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Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard

Average Rating 4
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5 Star

(102)

4 Star

(65)

3 Star

(29)

2 Star

(15)

1 Star

(13)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

46 out of 46 people found this review helpful.

Switching "On" Your Emotional Intelligence

Switch is a compelling, story-driven narrative the Heaths use to bring together decades of counterintuitive research in psychology, sociology, and other fields to shed new light on how we can engage our emotions and reason to create real change. Books like this (Emotion...
Switch is a compelling, story-driven narrative the Heaths use to bring together decades of counterintuitive research in psychology, sociology, and other fields to shed new light on how we can engage our emotions and reason to create real change. Books like this (Emotional Intelligence 2.0 is another great one) provide practical "how-tos" that add so much value for me. It has a test that tells you how good you are at keeping The Rider in control.**

Switch is arranged around an analogy that illustrates the crux of emotional intelligence: when making a decision we are typically torn between our rational, logical reasons and our emotional, intuitive feelings. Chip and Dan ask us to imagine an Elephant and its Rider (the mahout). The Rider represents the rational and logical. Tell the Rider what to do, provide a good argument and the Rider will do it. The Elephant, on the other hand, represents our emotions, our gut response. If the Rider can direct the Elephant down a well-prepared path then there is a good chance for change. Otherwise, the massive elephant is bound to win.**

The book is structured into three sections, each one suggesting specific behaviors you can follow:**

I. Direct the Rider:
- Find the bright spots
- Script the critical moves
- Point to the destination**

II. Motivate the Elephant:
- Find the feeling
- Shrink the Change;
- Grow your people**

III. Shape the Path:
- Tweak the environment
- Build habits
- Rally the herd**

All in all, it's an effective and memorable illustration of emotional intelligence.

posted by Bob-Hayden on January 5, 2011

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Most Helpful Critical Review

3 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

Borring...

Not that great and not that useful to be honest. Theres a lot of false hope in the book

posted by zambigo on January 11, 2012

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  • Posted January 5, 2011

    I Also Recommend:

    Switching "On" Your Emotional Intelligence

    Switch is a compelling, story-driven narrative the Heaths use to bring together decades of counterintuitive research in psychology, sociology, and other fields to shed new light on how we can engage our emotions and reason to create real change. Books like this (Emotional Intelligence 2.0 is another great one) provide practical "how-tos" that add so much value for me. It has a test that tells you how good you are at keeping The Rider in control.**

    Switch is arranged around an analogy that illustrates the crux of emotional intelligence: when making a decision we are typically torn between our rational, logical reasons and our emotional, intuitive feelings. Chip and Dan ask us to imagine an Elephant and its Rider (the mahout). The Rider represents the rational and logical. Tell the Rider what to do, provide a good argument and the Rider will do it. The Elephant, on the other hand, represents our emotions, our gut response. If the Rider can direct the Elephant down a well-prepared path then there is a good chance for change. Otherwise, the massive elephant is bound to win.**

    The book is structured into three sections, each one suggesting specific behaviors you can follow:**

    I. Direct the Rider:
    - Find the bright spots
    - Script the critical moves
    - Point to the destination**

    II. Motivate the Elephant:
    - Find the feeling
    - Shrink the Change;
    - Grow your people**

    III. Shape the Path:
    - Tweak the environment
    - Build habits
    - Rally the herd**

    All in all, it's an effective and memorable illustration of emotional intelligence.

    46 out of 46 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted February 16, 2010

    A must have tool for all managers and business owners

    For the last five months I have been working on growing my people managing skills. While at a leadership conference I heard a very inspiring quote from Dave Ramsey, "The problem with your business, is yourself." As Vice President of a family business and the eventual person to ultimately take over someday. I realized I need to be much better at everything that I can be.

    This lead me to reading several books on personal development and leadership. The latest book I have read is Switch by Chip Heath & Dan Heath. I have never found a better way of look at and dealing with "making change" happen with any sort of success. From the opening chapter, I felt like I had opened my eyes for the first time to the world of successful change.

    I spent nearly 11 years working for a large retail chain. In that time we went through many different kinds of change. Some changes were good and easy, others were a total and complete failure. They even tried using great ideas from other great authors, but didn't engage "The Rider, The Elephant and The Path" properly, which lead to the typical corporate change.

    This idea of "The Rider, The Elephant and The Path" is such a logical approach to change that it seems crazy to even attempt any change without this approach. The only problem is, we never realize we are doing this when we have successful change and we don't realize that the reason change failed is because we didn't use this approach. Having now read this book, each time I need to implement change of any kind I will be using "The Rider, The Elephant and The Path."

    This is a must read for any manager, business owner, HR Department head, CEO, Board Chairman, or any leader of any kind. Marriage and Family Councilors can really benefit from this book as well. Parents and spouses can better their relationships with their spouses and their kids, by better understanding how to incorporate changes in their households.

    Chip & Dan Heath have written another winner here. I really enjoyed the Clinic sections that really helped in understanding how to use this ides to manage the process of changing. I plan to buy several more of these to give to people struggling with change, or just trying to become better leaders who have to deal with change from time to time. Thanks Chip & Dan, you have saved me a lot of headaches to come. Keep the great work coming.

    12 out of 21 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 16, 2010

    Who Wants to Change?

    Enjoyed? No. Loved? Yes! Have been sharing it with friends for days and find myself analyzing situations from a new perspective.

    Was looking at it from three perspectives- a desire for personal change, a desire as a professional counselor to help others change, and a desire as an educator to help organizations change. Found answers for all three.

    Most notable to me was the dominant mood of optimism throughout the book with respect to the fact that change is possible. Too often the "rider" side of us takes over and we reason our way out of change, especially when we think that change will be more painful than the current situation.

    The Heaths dispel that notion with their innumerable real life examples of change which should serve as a motivation to the "elephant" side of all of us. They accurately point out that we make changes regularly and if we would use those as a guide, we would be able to make more changes. Unfortunately, we tend to dwell upon the changes that were not accomplished and think change is impossible.

    Their 3 step approach provides a simple, but useful, framework to bringing about change.

    Three key elements I have already used are the idea of removing barriers to change; recognizing that the middle of change may never look like what we thought it would look like; and that the path from hope to confidence is a u-shaped path that includes hardship, toil, and frustration before the insight comes that will give us confidence.
    (I used that the U-shaped graph with my college English class in talking about writing a research paper.)

    An excellent read with examples that can transfer to many fields.

    Can't wait for their next one.

    Highly recommend

    7 out of 13 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 16, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Phenomenal book

    I was a big fan of the Heath brothers previous book, Made to Stick, so I was compelled to read this one...and it did not disappoint. The book clearly talks about how humans deal with change and how to break resistance to change, using real life examples of people and orgnazations that made difficult changes through the correct approach. Highly, highly reommended.

    4 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 24, 2010

    Informative, Helpful, and Entertaining

    I really enjoyed reading this book on change. In many ways it opened my eyes to things I could do now to help my staff and myself impliment and change policies and procedures in my office.

    The language of the book was simple, straight forward and the examples where real life and relavant to todays work place and society as a whole.

    Finished the book in just a few days, I never felt bogged down by excessive wording or irrevalant information.

    I would recommend this book to anyone who wonders why they have a difficult time changing, anyone someone who hates change, or someone who needs to help others change (like management, or a school teacher etc).

    After implementing only one idea in my office my production and staff moral have gone up 30% in just the last month. Amazing!

    4 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 11, 2012

    Borring...

    Not that great and not that useful to be honest. Theres a lot of false hope in the book

    3 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted April 1, 2010

    Great Book on Change

    Just like "Made to Stick" this is a great read. The book is well organized and even tough you may think that after reading the first pages you already know everything they have to tell you, they keep working on the main ideas so you have a frame work and examples on how to change and help people change the easy way. Of course change is not that easy but with this new vision and the insight that they provide certainly the modern manager or professional will have tools and a methodology to make it happen.

    3 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 13, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Switch: Change for the Average Person and Leaders

    I'm quite interested in the change process, but I'm worn out with the onslaught of change procedure manuals that focus on process and not people. Switch's focus is on people and how to help, motivate, and encourage them (us) through the change and it's (often perceived) barriers. It's not about callous manipulation and sterile, mechanistic change protocols. In fact Switch is an acknowledgement that our hearts, minds, and situations all play significant roles in how we approach and embrace/reject change. Brothers Heath in Switch "argue that successful changes share a common pattern. They require the leader to do three things at once.Direct the Rider, Motivate the Elephant, and Shape the Path." The Heath brothers don't take themselves too seriously and they are realistic about the framework they've created.

    "We created this framework to be useful for people who don't have scads of authority or resources.As helpful as we hope this framework will be to you, we're well aware, and you should be too, that this framework is no panacea."

    I absolutely appreciate the practical simplicity of those two sentences. In fact, I'm pretty sure the pages in that section of the first chapter sold me on the rest of the book.

    The Heath's conversational writing style and engaging storytelling provide fertile ground for their explanations and takeaway learnings. They're both educators, which adds extra credibility and perspective for me. They know a good word picture/example/metaphor/story when they steal it. Okay, they really don't steal the stuff they use in the book; they give credit where it's due. For their framework they have taken an analogy used by University of Virginia psychologist, Jonathan Haidt, of an elephant and it's rider.

    The essence of the rider, elephant, and path analogy-pattern-framework comes down to this: Direct the Rider -our rational side. "What looks like resistance is often a lack of clarity. So provide crystal-clear direction. Motivate the Elephant -our emotional side. "What looks like laziness (or reluctance -my addition here) is often exhaustion.engage people's emotional sides." Shape the Path -our situations. "What looks like a people problem is often a situation problem. When you shape the Path, you make change more likely, no matter what's happening with the Rider and the Elephant.

    Throughout the book, the Heath's use surprising and entertaining stories to illustrate and clarify their Rider/Elephant/Path analogy. They are amazing, funny, poignant, incredible and sometimes jaw-dropping. Each story effective reinforces the sub-elements of the framework. Switch will provoke and entertain, stimulate and inspire, and reframe and refocus (note the section on SMART goals in chapter four, especially). I know it sounds a little like a commercial, but leaders in any capacity will find benefit in these pages. The takeaways at the end of the book with the Problem-Advice format add an additional dimension to the book and reinforce the lessons in the book.

    Switch has a wealth of resources for anyone wanting to keep people at the forefront of any change (small or large). I'm interested to see how those in the educational community respond as they read the book and incorporate it into their own change initiatives, knowing it is not an all-inclusive manual about top-down control. Here, the Heath's caution us, "Big problems are rarely solved with commensurately big solutions."

    3 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 19, 2010

    Fun Book with applicable techniques for change

    I read this book in two days(release on 2-16 finished it 2-18)- The real life stories and change techniques are really compelling and doable. This book provides people of all walks of life the tools to change and grow individual's mindsets, behaviors and habits. The psychological studies that the author write about focus on how individual s behaviors and habits can be changed; if we learn how to Direct the rational self, motivate the emotional self and show each them the right path to change.. Fun Book.

    3 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 10, 2012

    Good read. Too many examples to remember.

    Too many examples to remember and put to good use.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 7, 2012

    If you are facing change, in your job, an organization, or perso

    If you are facing change, in your job, an organization, or personal, you will find lots of help in this book. The Heath brothers tell compelling stories of change, then explain what make them work. The simple, concrete image of the Rider, the Elephant, and the Path will help you create change in your life and others.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 14, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Change doesn't just happen...

    Thought provoking and refreshing. It's not a miracle mechanical formula but natural review of why people are willing to change and how it can be motivated. This book has real and practical advice and will come back on my re-read list more than once.

    1 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 12, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Food for Thought

    I really liked this book. I ended up highlighting some sections for future reference. Gave me a new perspective.

    1 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 17, 2010

    Short Cut to Success

    Those of us responsible for managing change in our organizations, or in our own lives, are often overwhelmed by the number of variables involved. Is this that problem? Is that the problem? Are both factors the problem? Are multiple factors part of the problem?

    In the midst of this muddle come Chip and Dan Heath, to offer three straightforward guidelines:

    Direct the Rider (Reasons, Direct the Rational Side of our Actions)
    Motivate the Elephant (Passions, Motivate the Emotional Side of our Actions)
    Shape the Path (Remove Impediments to Making the Change)

    When I first read the book, my immediate reaction was, "Too simple. Won't work." But the beauty of the Heaths' approach is its simplicity. Simply (no pun intended) approach every situation demanding change by asking yourself their three questions:

    What can I do to direct the rider . . . where may a lack of clarity be the issue?
    What can I do to motivate the elephant . . . have I linked the goal to key passions?
    What can I do to shape the path . . . what are the impediments to achieving change?

    I've gone from skeptic to believer. Change still can't be brought about magically, and there are no true short cuts to success. But the Heaths' book comes as close as you'll find, if looking for a way to organize your approach.

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 16, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Great Business Read!

    This was a fantastic book. I grabbed an advance copy in the breakroom one day at the bookstore and ended up devouring it in just three days. I really appreciated the accessible and easy-to-understand format the authors used. It seems like they've done their homework. Also, the stories are very interesting and are very good examples in conjunction with the subject matter. I learned a lot from this book. Not only is it a good business book, I'd recommend it for anyone [and the authors do too] who is trying to make any changes at all, whether in a large enterprise, a small non-profit, or just within yourself. Definitly pick up a copy. Looking forward to reading their other book now too.

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 28, 2014

    Awesome

    This book is so good you try it out

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 15, 2012

    Enjoyed this read.

    Enjoyed this read.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 5, 2012

    Worth the read!

    A way of thinking about change that I never considered before. I love the stories and examples given in the book. These are definitely suggestions that can be applied to all types of situations.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 15, 2012

    Cool

    Awsome

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 9, 2012

    Great book

    This is one of the best non-fiction books I have read.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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