Welcome to our new “Heath Brothers” site! We’ve tried to bring all the work we’re doing under one roof. There’s a lot of new stuff here — and more to come soon — but for now, let me point you to some information on Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard, our new book, which will be released on February 16.

Also, happy new year!

Avoiding Facebook temptation

This NYT article talks about people who are abandoning Facebook, as a kind of cold-turkey response to their own addiction. One high-schooler said that she’d sit down at the computer and find that her fingers “would automatically go to Facebook.”

In Switch, we talk about why it’s usually easier to avoid tempting situations altogether than to resist temptation in the moment. But Facebook addicts will have a very hard time avoiding the tempting situation. Teens, for instance, spend an average of 31 hours per week online — and Facebook will always be one click away. (Imagine if a recovering alcoholic could click one button and have a glass of booze at hand. It would certainly complicate things.)

A better option is something that might sound, at first glance, a bit absurd. There’s free software called “Freedom” that simply prevents you from getting online for a period of time that you set. Freedom allows you to remove the temptation completely, rather than fight it minute-by-minute.

Thousands of people have downloaded Freedom — here’s one of them, the writer Rebecca Traister, explaining why she took the plunge:

“I bet I am not alone in my near frantic desire to be released — for very brief periods, always with an escape hatch — from the tyranny of my own wandering attention. I may not have known it, but for some time, I have wanted something forceful, computerized and beyond the realms of my own self-determination to come and muffle the beeping, buzzing, ringing, flashing distractions of our technological age so I can get some ******* work done.”

The SUCCES framework – now in crayon

It’s good to hear that the principles of stickiness are reaching the elementary-school crowd … We just got a note from John Lamb, who said: “I was working on a communications project using Made to Stick as a guide, and my daughter asked if she could help me. I suggested she write out the acronym for the core principles of the book (S-U-C-C-E-S-S), and draw a before-and-after of someone who had been impacted by a positive message. This is what she came up with! You can see that the ‘before’ figure has a frown and the ‘after’ figure has a smile…”

SUCCES in crayon

Westin is messing with our minds

The showers in the Westin hotel chain have two “Heavenly Shower” heads, allowing you to double your shower-pleasure. Cool. But wait — there’s a sign in the shower…

“One of your Heavenly Shower heads has been turned off in an effort to minimize water usage and protect one of our most precious natural resources. To experience the most out of your Heavenly Shower, you can turn the second shower head on by pushing the small button behind the lower head.”

So let me understand, Westin: You’ve designed and deployed, at great expense, a super-neat shower innovation for your guests. And now you want to shame us into NOT using it.

It’s diabolical and brilliant. It makes me want to stay at Westin again, to see what other choices they’ll present. (“This 60″ flatscreen TV has been turned off to conserve electricity and reduce the carbon emissions that could one day leave entire nations underwater. But to get the most out of your TV, feel free to turn it on.”)

On Susan Boyle

I’ve received notes about this from several people, and boy, you were right.

This video features Susan Boyle, a contestant on the show Britain’s Got Talent. It’s as sticky as a story gets.

In the book, we talk about “Challenge Plots” — stories in which a protagonist overcomes a formidable challenge and succeeds. David and Goliath is the classic Challenge Plot. Well, Susan Boyle is an up-to-the-minute, emotional, inspirational, Challenge Plot protagonist — and you can get the whole story in 7.5 minutes.