by Nir Eyal

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Habits form a large portion of our actions. Companies use a lot of psychology to make their products compelling and try to get you “hooked”. While the book talks about how to build habits (especially for people to use your product), the advice can be used for personal habit building and habit destruction as well.

A habit is when not doing an action causes a bit of pain.

The more effort required to perform an action the less likely it will occur (effort = time, money, pysical effort, mental effort).

The Hook Model


  • Look what people actually do rather than what they wish to do or say.
  • What would your user want to achieve using your product?
  • Where and when would they use it?
  • What emotions trigger their use and will trigger them to action?
  • What is the user doing right before the intended habit/action?
  • What are the triggers to use your product?
  • Which internal triggers does your user experience most frequently?
  • What might be a place and time to send external triggers?


  • behaviour in anticipation of a reward
  • trigger, motivation and ability must be present at the same time
  • make sure action is low effort to increase desired behaviour
  • every behaviour is driven by seeking pleasure/hope/acceptance and avoiding pain/fear/rejection
  • make sure the person is able to do the action! Identify if time/cognitive or physical effort/money/newness or social deviance is a problem


  • a compelling reward increases the chances that user take the action
  • reward needs to leave room for more


  • anticipation of rewards in the future
  • We like to stay consistent with our past behaviour. Ask for something small before you ask for something bigger and chances are higher that people do what you ask for.
  • Add small investments to your product.

Use the Model to Build Habits

  • Set clear external triggers
  • What can you do to reduce the effort for the action?
  • Be clear about the reward and motivate yourself with it.
  • Be aware of your progress and your ultimate goal.

Use the Model to Break Habits

  • identify internal/external triggers and be aware
  • replace the action by some other action
  • realize the reward

Why Innovations fail

Manny innovations fail because consumers irrationally overvalue the old while companies irrationaly overvalue the new.

Perception might be more important than reality

Perception can form a personal reality based how a product is framed even when there is little relationship with objective quality.

Endowned Progress Effect

People get motivated if they believe they are nearer to a goal! Add “pseudo progress” to your product. E.g. if you have a program that gives a free product every 8 purchases change it to give one every 10, but always give too free points (20% vs 0% completed).

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