From the great brothers who’ve also brought us Made to Stick, comes Switch by Chip & Dan Heath. A book about how to make a lasting change. A change in your customers, employees or fellow countrymen. It’s a wonderful read, full of examples and actionable as can be. Here is a short summary, followed by a few personal implementation ideas.


The book uses the following analogy. You are a rider (rational) who is guiding an elephant (emotional) along a path (environment). It’s a great way of looking at the world and in line with other writings from Wait But Why and others (and makes me also think about Thinking Fast and Slow).

Direct the Rider

  1. Follow the bright spots: Investigate what’s working and clone it
  2. Script the critical moves: Don’t think big picture, think in terms of specific behaviours.
  3. Point to the destination: Change is easier when you know where you’re going and why it’s worth it.

Motivate the Elephant

  1. Find the feeling: Knowing something isn’t enough to cause change. Make people feel something.
  2. Shrink the change: Break down the change until it no longer spooks the Elephant.
  3. Grow your people: Cultivate a sense of identity and instil the growth mindset.

Shape the Path

  1. Tweak the environment: When the situation changes, the behaviour changes. So change the situation.
  2. Build habits: When behaviour is habitual, it’s “free” – it doesn’t tax the Rider. Look for ways to encourage habits.
  3. Rally the herd: Behaviour is contagious. Help it spread.