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Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is…

Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard (original 2010; edition 2010)

by Chip Heath, Dan Heath

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1,794455,669 (4.1)15
Title:Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard
Authors:Chip Heath
Other authors:Dan Heath
Info:Crown Business (2010), Edition: 1, Hardcover, 320 pages
Collections:Your library

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Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard by Chip Heath (2010)


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Showing 1-5 of 43 (next | show all)
All the interesting bits of [b:Nudge|2527900|Nudge Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness|Richard H. Thaler|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1255616605s/2527900.jpg|2535409] and [b:The Paradox of Choice|10639|The Paradox of Choice Why More Is Less|Barry Schwartz|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1166254436s/10639.jpg|1157840], plus interesting bits of books I hadn't read yet (and might never have). A good synthesis of what keeps people -- and therefore businesses -- from making changes to their habits, with a clear, memorable hook. An enjoyable (!) business read. ( )
  akaGingerK | Sep 30, 2018 |
really good ideas for how to approach problems ( )
  margaretfield | May 30, 2018 |
I read this book for two reasons. First, it was a selection on the 2014 Air Force Chief of Staff Reading List, and second, a coworker recommended it. As a management engineer, change is my job, or I should say, getting people, functions, and businesses to change is my job, and I’m interested in books like this and how I can apply concepts and ideas presented. There were some interesting theories and notions in this book, but it is highly repetitive and somewhat tedious.

“Switch” suffers from three main problems. First, it focuses on techniques to facilitate change in organizations and individuals, and while it occasionally cites interesting work in cognitive and social psychology, the justification for the techniques is anecdotal: “Technique X worked at company Y in particular instance Z, and so it’s obviously a valid technique that’s always applicable.” There’s no attempt at any sort of rigorous scientific testing of such a claim. For example, the authors claim that you cannot focus on why a proposed change is failing to take hold, but must instead identify the pockets where change is working, figure out why it works there, and then emulate the successes elsewhere. They describe several case studies where this approach has led to successful change, including a project to improve childhood nutrition in Vietnam, and an intervention with a misbehaving ninth grader. Finding the bright spots is a good thing to do, but the hypothesis that it is always the best approach, that it will always trump analysis and correction of failure, is simply ludicrous. Anyone trained in the proper use of the scientific method will want to scream at instance after instance of this type of claim without support.

The second problem with “Switch” is the use of overly-cute language. The book’s central claim is that effective change requires three things: engaging the rational, data-driven perspective of the people who must make the change; ensure they have an emotional stake in the change; and make the change process as easy as possible for them by manipulating the environment. To describe this triad of requirements, the authors use a metaphorical rider (the rational perspective) on an elephant (the emotional component) moving down a path (the change context). They use this metaphor in paragraph after paragraph, until their message is drowned out by the cutesy language. This pervades the book, even beyond the rider-elephant-path triad. For example, near the end of the book, where they’re describing how to keep change momentum going, they talk about positive reinforcement, and provide the example of a monkey trainer who rewards her charge with bits of mango for each small action she performs correctly. A page or two later, they proclaim “If you want your boss or your team to change, you better get a little less stingy with the mango.” Seriously?

This book is about twice as long as it needed to be to convey its key points, but “Switch” does contain some common-sense approaches to effecting change. It presents some reasonable change strategies, and having them in one’s change-management toolbox is a good thing. But surely there is a way to present them without using silly, repetitive language, and without claiming that these are the only effective ways to create change. ( )
  ssimon2000 | May 7, 2018 |
This book took me about 6 weeks to read, which is almost unheard of for me. I definitely needed to read this book in very short doses. I also altered my reading schedule several times to get my daily reading for this book in with confidence.

Despite all of that, I still really enjoyed the book. I found the focus on different aspects of individual and/or organizational change intriguing and easy to identify with. I enjoyed the use of scientific studies to support ideas the authors brought forward (as a scientist, I love when credibility is improved this way).

I would recommend this book to individuals looking to take action steps for making change. I believe change begins with your mindset, and therefore this book isn't right for someone who has not already decided and dedicated their mind to change. ( )
  BEGivens | Mar 21, 2018 |
Terrific book about making changes both in yourself and for a group. One of my favorite nonfiction titles. ( )
  INorris | Jun 8, 2017 |
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Heath, Danmain authorall editionsconfirmed
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Book description
From Publishers Weekly: The Heath brothers (coauthors of Made to Stick) address motivating employees, family members, and ourselves in their analysis of why we too often fear change. Change is not inherently frightening, but our ability to alter our habits can be complicated by the disjunction between our rational and irrational minds: the self that wants to be swimsuit-season ready and the self that acquiesces to another slice of cake anyway. The trick is to find the balance between our powerful drives and our reason. The authors' lessons are backed up by anecdotes that deal with such things as new methods used to reform abusive parents, the revitalization of a dying South Dakota town, and the rebranding of megastore Target. Through these lively examples, the Heaths speak energetically and encouragingly on how to modify our behaviors and businesses. This clever discussion is an entertaining and educational must-read for executives and for ordinary citizens looking to get out of a rut.
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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.… (more)

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