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Switch: How to change things when change is hard Paperback – 3 Mar 2011

4.7 out of 5 stars 94 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Random House Business (3 Mar. 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1847940323
  • ISBN-13: 978-1847940322
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 2 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (94 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,823 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

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)

Book Description

Change doesn't need to be hard. Just Switch.

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Inside This Book

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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Whilst the Power of Habits looks specifically at changing habits, Switch examines the barriers to change and by understanding how our minds function unlock shortcuts to switches in behaviour.

There are hard and easy changes. They argue that successful changes share a common pattern. They require the leader of change to do 3 things at once.

Firstly to change someone's behaviour you've got to change that person's situation - their hearts and minds. Unfortunately their hearts and minds often disagree. Conventional wisdom identifies the emotional side of the brain and the rational part. The Heaths prefer to think of it as the Elephant (the emotion) and the Rider (the rational). Perched atop a six tonne elephant is a rider holding the reins. The rider's control is precarious because the Rider is so small compared to the elephant. The elephant has enormous strengths - love, compassion, loyalty and sympathy. And even more important the Elephant is the one that gets things done. If you want to change you have to appeal to both. The Rider provides the planning and direction and the elephant provides the energy.

The second surprise about change is that change is not hard because people are lazy or resistant. Change is hard because people wear themselves out. What looks like laziness is often exhaustion. Like the Power of Habit, Switch looks at self control and holds that it is an exhaustible resource. So make change easier. Focus on a small change. But make sure you reach the Elephant (the emotion) as well as the Rider.

The Rider provides direction. But the danger is analysis paralysis. What looks like resistance is often lack of clarity. The third key to change is clarity.
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An excellent book that I found thought provoking and inspirational.

The book was suggested by a colleague and I was interested enough to consider it. A really good example of explaining thoughts by the use of great case studies and a simple analogy for the concept.

The book describes how we can be in charge of our change to drive the things that we really need to happen. The use of willpower (the rider), emotion (the elephant) and our environment (the path) can combine together to achieve great things.

I loved the quote that some is not a number and soon is not a time.
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Switch is a book that contains a wealth of information, both in terms of leading research into exacting change and also practical tips on how to implement that research. It is filled with case studies and examples of success stories, and whatever your particular area of change is, you are bound to find one that is a close match. Most of the premise of the book centres around the notion of the elephant-and-rider metaphor, and how people often attribute failed change to the wrong causes. In this regard, the central message of the book is fairly short, however it is explored in great detail which helps avoid the facets being overlooked.

It is written in an easily accessible style, and strikes a good balance between the formal and informal approach. Personally, I felt it was possibly a little long, and it wasn't a book that 'grabbed' me as some others have. However, the information contained in its pages is worth the investment, and touches onto areas of social and behavioural psychology outside of its core remit of bringing about change. It is a highly practical book, clearly written for an audience who are movers and shakers themselves.

One thing to note is that the book takes the professional and ethical approach to manipulating others, so don't expect clever NLP routines to bamboozle your friends into doing what you want: this is a book about changing workplaces, businesses, groups and governments, and doing so for the long-term. It is not a book of quick-fixes by any means. But this is good, as it shows that the authors are treating their subject seriously, and regard change as something that needs buy-in from all involved, not be force-fed to a reluctant or unaware audience. Derren Brown this is not.
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Excellent book on how to successfully implement a change initiative. It is enjoyable, interesting and contains lots of humour which makes it very easy to read.It contains interesting everyday examples of successful and unsuccessful attempts at managing change and reveals the many common causes of failure.It provides guidance for change both in the work environment and also in ones personal life. This is one of the best books I have read on the topic of change.
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A very well written book on how to bring about change, both in your personal life and in organisations. It provides a great framework that is practical to use.
The examples that it gives are interesting and it provided plenty of insights that you could easily apply to other situations.

I read this a few months ago and am still using things that I learnt from this book.
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This quote from Albert Einstein haunts my evaluation of Switch: How to Change Things When Change is Hard by Chip & Dan Heath, those Miliband brothers of the business world. Switch is a simple book. It is based on a simile - the emotional part of the mind is like an elephant, the rational part is like its rider, and getting them to work together requires roadwork. That's it, really.

So is this simple, or simplistic? Have they provided a structure for individual and corporate change that is easy to apply and powerful in it effects, with all unnecessary verbiage and overkill stripped away? Or is it a nice little story - borrowed from someone else - with a swamp of other, lesser stories engineered in to fill out some space?

This book made me think, which is always a plus. Switch's often repeated mantra that 'people problems are really situation problems' (3, 183) challenged my own view of the nature of change considerably. It also serves to explain the authors' suspicion of personality testing and analysis as a change mechanism (114 with note, 252, 258). Their main thesis seems to be that managing change is not a matter of reason or emotion but environment, not inner working (which are hard to influence) but the outer world (which is easier).

This environmental emphasis is further reinforced by their (research justified) assertions that 'willpower is not enough' (10) and 'knowledge is not enough' (30, 35, 109, 112, 175). In particular, the notion that increased information can easily lead to change gets a real kicking in Switch; knowledge without change is TBU - True But Useless (71). Rather, emotions are the key (105), or rather motivation as managed through tweaking your situation.
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