Switch by Chip Heath and Dan Heath


Change is difficult for most people.  Lasting change is difficult for everyone.  It may be an internal desire to stop a bad habit or begin a good habit.  Maybe it’s a corporate initiative forced on you and it’s obvious to everyone that whoever made the decision didn’t fully realize the impact of that particular cost containment initiative.  Perhaps it’s the government disrupting your health care.  Whatever the reason for the change, Switch by the Heath Brothers addresses the issues surrounding change.

The recurring theme is of a Rider on an Elephant traveling down a Path.  The Rider represents the logical, analytical part of you.  He knows where he wants to go and why.  The Elephant is the emotional part of you who likes immediate gratification.  The Path is what we have to traverse to make the change work.  Our job is to help clear the Path by providing clear direction to both the Rider and the Elephant.

The premise is that self control is an exhaustible resource.  You can run out.  We’ve all experienced this.

Change is hard because it can lead to mental exhaustion.  In fact, when people spend mental energy adopting a new way of doing something, the ability to focus, think creatively and resist impulses is diminished.  Additionally, our resistance may be caused by a lack of clarity.  To push through the tough times, it’s important to remember when facing overwhelming amounts of information, our energy resources are low, and clarity provides the direction without the use of much energy.

If change requires effort, lasting change requires more effort.  Understanding the analogy of the Rider, Elephant and the Path will help you reframe how you view change.  The Heath brothers provide several examples to support their theory.  If you want to making lasting change in 2014, buy this book and read it before the end of this year.

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