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“Switch”—Book review

This is a great book.


I don’t have an application in mind yet, but one will come. Written by the authors of Made to Stick (which I loved—I use the principles over and over), Switch is equally as powerful.

The subtitle is “How to change things when change is hard.” Using the sticky analogy of a rider (our rational sides) on an elephant (our emotional sides) on a path (our circumstances), Chip Heath and Dan Heath break down how each element can contribute to positive change.

In anything. Work. Family. Church. Personal lives.

Although the Heaths don’t write specifically from a Christian perspective, I find their overall principles compatible with Christ’s teachings: Point to the destination; Build habits; Find the feeling; Grow your people; Rally the herd; etc.

They give interesting, real-life examples of successful changes that groups and individuals have accomplished through these principles.

I learned three surprises about change from chapter 1:

  • What looks like a people problem is often a situation problem.
  • What looks like laziness is often exhaustion.
  • What looks like resistance is often a lack of clarity.

As I continued to read, faces and situations popped into my mind that fit the scenarios of riders overanalyzing themselves into paralysis; of elephants looking for a quick payoff instead of a long-term reward; of paths being so automatic that no one looks to the right or left.

But I could also see solutions in how they suggest to “Make the Switch” by

  1. Directing the Rider
  2. Motivating the Elephant
  3. Shaping the path

Just read it for yourself, whether you struggle with accepting change or whether you become frustrated when change doesn’t happen.

While true inward transformation only comes through the sanctifying work of Jesus Christ, he expects us to follow his guidelines if we want to live pure and holy lives for him. This book won’t give you those—only one Book will, but it can point you to some useful helps along the way.

* * *

The Heaths offer free resources on their website for both Switch and Made to Stick.

Read chapter 1.


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