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Switch: How to change things when change is hard [Paperback]

Chip Heath , Dan Heath
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (66 customer reviews)
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Book Description

3 Mar 2011

We all know that change is hard. It's unsettling, it's time-consuming, and all too often we give up at the first sign of a setback.

But why do we insist on seeing the obstacles rather than the goal? This is the question that bestselling authors Chip and Dan Heath tackle in their compelling and insightful new book. They argue that we need only understand how our minds function in order to unlock shortcuts to switches in behaviour. Illustrating their ideas with scientific studies and remarkable real-life turnarounds - from the secrets of successful marriage counselling to the pile of gloves that transformed one company's finances - the brothers Heath prove that deceptively simple methods can yield truly extraordinary results.

Frequently Bought Together

Switch: How to change things when change is hard + Decisive: How to Make Better Decisions + Made to Stick: Why some ideas take hold and others come unstuck
Price For All Three: £19.97

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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 (66 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,716 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


"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.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
31 of 31 people found the following review helpful
Switch focusses on the importance of ensuring an emotional connection when making change. The book is written in a clear and practical way citing interesting stories that bring alive the concepts that the authors want to get across to the reader. Unlike many other books on change I found myself relaying the stories to my colleages as a way of sharing the learning I'd gained. I highly recommend this book.
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41 of 42 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent read 15 May 2010
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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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sequel to the Power of Habits? 8 Jun 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
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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32 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The rider, the elephant and the path 23 Aug 2010
By kirky
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
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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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book for business and personal 6 Sep 2010
I was recommeneded this book and finished it in a week. Rather than a selection of thoughts and ideas the book is made up of actual case studies that make it so much more credible. I recommend it highly to anyone in business or anyone that wants to make a change in their lives.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great framework for change 18 Nov 2010
By The Emperor TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
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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75 of 81 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
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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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Pretty much the best self help book I read
Pretty much the best self help book I read. I don't really like self help books because most of that info doesn't stay with you, but "Switch" does actually have content and... Read more
Published 5 days ago by Bogdan Gavril
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
All great, thank you.
Published 9 days ago by Vasyl Latsanych
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
very happy with product and delivery
Published 10 days ago by Eva Howkins
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Clear and concise
Published 1 month ago by A doctor
5.0 out of 5 stars Fabulous
Wish I had read this years ago, so much explained in this brilliant book. Every financial planner should read it.
Published 2 months ago by Dom Spalding
5.0 out of 5 stars Refreshing
Positive and forward looking, which I found extremely refreshing in a sea of books that analyse problems but don't point you in a direction.
Published 2 months ago by blaz
5.0 out of 5 stars Lightbulb moment
This book changed everything I knew about change. It's well written, it's clear and it resonates with people. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Roger Hunter
4.0 out of 5 stars Well-researched and practical!!
Maybe the best change-management book I've read! If you're looking for a pattern of why some changes succeed and others don't, then this book is for you!
Published 3 months ago by Mr C Sana-Kiaku
5.0 out of 5 stars First truly practical advices for managing change
The author very clearly explains what are the key elements of successful change. Examples are compelling. He also suggest how to act effectively.
Published 4 months ago by Tof
5.0 out of 5 stars These guys are great
I love this book. Very good insight into how our brain takes in change (or not)! I have told the stories used in this book many times in my work as a consultant and they really... Read more
Published 4 months ago by windscreenwiper
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