the very best strategies to use from years of study, and distilled these into one easily digestible online course.
Would you rather be taught by a sales guru who can only provide you with anecdotal examples, or by someone that only shares techniques which have been validated by data?
I know what I’d pick!
Great selection of strategies
This course is like 10 books worth of knowledge condensed to video format.
I’ve read a ton of books on influence, sales, and persuasion, as well as taken several online sales courses. And I have to say, this MasterClass is one of the most comprehensive resources available.
Whereas others focus on the science of how things work, pitching, OR negotiation, this course brings all of those things into focus in a very actionable way.
Well structured lessons
Dan is a great teacher and it’s clear he’s thought about what’s the best way to share information so that it’s useful and memorable to students.
As concepts are introduced, you’ll learn what they are, why they work, best practices, and many examples.
This was most notable in the lessons on perspective, framing and pitching.
What I think could improve
Could benefit from even more examples and role plays
Throughout the course Pink provides you with a trove of quips and questions you can note down and use when you’re persuading.
Along the way, he’ll analyse films, presidential campaigns, and even a murder trial.
There’s a ton of value to be had.
I’d personally like to have seen more role plays to help cement learnings even further.
Chris Voss’s MasterClass on the Art of Negotiation is a great example of this. Voss uses real life clips from terrorist hostage negotiations to illustrate the concepts he’s teaching.
I don’t think this is a reason not to buy the course. And in fact, if you get an all-access pass you can watch both Pink and Voss’s MasterClass.
This is just me being nit picky on how it could be better!
Not all of the ideas are unique to this course
I have a whole section dedicated to, “Is this course unique?” below, in which I talk about whether the concepts taught are unique to this course or if they can be found elsewhere.
For example, in Pink’s own books, in scientific papers, blogs and of course other business books.
For the full answer scroll to that section of the review (right toward the end). But in sum the conclusion is that:
No, the lessons taught aren’t completely unique. They exist in a plethora of scientific studies and across a wide expanse of books.
In my opinion that’s OK though because there’s value in Pink going through all of that work so you don’t have to, and making it easily available and accessible in this MasterClass.
Not for everyone
If you’re looking for a course on how to be a Wolf Of Wall Street type salesman, you’re going to be disappointed.
This course isn’t about being a loud mouth or flashy salesman. You won’t learn how to sell ice to Eskimos.
Equally you won’t get much enjoyment out of it if you’re turned off by studies on the effectiveness of sales techniques.
This leads me nicely on to the next point.
Who is this course for?
According to Pink, everyone is selling and persuading — whether they realise it or not.
And so the idea is that anyone can benefit from the lessons taught.
However, in my opinion, the Daniel Pink MasterClass is best suited for someone who:
- Is looking for scientifically proven techniques
- Wants a curated list of the most effective strategies backed by data
- Wants a comprehensive overview, covering influence, sales, persuasion and negotiation
- Is serious about improving their skills
- Fans of Daniel Pink and his books
Beginners will fast track their progress with this course. People who are familiar with the topics will likely further their knowledge.
I’ve been studying the subjects for a while now and I’ve been working in commercial roles for half a decade and I was surprised by the amount of things I took away from this course.
How much does the course cost?
At the time of writing, a MasterClass subscription costs $180 per year. AKA $15 a month.
With the subscription, you have access to all the 80+ courses on MasterClass.
The great thing about this offering is that the more classes you take, the less the effective cost per class is.
For example, if you’re able to find at least 4-6 classes you like, it means you’re effectively paying $30-$45 per course. ($180 / 6 classes = $30).
Bearing in mind that these classes are taught by world experts the value is unbeatable. It’s sort of a way to hack learning.
Whatsmore, MasterClass also offers a 30 day refund if you’re unhappy with your purchase.
If you want to buy the course individually, there is a way to do this — however it’s a little convoluted. You can buy a single MasterClass as a gift, and essentially gift the course to yourself. The price here is $90.
However, arguably the best value is with the All-Access pass, especially considering MasterClass has a very complimentary course to this one, which is from Chris Voss.
Chris Voss was a leading FBI hostage negotiator, and in his MasterClass he teaches you the art of negotiation and includes clips from real life hostage situations.
Daniel Pink’s course focuses on persuasion and selling, and touches on negotiation. Whereas Voss focuses on negotiation solely. With an all-access pass you get the best of both worlds.
Alternatives to Daniel Pink’s MasterClass
There’s no shortage of books, courses, articles, podcasts etc on selling. Books I’ve read and can personally vouch for:
- Negotiation Genius — this is angled more towards negotiation than selling and persuasion, however the lessons taught are very applicable. Easily one of the best books I’ve read
- Influence — this book is always on best seller lists. The focus is more on the science of Influence rather than providing you with practical tips, but is good background reading
- Pitch anything — this one is a bit out there and quite controversial, focusing more on the charismatic side of sales
Then of course you have Daniel Pink’s own books and the Chris Voss MasterClass.
That being said, I do have to say that I feel that Pink's MasterClass borrows a lot of the best techniques from the above resources, plus adds others in as well.
Therefore you can fast track your progress by taking this course and having those learnings distilled into one place.
There are also several other classes within MasterClass's business/personal development categories that you can take including Robert Reffkin, Bob Iger, Howard Schultz, Bill Clinton and Paul Krugman to name but a few.
Daniel Pink MasterClass: what others have said
The aim of this Daniel Pink MasterClass review is to create the best and most comprehensive review on the internet. To that end it’s worth highlighting other people’s experiences with the class.
I looked at the YouTube trailer comments, Googled “Daniel Pink MasterClass Reddit”, as well as looked on the community page on MasterClass.
I have to say, the overwhelming majority of comments were very positive. In fact, this review is probably the most critical.
That being said, to highlight the couple of negative comments I did see, the main one was that the course could have been longer:
“Not enough videos”
“I don’t like that there are so low amount of videos for courses that are so important in life.”
“I agree. Daniel Pink’s course is absolutely fascinating - I have read all of his books and now, seeing him in an environment as personal as Masterclass, I guarantee that courses are BETTER than books for comprehension and long-term info-retention. I too am a bit sad that his course is only 3 hours long.”
In my opinion 3 hours is a very good length for this course. You’ll learn ample tips and there’s very little fluff — you don’t want to pay for fluff!
Besides that, the other negative is that one of the techniques taught is controversial:
“5 Why’s technique sounds ok, but it would inevitably put the other person in a defensive position. What do you think?”
There was a good back and forth here in the community on the point with people being split 50/50. Again in my view it all comes down to how and when you are using the technique, as described by Pink.
Besides that — everyone was really hyped by the course:
“I can't wait to watch this. I've been a Daniel Pink fan for years!”
“Combine this with Chris Voss' Masterclass for negotiation, and you're ready for Shark Tank.”
“I love hearing this guy speak. His book, Drive was a home run for me.”
A seasoned salesman even commented:
“I wish I’d taken Daniel’s course thirty years ago!”
Is the course content unique?
No, the techniques taught are not unique to this MasterClass.
In fact, a couple of the tips are very well known and can be found in lots of books/courses.
When you think about it, this should come as no surprise to you.
All of Pink’s techniques have come from science. There’s a plethora of scientific literature out there, and essentially Pink is borrowing from that.
Plus, he’s written several books and so has similar content out there already.
What is unique is having Pink himself curate all of that information, selecting only the best-of-the-best techniques, and condensing it into one online course.
You’re essentially getting a fast track education on the need-to-knows of persuasion, wrapped up in a convenient, easy to digest MasterClass.
Daniel Pink MasterClass: Is It Worth It?
In a word: Yes.
If you are serious about learning these skills and are prepared to put what you’ve learnt into practice, I think you’ll find this is a great investment.
No, not all the ideas are unique. Yes, it would have benefited from even more examples. No, it’s not for everyone.
If you want to learn the very best techniques that have been proven to work by data (rather than a self proclaimed sales guru’s anecdotal tips) this course is a great fit.
The value is that Pink has distilled a life's work and countless research papers into an easy to digest online course.
Besides — with an all-access pass, you’re not just getting Pink’s course. You’re also getting access to Chris Voss MasterClass on negotiation (which includes real life FBI hostage negotiations) PLUS over 90 other courses.
The reality is that if you implement the strategies taught you could easily pay back the cost of the subscription — which if you think about it — is very low considering you’re getting taught by world leading experts.
If you take Pink and Voss’s course, plus two others, you are essentially paying $45 per course ($180 subscription / 4 courses).
That’s insane value — and it’s the secret to why MasterClass is quickly becoming the number 1 platform for those interested in getting real results from learning.
Frequently asked questions
A MasterClass all-access-pass costs $180 a year ($15 a month). This gives you access to Daniel Pink’s MasterClass, alongside 90+ other courses.
Daniel Pink’s MasterClass is 2 hours and 57 minutes long and consists of 16 videos divided into 5 sections.
Unfortunately you cannot get the Daniel Pink MasterClass for free. You can watch the trailer, try a sample class, and read this review to see if it’s right for you.
Yes, MasterClass operates a 30 day refund policy if you purchase directly through them. If you purchase through other providers, their returns policy may apply.
Finn is the CEO of Learnopoly and has 6 years experience in financial services, first at a tier 1 bank then at a financial technology startup, working in strategic partnerships and business development. Finn has built several internet businesses and has a deep passion for learning.