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.

Book Lesson 02- The Fuzzy and the Techie

The Fuzzy and the Techie: Why the liberal arts will Rule the Digital World by Scott Hartley

Why should you read this?


  • To understand how liberal arts, inspire creative thinking
  • To know the dynamics of the future digital job market
  • To get a close view of silicon valley’s new-found love towards fuzzies
  • To get an idea of what the futuristic education system should look like
  • To understand why fuzzies will be at the forefront of innovation in VUCA (Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous) world

5 Key takeaways!

  • If you have been a bright or above average student during your school life, there is a high probability that you must be a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics), graduate. Also, most of the STEM graduates end up working in the tech sector but when it comes to critical and complex problem solving involving humane element, it’s the liberal arts graduates who have the higher chance of excelling. Well, this sounds quite counterintuitive, isn’t it?
  • Most of the persuasion cues (random & variable reward, red color for notifications etc.) that are used in today’s social media apps or websites are derived from the field of psychology and these persuasion techniques are taught to the silicon valley techies in psychology and persuasion techniques classes, for example- Stanford’s professor B.J.Fogg’s class Persuasive Technology Lab (PTL) is quite famous for teaching persuasion or engagement techniques. So, humanities and liberal arts are already ruling us.
  • Our too much screen time actually affects our mind and the development of social skills and creativity among children. It is not surprising that most of the silicon valley parents send their children to Waldorf school in California where children are kept away from tech. Also, physical activity and art are preferred over technology and computers are not introduced until eighth grade.
  • There is a distinction of task between routine/non-routine, where routine jobs have a higher threat of automation as these are quite manual in approach as compared to non-routine tasks which are more abstract and can’t be automated easily.
  • There is also mention of a few interesting studies which highlights the automation probability of the different type of jobs and shows how the liberal arts or humanities-based jobs (like educational service) come last in their turn for automation. The studies mentioned in this book are The McKinsey Study and the study by Oxford University.