An excellent book by Allen Cohen, Influence without authority. In the book, currency is explained as a commodity that can be exchanged in our influnecing interaction with others, without use of power or authority.


Tanya is one of my closest friend. She is a PhD scholar in Epidemiology in a high-ranking school of public health. Her supervisor, Sally, is one of the respected names in this field. Sally is an influencer and funds her position as professor through grants. She supports many PhD scholars and Tanya is one of her beneficiaries.

Tanya calls me when she is at a roadblock. “I am desperate” the WhatsApp message forced me to attend her call in my relatively filled up life. “Do you know, the experts on my team have said that my work is total crap. I have changed everything according to Tom, but he does not find my work have any value. Tom is the expert on racism.” I listened carefully. We explored together what Tom wanted and where Tanya’s research stood. Tanya could see the link and where Tom was coming to. We decided a common path that highlighted Tanya’s work considering Tom’s expertise and prior work.

A presentation was made. I gave my comments. I found the acknowledge page having all the names except mine. I questioned myself, did I contribute enough to deserve a name here? Does my name matter to me here? I told my reservations to Tanya. She replied with a much-improved presentation and a thank you.

“The presentation was liked by all” screamed the message from Tanya. I was happy but I did not get what I desired. I realised that Tanya should have paid through the currency of acknowledgement and recognition to my work. Tanya has her credibility at stake if she acknowledges my work. She is indebted but I don’t think she knows. So my contribution is in the drain. But……

What do you think? What’s your currency that I need to pay to influence you? Post your comments.

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