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Switch Craft summary

Elaine Fox, PhD

The Hidden Power of Mental Agility

4.4 (429 ratings)
17 mins

Brief summary

Switch Craft by Elaine Fox, PhD, explains how our brains work and offers actionable advice on how to improve our decision-making and change our habits for the better.

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    Switch Craft
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    Key idea 1 of 4

    An agile mind can help you change, adapt, and thrive.

    Meet Paddi Lund. Paddi spent 10 years setting up and running an expansive and hugely successful dental practice in Brisbane, Australia. On paper his life should have been perfect – he was financially well-off and his business empire was thriving. Yet, Paddi was profoundly miserable.

    So, Paddi reflected on his situation. He realized that in building his empire he had lost track of what he loved – the dentistry itself. In a radical and life-changing move, he got rid of 80% of his clients, stopped all advertising for his practice,  and transformed half his building into a cafe to create a happiness-centered dental business. Now he’s working a fraction of the time, has doubled his income, and is spending more time with family and friends. Paddi is happy.

    Paddi turned his life around by finding a creative and agile response to his stressful situation. This ability – called mental agility – is the first pillar of switch craft.

    Mental agility means being able to approach the complicated world with flexibility. It comes down to one basic decision – when you’re faced with challenges in life, do you stick or do you switch? While it is often easier – and sometimes useful – to stick with the current situation, being able to easily switch things up can help you thrive.

    This was shown in a study on three cognitive biases in teenagers: Attention bias – whether they focus on pleasant or unpleasant things; memory bias – which type of things they’re more likely to remember, and; interpretation bias – what meaning they make of ambiguous situations.

    The study found that biases towards focusing on and remembering threatening or negative words and situations – and interpreting ambiguous situations negatively –  were tightly connected in those who struggled with depression and anxiety. For example, triggering a traumatic memory is more likely to make you focus on and interpret negativity around you.

    On the other hand, those who were happy and thriving were able to think about negative things without experiencing all the other negative biases. In other words, they were more agile in their thinking, leaving them in a more open and flexible frame of mind.

    What can you do to train this mental agility? Try paying attention to when you feel annoyed or upset and see if you can find other ways to interpret these negative situations. Maybe you’re bothered about a friend who is always slow to stay in touch with you. Sure, you can interpret that as her not wanting to see you, but there are always more positive explanations. Maybe she is too busy, or thinks that you are.

    Your mental agility – this ability to stick or switch as circumstances require – can be applied to all sorts of situations. Whether you’re raising kids, managing a large project, or living in a long-term relationship, knowing when and how to change can help you thrive, and let you approach challenges with an open mind. Just like Paddi and his dental business, it’s always possible to change your life for the better.

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    What is Switch Craft about?

    Switch Craft: The Hidden Power of Mental Agility (2022) introduces the concept of switch craft – the art of being able to change and adapt in this fast-paced world. Drawing on scientific research and real life experience, switch craft uses the four pillars of mental agility, self-awareness, emotional awareness, and situational awareness, to give us the flexibility and understanding to thrive in any situation.

    Switch Craft Review

    Switch Craft (2021) by Elaine Fox, PhD, is an insightful book that explores the power of our mindset in shaping our lives. Here's why this book is a must-read:

    • Packed with fascinating research findings and practical strategies, it equips readers with the tools to rewire their brains for positive change.
    • By examining the interplay between genetics, environment, and mindset, the book offers a holistic perspective on personal transformation.
    • With its engaging storytelling and relatable examples, the book takes complex concepts and makes them easily applicable to daily life, ensuring readers stay hooked throughout.

    Who should read Switch Craft?

    Switch Craft can and should easily translate into anyone’s day to day life, but its methods are especially fit for

    • Black or white thinkers looking for a fresh perspective on life
    • Those seeking hope after innumerous setbacks
    • Self-improvement enthusiasts.

    About the Author

    Elaine Fox, PhD. is a cognitive psychologist well known for her research on mental health that integrates psychology with genetics and neuroscience. She is the founder of OCEAN and currently works for the University of Adelaide, Australia, as the head of the School of Psychology. Fox’s previous work is an international bestseller, Rainy Brain, Sunny Brain (2012).

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    Switch Craft FAQs 

    What is the main message of Switch Craft?

    The main message of Switch Craft is that small changes can have a big impact on our lives and happiness.

    How long does it take to read Switch Craft?

    The reading time for Switch Craft varies, but it typically takes a few hours. The Blinkist summary can be read in 15 minutes.

    Is Switch Craft a good book? Is it worth reading?

    Switch Craft is definitely worth reading. It offers practical insights and strategies to help us make positive changes in our lives.

    Who is the author of Switch Craft?

    Elaine Fox, PhD is the author of Switch Craft.

    What to read after Switch Craft?

    If you're wondering what to read next after Switch Craft, here are some recommendations we suggest:
    • Bounce Back by Susan Kahn
    • Risk Savvy by Gerd Gigerenzer
    • Adaptability by Max McKeown
    • Self-Compassion by Kristin Neff
    • The Body by Bill Bryson
    • Do the New You by Steven Furtick
    • The Discomfort Zone by Marcia Reynolds
    • Possible by William Ury
    • Building a Non-Anxious Life by John Delony
    • Career Confidence by Robynn Storey