Yes, today is International Heath Brothers Day. I wanted to share both of these books at once. While MADE TO STICK is a bit-narrowly-focused-but-good, their latest effort, SWITCH: HOW TO CHANGE THINGS WHEN CHANGE IS HARD, could change your life. Seriously. If you want to change anything in your life or work, this book is for you. As an educator, I find it extremely relevant to my daily attempts to make things better.
The Heath brothers have applied principles from their previous book to great effect. In short, they teach nearly a dozen powerful strategies for how to make change by–wait for it–telling stories you won’t forget. My favorite is the one about finding “bright spots”: in 1990, charged with the task of eradicating malnutrition in Vietnam on a measly budget, Jerry Sternin decided not to focus on the numerous systemic problems but instead to find kids who weren’t starving and figure out how their mothers fed them. So he collected data (weighed and measured kids in rural villages), then interviewed the mothers. Turns out that instead of feeding their children two large meals a day, they fed them the same amount but with four smaller meals, and they added little bits of crab and shrimp to their gruel. He asked the mothers if they would be willing to teach other mothers how to do this, and they said yes. Then they agreed to share these practices with mothers in other villages. And so on. This is why we need to do more to share best practices in the field of education! But don’t get me started. Just read the book: you’ll see.