mini book review – “Switch”

“Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard” by Chip Heath and Dan Heath is very interesting and highly informative.

This fascinating book is a compelling narrative to bring together decades of counterintuitive research in psychology, sociology, and other fields to shed new light on how we can make successful changes – both at personal level and at institutional level.

When making a decision we are typically torn between our rational, logical reasons and our emotional, intuitive feelings. It is like a person riding an elephant. The Rider represents rational thinking while the Elephant represents emotions. On the surface the rider is in control, but when they truly disagree on where to go, usually the elephant wins.

Therefore, in order to make successful changes and head towards the goal, we need to 1) direct the rider; 2) motivate the elephant; and 3) shape the path. For each of these three areas, the authors provided clear actionable analysis and many entertaining examples. Highly Recommend!!!


Happy New Year!

I can’t believe it is the last day of 2013 already. It is a good time to reflect on this past year and think about what I plan to accomplish in 2014.

I read 41 books in 2013. The top ones are listed below, for which I might write separate mini reviews later. Let me know if you are interested in seeing the full list. 🙂

  • Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard by Chip Heath and Dan Heath
  • The Five Love Languages: The Secret to Love That Lasts by Gary Chapman
  • The Honest Truth about Dishonesty by Dan Ariely
  • Tesla: The Wizard of Electricity by David J. Kent
  • Inferno by Dan Brown
  • The Inextinguishable Symphony: A True Story of Music and Love in Nazi Germany by Martin Goldsmith
  • Great Souls: Six Who Changed the Century by David Aikman
  • Bridge of Sighs by Richard Russo

Compared to 2012, I didn’t travel as much this year – only visited one new country Jamaica. But I did check off two National Parks from my list – Great Smoky Mountains and Mammoth Cave. I also  made a trip back to China in July for reunions with both middle school friends and college friends, some of whom I haven’t met for nearly 20 years. It was good fun. Counting in a few business trips to New York and London, all in all I spent 58 nights away from home this year.

In 2014, I plan to do what my blog tagline shows:

  • Read – likely 40-50 books, hopefully more good ones
  • Travel – to the southern hemisphere, visit a few more new countries
  • Play – more exercises (maybe lose 5 lbs), less time spent on games
  • Feel – God’s love, natural beauty, other people’s needs
  • Learn – professional expertise, Bible, Chinese brush painting

Happy New Year, everyone! Looking forward to a wonderful 2014!