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Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard Hardcover – Feb 16 2010


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Random House Canada (Feb. 16 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307357279
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307357274
  • Product Dimensions: 21.3 x 14 x 3.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 612 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #11,118 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Robert Morris HALL OF FAMETOP 10 REVIEWER on Feb. 16 2010
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 on Jan. 31 2011
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 By Bitsphere on 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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By Reader Writer Runner TOP 50 REVIEWER on July 19 2014
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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