This book, by Chip Heath and Dan Heath, was recommended to me by a United Methodist Bishop from East Asia. I think the line that hooked me was, “It’s the best book on change that I have ever read.” That was my motivation for reading it, and I will agree with him.
I used to say that people couldn’t be changed; they have to want to change. I now understand why that is wrong. People change without even realizing they are changing! This book takes a very involved process and reduces it to three fundamental concepts:
- The logical, reasoning side of us is like a person, a “Rider”, trying to dictate the direction of an “Elephant”.
- The “Elephant” is the emotional, feeling side in all of us. It is more powerful than the “Rider” and can wear down the “Rider” after time.
- Both the “Rider” and the “Elephant” need clear, simple directions to follow. They need a well-marked “Path”.
I love the instant practicality of the book. I highly recommend it for anyone who struggles with individual or group change. Thanks, Bishop!
My notes on this book can be downloaded in MS Word format from the blue “FILES box” in the left side-bar of this blog. Look for “Switch” as you scroll through the box.
Three sentences in the October 3, 2011 edition of Time magazine gave me reason to pause. They enlightened me to how some people think and where they place their hope.
First, there was a two-page advertisement by Dow Chemical Company which contained a sentence that made me gasp. I was stunned. It read, “Together, the elements of science and the human element can solve anything.”
Then, page twenty had a commentary by Lisa Randall who teaches Physics at Harvard. In 2007, she was voted by Time magazine as one of the one-hundred most influential people. Let me quote the two sentences that caught my attention, “Adherents who want to accept both religious influences on the world and scientific explanations for its workings are obliged to confront the chasm between tangible effects and unseen, imperceptible influences that is unbridgeable by logical thought. They have no choice but to admit the inconsistency – or simply overlook the contradiction.” I’ve read those sentences a few times, and here’s what I think she means. Religion and science are incompatible because science is logical and religion is not.
I don’t intend to argue about these two statements. I’m still reeling from them. I want to consider what this means for those who hold such beliefs, and what does this mean for me, someone who does not.