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Change Anything: The New Science of Personal Success

3.96  ·  Rating details ·  3,402 ratings  ·  245 reviews
A stunning new approach to how individuals can not only change their lives for the better in the workplace, but also their lives away from the office, including (but not limited to) finding ways to improve one's working relationship with others, one's overall health, outlook on life, and so on.

For example, why is it that 95% of all diet attempts fail? Why do New Year's Re
Hardcover, 262 pages
Published April 11th 2011 by Grand Central Publishing (first published January 1st 2011)
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Apr 17, 2011 rated it really liked it
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Read it with the Influencer--

In this book, the authors of The Influencer apply the model of changing human behavior to changing YOUR own behavior, from kicking a bad habit like smoking to losing weight.

Their argument is basically this: if you know the six sources of influence and align them to your advantage, you can pretty much change anything about yourself.

And their model is an incredibly powerful tool—you're basically missing out if you don't know them.

In short, the six sources are:

1) Person
Mar 20, 2014 rated it liked it
As far as books I've had to read for work, this one wasn't bad. I've read worse (namely From Good to Great) but I've also read better (Hello, Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard)

This one aims at helping you overcome habits you want to break, to change attitudes that keep bringing you down, and to make better decisions when planning your life. Well, in general, at least.

I liked the anecdotes more than the advice, but that's usually the case. I am better at gaining information from st
May 28, 2011 rated it really liked it
This is a great book, really, but requires you to be serious beforehand. It begins with breaking down the myth that willpower and determination are the sole criteria for one's success and behavior. There are invisible (unless you try to see) forces influencing every action you take and thereby designing your future without you knowing. It sounds creepy, almost as if some devil, say Satan, is planning your future and you have non control over it. But that's the core point of this book - you CAN ...more
Jul 08, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The tone of this book is a Gee Whiz! corporate sales pitch for the authors' consulting company. I find this extraordinarily annoying. Also the "new science" isn't new at all; it's just the public health model of behavior change, where you take into account not just the specific behavior but also the whole person and their physical/social environment. The "research" by the "Change Anything labs" is stuff like marketing surveys; their website does not point to any published science backing up thei ...more
Mar 16, 2012 rated it really liked it
As the subtitle suggests, Change Anything is about applying what we know from science to changing things we're unhappy with in life. The case studies pointed to emphasize certain areas of life that people commonly want to change--getting ahead at work, diet/fitness/weight loss, substance abuse, personal and professional relationships--but the real idea is to get to the underlying forces that help us to change, well, anything. Although willpower and building it are a part of the book, willpower i ...more
Aug 11, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: not-owned, 2012, reviewed
A stunning new approach to how individuals can not only change their lives for the better in the workplace, but also their lives away from the office, including (but not limited to) finding ways to improve one’s working relationship with others, one’s overall health, outlook on life, and so on.

For example, why is it that 95% of all diet attempts fail? Why do New Year’s Resolutions last no more than a few days? Why can’t people with good intentions seem to make consistent and positive st
Dec 06, 2015 added it
I listened to this book a while ago and it may be worth a quick skim over.

What I've found with a lot of these self-help around change (like Charles Duhigg's book on Habits) is that the good ones have a lot of good examples, entertaining stories, and a very readable structure.

And there's certainly a lot of value to them. They're good at enumerating all of the factors involved in habit change.

Having made some big changes in my own life, I find that what's been really helpful for me is to journal a
May 29, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I am one of those people who hold books as sacred. I do not write in books, I do not bend pages. ...yet, I have completely marked up and mutilated this book! Change Anything has changed my life. It has simple, practical, easy to understand tools - backed by science, that help you create new habits and get rid of old ones. Right away I was able to break a habit I have had for 10 years or more and start to replace it with a much better one. Once I get this one into routine, I plan on going back an ...more
Sep 17, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
This is Nonfiction and the title pretty much sums this one up. The author gave some very practical advice on how to change practically anything in your life, no matter how big or small the issue is. I liked this practical approach. It was all so logical, basic, but logical.

The one thing I look forward to, the absolute most, when reading this type of nonfiction is the science. I love hearing about the studies and how the author uses that information to support his message. So 3.5 stars for this
Sinet Sem
Aug 08, 2020 rated it liked it
If you already read the power of habit by Charles Duhigg, this book doesn’t offer much to learn. The good thing about this book is that it provides practical ideas to change a bad habit or to adopt a good habit.
Jan 18, 2013 rated it really liked it
Patterson, et al., identify Six Sources of Influence that work together to motivate our behaviors and, therefore, need to be adjusted when we want to make a change. They arrange their Six Sources in a matrix with three categories (Personal, Social, and Structural) with two facets each (Motivation and Ability). Using all six of the sources, rather than just one or two, greatly improves your chance of success. And the authors go in to great detail on specific tactics for each. For example, under S ...more
I appreciated the counsel in Change Anything and have already used it to good effect in my weight loss efforts. The book is an extension of concepts and ideas first encountered in their book Crucial Confrontations, building on and applying the six source framework of motivation and ability. It also incorporates ideas found in Influencer, such as the roles of critical moments and vital behaviors, the need for positive deviance research, and so forth. However, where Influencer deals with large sca ...more
Jun 28, 2011 rated it really liked it
If you're interested in personal change, I can't imagine you'd find any clearer, more action-oriented resource than this one. This book's unique take: not one, but six different categories of approach must be tailored to your own personal situation and temperament, then employed, monitored, and adjusted if you want the best chance at making any lasting change.

The authors draw on years of research in the field of personal change, in addition to their own current studies, to offer many ideas for
Aug 25, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook
Change Anything provided methods to accomplish personal change. While similar to many other self-help books out there, the pointers felt more rigorously defined and backed-up. Part of that feeling, I think, is that it seemed like the authors mined studies on addiction to come up with their personal change strategies. I dislike repeating things in a book, and this one repeated, of all things, a web site and password multiple times. It also repeated the name of the author's consulting company too ...more
Aug 18, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction, self-help
Have you always wanted to know how to change your cat into a leopard? What about changing your tyre? What about changing a washer? Well, ‘Change Anything’ (2012) by Kerry Patterson dismally fails to answer these questions. However, for changing things about yourself the book is pretty solid.

The book describes six things that should be used to change divided into motivation and ability that comes from personal things, social angles and structural changes. Personal motivation is about using your d
Dec 17, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
For the audio book, I didn't care for the author's casual tone. It was probably to connect to the average joe who is theoretically picking up this self help book, but it rubbed me the wrong way. This book is somewhat simplistic; it can be summed up in one phrase: apply the scientific method to your problems. They do share a couple of insights, i.e. our culture leads us to believe change is only a function of will power. And, like the movie "It's a Wonderful Life", we are all connected to the peo ...more
This is a book with useful information about changing, and affirms that willpower alone doesn't lead to change; Otherwise it wouldn't be so difficult. Two of the best pieces of advice involve distancing one's self from the factors that lead to negative accountability and "inverting your economy", where you provide incentives both for successes and in consequence of failures.

This book, especially in the audio format, reads like an extensive infomercial for VitalSmarts, the company that owns the w
Bryan Tanner
Jan 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Want to see if you'll like this book? Here's an excellent 20-minute book summary given by one of the authors.

My favorite message from this book is the necessary mental shift from being a victim of my own behavior (e.g., going to bed late, and sleeping in) to becoming a non-judgmental self-scientist. When we fail to do (or not to do) a certain behavior, don't pretend like it didn't happen, or the opposite—stew about it all day. Instead, "turn a bad day into good data.
Mar 01, 2011 rated it really liked it
A very good read that teaches the steps and systems to put in place for lasting change in any area. The first half of the book sets up the systems--giving the research behind why the steps they work and the second half takes common areas people want to change--lose weight, stop an addiction, improve a stalled career, get out of debt, improve a relationship and shows how the steps were applied. I found it very useful for my health coaching and myself. I'll be reviewing it in more detail on my blo ...more
May 05, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction, 2011
I like books that give concrete action steps. This started out with some fascinating experiments and hooked me right away when they said it wasn't about willpower. I found myself nodding as they described the 6 drivers of change. I liked how at the end they provide case studies for hot topics in change (career, weight, addiction, debt).

My big complaint and the reason this got 3 vs. 4 stars is that the authors kept referring you to their website for forms, and more tips. While this kept the book
Sandy Parsons
Jun 08, 2012 rated it liked it
I really like the idea of using default bias and loss aversion to your advantage. Mainly because I'd really like to know that one day I might put my unfathomable depths of laziness to good use. ...more
Aug 24, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Great book. If the teachings of this book are applied well then most of the problems can be handled well. It is not going to be easy but the benefits of using this books principles are far reaching.
Jul 13, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Self-help-y but I liked this book. Easily actionable tips and accessible.
Yuriy Stasyuk
Aug 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
Read this at the recommendation of a friend. Liked some things about it, but it was a little too "self-helpy" for my liking. That said, the book does provide a robust scientific base for most of its suggestions. The personal stories, though helpful to many, seemed a little distracting to me, but might be incredibly helpful to someone dealing with each specific issue

The general heuristic that is recommended is to identify a series of motivations and learn corresponding abilities.

1) Personal moti
Jan 05, 2021 rated it really liked it
It happens to many of us, often. We pit our will power against some behavior or condition we want to change. Lose 5 pounds, for example. And, as the cynics often point out, we drop that gym membership in February, six weeks into the new year, and never look back. So how can we change this sorry picture? The authors say we need to marshal six forces against the power of inertia: 1) personal motivation (connect with your bigger goals in order to combat transitory desires); 2) personal ability (dev ...more
Alfred Timothy Lotho
This book claims that our inability to achieve our goals is not so much because of our lack of willpower but more so because of 6 sources of influence namely personal motivation, personal ability, social motivation, social ability, structural motivation and structural ability. This book does a good illustration of this by giving real life examples and actionable tasks. One big problem I found though is that the book's real target readers might not be it's actual readers. I believe that people wh ...more
May 31, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Lifechanging stuff here. Patterson seems to be tinkering with his original Influencer material to find more effective ways of delivering the message and helping people change seemingly intractable destructuve behaviors.

Patterson explains how very few people are able to change their behavior through willpower alone. While most of us are trying individual techniques one at a time, in almost a scientific method, Patterson looks at successful "changers" and finds that they usually employ a handful o
Jan 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
Do you want to lose weight, break an addiction, get control of your finances or improve your relationships? There is hope. READ this book as soon as possible.
To change a behavior we need more than willpower, we need integrate a six pronged approach. This isn't another motivational rah-rah book. The authors explain why the techniques work and how to use them.
In fact, if you take the time to continually study what works for you and what doesn’t, then, if you make changes to your plan to suit your
Jul 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
Do you want to lose weight, break an addiction, get control of your finances or improve your relationships? There is hope. READ this book as soon as possible.
To change a behavior we need more than willpower, we need integrate a six pronged approach. This isn't another motivational rah-rah book. The authors explain why the techniques work and how to use them.
In fact, if you take the time to continually study what works for you and what doesn’t, then, if you make changes to your plan to suit your
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Kerry is a prolific writer who has coauthored numerous articles and award-winning training programs. Kerry taught at Brigham Young University’s Marriott School of Management and then cofounded Interact Performance Systems, where he worked for ten years as vice president of research and development. Kerry is coauthor of the New York Times bestsellers Change Anything, Crucial Conversations, Crucial ...more

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60 likes · 27 comments
“3. Learn the Will Skill. Many people believe that fitness and exercise are all about willpower—whether you have it or not. Will is important, but people forget that willpower is a skill with its own rules and tricks to practice. For example, recent research shows that if people can distract their attention for just a few minutes, they can suppress negative urges and make better decisions.8 Sharman W. used this idea to help her avoid cheating on her diet. She listed the ten reasons she wanted to lose weight and created the following rule: She could cheat on her diet, but only after reading her list and calling her sister. This extra step introduced a delay and brought in social support from her sister. Other strategies our Changers use include taking short walks, repeating poems they have memorized, and drinking a glass of water. The key is to be aware of the impulse and to focus on something different until the impulse goes away.” 1 likes
“Change Tactic: Bad habits are almost always a social disease—if those around us model and encourage them, we’ll almost always fall prey.” 1 likes
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