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 thats built into our brains, say Chip and Dan Heath, authors of the critically acclaimed best seller 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.
The home-organizing guru who developed a simple technique for overcoming the dread of housekeeping.
The manager who transformed a lackadaisical customer-support team into service zealots by removing a standard tool of customer service
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.
Being a left brained artistic type, i'm naturally resistant to these sort of goal oriented psychology books. However, In an effort to challenge my beliefs, i've been reading several of them lately, and this is by far the best. I was a big fan of their last book Made to Stick and actually just read it for the third time. That book seemed a bit derivative of Malcolm Gladwell's The Tipping Point on my first listen, but i've since gone back to Made To Stick more than most any other book I own. Mostly because of all the practical, real world applications of interesting scientific experiments. Having just finished Switch, i'm impressed with how much they've outdone themselves. I didn't want to stop listening. There's almost no filler in the whole 8 hours.
I wasn't sure there'd be much practical use to a book about 'change,' but i couldn't have been more wrong. They reference several books i happen to have read recently, and i realized change is at the center of all of them, and Switch is the perfect synthesis of all their ideas. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who's read The Happiness Hypothesis, The Now Habit, James Hollis' books, or anything in the field of positive psychology. If you haven't read those books, save your money and just get Switch.
82 of 86 people found this review helpful
This is one of the most approachable and pragmatic books I've come across on behavioral change. Good examples, concrete, step by step. There is a lot to learn here, that pretty much anyone can find value in.
Audio quality is not so great, there are some weird jumps and pauses. The audio side feels several years behind the times, which is a shame because the content is really great.
The book has a number of downloads on the authors' website, but they should be referenced & provided here. The content of the book makes you want to have something to refer to, not just listen to the words.
50 of 53 people found this review helpful
This is a very good book for someone who's not familiar with the related literature (Dan Ariely, Helen Langer, Malcolm Gladwell, Jonathan Haidt). Even for those familiar with these authors, Switch may be a good read... except for the narrator. Imagine listening to a book read by one of those automated call services. The narration is just about as bad. It seems as if the narrator was asked to read each individual sentence in isolation, and then those sentences were stitched together. The result is pretty bad as one cannot rely on the intonation patterns of the speaker to decipher if he's still talking about the same theme or has switched to a new one. The narration also continuously makes reference to paragraph or subheading number, which for an audio book is useless. The result is tragic, as the book has a lot of interesting material. My suggestion would be to read the actual book or wait for the publisher to release a new version of the audio, which I would not be surprised to see given the number of complaints that the narration has received.
56 of 60 people found this review helpful
I enjoyed the book, not as much as Made to Stick, but it's worth the read. I'm disappointed in the audio editing (listened to format 4 on an iPhone) - varying levels of background noise (esp. chapter 5 or 6), painfully obvious edits where the reader mispronounced "IDEO" in chapter 7 (six or more references were obviously dubbed with difference background levels), etc. Aside from audio quality issues, there's a lot of numbering of thoughts/ideas which makes the audio format challenging.
28 of 31 people found this review helpful
The format of this book is not lend itself well to an audio recording. The chapters, section and subsections can be hard to follow, and the reader, however wonderful he may be as a James Earl Jones stand in, is not the right voice for the job.
If you enjoyed Chip and Dan's last book, Made to Stick, or if you enjoy their column in Fast Company, this is a somewhat formulaic product from the dynamic duo. I found their treatment of the topic to be a little elementary, simplified presumably for the lowest common denominator. For more academically rigorous intellectuals, I would recommend reading something in the area of behavioral economics, like Predictable Irrationality, rather than spending time on a drawn out metaphor about an elephant and it's rider. 3 stars for the book but only 2 for this audio recording.
17 of 19 people found this review helpful
Fantastic book. The intelligence behind the insights into why we act as we do offers a great deal of hope for the stuck. The reader unfortunately has one of these cheesy Hallmark Channel movie trailer voices that undercuts the common sense and inventive energy of the book. Malcolm Gladwell's own voice, for example, reading his own books, seems perfect, where this seems cheesy, and especially like the narrator doesn't actually understand the words he's saying -- is just acting them rather.
21 of 24 people found this review helpful
Has a many great ideas and message, narrated by a professional for sure, BUT I get so much more when its the actually author speaking.
Then I feel like I'm really having a conversation with the author.
Please re-release this in your own words, then I'll give it 5 stars.
15 of 17 people found this review helpful
I enjoyed Chip and Dan Heath's earlier book, "Made to Stick", so when the president of my company recommended this book on his blog I decided to give it a shot.
The subject matter is fascinating - what makes people change? How do we change our habits, routines, and personalities? Changing is quite possibly the hardest thing a person can do, and this book talks about how that is done.
The reason I didn't *love* this book is that it discusses ways to change in really anecdotal ways, some of the stories illustrate their point well, others only marginally so.
This is certainly not a "how to" book, though you can gather some ideas about how to apply the things they talk about, if you take a few minutes to ponder it.
I was expecting, or hoping, for more "how to" out of this book, but instead got a lot more "stories of change".
7 of 8 people found this review helpful
This books is filled with information about why people do or don't change behavior. I started taking notes during the second chapter so that I could remember to apply some of the ideas to my children. My only issue with the book is the narrator has a voice more suited for narrating a drama, mystery, or war documentary. Otherwise, I thoroughly enjoyed and learned from the book.
11 of 13 people found this review helpful
I love the real world examples! They were the ones keeping me hooked on the book - so many and so well explained! The theories behind it was not that exciting, but theories rarely are - so therefore it was just a super idea with all the real life examples.
4 of 5 people found this review helpful