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Change or Die


I’m a pragmatic guy. When I read a book that’s supposed to help me do something better, I hope it will have a good step-by-step guide that will help me implement the author’s practices. Unfortunately, I didn’t get that in Change or Die.

The first 60% of the book talks about how change is difficult, introduces the author’s framework for change, and introduces a few scenarios where some group needed to “change or die”. I felt that this section went on too long. I wanted to get to the “how to apply the framework” section.

When the author finally starts talking about how to apply his ideas, it’s mostly a re-hash of the scenarios he mentioned before – without much additional information about how people implemented his framework to change.

Then, the book suddenly ends, with the author saying, “Good luck with your changes.”

The framework for change that the author gives looks like a good one that could possibly help. However, you’ll need to take his high-level strategy and design your own low-level tactics on your own.


According to scientific studies, the odds are nine to one (against you) that you’ll change.

Three keys to change

  1. Relate – with someone (an expert) who gives you hope and a community of other like-minded people.
  2. Repeat – get the training you need to perform your new/changed behavior and practice it regularly.
  3. Reframe – the issue(s) that prevent you from changing.

In order to change, you must first have hope that change is possible, which is often given to you by someone else.

If you aren’t willing to change, eventually, the world will change around you. Then, you will need to change just to survive.


We take the facts and fit them into the frames [beliefs] we already have. If the facts don’t fit, we’re likely to challenge whether they’re really facts or to dismiss the information and persist somehow in believing what we want to believe.

Concepts are not things that can be changed just by someone telling us a fact.

When the conscious mind can’t handle the truth, it’s spared the truth. The unconscious comes to the emotional rescue.

Denial is one of the biggest reasons it’s so difficult to motivate other people to change. We think we can enlighten them by telling them the facts, but they’re in denial because they’ve already confronted the facts and they can’t handle the facts.

…it’s always vital to identify, achieve, and celebrate some quick, positive results for the emotional lifts they provide.

It’s obvious that what we believe and what we feel influences how we act. That’s common sense. But the equation works in the other direction as well: How we act influences what we believe and what we feel.

“People don’t resist change; they resist being changed.” – Dean Ornish

The cumulative weight of experience makes it more difficult to change.

Change is all about training and teaching, but it takes a lot of “selling” to sustain the necessary effort over time.

… one of the most difficult aspects of profound change is that it often forces you to make a sharp break from the old community that has shaped your beliefs up until then.

The first key to change is forming a new emotional relationship, which often means meeting a new person who serves as a source of hope for you.

When you’re locked into a mindset that helped you succeed, then it’s difficult even to think about the profound changes you’ll have to respond to.

No matter how successful we are in whatever we do, it’s still vital to keep learning – to become successful at something else, at something new. And the way to learn is from other people. They have the habits and the skills and the conceptual frameworks that we lack.

The process of change can be threatening, so it often helps if we learn new skills and mindsets through relationships with people who feel comfortable and familiar because they share our old skills and mindsets.

What I’ve done in my life, based on this book

I don’t have any immediate changes to my life, based on what I read in Change or Die. The framework for change looks good, and I’ll try to use it the next time I’m in a situation where I need to implement a change.


To get your own copy of “Change or Die“, click here.

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