For the month of May I’m recommending the book Switch: How to Change Things when Change is Hard written by Chip and Dan Heath. We all know that one constant in our lives is change. Switch asks the following question: Why is it so hard to make lasting changes in our companies, in our communities, and in our own lives? The primary obstacle, say the Heath brothers, is a conflict that’s built into our brains. Psychologists have discovered that our minds are ruled by two different systems—the rational mind and the emotional mind—that compete for control. Switch shows that successful changes follow a pattern you can use to make the changes that matter to you, whether your interest is in changing the world or changing your diet.
We all know that change is hard. It’s unsettling, it’s time-consuming, and all too often we give up at the first sign of a setback. But why do we insist on seeing the obstacles rather than the goal? This is the question that bestselling authors Chip and Dan Heath tackle in their compelling and insightful book. They argue that we need only understand how our minds function in order to unlock shortcuts to switches in behaviour. For example, the rational mind wants a great beach body; the emotional mind wants that Oreo cookie. The rational mind wants to change something at work; the emotional mind loves the comfort of the existing routine. This tension can doom a change effort—but if it is overcome, change can come quickly.
In this compelling, story-driven narrative, the Heaths bring together decades of counterintuitive research in psychology, sociology, and other fields to shed new light on how we can affect transformative change. They also share remarkable real-life turnarounds that prove that simple methods can yield truly extraordinary results.
Chip Heath is a professor at Stanford Graduate School of Business, teaching courses on business strategy and organizations. Chip has consulted with clients ranging from Google and Gap to The Nature Conservancy and the American Heart Association.
Dan Heath is a Senior Fellow at Duke University’s CASE center, which supports social entrepreneurs. At CASE, he founded the Change Academy, a program designed to boost the impact of social sector leaders. Graduating from Harvard with an MBA, Dan worked as a researcher and case writer for Harvard Business School.
Chip and Dan have co-authored three successful business books: Decisive: How to Make Better Decisions in Life and Work, Switch: How to Change Things When Change is Hard, and Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die which spent two years on the Business Week bestseller list and was an Amazon Top 10 Business Book.
Switch: How to Change Things when Change is Hard can be purchased HERE.