The Catalyst: How to Change Anyone's Mind

Introduction: The Catalyst

By Jonah Berger

Wharton Professor and best-selling author Jonah Berger has spent most of his career studying change, its impact on human behavior, and phenomena like viral marketing and social influence.

Everyone has something they'd like to change. In the business world we might want to change minds or purchase decisions; in our personal life maybe we want to quit smoking or get our children to behave better. Unfortunately, change is rarely easy. But much like the idea of a catalyst in chemistry, Dr. Berger argues that there are a special set of circumstances one can apply to make change happen faster, easier and with less energy. In the social world, catalysts facilitate change by removing roadblocks and lowering the barriers that might keep people from taking action. The key is figuring out the barriers to change so you can lower the amount of energy an individual or group needs to employ to make a change.

In this excerpt, taken from the Introduction of his 2020 book The Catalyst: How to change anyone's mind, Dr. Berger discusses the five principles or roadblocks to change - Reactance, Endowment, Distance, Uncertainty, and Corroborating Evidence - and how to overcome them. Catalyst shows you how to change anyone's mind by become a catalyst for change.