Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Book Review - Switch: How To Change When Change Is Hard by Chip Heath & Dan Heath

I don't read a lot of nonfiction, because when I think of popular nonfiction, I usually think Subtitles: How Secondary Titles Inflate a Sense of Importance. Yawn! So when I checked out Switch: How To Change Things When Change Is Hard from work, it sat on my nightstand for weeks. I was going to take it back to work unread, but when I noticed that a list of people had placed holds on it, I thought hey, I must have something good here and selfishly hoarded it for myself. Half a dozen library patrons were right: I loved this book. Thank you, Chip Heath and Dan Heath!

Switch takes a rational, well-researched, clever survey of what makes change difficult and the techniques that can help individuals and organizations overcome these challenges. Sometimes the rational mind knows change is necessary, but the person lacks direction or doesn't know where to start. Other times, the emotional part of one's mind balks because change is frightening, or seems unnecessary, or feels too big. And sometimes, the problem is environmental. Seriously, arranging furniture can improve your performance review at work. How can I not love this book?!

I can't take credit for that joke, nope.
Stories and psychological studies with quantifiable data support each point. The Heaths describe an accountant who won't work well with others, a charity trying to improve results of a canned food drive, an environmental group trying to rally interest in an endangered species, a couple trying to improve their communication, a school principal trying to reduce misbehavior and distractions at her school, and more. The variety ensures that Switch will appeal to a wider audience than a cheesy self-help book or boring business solutions manual.

Switch avoids obnoxiousness by not saying "By George, YOU can change too!" Gag. Instead, it presents a variety of case studies, shows you what works, and lets you draw your own conclusions. The techniques are versatile and can be used with colleagues, family, significant others, or even on yourself to finally get your butt to the gym. Or, you can just enjoy the information and stories. But I employed one of the techniques before I even finished the book, and I'm already pleased with the results. Just sayin'.




1 comment:

  1. I was wondering whether you would be happy to put up a link in my monthly series called “Books You Love”. The idea is for people to link up posts about a book they loved – it doesn’t have to be one they just posted about. It could be an old fave. I am hoping we will end up with a nice collection of books that can go on our reading lists. Here is the link Books You Loved June Edition

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