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Hooked is the result of the author's years of research and practical experience with consumer habits and psychology. The overall theme of the book is to teach readers how customers behave and how to influence their habits with a product. The principles taught here will benefit designers, marketers, start-up founders, and anyone else who wants to learn how to create a product that customers just can't stop using.

The practices outlined in the book will give readers the tools to test consumer habits, influence those habits, and, ultimately, nurture those habits. The goal is to create consistent use of a product that is self-sustaining. By using "hook cycles," these products are designed to bring users back over and over, creating a habit that becomes automatic, frequent, and permanent.


This book gives readers real-world insights into creating and nurturing user habits that become almost autonomous. Readers will learn how to design and build products that customers love. The book gives examples of successfully "hooking" customers that are behind many well-known products such as Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. Readers will learn that by creating a product that is designed to be addictive, they can use some of the most basic tendencies of human behavior to make a product a habit.

"Reducing the thinking required to take the next action increases the likelihood of the desired behavior occurring unconsciously."

The author describes a habit as "Behaviors done with little or no conscious thought." Readers will find practical guidelines for creating these types of behaviors within the "habit zone." The "habit zone" is the place where customers form an attachment to a product without really thinking about it. By using the strategies of the Hooked Model, readers will learn step-by-step how to "hook" a customer.

Readers will learn why some products capture customer's imaginations and attention, while others just never get off the ground. Using proven techniques, the Hook Model is all about learning how to engage customers by creating a product that creates a habit. Readers will find case studies of how the four-step process helps to create a product that "hooks" customers. The result is a product that doesn't rely on complicated and expensive marketing but rather relies on the innate tendencies for people to form habits.

Four steps

The strategies outlined in the model follow four specific steps:

  1. Trigger — Readers will learn that a trigger is something that prompts a user to use a product consistently. External triggers are things like emails or texts. Internal triggers are things like checking Instagram habitually.
  2. Action — The key here is to increase the desired actions by making the product as easy to use as possible. At the same time, the design of the product must include incentives to increase a user's motivation to use the product again.
  3. Variable Reward — By varying the incentives and their frequency, readers will learn that the rewards associated with an action keep users in a sort of constant expectation. Research has proven that when people are expecting a reward, the levels of dopamine increase. Increased levels of dopamine simply make people feel good, and this good feeling must be repeated to keep users "hooked."
  4. Investment — Readers will learn that this step is all about getting the user involved. Whether it's referring a friend, being introduced to new features, or being asked to provide feedback, creating a greater investment from the user keeps the habit alive.

"Instead of relying on expensive marketing, habit-forming companies link their services to the users' daily routines and emotions."

Any company that builds strong user habits will see a direct impact on the bottom line. The key benefits of creating this habitual consumption include customer loyalty, pricing flexibility, growth through networks, and a solid competitive advantage. The results of using these principles successfully are not only increased revenue but also more consistent revenue.

The author teaches readers why this model works and how to use the model to create a product that is irresistible to users and creates the desired habits. By asking specific questions provided by the author, readers can learn how to create a product that has a high level of user interest.

  • What habits does your product want to create?
  • What problems does your product solve?
  • How do users currently solve their problem and why is a better solution necessary?
  • How often do you want users to use your product?
  • What specific behavior do you want to turn into a habit?

By using these types of questions, readers can systematically learn how to design the right kind of product for creating habitual use.

"The Hook Model is designed to connect the user's problem with the designer's solution frequently enough to form a habit. It is a framework for building products that solve user needs through long-term engagement."

Case Study

YouVersion's wildly popular Bible App, is a perfect example of the Hooked Model in action. Readers have only to consider the numbers to see the impact of the app's design.

  • 200 million. The number of times the app has been downloaded
  • 244 million. The number of verses shared
  • 36 billion. The number of chapters read using the app
  • 112 times per second. How often the app is opened

With 12 versions of the Bible App in 900 languages, the app is designed to appeal to a world market. Using triggers, such as reminders for a daily reading plan and other notifications, with popular apps like Facebook and Twitter, the app is designed to constantly and consistently remind users to open the app.

The app is also intentionally designed for ease of use. In its earlier versions, it was only available as a website. Once the company created the mobile version, they quickly saw how much easier it was for users to take the desired actions.

The variable rewards range from the user's natural tendency to feel good about sharing their beliefs to being able to pull up verses of scripture to deal with the problems of daily life. These rewards are based on extensive data that YouVersion has compiled about its target users and includes incentives that appeal to the religious and social aspects.

Each time a user shares the app, shares a verse, creates a bookmark or highlights a verse, they are increasing their investment in Bible. Maybe the ultimate investment, users find that even their religious leaders use the app to upload their sermons so users can follow along.

"We often think the Internet enables you to do new things … But people just want to do the same things they've always done."

Just as it was intended, the Bible App is a habit-forming product that has created an impressive fan base. Using consumer psychology, massive amounts of data, and the power of social technology, The Bible App has "hooked" millions of users by using the Hooked Model. Readers will find that by studying the principles outlined in the book and case studies such as Bible they will be able to understand how to build a product that users just can't put down.