Book Summary of “Switch — How to Change Things When is Hard” by Chip and Dan Heath

Pastor Matthew Best
4 min readJan 3, 2023

Often I try to write book reviews of books I have read. These encompass quotes from the book — sentences and sections that really caught my attention and insights the author had that I find interesting. There may also be things that I highlight that I want to engage in conversation with the author about — things that I’m not convinced about or I disagree with, but are worth highlighting.

But today, I wanted to do something a bit different — I wanted to do a summary of a book I read over the summer. Chip and Dan Heath write about change. I love change. It’s a topic that is so very needed. Here’s the thing, there isn’t a right way to do it because we’re dealing people and people generally are messy and complicated and don’t act rationally. And when it comes to change, there are people who will do irrational things just for spite. But then there are some wonderful people who will go out of there way to make change happen because they recognize that change needs to happen in order for the organization, business, relationship, life to go on and to thrive. That’s a beautiful thing. And so we ought to encourage these folks as much as possible — give them the tools they need and support them to make the changes they have to make to overcome the obstacles and people they will come across who will get in the way of make needed changes.

“Switch” was published in 2010 and it is still relevant today because change is just as hard today as it was 13 years ago — maybe even harder as it was then. Not because things are harder, but because often people are more difficult.

So to help out, I’ve created a summary of the book that I hope is helpful.

Here you go. Chip and Dan divide the book into three main sections. I added the last section as a summation of the conclusion. I hope this is helpful. I would still encourage you to get the book and read it. The stories and descriptions are very helpful.

Direct the Rider — the analytical, thinker, finder of problems, knowledge and information, left brain

  • The destination has to be crystal clear. A vivid picture from the near-term future that shows that could be possible. Have a gut-smacking goal that appeals to both head and heart.
  • Script the critical moves. This is about behavioral goals. Clarity dissolves resistance.
  • Find the bright spots so people

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Pastor Matthew Best

My name is Matthew Best. I’m an ELCA (Lutheran) pastor who attempts to translate church and churchy stuff into everyday language.