How To Change Book Summary By Katy Milkman

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Readers who are looking for a comprehensive guide to overcoming life's obstacles may find "How to Change (2021)" the perfect resource.

This book provides simple and research-backed solutions that can help you identify and address issues such as laziness, impulsivity and more.

Diagnosing our most persistent problems can be difficult, especially when we don't even know what is holding us back.

That's why this book offers clear guidance on how to recognize these often destructive patterns, and then presents strategies on how to move forward in life.

If you're ready to make positive changes in your own life, then this is definitely a must-read!

How To Change Book

Book Name: How to Change (The Science of Getting from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be)

Author(s): Katy Milkman

Rating: 4.4/5

Reading Time: 18 Minutes

Categories: Personal Development

Author Bio

Katy Milkman is a highly respected researcher in the field of behavioral economics and a professor at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

Her knowledge in this subject has been renowned, leading to her latest achievement: the writing of her first book called "How to Change".

This timely and helpful book combines Milkman's extensive experience in research with practicality to create an engaging and informative resource for readers.

With clear instructions on how we can all make effective changes in our lives, this book provides everything one needs to shift their perspective and start making positive change happen.

Unlock The Secret To Real Change Through Understanding Human Flaws: The Science Of Self-Improvement

Human Flaws

Sometimes we find ourselves stuck, unable to achieve our goals despite having all the right tools.

So how can we make meaningful changes in our lives and transform them?

Well, it has a lot to do with how we approach our challenges and how well-equipped we are to overcome them.

This book will take you through common human difficulties such as procrastination, laziness, and impulsivity that stop us from achieving our dreams.

It outlines a tailored strategy for each obstacle so you can learn ways to push past these roadblocks and make real progress.

You’ll discover why New Year’s resolutions aren’t really stupid ideas, and the potential pitfalls of taking advice from people who have never been where you are now.

Plus read about a fascinating case study that gives evidence to the power of change: a bank boosted their customers’ savings by 80%!

If you’ve been looking for ways to change your life, this book is your guide.

When you learn about human flaws and build better habits and strategies for success, you can start making progress towards your most audacious goals.

How A Fresh Start Can Help Us Achieve Our Goals – But Be Careful Not To Regress On Established Routines

A fresh start can be a powerful thing.

It can help you to make changes in your life that might have been elusive prior to that point.

That’s because, as the author and her colleagues discovered when studying campus fitness center data, certain dates such as the start of a new year, a new semester, the Monday of any given week or even a simple birthday provide powerful motivation for us to make changes in our lives.

What makes these dates so motivating? The answer boils down to perspective; by establishing distance between ourselves and our past failed attempts at change, we suddenly feel inspired and empowered again.

Does this mean any kind of change is beneficial? Not necessarily; while it can be useful when used positively, a fresh start can do more harm than good if it leads people away from their established, healthy routines.

The key takeaway? Be careful when deciding what type of change and new routine you want to start with your fresh start – make sure your decisions are backed by grounding and research instead of irrational hopes!

Beat Impulsivity With Temptation Bundling And Gamification

Tackling impulsivity can be a challenge, but now you know how to overcome it with temptation bundling and gamification.

Temptation bundling is the strategy of coupling a pleasurable activity with a demanding but worthwhile task, thus making the work seem more enjoyable -like Mary Poppins advised: adding some sugar to medicine.

For instance, you could enjoy listening to music while jogging or eat candy while studying.

When temptation bundling won’t help, gamification may be a better approach.

Gamification involves adding game-like elements such as rewards and points to real-world tasks in order to increase motivation and engagement.

In one case study, Wikipedia found success by giving top editors badges next to their names on the site -without costing them anything.

This simple act motivated their team enough that participation increased by 20% within just one month.

Impulsivity is not something that has to bring your goals down: follow the advice given here and beat it!

Using Commitment Devices To Overcome Procrastination


We all procrastinate, from filing our taxes to going to the gym and saving for retirement.

Although it may seem like a habit we can never escape from, there are ways to overcome our tendency to procrastinate.

One of by using commitment devices.

This concept was tested out with great success at the Green Bank in the Philippines.

Omar Andaya, President of the bank, offered a special type of savings account: one that couldn’t be touched until reaching a certain balance or passing an agreed date.

The result? Those offered this “locked” account saved 80% more than regular customers!

You don’t need to sign up with the Green Bank to benefit from commitment devices either – you can use cash or public pledges too.

With cash commitment devices, set up an agreement with a friend who will track your progress and fine you (if agreed) when they find you haven’t made progress towards your goals.

Or, if that’s not possible, make your aims known publicly – share it on social media – so that you’re incentivised to keep working hard on what needs doing!

By using commitment devices such as these two forms, procrastination can be conquered and goals achieved!

Good Habits: The Secret Weapon In The Fight Against Laziness

Laziness is a common downfall for us all, often leading us to take the easy way out even when we know we should be making an effort.

That’s why fables and proverbs about the value of hard work have been used for centuries to teach children that good hard work pays off.

Fortunately, there are ways to overcome this laziness and make change easier.

This is where good habits come in!

With sustained and deliberate effort, it’s possible to turn good behavior into a habit and utilize the power of our brains accordingly.

Neuroscientists have confirmed that habits become second nature when they are ingrained in us, as relying on reasoning is replaced by action and motor control in our brains.

For example, say you want to improve your posture after slouching too much at your desk? Dedicate yourself day after day to practice sitting up straight until it becomes second nature – don’t forget rewarding yourself for following through!

Doing so will help prompt the same behavior in the future.

Good habits can help you defeat laziness by becoming automatic processes that require no thought or effort from us – meaning we won’t be as tempted by taking the easy route and shying away from change every time.

Take small steps today and start overcoming laziness with healthy habits!

The Power Of Giving Advice: How Crafting Tips For Others Can Help Us Change And Grow

We all have advice to give, but few of us are inclined to follow our own words.

We offer tips on parenting and dieting, on making friends and finding a partner, but our counsel often goes unheeded.


According to psychologist and researcher Lauren Eskreis-Winkler, it’s about confidence.

Unsolicited advice communicates to the recipient that they’re not capable of making change on their own – which is a big blow to their belief in themselves at a time when it’s most needed.

But here’s the secret: giving advice has the opposite effect!

When Eskreis-Winkler teamed up with an author of a study about this phenomenon, she discovered that asking students to craft study tips for their younger peers led to significant increases in grades come term time.

boosting your confidence isn’t just possible – it could be as easy as forming “advice clubs” with friends or colleagues where you offer solicited guidance.

Or if you prefer, try designing a plan for yourself by imagining you’re advising a friend in similar circumstances – you’d be amazed how clear-sighted and confident you can be!

Choose Your Friends Carefully To Reap The Benefits Of Social Pressure

Social Pressure

We all know how important it is to surround ourselves with positive, uplifting people.

That’s why it’s so important to choose your friends wisely.

It turns out that our peers can have a huge impact on our success and failure, in some cases even more than we care to believe.

A study conducted by economists Scott Carrell and his twin brother revealed this rather disturbing fact.

By comparing the academic performance of over 3,500 first-year cadets at the U.S Air Force Academy, they found that for every 100-point increase in the average verbal SAT score of a squadron, a cadet’s own GPA rose by 0.4 grade points on a 4.0 scale; that could mean the difference between getting Bs and As.

The lesson to be taken away from this is that our peers do indeed change us, for better or worse – it’s just up to us to choose who we spend time with carefully and create an environment of positivity and support where we have mutual respect among one another and can truly achieve our goals together.

Furthermore, if there are successful people you’d like emulate, make sure to ask them what they did differently than others that allowed them to be successful in whatever endeavor they undertook – you may find yourself surprised by what you learn!

Wrap Up

The key message of “How to Change Your Life” is clear: If you want to make the changes you need in order to achieve your goals, then you have to take a tailored approach and address your individual failings.

You might tackle laziness, impulsivity or bad habits first, but make sure you use commitment devices, good habits, social influences and temptation bundling to keep up with what needs resolving.

The final summary for this book is all about actionable advice.

Specifically, instead of praising someone for their natural aptitudes, be sure to praise them for the hard work they put in.

This will encourage a growth mindset – meaning one that accepts challenges as learning opportunities and appreciates successes as a result of hard work.

So don’t just tell someone that they are naturally gifted at sales pitching – recognise the effort they put into their skill development and give that credit!

Arturo Miller

Hi, I am Arturo Miller, the Chief Editor of this blog. I'm a passionate reader, learner and blogger. Motivated by the desire to help others reach their fullest potential, I draw from my own experiences and insights to curate blogs.

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