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Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard Hardcover – February 16, 2010

4.6 out of 5 stars 1,626 ratings

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Chip Heath and Dan Heath on Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard

"Change is hard." "People hate change." Those were two of the most common quotes we heard when we began to study change.

But it occurred to us that if people hate change, they have a funny way of showing it. Every iPhone sold serves as counter-evidence. So does every text message sent, every corporate merger finalized, every aluminum can recycled. And we haven’t even mentioned the biggest changes: Getting married. Having kids. (If people hate change, then having a kid is an awfully dumb decision.)

It puzzled us--why do some huge changes, like marriage, come joyously, while some trivial changes, like submitting an expense report on time, meet fierce resistance?

We found the answer in the research of some brilliant psychologists who’d discovered that people have two separate “systems” in their brains—a rational system and an emotional system. The rational system is a thoughtful, logical planner. The emotional system is, well, emotional—and impulsive and instinctual.

When these two systems are in alignment, change can come quickly and easily (as when a dreamy-eyed couple gets married). When they’re not, change can be grueling (as anyone who has struggled with a diet can attest).

In those situations where change is hard, is it possible to align the two systems? Is it possible to overcome our internal "schizophrenia" about change? We believe it is.

In our research, we studied people trying to make difficult changes: People fighting to lose weight and keep it off. Managers trying to overhaul an entrenched bureaucracy. Activists combatting seemingly intractable problems such as child malnutrition. They succeeded--and, to our surprise, we found striking similarities in the strategies they used. They seemed to share a similar game plan. We wanted, in Switch, to make that game plan available to everyone, in hopes that we could show people how to make the hard changes in life a little bit easier. --Chip and Dan Heath

(Photo © Amy Surdacki)


From Publishers Weekly

The Heath brothers (coauthors of Made to Stick) address motivating employees, family members, and ourselves in their analysis of why we too often fear change. Change is not inherently frightening, but our ability to alter our habits can be complicated by the disjunction between our rational and irrational minds: the self that wants to be swimsuit-season ready and the self that acquiesces to another slice of cake anyway. The trick is to find the balance between our powerful drives and our reason. The authors' lessons are backed up by anecdotes that deal with such things as new methods used to reform abusive parents, the revitalization of a dying South Dakota town, and the rebranding of megastore Target. Through these lively examples, the Heaths speak energetically and encouragingly on how to modify our behaviors and businesses. This clever discussion is an entertaining and educational must-read for executives and for ordinary citizens looking to get out of a rut. (Mar.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5
1,626 customer ratings
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Top international reviews

@Timothy_Hughes
5.0 out of 5 stars A hugely useful and relevant book for today's ever change business world.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on March 3, 2020
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ANON
5.0 out of 5 stars WOW Really inspirational & has many implications on how to live your life
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on July 18, 2013
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Stephen Green
5.0 out of 5 stars Switched on
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on August 15, 2013
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Pete
4.0 out of 5 stars A good guide to change, especially for large organisations
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on February 9, 2011
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SarahB
5.0 out of 5 stars 1small step can bring about a great leat
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on February 14, 2015
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3.0 out of 5 stars Good read
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on March 1, 2020
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md3347
5.0 out of 5 stars Change, rethought.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on January 20, 2013
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William Cohen
5.0 out of 5 stars Engaging and very useful
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on October 25, 2011
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John
5.0 out of 5 stars Made me think differently about change
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on December 15, 2010
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Nicholas
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book, a quick and easy read
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on April 3, 2011
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Bozhena Kelestyn
5.0 out of 5 stars You will learn a lot!
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on August 26, 2018
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Jem_777
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book!
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on July 5, 2013
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Sara
5.0 out of 5 stars Practical and Inspiring
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on December 14, 2014
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rufusnz
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant book - amongst a bunch of similar books this one stands out as real
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on March 8, 2014
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Geotzen
5.0 out of 5 stars Useful lecture
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on December 21, 2019
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