The book Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products, by Nir Eyal, discusses the benefits of building products that form habits, while also showing how these products can be successful.
This blog post is a summary of Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products, highlighting the best concepts and ideas we have got from reading it and we are also going to tell you whether it is worth reading the complete book.
Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products does well to remind us that a well-written book in the business genre does not have to be general. While there will always be common themes, it is refreshing to read a book that focuses on a specifically targeted niche. The entirety of Hooked is to speak about successful products, such as smartphones, and the steps that he has learned to make them successful.
The key learning area in this book is the 4-step model, which will be talked about below. This framework is crucial to understanding the way that these products gamify our lives and create human dependency on them.
The key difference that he has learned when investing and creating new tech products, is that these creations must cause reliance and attachment to them rather than viewing them as just tools. In the above section, Kahoot! was mentioned, and due to the recent shift in remote learning and work, Kahoot! has become a verb, a noun, and the top solution for team building and learning through trivia.
Best ideas from the marketing book, Hooked
Let’s go over the best three main ideas from the book Hooked:
Successful Products Create Habits
Of the entire array of smartphones at our fingertips, the iPhone is still the most recognized and successful phone on the market. Facebook and Instagram are also the leading social media platforms, with almost 15% of the world’s population on these sites.
Eyal explains that we are so attached to these products because they force us to form habits, for better or worse. It is common knowledge that habits are extremely difficult to let go of. Eyal explains how these habits form around products
- To take the smartphone example, you may have purchased an iPhone on release. Chances are you either stuck to the iPhone all these years, or had just ONE unpleasant experience, and switched to a competitor (Android) and haven’t changed since.
- Ever wonder how phones have a new version released each year… only to find out that there are very few features added? Due to the habits formed around these products and brand loyalty, smartphones will always sell, each year. The fear of having an outdated device combined with the habit forces “upgrades” sooner or later.
- There was a time when switching to a new phone, you could wait a few years and receive a new phone with your plan. In contrast, Samsung and iPhone’s current releases range from $800-$2000. Dependency and habits create a customer base that is not sensitive to price movements.
4-Step Model To Variable Rewards
Going through the entire 4-step model would not do it justice in a summary. The concept is better explained by Eyal himself in Hooked. The key takeaway from this section is the focus on variable rewards. Facebook, for example, has changed many times throughout the years. Chances are, readers will remember the various iterations and may even have a preference. There was a time when Facebook was more desktop-focused, for example, and receiving notifications and messages was a novelty.
The feeling could be compared to receiving a hand-written note from a friend. Before instant messaging, emails were very common and had no cause for alarm or joy. With the first versions of Facebook, the big red notification and message number caused a spike in serotonin. As Facebook kept changing, they kept the old “reward” mode but placed games with friends, a separate messenger app, and finally a news feed and video feed that connects YouTube, TikTok, and Instagram. User has a huge choice to “reward” themselves on Facebook, and hours will pass with this habit.
The 2 Questions To Validate Your Product
There is a reason this book is titled “Hooked” and not “Habit”. Taking more of a moral stance, Eyal encourages the reader to ask some probing questions before releasing a product that will form user habits. For example, scrolling through social media after a long productive day for a few hours maybe the intended desire, but developing anxiety from over-exposure and comparing can cause serious health issues.
Eyal goes on to mention that the habits formed by this product must be at least neutral, if not beneficial when considering its release. Remember that not all products cause habits, so before deciding whether to ask yourself these two questions, identify whether your product achieves this. Ask yourself if the product makes the user’s life easier and better and if you would use this product yourself.
For example, with smartphones and social media, many of the habits formed can be good. It is always a user to schedule their day, connect with family globally, and share achievements. On the other hand, products that play to various harmful addictions may be profitable, but can be morally, and even legally, wrong.
Hooked book review: Should You Read The Complete Book?
Hooked is many things. Business, philosophy, social introspection, and technological advancements. Its focus on both habit-forming tech products and the questions around them can be recommended to two different readers: tech entrepreneurs that want to create viral software and products, and users of popular habit-forming products and how to identify the effects on daily life. T
he book should be read in its entirety to learn the 4-step framework, loops that keep people buying, and the psychology behind habits.
Hooked is a book that has aged extremely well. words such as “telework” and “remote study” have become common concepts in our society. With this, it has brought upon a forced evolution of technology to keep with the high demand for work, learning, entertainment, and communication.
The full title Hooked: How To Build Habit-Forming Products is a clear description of the synapsis and evolution throughout the entire read. Picking up your copy will get you hooked on its message.