29 July 2011

"Switch" by Chip Heath and Dan Heath

This one is all about fostering an environment of change. The authors compare the mind to an Elephant (our emotional side) and a Rider (our logical side) with changing being the path we are walking down. They talk about ways to motivate the Elephant (who can get through almost anything if it wants to), directing the Rider (who can make good decisions, as long as choices are clearly identified) all while making sure the desired path of change is as clear as it can be.

Interesting tidbit: the authors cite a study by physician Donald Redelmeier nad psychologist Eldar Shafir:

A doctor is reviews the medical records of a 67 year-old patient who is suffering from chronic hip pain. At this point, the man has tried every medication know and his regular doctor was forced to recommend hop replacement (a painful and, at the patient's age, a risky procedure that will entail a long recovery process). As the doctor is reviewing the medical records a new and promising drug is announced. The question is: should the doctor recommend the surgery or try the new drug. In this scenario, doctors 47% of doctors chose to try the new drug. Under a slightly different scenario, this time two drugs were introduced, only 28% of doctors opted for either drug. The authors attribute this dramatic change to the Rider being overwhelmed by the sudden additional options and so defaulted to the original choice of surgery without really considering its implications. An example of the Rider needing to have choices clearly marked.

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