“Change Anything” book reviewed by Jeff Brooks

“Change Anything, the new science of personal success” by The co-authors (Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, David Maxfield, Ron McMillan, and Al Switzler).  Review for clients by Jeffrey Brooks CPA, CFP MBA. Find additional useful information at www.jeffbrookscpa.com and Jeff Brooks blog. My email is


I recommend the book because although you will not achieve everything the book says you will, IF you have the desire to change something (i.e. improve your financial situation), you will improve your financial and personal life by reading the book twice and using advise that can be customized to YOU!

The book is full of strategies for helping you change various habits, and cites research to support them.


I found “The Power of Habits” an easier book to read and listen to through an audio book but that “Change Anything” was more useful and practical. I was fortunate because I listened to the audio book for “The Power of Habits” while working out on the Eliptical and learned the importance “Power” of habits.  Then I happened to listen to the “Change Anything” book and learned how habits can actually be changed.


“Change Anything” is a book about seeing the hidden influences in our lives and using them to change behavior that does not serve our best interests to ones that improve our self-esteem and performance.

What is one example that I have used to improve my performance in my CPA tax and financial planning practice?  One example is keeping an open mind to how the software programs can be used more effectively for the needs of my clients while spending less time accomplishing a client goal!

Now I have written down “recipes” and say these steps out loud to reinforce my habitual way of “doing” the work.  Habits reduce the amount of energy the brain has to use and frees up the brain for focusing on improving performance.  Fatigue is reduced and performance is increased.

“Change Anything” is organized into three parts:

Part 1: Presents four science-based strategies implementing lasting change

Part 2: Describes the 6 sources of influence and suggests ways to apply them for personal change

Part 3: Discusses the Change Anything suggestions in common change scenarios


I found Part 2 to be the most useful part. Their identification of the 6 sources of influence, combined with strategies to change each of these influences was useful to me.  


Six sources:

It turns out that there are 6 sources of Influence in our lives. These same 6 sources of influence can be used to either promote a healthy or unhealthy behavior.


1. personal motivation – tap into your existing desires and wants

2. personal ability – learn new skills to promote change

3. social motivation – turn accomplices into friends that help you make positive changes

4. social ability – use confederates to enable good choices

5. structural motivation – directly link short-term rewards and punishments to your new habits

6. structural ability – change your environment to one more likely to promote the change you want


One example that was an epiphany to me was the section about “liking something that you now hate”.  I LOVE the CPA profession but when I was younger, I would get angry when I had too many demands on my time and energy during the hectic periods of tax season.

 I would be annoyed and sometimes angry when I “knocked” myself out for clients and they either did not understand that I had many other clients or I felt they did not appreciate me for the “extra” effort to communicate with them save them money and reduce their IRS risk.  

This book talks about something I have happened to learn on my own: open up my tunnel vision to see a much broader view of people who are good people who have fears and emotions just like I do.  In fact, I am sure that I probably have not been appreciative of others emotional needs because I was involved in my own needs.



The remainder of the book, after describing each influence and its attendant strategies in detail, applies these 6 sources of influence and change to key areas of our lives that are what most of us care most about: career success, weight loss, financial fitness, addiction, relationships, and how to change the world.

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About Jeffrey Brooks

Jeffrey Brooks, CPA, CFP, MBA since 1976 has specialized in helping clients save significant taxes, help businesses increase their cash flow, revenues and profits while increasing their control and satisfaction. Jeff and his accounting firm sincerely cares about the happiness of his clients.

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Phone: 602-292-2009
Email: jeff@jbrookswa.com