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Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products Hardcover – November 4, 2014
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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."
“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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Top customer reviews
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.
I will readily admit I borrowed "Hooked" from my library first, lately I delved into a couple of hyped books (for more details please see my other reviews) and now got smarter. I don't buy every book asap. However, after reading halfway through "Hooked" I purchased it because it is fascinating and intelligent on many levels.
Browsing through a couple of negative reviews here I noted that somebody mentioned that this book "Hooked" doesn't provide a perfect blueprint; well, no book ever does. Anybody who believes that is either under the age of 23 or has never tried any business endeavor.
What I like about "Hooked" is that author Nir Eyal presents a multi-faceted picture and thinking. He does not have one scenario but explains how the experiences from many fields lead us to a model how we (most likely) can "hook" customers.
The book is witty and Eyal brings a lot of obvious examples that make the reader think:
"... (p.44) Types of External Triggers: ... Imagine if Facebook or Twitter needed to buy an ad to prompt users to revisit their sites–these companies would soon go broke..."
It's a brilliant example. Most of the people who read this book have a presence on either one or both social media sites, hence we can imagine the situation and we can see why "the advertisement model of yore" is not the answer to today's more complex situation any longer. Opposite to only 25 years ago when running ads on TV or in newspapers was one sure path to success today we have more opportunities hence that old system isn't working any longer.
The book features absolutely fascinating examples.
On p. 32 Eyal lays out that today many investors want to know "Are you building a vitamin or a painkiller?" implying, though a "great vitamin" will have many fans and followers who swear by it there will be others who don't care about living healthy; in contrast, everybody who has pains needs a painkiller whether they like it or not.
Eyal makes the reader go through the exercise of pondering if today's hottest consumer technology companies (FB, Twitter, Instagram etc.) offer vitamins or painkillers. Indeed, though at first it looks as if all of them offer vitamins there are already enough "addicted" people who need "social media site painkillers" to vent, to reaffirm their own worth and so on...
It is this interesting and fascinating thinking which I believe to be valuable to all people regardless of whether they are entrepreneurs who want to sell something, or people who work in a steady employment.
These days we never know how things are going, hence adding this riveting perspective to one's thinking can only be extremely beneficial.
I also appreciated the detailed list of social media sites and apps mentioned throughout the book. I am one of the people Eyal mentions, people who have reservations to join just any site and build cross connections. Still, learning about Codeacademy, Mahalo, Fitocracy, Any.do, Tinder, and what makes visitors come back to them was extremely interesting,.
Recommended with a wholehearted – 5 stars. Now purchased; in fact, I am thinking about getting my two children copies of this book too.
Gisela Hausmann, author and Amazon review expert.
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.
The Hooked Model does an excellent job of outlining the psychology behind each step in the model and makes a strong case for the reason each step is taken and in the order they occur.
The model was abstract enough to be able to think about almost any product or project, yet provided enough examples to get a good understanding of how it can be applied. It might have been helpful to have more examples that weren't social networks (i.e. Pinterest, FB, Twitter), and maybe more examples of products that were tools or in other domains (i.e. Mint.com, Amazon, Mailbox), but overall it still did a great job of outlining the examples in the context of the chapter.
Lastly, the "Do This Now" section was fantastic and we even white boarded ideas after each chapter in order to get a better understanding of how our product might function. Picture included.
Overall, highly recommended for anyone designing or thinking about designing products and in particular software.