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book cover image and link to amazon

I picked up Switch because of how much I enjoyed Made to Stick. I was not disappointed. This book is all about how to change things when change is hard. The authors, Chip and Dan Heath, lay out a simple framework for making change easier. They use the analogy of a rider on an elephant to explain how to make change happen. The rider is the rational part of our brain, and the elephant is the emotional part. The rider can direct the elephant, but the elephant is much stronger and can easily overpower the rider.

This elephant and rider metaphor initially comes from The Happiness Hypothesis by Jonathan Haidt and is referenced in probably a dozen other books. It is primarily based on the research referenced by Daniel Kahneman in Thinking, Fast and Slow.

an origami elephant and rider

In Switch, the authors discuss some useful change concepts that I found helpful. For instance:

  • A situational problem can look like a people problem
  • An exhaustion problem can look like a laziness problem
  • A lack of clarity can look like resistance

They give good examples of how these things can manifest themselves and how to spot when you may have an issue like these.

They also provide good concepts like Shrink the Change or Grow Your People to help you make change easier.

Although I thought the book was helpful and I'll likely reference it in the future, it felt dry and a bit difficult to get through. I didn't feel that way about Made to Stick, so I'm not sure what the difference was. It may have just been the subject matter. Perhaps I'm simply not as interested in change as I am in communication.

switch image

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