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Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard [Hardcover]

Chip Heath , Dan Heath
4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Feb. 16 2010
Why is it so hard to make lasting changes in our companies, in our communities, and in our own lives?

The primary obstacle is a conflict that's built into our brains, say Chip and Dan Heath, authors of the critically acclaimed bestseller Made to Stick. Psychologists have discovered that our minds are ruled by two different systems - the rational mind and the emotional mind - that compete for control. The rational mind wants a great beach body; the emotional mind wants that Oreo cookie. The rational mind wants to change something at work; the emotional mind loves the comfort of the existing routine. This tension can doom a change effort - but if it is overcome, change can come quickly.

In Switch, the Heaths show how everyday people - employees and managers, parents and nurses - have united both minds and, as a result, achieved dramatic results:

- The lowly medical interns who managed to defeat an entrenched, decades-old medical practice that was endangering patients (see page 242)
- The home-organizing guru who developed a simple technique for overcoming the dread of housekeeping (see page 130)
- The manager who transformed a lackadaisical customer-support team into service zealots by removing a standard tool of customer service (see page 199)

In a compelling, story-driven narrative, the Heaths bring together decades of counterintuitive research in psychology, sociology, and other fields to shed new light on how we can effect transformative change. Switch shows that successful changes follow a pattern, a pattern you can use to make the changes that matter to you, whether your interest is in changing the world or changing your waistline.

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Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard + Decisive: How to Make Better Choices in Life and Work + Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die
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Review

"A fantastic book" Wired "Witty and instructive" Wall Street Journal "Switch is likely to prove invaluable to anyone wanting to make long-lasting change a reality" BBC Focus "Whether you're a manager, a parent or a civic leader, getting people to change can be tricky business. In Switch, brothers Chip and Dan Heath - authors of the best-selling Made to Stick - survey efforts to shape human behaviour in search of what works. Even when change isn't easy, it's often worth making" Time "A must-read" Forbes --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

About the Author

CHIP HEATH is a professor at the Graduate School of Business at Stanford University. He lives in Los Gatos, California. DAN HEATH is a senior fellow at Duke University's Center for the Advancement of Social Entrepreneurship (CASE). Previously, he was a researcher and case writer at Harvard Business School, as well as the cofounder of a college textbook publishing firm called Thinkwell. Dan lives in Raleigh, North Carolina. The Heath brothers write a monthly column for Fast Company magazine.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index
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Most helpful customer reviews
18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Several sticky insights Feb. 16 2010
By Robert Morris HALL OF FAME TOP 10 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover
Chip and Dan Heath have once again summoned a lively writing style to present a series of compelling insights that make this book even more interesting as well as more valuable than its predecessor, Made to Stick. As they explain in the first chapter, "In this book, we argue that successful changes share a common pattern. They require the leader of change to do three things at once: To change someone's behavior, you've got to change that person's situation...[to cope with the fact that change] is hard because people wear themselves out. And that's the second surprise about change: What looks like laziness is often exhaustion...If you want people to change, you must provide crystal clear direction [because what] looks like resistance is often a lack of clarity." Throughout, the Heaths work within a narrative, best viewed as a "three-part framework," as they provide countless real-world (as opposed to hypothetical or theoretical] examples and - to their great credit - also provide a context or frame-of-reference for each.

Moreover, the Heaths invoke a few extended metaphors. The most important of these are the Rider (i.e. our rational side), the Elephant, (i.e. our emotional and instinctive side) and the Path (i.e. the surrounding environment in which change initiatives will be conducted). The challenge is to direct the Rider, motivate the Elephant, and shape the Path to make change more likely, "no matter what's happening with the Rider and Elephant...If you can do all three at once, dramatic change can happen even if you don't have lots of power or resources behind you."

Donald Berwick offers an excellent case in point.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
By Rodge TOP 50 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover
Perhaps the most helpful way to think of this book would be a Malcolm Gladwell type collection of anecdotes along with an added component to help you think about making application. In other words this is a self-help book that might actually be helpful. The book looks at motivation, keeping it simple enough that everybody can follow along. The 3 components involved are referred to as "Rider", "Elephant" and "Path". If you actually read this book you'll have no problem picking up on what they mean by each term. This book is aimed at the general public, not CEOs, so they focus on ways of making change happen that can work even if you aren't in a position to give orders - even if the people you are trying to motivate aren't accountable to you. You'll learn about common pitfalls like "Fundamental attribution error" and the "fixed mindset" that can undermine change. And lots of other cool and useful stuff. No silly promises are made about making everything wonderful forever - this is a book firmly grounded in the real world. Highly recommended, in other words.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Insights - easy & enjoyable read Feb. 16 2010
Format:Hardcover
Based on the authors'' previous book, Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die, I enthusiastically searched for an advance copy to read before the release date. The effort was worth it, I recommend Switch!

Professionally, I design health and wellness products and services, so influencing behaviour and helping people change is relevant for me. This is a book about making change on a personal and organizational level -' it''s an accessible read on psychodynamics designed around a set of simple maxims to help you understand and influence change in everyday life.

There is some similarity with Nudge, by Thaler and Sunstein, another excellent book focused on influencing behavior. Nudge is an academic treatment of decision making, focused on the cognitive process. Nudge beats you over the head with evidence (it''s long) and it''s less actionable than Switch, however, I still recommend Nudge for those who are serious about design, marketing, business, public policy, education etc. Read it after Switch' they offer different things.

In Switch, the Heath brothers illustrate the dichotomy between the thinking rational self and the feeling instinctive self and how they can work together to bring about change. They also focus on our social environment 'how one''s context can influence behavior.

Simply and effectively, the authors' use an analogy to explain how to change behavior: Direct the Rider, motivate the Elephant, and shape the Path.
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5.0 out of 5 stars More Bookish Thoughts... July 19 2014
By Reader Writer Runner TOP 50 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover
Why does change come so slowly and with such difficulty? Why do people struggle to lose weight even when armed with knowledge of how to do so? Why do most "problem kids" end up dropping out of school instead of benefiting from teacher intervention? And how does an employee even begin to reform a multi-million dollar corporation? In their witty and instructive "Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard," Chip and Dan Heath draw on the sciences of human behaviour to tackle such enigmatic questions.

The Heath brothers believe that "willpower," "leadership" and other platonic solutions only see an individual or a group through temporary change. Our brains do not contain a single decision-making unit, they argue; instead, we have two systems: a rational one, analytical and slow to act ("The Rider") and an emotional one, impulsive and prone to form and follow habits ("The Elephant"). The Rider needs a series of rules to follow and The Elephant needs motivation i.e. an emotional rationale. Concrete information unifies the two systems.

In their introduction, the authors identify three surprises about change: what looks like resistance is often a lack of clarity; what looks like laziness is often exhaustion and what looks like a people problem is often a situation problem. The solution to overcoming these misconceptions? Direct the rider, motivate the elephant and shape the path. "Switch" supports this thesis primarily through fascinating stories of people, companies and organizations that have successfully undertaken major realignments, sometimes against long odds.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Good
Published 22 days ago by Hauuy
4.0 out of 5 stars perfect book
More detailed example and experience in it industry
More executable action plan
Compare the results between different companies and industries
Published 6 months ago by Y. He
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book!
The Heath brothers have a real knack for clearly describing complex issues in compelling ways.

Well done! Read more
Published 14 months ago by Greg
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing and actionable.
Immediately after reading this book I found myself recommending it to half of the people I met. It has awesome advice and the Heath brothers are very witty authors. Read more
Published 20 months ago by Malcolm Ocean
5.0 out of 5 stars Real good!!
I liked this book a lot. It's full a real experience cases, it helps us understand more. I found tips to apply for my work as well as for my kids. Read more
Published on Feb. 14 2012 by NATHALIE LOISELLE
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book
Excellent book to see how making change is so very difficult and multifaceted. I work in healthcare where change is a constant. Useful tools
Published on Sept. 18 2011 by Ncamp
5.0 out of 5 stars You will see things differently...
I would trade all of the books and lectures I have attended and read on change and change management for one copy of Switch. Read more
Published on Aug. 29 2011 by Steve Johnston
5.0 out of 5 stars I want more . .
I enjoyed the insights I gained from this book. By challenging some of my thinking I was able to explore ways to adjust but I would have liked to have more suggestions of practical... Read more
Published on July 22 2011 by M. D. Barnicke Belleghem
5.0 out of 5 stars great book
Great read. Many examples which explain the concepts well. Can be applied by anyone, at work and in life, not just for management.
Published on April 5 2011 by LP
5.0 out of 5 stars Switch to Grant McKenzie
Just finished Switch by Grant McKenzie. Fast paced. Kept me on the edge with its twists. Totally cool how he incorporated notorious history of his setting. Read more
Published on Oct. 23 2010 by richard a schulze
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