In Switch: How to Change Things When Change is Hard, Chip and Dan Heath discuss the problems that arise when your rational mind and emotional mind conflict with one another.
The Heath brothers employ an analogy used by University of Virginia psychologist Jonathan Haight – our emotional side is an Elephant and our rational side is its Rider. The Rider seems to be in control, holding the reins of the Elephant. But because the Rider is so much smaller than the Elephant, if they get into a disagreement, the Elephant always wins. The Rider – our rational mind – will always lose to our emotional Elephant due to a mismatch in size. If order to make a change, you must appeal to both the Elephant and the Rider. To make it easier to make a switch, the Heaths use a three-part framework for the book: direct the Rider, motivate the Elephant and shape the path.
They then share stories of people who have “united both minds and achieved dramatic results.” The Heath brothers mix stories with psychology, sociology and other fields of research to help illustrate a pattern that can be used to initiate change in yourself or your company as a whole. They talk about how to make a switch and the obstacles you must overcome, as well as how to keep the switch as a long-term change.
About Chip Heath:
Chip Heath is the Thrive Foundation of Youth Professor of Organizational Behavior in the Graduate School of Business at Stanford University.
Chip is also a columnist for Fast Company magazine, and he has spoken and consulted on the topic of “making ideas stick” with organizations such as Nike, the Nature Conservancy, Microsoft, Ideo and the American Heart Association.
A few years back Chip designed a course, now a popular elective at Stanford, that asked whether it would be possible to use the principles of naturally sticky ideas to design messages that would be more effective. That course, How to Make Ideas Stick, has now been taught to hundreds of students including managers, teachers, doctors, journalists, venture capitalists, product designers and film producers.
Chip’s research has appeared in the Journal of Organizational Behavior, Quarterly Journal of Economics, Cognitive Psychology, Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Journal of Consumer Behavior, Strategic Management Journal, Psychological Science and the Journal of Risk and Uncertainty.
About Dan Heath:
Dan Heath is a Senior Fellow at Duke University’s CASE center, which supports social entrepreneurs. Heath is a columnist for Fast Company magazine, and he has taught and consulted with organizations such as Microsoft, Philips, Vanguard, Macy’s, USAID and the American Heart Association.
Previously, Dan worked as a researcher and case writer for Harvard Business School, co-authoring 10 case studies on entrepreneurial ventures, and later served as a Consultant to the Policy Programs of the Aspen Institute. In 1997, Dan co-founded an innovative publishing company called Thinkwell, which continues to produce a radically reinvented line of college textbooks.