Read “Hooked” and Learn to Build Habit-Forming Products and Services


An informative and educational book that features a four-step process for developing a product or service that customers can't live without.

read hooked

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Wouldn’t it be wonderful if people were hooked on your products and services? That’s not only every marketer’s dream, it’s the dream of every business owner; to have a flood of new, loyal customers who can’t live without their product or service.

You might think that creating addicting products and services is some kind of mystery, but it’s not. According to a brand new book that I just received to review, it’s something that you can actually engineer.

The book I’m talking about is called Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products by Nir Eyal (@nireyal) with Ryan Hoover (@rrhoover). I received my review copy of Hooked on Friday and by Monday morning, I had bout 20 pages dog-eared as reference points to come back to.

Why I Was Still Reading During a Three-Hour Power Outage

Yes. I was hooked on Hooked. I was still reading the book when BOOM – the power went out. I put the book down and before I knew it, I was scrounging for a flashlight to keep reading. What can I tell you, I’m a sucker for anything that shows me how I’m going to reach more customers, engage more customers and keep them coming back for more.

You too? Then you’re going to want to read Hooked too. Here’s why:

Purchase decisions are emotional and Hooked shows you how we turn behaviors into habits. The author, Nir Eyal takes you through the journey of understanding that habits are just behaviors that are triggered. He, along with co-author Ryan Hoover introduce what they call a “Hook Cycle”; which is the process by which behaviors (prompted by internal and external triggers) turn into actions, which yield rewards and ultimately drive investment (in time, money or additional behaviors). The trick is to understand your customer in such a way that you can reverse engineer your product or service to loop into this cycle.

About the Authors

Nir Eyal spent years in the video gaming and advertising industries (great training for addicting behaviors) where he learned the techniques he writes about in Hooked to motivate and influence users. He’s taught classes on applied consumer psychology at Stanford’s Graduate School of Business and is a frequent speaker at industry conferences and Fortune 500 companies.

Ryan Hoover’s articles have appeared in TechCrunch, Forbes and Fast Company. After working on Hooked with Nir Eyal, he founded Product Hunt, a company that has been called “the place to discover the next big thing in tech.”

Together, the authors weave applied research and examples of products and technologies into a simple process that will get your brain thinking in new directions about how to add a little addiction into the mix.

How to Build a Habit Forming Product in 8 Chapters

Hooked is extremely easy to read and will grab your attention because the authors don’t spend very much time on fluff – it’s pure action from start to finish:

  • Chapter 1: You are introduced to the Hooked cycle and get an overview of the definition of each step in the cycle.
  • Chapter 2: Triggers are a critical component to developing a habit. The authors go into deep explanation on internal triggers and external triggers and how to leverage each to remind your customer to use your product or service.
  • Chapter 3: This is the action phase of the cycle. If your user doesn’t respond to triggers with action, the whole thing will fall flat. The main point in this chapter is that DOING must be easier than thinking.
  • Chapter 4: Here, you will learn about variable reward. This is where you reward your users by solving a problem.
  • Chapter 5: The investment phase of the cycle is where users invest their time, effort or money in order to get a reward in the future. This is the part of the cycle where more investment actually increases users desire to return in the future.
  • Chapter 6: This is the applied portion of the book where the authors help guide you in implementing the principles in Hooked to your own products and services.
  • Chapter 7: This is the case study chapter where you’ll learn about Bible App and how it became the one of the most downloaded and used apps on the market.
  • Chapter 8: This is a summary chapter where you will find even more examples of the Hooked Cycle in action.

Go Beyond Being Hooked on Technology

You’ll enjoy the dozens of behind-the-scenes stories of how some of your favorite apps and technologies have become so addicting that we can’t imagine a day without checking in. But don’t stop there.

At the end of each chapter of Hooked you’ll find two summary sections: Remember and Share, which is a true summary and Do This Now, which includes a short list of action steps that you can take to make your product or service habit forming.

Yes, a lot of the examples in the book are technologies. But that’s because the authors come from a technical background. Don’t let that deter you. The action steps outlined at the end of each chapter are more than applicable to any kind of business or service.

Hooked is a fantastic read for anyone looking to take an innovative look at their existing products and services, to engage their customers into a more intimate relationship with their products and to have a little fun in the process.

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Ivana Taylor Ivana Taylor is the Book Editor for Small Business Trends. She is responsible for directing the site’s book review program and manages the team of professional book reviewers. She also spearheads the annual Small Business Book Awards. Ivana publishes DIYMarketers, where she shares daily do-it-yourself marketing tips, and is co-author of "Excel for Marketing Managers."