I re-read Hooked (Amazon link) because, as you may have seen, I am in the process of developing a physical product. It’s sort of an experiment, and you can check that out here. So, with that physical product experiment on my brain, I’ve been thinking about how to make something that people will be “hooked” by. The book is about forming habits, and how certain products can help people create new and positive habits in their lives. [Full Disclosure: As an affiliate, I receive compensation if you purchase through this link.]
The cool part about it is that Nir breaks down the science of habit-forming into a simple, easy to digest four-part formula. The fact that he was able to do that was really surprising to me, and I admire him for it. Nir even includes exercises at the end of each section with questions for the readers to ask themselves about their own product to determine whether or not it will be habit-forming.
In case you’re curious, here’s a condensed version of the four-part habit-forming formula:
- Trigger: The two types of triggers are: external and internal. Internal is what you want, which is the internal desire inside a person’s mind that prompts action. Think about when you see something that is beautiful, you’re inspired to take a picture, and compelled to share it on Instagram. That reaction, that process, is what we want.
- Action: The Action is when you make your thing compelling and easy for others to engage with it and use it.
- Reward: There are three different types of rewards: reward for the hunt, reward for the tribe, and reward for the self. Does your product (or whatever you create) reward on all three levels?
- Investment: When people use your product, you want them to be invested in using it. Dropbox is a good example. I wouldn’t consider getting rid of it because I have so much work saved there. You want to make sure that the person using your product is invested in using it.
Pretty neat, huh? The formula is extremely powerful. So powerful, in fact, that one could use it for nefarious purposes (and many have). Nir goes into a chapter on the ethics and the good vs. evil applications of this formula, which is not to be missed. It makes me think of comic books and superheroes and I’m just in my happy place.
I also found that the real life examples of this formula being applied, from Farmville to Facebook, were a great way to support his points in a way that I could relate.
That being said, one thing that the book made me realize was that my own actions are not always done by choice, which is actually very scary. It’s helped me to rethink some of the rote reactions that I have, like opening up Twitter or YouTube when I had some downtime. It is automatic for me sometimes, which is great for those businesses, but for me as a consumer, it’s made me think more about my actions.
So, who should read this book? Well, I think it’s endlessly fascinating. But, more specifically, I think anyone in software or in the world of product creation could benefit from reading Hooked. If you’re in the world of real estate, for example, maybe this book isn’t for you though. Buying a home should never become habit forming, right? Hehe.Buy the Book on Amazon