“ Hardcover: 176 pages / Publisher: Profile Books / Published: 3 Jan 2013 „
The Change Book is a pocket-sized publication with lofty ambitions. Small enough to slip into a handbag, and a mere 167 pages long, it makes the following claim:
"...look forward to surprisingly simple explanations of our inexplicable world-and to having some of your preconceived ideas radically changed."
These seem bold promises for such a small book and my curiosity was definitely piqued. Would my view of the world be radically different by the time I had finished reading this book?
The book itself is about understanding the concept of change, be it on an intimate personal level, or a vast global level. Each section of the book uses models and graphs to present complicated ideas in layman's terms. The reasoning behind this idea is that we understand concepts better when they are presented as images.
The book itself comprises of four sections. Two sections are about understanding and explaining the changes in my world and the other two are about the bigger changes in our world. The result is a fragmentary fusion of soundbites, quotes, images and ideas that cover a bewildering array of subjects in a very short time. Each model only takes up two pages of text, so there seems to be very little scope to approach a subject with any kind of depth. One minute I could be reading about global economic collapse; the next I could be deciding which Oscar Wilde quotation is most appropriate in any given social situation. It was all quite perplexing.
The models themselves are quite interesting, although I must admit that some of them seem hastily-scribbled and almost childlike. Krogerus makes use of basic pie charts, mind maps, flow charts and axis models in order to translate his ideas into a simpler format. At times I was quite dismissive at the minimalism of some of the models, but was reminded by the back of the napkin model that the budget airline industry was born from a triangular scribble on the back of a napkin; the corners of the triangle representing three boom cities in the USA. Just because a model is simple, doesn't necessarily mean that it is pointless.
The change book is full of stimulating and thought-provoking facts, providing the reader with a plethora of entertaining conversation pieces. However, the brevity of each chapter meant that the book is never going to live up to its claim of radically changing preconceived ideas. It may, however, encourage the reader to explore subjects in further depth as the appendix provides references and websites for reference should someone wish to explore a topic in greater detail. Unfortunately, I found the book a little preachy in places and ironically, considering the book is about change, it makes so many contemporary references that it is likely to appear dated a couple of years from now.
In conclusion, The Change Book is entertaining, informative and diverting, but unlikely to live up to its own bold ideals.
Fans of The Change Book may also enjoy The Decision Book: Fifty Models for Strategic Thinking by the same authors, which follows the same model-based approach to understanding the world around us.
I previously reviewed this book under my own namee at www.thebookbag.co.uk and thank the publishers for my review copy.