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Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products Hardcover – Illustrated, November 4, 2014
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"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
To learn more or to get in touch with Nir, visit nirandfar.com
- Publisher : Portfolio; Illustrated edition (November 4, 2014)
- Language: : English
- Hardcover : 256 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1591847788
- ISBN-13 : 978-1591847786
- Item Weight : 12.8 ounces
- Dimensions : 5.74 x 0.89 x 8.56 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #13,614 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
"A timely novel highlighting the worth and delicate nature of Nature itself." -Delia Owens Learn more
Top reviews from the United States
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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.
The reason I gave this 3 stars is most of what he says is available, for free already, on his site. It's not necessarily laid out as explicitly, but between his articles, weekly email, and podcast, you can get a lot of the same information and many of the same examples. It's a fast and easy read at about 200 pages with images inflating the page total. If you can get this on sale for $5, buy it. You'll certainly get your money's worth.
Top reviews from other countries
Mincing no words, this book is really about messing with your head (the new age fad of companies like facebook, twitter, instagram, pinterest, and amazon/google as well). The central idea is to play mind games and keep you addicted to services offered by these companies (free ofcourse) and basically raise/tend/ream you in this walled garden keeping you captive (without your acknowledged consent). I recall reading several moons ago how some of the people who were founders of companies of making products have now called time and fear what they have unleashed.
Classical marketing has used tools but they never breached the realm of manufacturing consent without your express approval. The ideas presented in print and TV were subtle. What products offered by the said companies are full on invasion of your privacy and your mind. The level to which these companies understand you (and what makes you tick!) is mind boggling.
My opinion said (which aligns with the central premise of the book), I am only first couple chapters through and will come update this review in due course.
I however read it as a consumer, who is becoming very mindful of how much tech I consume. So rather than read it as a 'how to' guide, I read it as a 'what to look out for' guide to make sure I use the internet productively.
It didn't disappoint. It was full of data, yet managed to be a very easy read.
The author also spent enough time, for me, discussing the ethics of persuasion for me not to be too concerned that this book will be used for nefarious reasons (though I am sure bad people will be able to use it to create addictive tech).
Either way it's important for the wider world to know these things
Plus he goes into some of the BJ Fogg material about behaviour and technology, which I think is handy.
Recommend? Yes, to a point. But I think it’s worth reading against some of this stuff too, perhaps balance with a bit of Jaron Lanier or Adam Greenfield or Carl DiSalvo? I reckon that’s the ticket.
Eyal explains how products are addictive, with a simple four-step model:
- Trigger -What internal trigger is the product addressing or what external trigger gets the user to the product?
- Action – What is the simplest behaviour in anticipation of reward?
- Reward – Is the reward fulfilling, yet leaves the user wanting more?
- Investment – What ‘bit of work’ is done to increase the likelihood of returning?
For each stage of the model, there is an explanation of the science behind with some real-world examples of how these are implemented in products we all know.
The great news is that the science is simply explained, and not too academic – and at the end of the chapters there is a list of key takeaways coupled with some practical actions you can take to help the design of your product.
Later in the book, there is a chapter that deals with the ethical concerns of building an addictive product and an excellent case study of how to apply the theory in a real-world situation.
Hooked is concise enough that it can be read in a couple of days, but comprehensive enough that you can walk away with a clear understanding of how products become addictive, and how you can design products that people cannot put down.
I’d highly recommend Hooked to anyone that is looking to increase customer engagement with their product.
Billion pound valuations have been drummed up for companies such as Whatsapp, Snapchat and Instagram without taking a penny, because these apps were to become so heavily engrained into peoples lives. Attention comes first, monetisation second. These wild valuations come from the ability these apps have to make consumers use them everyday, all the time, with minimal conscious prompting. The book helps to establish the process apps go through to get to this habit forming status, following a ‘trigger’, ‘action’, ‘reward’, ‘investment’. It takes all four to create a habit forming product and have a longevity to success.
The book describes the reward elements that drive our actions. The needs of the self, the tribe, and the hunt. It puts many everyday things into perspective and gave me a greater understanding us to why we act as we do. I found this aspect particularly eye opening.
Overall I found this book extremely useful, and look forward to referencing it in the future. Highly recommend.