Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products
by Nir Eyal
Published in November 2014
Thibault’s Score: 4/5
Hooked is an instruction manual for product designers explaining how to build habit forming products. Nir Eyal does an in-depth study of various successful and addictive technology products ranging from Instagram to Quora to Twitter and many others.
The content of the book is very straightforwardly organized, and easily accessible to a wide audience. The writing is clear and simple. Eyal makes good use of the reader’s time, and manages to compact all the information to its simplest form without losing any clarity. I especially liked the relative shortness of the book, which makes it just the right length.
Average chapters explain a concept, such as variable rewards, then draw on numerous business examples and psychology studies in order to reinforce the concept. For example, the chapter about variable rewards first explains that a fridge where the light turns on every time it is opened is boring. A fridge where a new treat appears at random is very interesting, and would motivate many people to repeatedly open the fridge to see what comes out. He then explains the role of variable rewards in various products such as Instagram which rewards likes asymmetrically or World of Warcraft where players can constantly learn to interact in new ways. Finally, he backs up this example by citing studies where animals were taught to gamble, and where people were put in situations with variable rewards.
The book was highly informative, simple, and straightforward. I recommend it to any entrepreneurs who are building new products.
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