Book Review: Switch


Switch – How to change things when change is hard
is the new book by Chip Heath and Dan Heath, who were the authors of the bestselling book Made to Stick. In their new work, the authors address the reasons why change can be difficult for humans like us, and how you can use this knowledge to see successful change in your own world.

The premise that our minds are driven by two main components, one emotional and one rational is, or course, not news. But what was facinating on many levels is how the Heath brothers liken the emotional mind to an elephant and the rational mind to the rider. The elephant’s sheer force results in it directing most of our behavior, while the rider is on top planning, thinking, and trying to steer.

There are some really interesting examples, such as when dealing with nutrition – working to make change isn’t about vague goals (i.e. “eat healthy”), but about specific actions you can take, such as “buy 1% milk”.

Also, many of the successes describbed in the book let you know that you don’t need resources or structural authority to affect change.

What’s great about this book:
SECTION ONE: DIRECT THE RIDER
Find the Bright Spots
Script the Critical Moves
Point to the Destination

SECTION TWO: MOTIVATE THE ELEPHANT
Find the Feeling
Shrink the Change
Grow Your People

SECTION THREE: SHAPE THE PATH
Tweak the Environment
Build Habits
Rally the Herd

Also, each topic has a “clinic” in it to walk you through an real-world type of example to reinforce the points, and help you compare your analysis with that of the authors.

Limiting Factors:
This may require a major mindset change. Personally, I’ve always been a “find the bight spot” person, but I never really had it put into context before. If you are a “solve all the big issues” type, this will be a big shift for you.

Great Quotes:
If Spock wants to get up at 5:45 a.m., he’ll just get up. No drama required.
Knowledge does not change behavior – Jerry Sternin
Break down the change until it no longer spooks the Elephant

An Acronym you may not have heard:
TBU – True but useless

Recommendations:
If you are someone who wants to see things change for the better, in your organization, in your home or anywhere in your life, then this book is a must-read.

Rob’s Rating system (bolded, the rating is)
Buy now at full price (and it’s only $13 on Amazon, as of today)
Buy if you get a discount
Wait for the paperback
Wait for someone else to be done with the paperback
If you’ve read my review, you got the jist of it

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