It feels a little strange writing this review because I read to book a few months ago, but I really wanted to share the message with you. So, here goes. Let’s see what I can remember.
This was a fun, entertaining and informative book that succeeds in providing an interesting framework to define/analyze/effect “change”. The reason I read it was because I was noticing that change was really the only constant in my life. Learning how to make changes in a more mindful way appealed to me.
I am the queen of making Resolutions (to stop biting my nails, get more organized, read more, etc.;) and more often than not I slip back into the same old routine. This book explains that there is a reason that people, organizations, and societies many times fall into this trap of trying to make a big change; and shortly thereafter fall back into the same old rut. Can’t we just change by trying harder? (If only!) According to Chip and Dan Heath, the authors of “Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard“, trying harder will never result in lasting change. (DRAT!) All that it will do is tire the “Rider.”
The authors explain that we have 2 parts of our brain, when we try to change, we have to use both the logical (the Rider) and the emotional (the Elephant) parts. The Rider is the part of us that decides to stop biting my nails, but the Elephant is that part of me that goes on a nibbling rampage when a stressful even occurs. The Elephant will always take the easiest and most familiar course, whereas the Rider tries to take the most logical course. The Rider (our self-control or will power) will only allow us to re-route the Elephant for a short while before tiring. In order to make an effective “Switch” we must appeal to emotion (the Elephant). However, when the Elephant encounters an obstacle he will try to revert to the comfortable way of doing things
This book helped me understand the psychology behind effective change. I’ve read lots of self-improvement books (duh!), books on success, goal-setting, and the like; but I’ve never read another one that brings the hope of effecting change down to such an individual level!
Now, if only I could stop bitting my nails!!!