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Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard.(Book review): An article from: Utah Business [HTML] [Digital]

Chris Thomas
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (735 customer reviews)

Price: $9.95
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
468 of 515 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Several sticky insights February 16, 2010
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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166 of 182 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Switching "On" Your Emotional Intelligence December 23, 2010
Switch is a compelling, story-driven narrative the Heaths use to bring together decades of counterintuitive research in psychology, sociology, and other fields to shed new light on how we can engage our emotions and reason to create real change.

The book is arranged around an analogy that illustrates the crux of emotional intelligence: when making a decision we are typically torn between our rational, logical reasons and our emotional, intuitive feelings. Chip and Dan ask us to imagine an Elephant and its Rider (the mahout). The Rider represents the rational and logical. Tell the Rider what to do, provide a good argument and the Rider will do it. The Elephant, on the other hand, represents our emotions, our gut response. If the Rider can direct the Elephant down a well-prepared path then there is a good chance for change. Otherwise, the massive elephant is bound to win.

The book is structured into three sections, each one suggesting specific behaviors you can follow:

I. Direct the Rider:
- Find the bright spots
- Script the critical moves
- Point to the destination

II. Motivate the Elephant:
- Find the feeling
- Shrink the Change;
- Grow your people

III. Shape the Path:
- Tweak the environment
- Build habits
- Rally the herd

Another must read on the topic is Emotional Intelligence 2.0
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145 of 159 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars On the whole, a worthwhile, rewarding read... April 17, 2010
"Switch" oscillates between the citation of psychological research and the slightly-suspect relaying of 'inspirational anecdotes' (as is de rigeur for this genre), but is, on the whole, a worthwhile read. Coming across as a self-help version of Nudge, the authors wield an array of techniques to help people create change in their lives as painlessly as possible. In doing so, they indirectly provide an evidential basis for David Allen's "Next Action" mantra, as suggested in Getting Things Done, but their focus is neither on the "nuts and bolts" of organisational management (which can lead to meta-productivity fetishism, as many GTD converts are prone to), nor on the sort of "flying with the eagles" nonsense that keeps Anthony Robbins in a mansion in Hawaii. Instead, the authors try and strike a balance between social psychology and "change your life" blue sky thinking. For the most part, they succeed admirably, and their approach ends up leading them to more sensible suggestions than the interesting -but wacky- 59 Seconds which itself purports to be based on hard science (or, at least, as "hard science" as psychological research can be). For those who like their self help rooted strongly in scientific research, I would probably recommend this alongside Brain Rules, but own it's own, Switch is still a worthwhile addition to the burgeoning genre of self-help-based-on-academic-research genre.
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179 of 208 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing August 28, 2011
Like many universities, mine is in the midst of implementing some major changes to the way we do business, with the goal of becoming more efficient and decreasing operating costs. Recently, Chip Heath and Dan Heath's book "Switch" was provided to a number of people on campus who have responsibility for some aspects of these changes. Although I generally find business books to be disappointing at best, and irritating at worst, I started this one optimistic that it would be different. Alas, that optimism waned by the second chapter, and was completely destroyed by the time I finished the book.

"Switch" suffers from the three main problems that I've found in nearly all popular business books. First, it presents claims without sufficient justification. This book focuses on techniques to facilitate change in organizations and individuals, and while it occasionally cites interesting work in cognitive and social psychology that may be relevant to the techniques suggested, for the most part 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, in chapter 2, the Heath brothers claim that you cannot focus on why a proposed change is failing to take hold, but must instead "find the bright spots," i.e., identify the pockets where it is working, figure out why it works there, and then try to emulate the small 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.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars This is a really great and logical book
This is a really great and logical book. I'm about half way through and I see myself reading it again and again. I have already begun to use some of the techniques.
Published 11 hours ago by Michael Tassey
5.0 out of 5 stars Practical ideas for implementing change
A great book breaking change to it's components and suggesting practical ways to make it work.
Published 1 day ago by David Jorjani
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Exactly as described, prompt shipping, thank you
Published 8 days ago by Cheryl Greiner
4.0 out of 5 stars Very Intersting
Very interesting concept using an elephant and person and a path to help you understand will power or rather, how to make change happen. Read more
Published 13 days ago by Roberta M. Mancina
3.0 out of 5 stars The book was not correctly bound
The book itself and delivery time more than met my expectations. Unfortunately, it was demerited as the gift it was intended to be, because it had several loose pages.
Published 13 days ago by juan antonio samaniego
5.0 out of 5 stars Pretty awesome.
Just started reading this book. Pretty awesome.
Published 16 days ago by JFB32
4.0 out of 5 stars Functions Just Fine
A fair unit for a fair price. The only bugger is that this is a bit larger than I have expected. I have been purchasing replacements for my network in my home. Read more
Published 23 days ago by Shay Favors
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
I recommend this book for behavior change
Published 23 days ago by Richard Laing
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential reading
This book provides a structured approach for affecting change on both people and organizations. The writing is superb. Read more
Published 25 days ago by Ivan
5.0 out of 5 stars Switch: How to change things by Chip Heath
It was a book recommended when i went to a course on why it is important to be encouraging behaviors that are not a perfect, finished effort. Read more
Published 26 days ago by namwan kalong
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