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Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products Hardcover – November 4, 2014

4.7 out of 5 stars 786 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

Voted one of the best business books of the year by Goodreads readers.

"With concrete advice and tales from the product-development trenches, this is a thoughtful discussion of how to create something that users never knew they couldn’t live without."
Publisher's Weekly

“A must read for everyone who cares about driving customer engagement."  
—Eric Ries, author of The Lean Startup

“The book everyone in Silicon Valley is talking about.”
—Boris Veldhuijzen van Zanten, founder of The Next Web 

Hooked gives you the blueprint for the next generation of products. Read Hooked or the company that replaces you will.”
—Matt Mullenweg, Founder of Wordpress

“The most high bandwidth, high octane, and valuable presentation I have ever seen on this subject.”
—Rory Sutherland, Vice-Chairman, Ogilvy & Mather

"You'll read this. Then you'll hope your competition isn't reading this. It's that good."
—Stephen P. Anderson, Author of Seductive Interaction Design

"Nir's work is an essential crib sheet for any startup looking to understand user psychology.”
—Dave McClure, Founder 500 Startups

"When it comes to driving engagement and building habits, Hooked is an excellent guide into the mind of the user."
—Andrew Chen, Technology Writer and Investor

“I’ve learned a great deal from Nir, and you will too. He’ll help you design habits to benefit your users, and your company.”
—Dr. Stephen Wendel, author Designing for Behavior Change

About the Author

Nir Eyal spent years in the video gaming and advertising industries where he learned, applied, and at times rejected, techniques described in Hooked to motivate and influence users. He has taught courses on applied consumer psychology at the Stanford Graduate School of Business, the Hasso Plattner Institute of Design, and is a frequent speaker at industry conferences and at Fortune 500 companies. His writing on technology, psychology, and business appears in the Harvard Business Review, The Atlantic, TechCrunch, and Psychology Today.


To learn more or to get in touch with Nir, visit nirandfar.com 

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Portfolio (November 4, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1591847788
  • ISBN-13: 978-1591847786
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 0.9 x 8.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (786 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,901 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By J. Walnes on August 23, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
If you're trying to build the next big app, you need user engagement. This book lays down a model building engagement by having users constantly return to your app. In the beginning this is prompted, but eventually it'll become instinct. This is how viral loops are formed.

It lays out the "Hook Model", a basic framework of the 4 key stages of each loop:

1. Trigger: How does the loop initiate? In the beginning this may be through external triggers (such as an email, notification, icon badge, etc) but through successive loops the user eventually creates internal triggers where a particular thought or emotion will send them back to your product.

2. Action: Once the user is aware they need to use your product (through the trigger), what it the simplest action they can perform to get some kind of reward. For example a Facebook "Like".

3. Variable reward: How are they rewarded for this behavior? This could be social validation (e.g. "my friends approve!"), collection of material resources (e.g. add a photo to a collection) or personal gratification (e.g. inbox zero). The "variable" part is important - rewards should not always be predictable, encouraging users to repeat the cycle.

4. Investment: Finally, the user needs to put something back in to increase the chance of repeating the loop. This could be content (e.g. a book in your Kindle), user entered data (e.g. profile information or linked accounts), reputation (e.g. something to gain a 5 star seller review), or a learned skill (e.g. I'm now really good at this software program). The investment also sets up the trigger to for the next cycle of the loop.

This book is a really easy read. I wanted something that would get to the crux of the problem and set out a practical framework of how to apply it with examples, without being overly verbose on history and research. It delivered.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I just finished Hooked last night and if you're looking to learn how to actually design for behavioral change, this is a great resource. If you're in the behavioral sciences field you know how difficult it is to find help in actually applying these sciences to business, particularly innovation. Nir explains how to design for habit formation in layman's terms and at the back of each chapter he actually coaches you on immediately applying what you learned to your own specific project - which I thankfully did. These activities were the best way to take theory to direct application. Nicely done.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
As a designer, I'm always interested in user's behavior and motivation. This book provides insights for both in a way that's well structured (hook model as a framework).

I also appreciate the real world examples and stories that show the concepts discussed in action.

This book already changed my design approach and thinking and I'm sure that I'll be using this book as a reference as I do my work.
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Format: Kindle Edition
It is not known how many products which really have the global population "hooked" today had their founders initially think in a structured manner about forming those hooks. But now that one looks at these products from the lens of the Hooked framework, a common pattern is apparent.

And this is what impressed me about the book. It brings structure to a mostly unstructured knowledge base. Many who use these products can list out some of the ways in which user engagement loops have been constructed. But to think about such mechanisms from a common framework requires finding patterns and validating them.

Further, the framework is not just useful for post-facto analysis but also for designing new products. Since this is a generic framework, it cannot list out specifics - user motivations, psychology - for all possible problem domains. But it can help arrive quickly at how to approach the design for the problem domain you are attacking.

I am glad that Nir has also added a chapter on ethical considerations while aiming to build habit forming products. This chapter could easily have been skipped, but I commend the author for giving the topic due importance.

The last chapter gives practical steps which can be taken by existing as well as yet not designed products to construct en effective engagement loop. It would have been good to see a detailed example of thinking about a new product from grounds up and follow the steps proposed. Nir does cover example of an existing app but I felt that it did not fully cover the decision making process to arrive at the final product design.

Will recommend to all product managers and designers looking for insights into making their consumer product more engaging.
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Format: Hardcover
I've heard a great deal about this book lately - first, I saw Eyal give a talk here in San Francisco (I hadn't heard of him, but someone recommended I go - the talk was sold out and a spot opened up), then someone at a meeting mentioned the book/talk and said it was 'amazing', then the other day I heard him featured on an episode of Planet Money. At least within the tech scene, it seems this book is very well-known, and that, to some extent, scares me. (And to put that into context, I'm a technology designer/researcher - i.e., I'm the kind of person who should be absolutely frothing at the mouth (happily) about this thing.)

Most of the reviews I've been seeing have been addressing Eyal's execution of the 'Hooked' concept, which I'd give something like a 2.5 - the ideas are clearly expressed, but the writing is fairly dumbed down, and the book's ideas could (and given his writing style, should) have been expressed in about a quarter-length pamphlet rather than a full book.

My biggest problem with the book is its basic premise, that 'hooking' people - that is, making them compulsive users of your technology product - is something worth doing. Eyal makes a number of assumptions about the benefits of technology here - he commonly alludes to Facebook, Instagram, et al as 'solving' our feelings of loneliness, for instance. Among many other occurrences, a line in the book says Instagram "helps users dispel boredom by connecting them with others." Everything about technology use is placed in a positive light - 'solving' problems, 'connecting' users. It's the standard litany of Silicon Valley Tech Speak, but bumped up a great many RPMs and set on continuous repeat.
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