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Book Review

The Heart of Change: Real-Life Stories of How People Changed Their Organizations

by John P. Kotter and Dan S. Cohen

People change what they do less because they are given analysis that shifts their thinking than because they are shown a truth that influences their feelings.”

The concept of organizational change is not new by any stretch of the imagination. A quick search on will offer over 2,000 books about the subject. So to find the quintessential tome on the topic is impossible…or nearly so. The Heart of Change may be a close contender, though. Well organized, easy-to-read and packed with over thirty interesting and sometimes moving stories about how small teams and even single individuals were able to affect change in their organizations, this is one book you will want to add to your library.

One of the most impressive features of this 185-page read is that the suggestions seem “do-able” and align with human behavior. That’s the key to The Heart of Change: you can’t drive grassroots change through thinking or analyzing. Our behaviors are impacted more by our feelings, and organizations that learn how to capitalize on that truth can make giant leaps and bypass the more time-consuming, incremental paths.

The eight-fold path laid out by Kotter and Cohen is not a particularly unique approach, but the stories and chapter synopses in combination with these steps make for an almost workbook-like format. For managers who like to roll up their sleeves and work “on” their teams in addition to “with” their teams, it’s an ideal blueprint for making the most of any organizational change.