Review: Switch – How to Change Things When Change is Hard
When it comes to business books, I have a bias toward writers who support their notions with research and evidence. I don’t have much time for authors like Arianna Huffington (Thrive) nor Tony Robbins (Money: Master the Game). I have even less time for celebrity coaches or athletes like Duke’s Mike Krzyewski (Lead with the Heart) or Venus Williams (Come to Win). There is nothing wrong with Huffington, Coach K, or Venus. Tony Robbins 1 is another story. They are just not my cup of tea. But, when I see a book by brothers Chip and Dan Heath I dial up Amazon Prime and order it.
Chip teaches at Stanford’s business school and Dan is a senior fellow at Duke’s Center for the Advancement of Social Entrepreneurship. Their latest book, Switch, How to Change Things, When Change is Hard, lays out a method for making change, whether it be a major social issue, a complex business problem, or at the personal level. What appeals to me is that the Heaths back up their points with research.
Take the opening story about movie goers who were served terribly stale popcorn. Some got their popcorn in huge containers (approximating an “above ground swimming pool”) while others received it in a much smaller container. The researchers were interested in which group would eat more. They got their answer in a quantitative fashion by measuring the containers before and after the movie. People with the large buckets ate 53 percent more popcorn than their counterparts. Want to make a personal change and lose a few pounds? Use smaller plates.
My point is that Switch is punctuated with easy to read stories about real research to support their model for making change. In a nutshell, their core premise resonates with what we teach in our sales education programs: change proceeds on two levels – the emotional and the rational. To create change, whether it be getting a prospect to buy from you or fighting malnutrition in Vietnam, you need to appeal to both the head and the heart.
That is the blog size version. If you are a reader looking to make any kind of change, I encourage you to read Switch in its entirety and apply its easy to understand, and research supported change framework. I have used it with a few clients with excellent results.
1 For a humorous first hand account of a Tony Robbins rally see Susan Cain’s “Live with Tony Robbins” in Quiet.
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