The cover of Hooked


How to Build Habit-Forming Products

by Nir Eyal

Hooked has gotten a lot of play in product-land since it was published in 2014. I’m always trying to understand the mindset of the product folks I work with, so I figured it would be a good read.

The book left me feeling icky. For most of the book, Eyal harmlessly outlines the basics of the reward pattens of behavioral psych with a practical eye towards application in digital products. The part that made me see red was Eyal’s emphasis of variable reward as the key to inducing habit; while maybe defensible in the context of the book, variable rewards are squarely in the “catnip for sociopaths” category.