Monday, March 18, 2013

Change anything: The new science of personal success

Change anything: The new science of personal success
By Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, David Maxfield, Ron McMillan, and Al Switzler

Book review by Richard L. Weaver II, Ph.D.

I have to admit that I checked out before I wrote this review of Change Anything. At this time (08-20-11), there are 43 reviews and when averaged together, they average five stars out of five. This is important because, for me, it means that a number of people are finding this book useful (or that the authors have lots of family members and friends!). Admittedly, some complain that it’s a bit dry, and others complain that there is no real "science" involved, but overall, the reviews are outstanding.

The reason I checked out first is that I am not looking to change anything at the current time: I do not need to lose weight; I am financially fit; I have no addictions, and I am not looking for any change in my relationships. That simply means that I am not certain that the ideas for change are valid; however, when you look at the positive reviews and the number of people who have found the ideas here valuable, useful, or practical, it indicates the authors have effectively hit on the right message, useful and productive suggestions, and a technique that works.

As I have said in reviewing a number of other books — like those on how to communicate effectively — I feel that any book that makes (or has the potential of making) a positive contribution to our well being or a successful life or whatever, should be heralded and revered. Those who need help in various areas should be able to find it, and I love (being a writer myself) supporting the book publishing industry.

Here, then is my assessment of this book. 1) It is extremely well-written. 2) The "Notes" section looks very strong. 3) It has a terrific index. 4) The examples used throughout are useful and engaging. 5) The ideas are practical, straightforward, well-explained, and useful. There is no doubt that this is a "how-to-do-it" book.

Although the authors offer a number of valuable tools for change (saying that willpower alone is not sufficient) — 1. Love what you hate, or come to terms with pleasure and pain. 2. Do what you can or build the necessary skills that can spur change. 3. and 4. Turn accomplices into friends or get other people into the act of change.5. Invert the Economy or use incentives, and, thus, manipulate the benefits of change. 6. Control your space or use the environment to help the change process — it still comes down to whether or not people are willing to make the commitment — even a commitment to purchase this book!

As one reviewer at said, "The whole book is geared towards specific actions you can implement so that you aren't just relying on willpower alone. The methods recommended here are not quick-fix ideas, rather they are each a part of a larger process of taking deliberate steps to begin heading in the direction you really want to go."

I really enjoyed their discussion of the six sources of Influence in our lives. These are the six sources of influence that can be used to promote a healthy lifestyle:

1. personal motivation where you tap into your existing desires and wants

2. personal ability where you learn new skills to promote change

3. social motivation where you turn accomplices into friends that help you make positive changes

4. social ability where you use confederates to enable good choices

5. structural motivation where you directly link short-term rewards and punishments to your new habits

6. structural ability where you change your environment to one more likely to promote the change you want

People who want to change need to seek out this book. It has real value and potential, but everyone must realize something the authors acknowledge, too: Any change comes from within and requires commitment, work, time, and patience. And whether you like it or not, there is no magic formula, and most people who want change — in whatever area of life but especially in personal development (e.g., weight, exercise, diet, or sleep) — will not put forth the commitment, do the necessary work, take the time, or even be patient (they want instant results!).

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