Hooked - Inventor Book Summary

Book: Hooked
Author: Nir Eyal

We All Want to Build Habit-forming Products that Sell Themselves!

In this book, the author explains the psychological processes behind what makes us use things and how, as an inventor or product designer, you can be strategic about your development process to create products which people can’t help but love.

It’s hard to change well established habits.

Our brains are eager to save time and energy, so we tend to keep doing what worked in the past.

Neural pathways are resilient and easily re-activated. This is why an old habit can spring back up.

What’s the best way to adopt a new habit? Repeat the action as frequently as possible.
Eg. If you want to get flossing…do it very often and it will be more likely to stick.

If you are an inventor creating a new product, it’s worth investing some thought into making it habit-forming one.

Habit forming products attract long-term customers who are more likely to spread word-of-mouth. This means as an inventor you need to do less work to market and advertise your products!

Habit forminig products are harder for people to replace or eliminate from their lives.

A new option needs to be significantly better to replace a product which is used habitually.
Eg. Give a user a Free Trial and if they get in the habit of uisng it, they are likely to start paying for the full (non-trial) version.

The Hook Model describes a cycle of product usage which becomes an unstoppable chain reaction which is very hard to break.

The Trigger – An external event gets people to try it

For example, Advertisement give people the initial “heads-up” about your product
Users inviting others (eg. Facebook, LinkedIn get you to invite your contacts)
Word of mouth and “buzz”
It Must be simple and easy to act on…

Motivation, Action and Enabling

Triggers alone are not enough

You need to play on the prospective user’s sense of motivation

Social acceptance


Avoid a problem

The solution must be Super Easy To Use!

Simplify, simplify, simplify


Fewer steps = Less room for error


As an Inventor or product developer, you need to always carry out testing to get real and relevant feedback on the difficulties of users.

Important: Do they get their desired outcome?


Of course, the product must deliver the result/outcome the user wants

Variable rewards help make users dependent

This is because Anticipation plays a key role and
Unpredictability of rewards increases our excitement and drive for the rewards.

A mix of different rewards should be used in your product.
Social Satisfaction and esteem
Winning or Receiving resources
Rewards must relate to the user’s initial motivation to use the product


The more a user is invested in the product – Time, Money, Effort etc – the more they will be likely to keep using it. Get them to stick with it is critical in the beginning.

We see things as more valuable if we’ve invested in it.

People tend to be consistent…continuing what the did in the past

Eventually, the user will be back to the internal trigger phase and another cycle using the product

If users see others liking/using a product, they will give it the initial try.

Internal Action/Triggers

Once a user develops their own internal triggers, they get hooked

Ads are costly and not always effective, so its best to design for a user to be triggered internally to use the product.

Internal Triggers come from inside the customer

Emotional reactions are key and should be focused on in design and tweaking the product

  • Avoid Pain, Seek Pleasure.
  • Social acceptance vs. Rejection
  • Negative emotions can be more powerful.
  • Boredom, Fear of disconnection

Positive associations are given to things which solve our problems

A successful inventor creates a product that actually solves the problem!


Then… the cycle repeats!

As an Inventor, you have a moral responsibility to use manipulation responsibly

Should this product be habit forming?

How do you know if you’re doing the “right” thing?
Ask yourself 2 questions:


  1. Does the product enhance the users lives?
  2. Would the creator of the product use it themselves?