Review of Nir Eyal's Book, Hooked
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Hooked by Nir Eyal focuses on how to build habit forming products. It's a book that is centered on web startups, new technology. It's not necessarily old school firms that have been around for hundreds of years, but it still captures the essence of what a startup needs to do to bring customers to the fold, and also keep customers long term.
Is "Hooked by Nir Eyal" a Good Book?
One of the things that I like about "Hooked" is that it provides great case studies that relate to getting users and keeping them. "Hooked" uses true examples quite frequently on Facebook and Instagram. Simple things on Facebook, for example, of how the habit forming begins through a simple button that was created to like something. I think what "Hooked" does well is it uses simple examples, and shows how those simple examples of product integration can go a long way.
He talks about how that like button has created millions, if not billions now, of users who want to actively engage with the content. By having people like your content it gives you that reassurance, and it promotes a notion that "wow" I'm liked, and people want me there, and I want to be part of that community of where I'm liked. By demonstrating Facebook's simple integration of the like button, the book elaborates on that product, as well as Instagram, and how like hearting, or pressing the heart button Instagram can also create this feeling that you're wanted. At it's core "Hooked" is about showing how to capture consumers by using simple tools to analyze consumer behavior. Watch the video below to learn more.
"What's your viral loop?"
Another thing is it teaches you how to create a viral loop. Once you've got somebody signed up for Facebook why did they keep coming back? It might be because they liked you, or somebody liked the content that you uploaded. There needs to be a viral loop. If you're a startup thinking about your product what is your viral loop? How are you going to not only get customers, but keep them coming back. I like what he does there in teaching you how to create a viral loop.
The third thing is that investing in this model matters. If, for example, you're a startup, then you've got a hacker, you've got a hustler, you've got a growth hacker. You have these three people, or these three components in your founding team. Think about what it is, what it might be that is a small, simple thing that you can add to your product that has big results. Not necessarily creating another social network, you don't have to create the next big social network. In fact, it's unlikely you will.
For example, let's think about Zappos, or Birchbox, or some of these subscription marvels, where each month you get this reassuring feeling that this cute box will arrive from the USPS, or UPS/FedEx. Zappos does a great job of creating a viral loop of people coming back to buy shoes, buy things that you don't necessarily need every month, but they've got a great viral loop. Think about that for your startup, as well. Find out what it is, and Invest in your own viral loop.
How could the book be improved?
Look, this book is by no means perfect. Always approach books, and anything you read online, or a hard copy book itself, with a skeptical eye. I think some of the concepts here are a little too simplified. I also think that it he doesn't really get to the point of when habits necessarily are people that have a viral loop that they're connected to can get away from it. Having a viral loop is important, but by getting over dependency of users, think about it like the law of diminishing returns, where over time you have too much of something. You eventually will wear out. That's a component I don't think he really addressed very well in the book.
Overall, I'd rate this a 4 out of 5 stars, which for me at Angel Kings is an absolute must buy for startups and entrepreneurs.