Leadership Book Review

A person and their ability to make possibilities possible form leadership, but the only thing holding people back is themselves. In this 2010 book, Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard, authors Chip and Dan Heath really formed a good analogy to how people can overcome obstacles in their lives. These authors are both very qualified. Chip being a professor at Stanford’s Business School teaching about business strategies and organizations, and Dan working with Duke University’s CASE center. CASE is an institute that helps develop young entrepreneurs. Dan also founded Change Academy within CASE, which is a vigorous program to improve the impact on social leaders.

Reading the title, I was interested to see the authors’ view on how people can change themselves for the betterment of society. The Heath brothers really had a unique way to describe our brain and how we can overcome our fears to gain success. The Heaths use the analogy developed by Jonathan Haidt that our emotional side of ourselves is a giant elephant where our rational side is the human riding the elephant. The rider controls where we are going but if the elephant disagrees, the elephant will win every time. The Heaths say that if we direct the rider, motivate the elephant, and shape the path, we can bring out positive change.

These three little steps are short and direct, but powerful. The first step is to direct the rider. This step is very important because if you want to change something, you have to keep your head in the game. You, as the rider, have to maintain stability otherwise you are just guiding your elephant in figure eights. To guide your elephant, you need to have a vision and ambition to be able to move forward. This may be a hard step to take, but as long as you persevere and have determination then you are setting yourself up right for the next two steps.

For our next step, we have to motivate the elephants within you. Elephants are big and strong, but their soft spot is fear. Our emotions act the same way! If people control their emotions, then we know that no one can break us down. In order to motivate our elephants, we have to be in tiptop mental shape. First off we find our feelings we are scared of and break them down in order to prove to ourselves that we can make a change. Once we are comfortable, we as leaders have to find a way to motivate other people’s elephants to see the same view as we do. Once we direct the rider and motivate the elephant, it brings us to our final step.

Our last step is to shape our path. This step is vital for everyone who wants to make a change. Shaping the path can be whatever you want because it is your world. You have to remind yourself of what you did through the last two steps and your final motive to make this final step a success. This final step is what separates the leaders of society to the followers.

This book really does send a powerful message to CMU leaders and any leaders at all. Switch gives me an easy, but moving way to look at my life and what I want to do with it. It really gives me advice of how to turn my passions to action in order to create a positive atmosphere. I will do my best to follow the three steps of how to change something.

I would definitely recommend this book to my peers because of the use and application of it. It is a book that inspires me to fulfill what I believe I have to do. In any circumstances, I do honestly believe that this book could inspire any ordinary person to push outside their comfort zones to turn their visions of life into a reality. The best part of the book is that it is so general that it can be used in almost any circumstances.

Now that I have read this book, I really think that I have found a successful way to motivate myself to further my education. I’m sure that these steps will work for anybody. I know now to direct my mind to push myself towards my goals. I will motivate my emotions to realize that I can do anything I want because I am a powerful elephant. I will shape my path ahead of me to understand all of the endless possibilities that society and I will create. Anyone can make anything happen, it is just whether or not your mind is up for the challenge.