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Change or Die: The Three Keys to Change at Work and in Life

3.87  ·  Rating details ·  738 ratings  ·  110 reviews
"CHANGE OR DIE. What if you were given that choice? We're talking actual life and death now. Your own life and death. What if a well-informed, trusted authority figure said you had to make difficult and enduring changes in the way you think, feel, and act? If you didn't, your time would end soon—a lot sooner than it had to. Could you change when change mattered most?"

Hardcover, 256 pages
Published January 2nd 2007 by Harper Business (first published December 26th 2006)
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Average rating 3.87  · 
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 ·  738 ratings  ·  110 reviews

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Jan 18, 2011 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Annette by: Randy
Shelves: self-help
My husband took a LEAN class over the summer and his instructor recommended this book. He really likes it a lot and he says he does use this information at work. I decided to read it(actually I listened to the audio version) because I find the study of change fascinating.

The main point of the book is: most people will try to entice other people to change using the three F's: facts, force and fear. These usually don't work at least not for the long term. He suggests that what does work are the
Nov 06, 2014 rated it it was ok
This book brings up a couple of interesting questions. The one that is most interesting is this: why do people find it so hard to change their behaviors even when it's literally a matter of life and death? You'd think the possibility of DYING would be enough to get people to improve their diets or stop doing drugs or participating in dangerous activities, but it clearly isn't. The author suggests that negative reinforcements are not as powerful as positive reinforcements, which may be true, but ...more
Oct 25, 2011 rated it liked it
The book, while interesting, wasn't very instructive. Deutschman outlines his three key points for change, and spends the entire book bringing in real-life examples of how they have been applied. He doesn't really go into too much detail about the psychology of change, or realistic examples of how one can change the smaller things in one's life. For example, chapter on "Changing a Loved One" just summarized Bill Gates' relationship with his mother, and really failed to give any practical advice ...more
Chafic (Rello)
Apr 25, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
I'm quite torn about this book. Not for it's content or its message, but rather I should give it a rating of 3 or 4, since it fits exactly into a 3.5 for me.

I found the book quite enjoyable, mostly cause I'm a sucker for case studies and this was chalk full of them. It was informative and has a very good outline in assimilating change.
I think this is a definite must-read for those wanting to read more non-fiction, albeit the showy title.

Definitely keeps you thinking.

4.01 / 5
Libby Gill
Nov 05, 2012 rated it really liked it
One of my all-time favorite non-fiction books - Alan Deustchman's "Change or Die" - poses a question as compelling as any you're ever likely to hear. If you had to change your beliefs and behaviors or risk premature death, could you do it? You may think so, but the well-documented scientific research is betting against you. Nine to one against you, in fact. But there's hope as Deutschman details in this page-turner. Experts in a variety of fields including healthcare, criminal rehabilitation, ...more
Dec 28, 2012 rated it really liked it
Another 'barticle' -- an article that mushroomed into a book. The idea here is that you can change things you want to, like bad habits, or obesity or whatever, by doing three things: getting human support (relate), learning new habits (repeat) and by learning new ways of thinking (reframe). One is tempted to say that this tripartite solution merely defines change rather than making it possible by revealing deep secrets, but that's carping. If you do these three things, you can change the ...more
Jan 20, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This is a cleverly written but superficial long essay based on the premise that no one ever changes health behaviors, and so it's amazing that the author has found a few examples of successful behavior change programs. The main fallacy here is that people never change and no one knows how to get them to change. What about cigarette smoking, car crashes, etc. ? We have seen enormous progress in these areas; millions of lives have been saved. How did that happen? With population-level, not ...more
Jun 04, 2008 rated it really liked it
A Blueprint for Change Agents

Author Alan Deutchman writes powerfully about the phenomenon of personal change – both in our professional and “real” lives. He starts with the arresting premise that, even if faced with the stark choice of changing or dying, many people would slack off. Instead, he offers three factors for genuine change and case studies illustrating these lessons.

The case studies include
• A successful homeless/rehab shelter in San Francisco
• Dean Ornish’s diet and wellness work
Brad Lockey
Apr 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Change is integral to growth.
Do you ever wonder why you make a good change ... and then fall back into your old ways after a week? or a couple of days?? or 2 days???
Why is change so very difficult?
It's not enough to just acknowledge change and want to make change.
One must relate, repeat and reframe change that they wish to make - and therein is another important aspect of change - YOU must want and wish for change, or it will be a flash in the pan.

Favourite quote: "No matter how successful we
Jan 28, 2009 rated it liked it
This book was compelling, but I'd have liked it better if there had been fewer lengthy examples of groups and companies that had effected change and more concrete examples of individuals who had effected and maintained change in their lives. It's well worth reading though.
Oct 27, 2017 rated it it was ok
As a typical high-schooler/early undergrad attempting to finish writing assignments, I upheld the same level of academic integrity expected of most that age.
I latched on to curious ideas, Googled phrases related to them, chose whatever sources either fully backed up, or could be twisted in order to back up, my "original" idea, and fleshed out enough semi-relevant, yet rarely coherent rambling to fulfill the required word count.
Then I grew up a little bit.
Not that I started writing better
Apr 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The meat of this book is in the three case studies covering advanced heart disease patients, hardened criminals, & floundering ad agencies facing the rise of the Internet. The research says these people can't make real change, except it's proven they can, & extremely effectively at that. Alan Deutschman shows what particular experts have been doing for years to fly in the face of conventional understanding. And if a third-generation criminal addict can turn their life around permanently, ...more
Jul 01, 2017 rated it it was ok
I need to stop listening to business books in stints. I seem to remember a little bit about this book but it's mostly a blur. I read another business book at the same time and then listened to one at the same time and now the three have amalgamated themselves in my mind as a single work.
Oct 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Great book to push through any life change.
Alec Greenberg
Sep 08, 2018 rated it liked it
Pretty much just reified what I already knew to be true about the topic. But I could see it being useful to someone who needs an introduction to the subject material.
Great insights, evidence & advice
A helpful model for understanding why change is hard and alternate ways to approach change.
Rob Grover
Apr 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A must read for anyone in a leadership or counseling position
Jan 31, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
It was ok

Not super motivating. A lot of names used a little hard to follow. If you have a fear method to motivate this is a good change provoking book.
Oct 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
Always a good motivational book for me. His premise lights a fire under me, especially when I am eating poorly and procrastinating on my work!
Niels Philbert
Feb 17, 2018 rated it liked it
The premise and mindset is good - the execution is lacking in engagement. At least to me. I missed more varied examples and some more personality.
Jimmy Ferneyhough
Jan 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Interesting book with case studies & great information on how people make real change. Can’t recommend this book enough.

If you are looking to change.
Paul Ivans
Nov 15, 2019 rated it liked it
relate repeat reframe
Aug 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 1-audiobook
A lot of great information and very interesting.
Nov 22, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What made this an intriguing read were the Case Study examples given with each pillar of change (Relate/Reframe/Repeat)
Ashley Huo
Feb 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
It’s said that about 95% people can’t change themselves, but I want to be one of the 5%.
Three key points for change oneself: relate, repeat, and reframe.
Feb 14, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

Easy read. Interesting ideas. Great examples. I would recommend this book to those interested in getting some new ideas to facilitate self uImprovement.
Jeff Zell
May 04, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: life
Deutschman, Alan. Change or Die: The Three Keys to Change at Work and in Life. New York: Regan, 2007.

I first learned of this book in a seminar on financial stewardship at Gloria Dei Lutheran, South Bend, IN. The speaker talked about how difficult it is for both organizations and individuals to change ways of thinking and behavior. Even when change is absolutely essential to survival and thriving, people resist change.

Deutschman observes that when significant change does occur, it is because
Mar 02, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own, self-help, 2017-reads
This was a tough one to rate. I did not like it at all when I started it, but it grew on me. I find that his premise is narrow. He is so enamored by his idea of how change happens that he forces everything to fit into it. I actually felt that the Conclusion: Change and Thrive (the very last chapter) was the best of the whole book, followed by the section on Personal Change.
All in all, he writes well; and if nothing else, his book has inspired me to make some changes in my life without fitting
Oct 14, 2010 rated it really liked it
I find the topic of Change fascinating. There is a popular belief that change is impossible and that people are always going to be same. This isn't true at all, it may be challenging but change is possible. One of the reasons people can be so resilient to change is that once their brains become hard-wired to think or act a certain way it can take a long time to "re-wire" it to create a new habit. Sometimes it can be from being surrounded an environment that continually encourages that undesired ...more
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Alan Deutschman is currently writing "Walk the Walk," a book about leadership, which will be published in September 2009 by the Portfolio imprint at Penguin.

His blog about leadership is at:
“knowing how the mind works isn’t going to change how your mind works. Even” 2 likes
“The peer feedback she gives them is, “Look in the mirror. I’ve got to tell you, you are not what Hitler meant by a ‘master race.” 1 likes
More quotes…