PUBLISHED : Sunday, 28 March, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 28 March, 2010, 12:00am

by Chip Heath and Dan Heath
Arrow Books HK$148

An elephant and a rider guiding the beast. Who's in charge? The person holding the reins. Not necessarily so, write Chip and Dan Heath. In Switch, they contend that humans have a rational brain (the rider, who plans) and an emotional counterpart (the elephant, which loves familiarity). If there's a dispute about direction, the rider will lose to the elephant. Our minds make change difficult: we want to leap out of bed early to exercise but we also want a few extra minutes of warmth. One solution would be to give the rider clear directions and the elephant motivation. Change can also come about if you find 'bright spots'. The authors cite an American sent to Vietnam to alleviate malnutrition who discovered some children in poor families were healthier than others not because they ate more but because they ate more frequently; the malnourished children couldn't cope with two big meals a day. So he had villagers cook communally to relay the message. Switch's examples are uplifting but its ideas simplistic. Anyone who actually reads to the end should be primed for success if nothing else by showing determination.




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