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Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard

3.99 of 5 stars 3.99  ·  rating details  ·  18,569 ratings  ·  1,510 reviews
Why is it so hard to make lasting changes in our companies, in our communities, and in our own lives?

The primary obstacle is a conflict that’s built into our brains, say Chip and Dan Heath, authors of the critically acclaimed bestsellerMade to Stick. Psychologists have discovered that our minds are ruled by two different systems—the rational mind and the emotional mind—tha
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Audio CD, 294 pages
Published February 16th 2010 by Random House Audio (first published 2010)
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104th out of 134 books — 30 voters


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Kerrilee
I'll be interested to see if this book is still relevant in 10 years, as the influence of books like this often come and go. In the meantime, though, my brain just won't stop incorporating elements from it into how I'm thinking about current events in my life.
I was already inclined to believe the validity of the structure that the Heaths outline because I've practiced some of it already without using the same words--most especially Shaping the Path, as I give a lot of thought to the environment
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Trevor
I really quite enjoyed this book. It was one of those books that had me talking to people about it before I finish reading it. In fact, if any of my M Teach friends are reading this – you probably want to get your hands on a copy of it, as it has some really interesting things to say about how to motivate students.

I’ve read another of their books – Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die – which was also particularly good and based on an idea in Gladwell’s book The Tipping Point. I
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Taka
Another must read from the Heath Brothers-

This is another invaluable book packed with extremely useful information. True to the theme of their earlier book, they help make all the concepts stick by hammering them in over and over: Direct the Rider, Motivate the Elephant, and Shape the Path.

For any change to occur, you must have a good reason, a good motivation, and a good environment. The rider is the rational side of you, the elephant, your emotional side, and the path, your environment.

To dire
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Stephen
This is an excellent book on how to enact change and the mechanics behind that. I strongly recommend this book to anyone who wants to change something in their personal life or within their working environment.

I was able to get a good understanding of the interplay and motivation of the two competing brain types which Chip coined the Rider ( Rational ) and the Elephant ( Emotional ). He then breaks it down to these sections.

Direct the Rider
- Follow the bright spots
- Script the Critical Moves
-
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Reid
I understand the perspective of the haters: this book is broad and over-simplifies a really complex topic. I understand, haters, but I don't agree. I love the Heaths' writing precisely because they keep things simple. Their premise that inspiring change requires you to speak to both the brain's logical, rational side as well as its emotional side isn't headline news, but they present it using a simple metaphor (Rider, Elephant, and Path) that makes it easy to grasp and (more important) easy to r ...more
Kerry
This is an excellent (and timely, considering all the New Year resolutions) book! If you want to save time, you can just read the first and last chapters, as those in the middle are just examples (case studies) to illustrate their points. Here is the cliff-note version:

The Three Surprising Truths about Change and What You Can Do about Them:

-- Direct the Rider (our analytical side): What looks like resistance is often a lack of clarity. Provide crystal-clear direction (instead of telling people t
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Rachael

EMOTIONAL SELF=ELEPHANT- It wants things now, easy, It is usually the "emotional self" that usually causes us to fail, because it usually doesn't want to make the short term sacrifices for long term payoffs. It can also have enormous strengths like love compassion and sympathy.

RATIONAL SELF=RIDER It analyzes and decides what to do. The rider is to direct the elephant where to go. If the rider can't get the elephant to go where it wants. (You overeat, or sleep in) the elephant went against the r
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Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance
Let me sum this book up: To change behavior, you must do three things. One, you must change the person’s behavior. Two and three, you must change the person’s hearts and minds.

The authors use the analogy of an Elephant and his Rider. The Rider is your logical brain. The Elephant is your heart. To get the elephant to move, you must engage both the Rider and the Elephant. So, to put it another way, to change behavior, you must Direct the Rider (provide clear direction), Motivate the Elephant (eng
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Jay Connor
May 29, 2010 Jay Connor rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: jcrubicon@gmail.com
Finally a book about change that starts with the end in mind. In most of the prior extensive literature of this area from self-help to management categories, authors and gurus extoll the nobility of the effort rather than the achievement of the result. It is also nice to see recommendations based on research rather than the ego-stroking when-I-was-in-charge polemics of many past CEOs of now marginally successful corporations (e.g., "Execution").

The authors pulled from studies conducted over deca
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Cindy Frewen Wuellner
I bought this book last April 2010, skimmed it, set it aside. looked like another management book, not transformative (along the lines of say Good to Great). Yesterday on the twitter chat I host, a couple of people said it changed their lives. I thought that about Howard Gardners books on change. My mental models change. Picking it back up and reading it cover to cover in the last 24 hours, I can see why they related to it. the Heaths find a pattern for changing behavior that is simple, sensible ...more
Nick
Switch is like the Heath brothers earlier book, Made to Stick, in that the ideas in it are not new, just better expressed. Chip and Dan are great storytellers and they have made change (i.e. behavioral change) simple and easy by reducing it to 3 steps: Direct the Rider (provide clear direction for the rational mind), Motivate the Elephant (engage people's emotions) and Shape the Path (make the change easier by changing the situation in key ways). Similarly, their first book took the sophisticate ...more
David
Let me be clear: I HATE most self-helpy/businessy books. They're usually simplistic/obvious, preachy, vague, or "jargony". Switch is none of those things. Sure, you'll be introduced to some jargon, but it's just three terms (Rider, Elephant, and Shaping the Path), you'll learn them within minutes, and they'll be used consistently throughout the rest of the book.
I learned some things about human nature that surprised me. At first, the results of some of the cited studies seemed to run counter to
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Angie
Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard by Chip Heath and Dan Heath

I found this book to be a revelation. It’s smart and delivers on its promise. By the end of the book, I had a much clearer perspective on to make change. One of the reasons that I like this book so much is that it focuses on the systems in place – not the people. Too many books focuses on the people and start from the assumption that there is something wrong with them: they are lazy or they are dumb. These assumptions l
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Mike
Of all the pop-psychology books I've read recently, this is easily my favorite. Now, when someone says, "This author is so insightful and intelligent," you can be pretty sure what they really mean is, "I agree with everything he says," and I admit there is a certain amount of that in my review. However, I did pick up some ideas, plus it's always nice to reinforce your world view.

Many, many years ago (decades actually) I was visiting a relative. The door to the garage was the main entrance to the
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Shauna
I read this because I had to choose one title from an initially daunting list of "leadership"-related titles in preparation for an institute I attended recently. Otherwise, I never would have picked it up (I never read inspirational/leadership-type nonfiction). From here, I'll just quote verbatim the review I gave of this to the other attendees:
"Switch"...is all about how to make a change. Big, little, personal, institutional, societal…any kind of change in any context can be understood by the o
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Andy
Of the three books I've read by the Heaths, Switch is the weakest. The strength of their method is to present solid info with illustrative stories but it seems like they didn't do their homework on this one. The overall message of the book about habit/person/environment is valid but nothing new. The plus value the authors can add is from the stories they choose, so they need to get those right.

For example, the story they probably bring up the most is about a campaign to get people to switch to
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Lora
I've been thinking a lot the last few years about the uncertain times we live in. As an accidental technologist, I've frequently been asked (or pushed, even) to be a change agent within large organizations and small. I wouldn't say I've always been successful, no matter how many late nights I put in, or innovative ideas I thought up. Not even big budgets or talented folks have been a guarantee of success. I've found myself asking, often,
in these transitional times, how do we get over uncertainty
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Loy Machedo
Loy Machedo’s Book Review – Switch by Chip Heath & Dan Heath

How many of you want to change:
Your food habits?
Your lifestyle?
Your destructive behaviors?
An addiction?

Well, if that is the case, then you must read the book Switch.

Chip & Dan (sounds more like the Disney’s characters Chip & Dale – remember?) have brilliantly outlined in a very easy to understand and provocative manner, their theory on what would work, why it would work and also provided compelling examples to show you insta
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Matt Kelley
This is a quick read and one that's sure to be very helpful to just about every reader -- the clear change strategies the Heaths discuss here can apply to both organizations and individuals and there are a few takeaways that I'll remember for a long time. I'm a big fan of 'Made to Stick,' and I look at stickiness as one the Heaths' specialties. They tell stories and give tips that you can remember and act upon. They also summarize piles of social science studies that end up proving great fodder ...more
T. Edmund
In my mind there are two forms of non-fiction books on the market. The gimicky and the genuine. One glance at the average rating of Switch will tell you that this piece is the real deal.

In a nutshell, switch is basically a thesis in how to effect positive change. The authors target three must hit areas, the rider, the elephant and the path. The rider is the rational part of the human individual, cold analytical and intellegent the rider can direct our behaviour, but only when 'the elephant' or t
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Mit Lewsob
Direct the Rider
- Follow the bright spots - Investigate what's working and clone it. (Jerry Sternin in Vietnam, solutions-focused therapy)
- Script the critical moves – Don’t think big picture, think in terms of specific behaviors. (1% milk, four rules at the Brazilian railroad)
- Point to the destination – Change is easier when you know where you’re going and why it’s worth it. (“You’ll be third graders soon,” “No dry holes” at BP)

Motivate the Elephant
- Find the Feeling – Knowing something isn’t
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David
The authors address a simple paradox that is both obvious but somewhat illusive: we all want to improve and we know that improvement requires change, so why is it so hard to do? To answer this, the authors do some good analysis and show examples. At the end of the book, I felt I had some good tools to help me in my quest for change and my power to change others, but it takes more than a few tools to fix an engine. Still, tools are good things. The tools introduced here that stood out to me inclu ...more
Sarah
Funny without being smarmy, encouraging without being preachy, data-driven without being dry. This was an easy, enjoyable read that really spoke to me as I try to navigate some potential changes in my own life.

Chip and Dan Heath make the argument that substantial changes--in business, personal life, or relationships--are sustainable only when the person making the changes is properly motivated. The rational and emotional minds must be in agreement about the benefit of the change, the environment
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Book
Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard by Chip Heath, Dan Heath

“Switch" is the fascinating book about change. This is a book to help you change things at the individual, organizational, and societal level. The Heath brothers, Chip and Dan make use of recent psychological case studies and an engaging writing style that not only entertains but provide readers with interesting insights into the psychology of change. This intriguing 320-page book is broken out by the following three secti
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Laura
I've read a lot of books about change. This one I'd recommend to ANYONE who is trying to make changes in their home, work, or personal life. This is a powerful framework that is easy to use (rare!) With so many amazing case studies and great research to back up the process (and give you lots of ideas on how to actually use the principle ideas), this is one of those rare gems that will help you out across the many areas/roles/jobs in your life. The simple metaphor given at the beginning of the bo ...more
CS
This book goes on the keeper shelf and stays there.

Very entertaining to read, SWITCH details why change can be so difficult for individuals, companies and cultures - and how change can be affected without bloodshed or force.

It's a book that is immediately applicable to my life, as I have a Rider whose usual rules aren't working, an Elephant that is increasingly stubborn and fearful, and a Path full of obstacles (most of them put there by the Elephant.) While the terms are not the most elegant
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David
Chip and Dan Heath's Switch is propaganda manual for the social activist. If your job, like mine, is to present people with information in order to change their behavior, then this is a worthwhile book. It reads quickly, and while most of the advice is obvious in hindsight, it is organized in a way that, in its sum, is enlightening.

Habits are notoriously difficult to change — whether it is what we eat, how we procrastinate, how we speak in public, our how we respond to a particular pet peeve. I
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Gene Babon
No sophomore slump for The Heath Brothers. Made to Stick was a five-star debut in 2007. Switch also earns top honors as one of the best business books of 2010.

"What looks like resistance is often lack of clarity."

"What looks like laziness if often exhaustion."

"What looks like a people problem is often a situation problem."

With these three observations the Heaths set out to present a framework for anyone in a leadership role attempting to influence change in others. The framework is presented wit
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Jerilyn Marler
Purely by accident I read "Switch" immediately after reading Jonathan Haidt's "The Happiness Hypothesis." Chip Heath refers to Haidt's book and even borrows Haidt's metaphor of the Rider and Elephant to describe human behavior. It was like graduating with honors and then diving into an advanced class on the topic of change.

I read "Switch" on a cross-country flight. The only time I regret having an electronic reader is when all devices have to be off during take-off and landings. I was aching to
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Carrie
“Switch” is a nonfiction book in which the Heath brothers lay out, step by step, the way to implement successful change in your personal life, your home, your workplace, your church, your community, or your society. The book is 10% “advice” and 90% real life stories/situations that exemplify the steps of the process. The Heath brothers believe that there are three elements that impact each and every change effort – the Rider (the rational side – the analyzing, planning, long-term side), the Elep ...more
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FULL Creative Lib...: Switch 1 3 Mar 05, 2014 02:08PM  
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  • The Dip: A Little Book That Teaches You When to Quit (and When to Stick)
  • The Innovator's DNA: Mastering the Five Skills of Disruptive Innovators
  • Leading Change
  • Yes!: 50 Scientifically Proven Ways to Be Persuasive
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  • The Myths of Innovation
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Chip Heath is the professor of Organizational Behavior in the Graduate School of Business at Stanford University.
He received his B.S. degree in Industrial Engineering from Texas A&M University and his Ph.D. in Psychology from Stanford.

He co-wrote a book titled Switch How to Change Things When Change Is Hard with his brother Dan Heath.
More about Chip Heath...
Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die Decisive: How to Make Better Choices in Life and Work The Myth of the Garage: And Other Minor Surprises Made to Stick (Chapter 4: Credible): Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die Made to Stick (Epilogue): Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die

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“Knowledge does not change behavior,” he said. “We have all encountered crazy shrinks and obese doctors and divorced marriage counselors.” 3 likes
“(We cut back on expenses today to yield a better balance sheet next year. We avoid ice cream today for a better body next year.)” 0 likes
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