Why is it hard to lose weight? Well, if one of your very good friends is overweight, you are far more likely to become overweight. Want to start any new change at work? Then, you better understand herd mentality. This compelling book teaches us that the rational mind (the Rider) constantly jousts with the emotional mind (the Elephant) to make change (find a Path). Written in a light, entertaining, and immensely readable storytelling narrative—while drawing on a raft of sociological and psychological research that will astound and amuse readers—this is a book for all leaders. The simple bottom line for the authors (two smart brothers on faculty at Stanford and Duke respectively) is that in order to be successful change agents, we have to Direct the Rider, Motivate the Elephant, and Shape the Path. The authors present the struggle between these three elements. The Rider gets overwhelmed by data, so give him or her clear direction. What appears as pushback and resistance from Riders is simply that they’re confused and lack clarity. The Elephant wants instant gratification and has no patience for strategies or rational plans. So, give the Elephant a feeling or passion he can associate with the effort—otherwise the drudgery will turn the Elephant (and the Rider) into two exhausted hombres. Finally, the Path—what looks like a people problem is often not and is more of a situation problem. Consider what lines on a highway do for the Elephant in us all…keep us on the path and out of others’ paths.
This week I’ll be reviewing Switch in an in-depth review.