Jacob Catalano's Reviews > Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard

Switch by Chip Heath
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's review
Jun 06, 12

“Switch: How to Change Things When Change is Hard” The Change Catalyst You Have been Looking For

Switch by Dan and Chip Heath is a book that provides a simple, easy to follow framework for anyone at the forefront of a change initiative. The book provides many high quality anecdotes, some real, and some hypothetical, in which their change framework could be applied. However, since the book is all about change, it may have the misfortune to be categorized as a “self-help” book, traditionally a very weak genre. I urge you to not view Switch as a self-help book, but rather a book that will give you the ability to create any kind of change. It could be a change initiative as severe as helping your brother who has an extreme gambling issue, as tedious as trying to get the senior management at your company realize the mistakes do they are making, or as rudimentary as trying to get your child to work harder in school; these are all changes that Switch can help achieve.
I would recommend this book for any individual with the courage or motivation to create change. Moreover, Dan and Chip use language that is very understandable and straight forward, which affords all readers with the opportunity to extract the brilliant insights Switch has to offer. And once you do read Switch, I assure you, you will not be let down. The book lives up to its bold title; Switch: How to Change Things When Change is Hard.
The majority of the book is written as an extended metaphor: Dan and Chip ask you to envision a person riding an elephant. The person represents the logical, rational side of human thought process; the elephant represents the emotional side of people. The final part of the metaphor is the shape of the path both the rider and elephant are on; you are going to want that path to be shaped into the easiest route possible. This metaphor paints a vivid and effective picture for the reader. As one can imagine and as Dan and Chip explain, no matter how much the rider tugs on the rains of the elephant, the elephant is ultimately going to go wherever it likes. Therefore, many courses of actions must be taken to get the rider and the elephant traveling in the same direction. It is these courses of action which Dan and Chip thoroughly explain that fills the 320 pages of Switch. They outline nine main courses of action which should be taken that will allow for change to occur. For each action, they thoroughly explain the rationale behind why it would be effective, and then supplement it with many real life examples of its effectiveness.
It is through these tremendous stories and rational that Dan and Chip’s outstanding research ability and intellect is shown. Every story seems as if it was tailor made for book. Furthermore, they are all memorable. It is evident that they have applied their framework from their last book; Made to Stick, which was all about making things memorable. For me, this just adds to their credibility.
If you have any doubt as to whether or not you should purchase this book, do yourself a favor and just buy it. It empowers you to make educated decisions when you trying to change anything and all the while, it’s a fascinating book filled with incredible content. Buy the book.

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