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Change Anything: The New Science of Personal Success Paperback – April 10, 2012
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From Publishers Weekly
A strategic, step-by-step guide to breaking longstanding bad habits from the authors of Crucial Conversations draws on research coming out of their Change Anything Labs, where they study and work with people struggling with self-destructive patterns. The authors introduce a system for adopting—and sticking to—better behaviors in this smart, sensible work. Targeting the main problem areas—weight, addictions, spending, career advancement, and relationships—the authors exhort readers to avoid blaming their inability on willpower ("the willpower trap") in favor of recognizing powerful influences that can counteract temptation: e.g., offering ourselves financial incentives or radically changing our physical spaces to see that we stick with healthier habits. The authors present a highly detailed holistic plan, illustrated by encouraging case studies, for making systemic changes that approach problems from every angle and promote active change. (Apr.)
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A strategic, step-by-step guide to breaking longstanding bad habits from the authors of Crucial Conversations draws on research coming out of their Change Anything Labs, where they study and work with people struggling with self-destructive patterns. The authors introduce a system for adopting-and sticking to-better behaviors in this smart, sensible work.
The good news (and this book is all positive) is that you can get out of debt, beat addictions, lose weight, build healthy relationships, and become more successful in your career if you understand what the authors call the "six sources of influence that affect daily decisions." ... They offer awareness and positive steps to all who seek change in their lives.
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Top Customer Reviews
What is the best way to achieve success in our lives? The authors of "Change Anything" argue that not only must the answer be based on scientific inquiry (which they offer), but should also not rely on willpower as the only path to change. This would seem to contradict what Baumeister and Tierney argue in "Willpower", but they are quick to point out that willpower is only wrong because it is incomplete. Using their "Six Sources of Influence" the authors aim to lay out a step-by-step program that anyone can use to make changes in their life in areas as diverse as career, diet, finances, addictions and relationships.
Using a more "person-focused" approach than Timothy Wilson's "social-focused" format in "Redirect", the authors provide clear, engaging chapters on each source along with specific tactics to go along with each step. Stories like that of the doctoral student who took a picture of himself, cut it in to 90 pieces and added a piece each day he wrote two pages of his dissertation is an example of the thought-provoking examples they provide in each chapter. And using such tactics as "loss aversion" and "positive deviance" the authors are able to round out their stories with interesting side notes.
All in all the book is informative, presents a good narrative and has clearly defined action steps for those looking to change. However, two points distressed me. One, on page 22 the authors admit in a footnote that, "For simplicity, we take license at times to combine cases under one name rather than introduce multiple characters." This led me to wonder which "Changer" that they discuss in the book actually made the changes they described and which is just an amalgamation of multiple people. Two, I don't begrudge anyone trying to monetize their efforts, but in too many instances I saw overt advertising of their program and their website during the course of reading this book. If they would have backed off of some of this self-promotion I could in good conscience give this very helpful book a better rating. In the end I did find it instructive and will use some of its recommendations, but would have given it a higher rating if not for the two points above.
Change Anything is organized into three parts:
Part 1: Presents four science-based strategies implementing lasting change
Part 2: Describes the six sources of influence and suggests ways to apply them for personal change
Part 3: Discusses the Change Anything suggestions in common change scenarios
Parts 1 and 2 alone justify buying the book.
Here are some reasons why Change Anything worked for me:
- The four scientific strategies outlined in Part 1 provided a great structure for applying the six sources of influence.
- It is down to earth and practical. The book acknowledges the realities of a change effort (e.g., sometimes there will be bad days), and the recommended actions are "do-able."
- The book offers many useful examples and concrete ideas for making changes stick
One word of warning...applying the Change Anything suggestions is difficult - it requires effort and willingness to spend time planning, recording, analyzing, and adjusting your personal change efforts. The book includes complementary access to a website that supports planning and tracking your change efforts.
I dropped my rating to four stars for a few specific reasons:
- I found the Change Anything web site to be limited - it didn't offer compelling content or resources for me.
- Part 3, which comprises almost 40% of the book, is mostly useful if you are dealing with one of the common change scenarios it discusses. If your change scenario is different, part 3 is mostly a set of examples. Part 3 seemed like filler to me.
Overall, though, I found Change Anything to be an insightful and practical guide to making personal changes stick.
That being said- they no longer offer the companion social website which is advertised in the book. They now offer a Facebook you can "like." To me, that was one of the tools that makes this book even more successful with readers.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Change is a life long process
Good luck pals.