Episode #172 with Nir Eyal of Hooked

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In Episode #172 Ari is joined by Nir Eyal – author of Hooked – on the Less Doing Podcast. During this Sunday’s episode, Ari and Nir speak at length about the secrets behind human habit-forming. Listen as Nir illustrates why we struggle with habit-forming and habit retention.


Special Announcements:

Fuel the Fire

Come watch Ari light-up the Drake Hotel in Chicago on Wednesday, August 5th as he delivers a rousing keynote speech for IPPA Business Excellence Conference: Fuel the Fire. This will be a great opportunity to watch Ari translate the lessons of Less Doing into terms business leaders can take to the bank.

Rockefeller Roundtable

Come watch Ari regale a roundtable of avid Helm Society listeners with the lessons of Less Doing on September 9th from 10AM to 2PM in New York City.

Freeing Finland

Come watch Ari and a collection of other well-renowned biohackers free the people of Finland from their bodily limitations at the 2015 Biohacker Summit being held in Helsinki, Finland from September 23rd through September 24th. Those interested in attending can buy tickets here.

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Time Stamped Show Notes:

  • 08:49 – Introduction of Nir Eyal
  • 09:26 – Nir Eyal shares his background into the business of behavior
  • 10:15 – The psychology of how behavior is designed is the basis for Nir’s book Hooked
  • 11:10 – How quickly can a habit be formed?—there’s no universal number
    • 11:28 – Habits-forming is directly correlated with emotional resonance
  • 13:39 – Many habits are difficult to start because we simply don’t like to do them
  • 14:29 – We too frequently make habits punitive—this is a mistake
  • 14:51 – Find the hooks in your life
  • 15:40 – Nir defines his 4-step process
  • 16:29 – Create associations with internal triggers
  • 17:00 – The products always change but the fundamental itch that they scratch remains constant
  • 18:27 – One of the biggest drivers of using products on the web is boredom
  • 19:40 – Additions by definition are always bad
  • 19:59 – Nir defines the difference between an addition and a habit
  • 22:10 – Companionship and social connection
  • 23:10 – The focus of Nir’s work – on the commercial side – is to build products that help people create healthy habits
  • 25:09 – Nir asks Ari about email
  • 28:12 – The Human Auto-Responder
  • 29:55 – Whittle away the tasks you do need to spend your time doing
  • 30:58 – Ari defines his former Fancy Hands plan
  • 31:33 – Ari has issued 6700 tasks to Fancy Hands
  • 31:58 – Timesvr.com – the only Fancy Hands-like service that provides unlimited tasks
  • 33:00 – Nir’s Top 3 Tips to be More Effective
    • 31:41 – Find a mantra or prayer—remind yourself of it every day
    • 34:35 – Figure out what you would do if money was no object
    • 36:44 – Find a great life partner


7 Key Points:

  1. Products change, but the human need they fulfill never changes.
  2. Don’t make habits punitive.
  3. Habits are hard to form because – more often than note – we don’t like what we’re doing.
  4. Addictions – by definition – are bad—there are no good addictions.
  5. Ask yourself what you’d do if money was not an object.
  6. Don’t waste time doing tasks your attention and time don’t deserve.
  7. Find a great life partner and hold on to them.


Resources Mentioned:

  •  One Deep Breath – A Ted Talk from Ben Ahren’s about defeating Lyme Disease
  •  Decluttr – A service designed to help people clear out the clutter of their homes
  •  Quad Jobs – Similar to Task Rabbit, but a cheaper alternative
  •  Monahg – Mission-based product purchasing assistance
  •  Kelby and Co – A clothing company that makes stain-proof men’s shirts