Book Lesson 03- Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products

Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products by Nir Eyal

Why Should you read this?41CLybict0L._SX322_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg

  • To understand why we keep on checking our social media feeds throughout the day and sometimes without even realizing that.
  • What behavioral design tools and cues tech companies use to hook us to their products.
  • To understand the hook cycle i.e. the four-phase process companies use to form habits.
  • To learn how to build a habit-forming product in the era of 24*7 high-speed internet access and the Dos and Don’ts such product design.

Key Takeaways!

  • According to Cognitive psychologists, “Habits are automatic behaviors triggered by situational cues, things we do with little or no conscious thought.” Habit-forming products change user behavior and create unprompted user engagement. Businesses that create customer habits gain a significant competitive advantage.
  • The four steps of hook model are- Trigger (can be external or internal), Action, Variable Reward, and Investment.


  1. A trigger can be a new notification on your Facebook App after let’s say uploading a picture
    External trigger tells the user what to do next by placing information in the user’s environment whereas Internal triggers tell the user what to do next through the associations stored in the user’s memory.
  2. When you click on Facebook App in anticipation of likes or comments, this is the Action. As per the Fogg model, Action or Behavior occurs when motivation, ability, and trigger are present at the same time in sufficient degrees.
  3. The likes/comments you see on your pic is the variable reward as it changes every time you open the App and it builds an anticipation of something new every time. This variable reward gives a dopamine surge in our brain which keeps us hooked.
    There are three types of variable rewards:

    1. Rewards of the Tribe– Search for social rewards through connectedness (Facebook)
    2. Rewards of the Hunt– Search for material resources and information (Flipboard)
    3. Rewards of the Self– Search for intrinsic rewards of mastery, competence (Video games)
  4. Investment occurs when the user puts something into the product or service i.e. time, data, efforts, social capital etc. So, it increases the likelihood of user returning again.
  • Behaviors are LIFO- “Last in, first out.” In other words, habits you have recently acquired are also the ones most likely to go soonest. So, once a habit is formed over a long period of time, it’s very unlikely that someone will leave that habit soon. That’s why habits keep users/customers loyal.
  • The product’s habit-forming potential is determined by two factors: frequency of use and the perceived utility of the product. The higher the value on both the parameters, higher is the habit-forming potential. So, the more a product is used because of induced habit, the more data it gathers and more intelligent and advanced the algorithm becomes over time.

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