If you are interested in how to get people to change their behavior, especially when it comes to signing up for something, buying your product, or using it in a different way, this is your book. It was such an eyeopener to me!
The Power of Fifty Bits refers to the tiny amount of data our brain actually processes consciously per second. Everything else goes on the automatic pilot, meaning people make most decisions unconsciously. As the author states: our brains are wired for inertia and inattention. This is not new. Anyone who has read books like Thinking Fast and Slow or Subliminal knows this. The difference is that The Power of Fifty Bits makes it practical.
The Power of Fifty Bits
Here’s the real eyeopener of this book for me though: most people already have good intentions; they just haven’t put them into practice yet. Many times companies or organizations assume they need to educate and inform people of the benefits of a certain choice or course of action. But that’s really not the issue. The problem is that it takes up a lot of energy to change and for many people, doing things like always is simply easier. Even if they know another choice would be better, they still stick to their old habit. So getting people to change their habits is really about activating their good intentions.
If you want people to act upon their good intentions, you have to make it as easy for them as possible. This books explains various strategies to do that, like an opt-out method instead of an opt-in, forcing people to make a choice actively, reframe their choices, or piggyback on a habit people already have. The author uses real life examples to show what works and why it’s so effective, for instance why the PetSmart charity has done so much better than other similar charities.
These strategies work for churches and Christian organizations as well, though you’d have to be extremely careful to avoid manipulation (which the author doesn’t like either by the way; he’s extremely cautious in recommending opt-out for instance). I’m certainly going to try a few myself! Definitely recommend reading The Power of Fifty Bits.
What change can you think of right now that you know is beneficial but that you’ve been putting off. What’s holding you back?