From: Howard Jacobson <>
Subject: How to Change (science-based edition) + last call to become a wicked-effective health coach

This week's Plant Yourself Podcast interview features rockstar researcher Katy Milkman, whose new book, How to Change, is generating tons of well-deserved buzz. Watch or listen here: 

The book is a love letter to science, a friendly reminder of human frailty and magnificence, and a kickass self-help book.

Trained as an engineer and computer scientist, Milkman approaches the “ooey-gooey” nature of human complexity as an engineering problem.

She reframes our bad habits and dysfunctional tendencies as “features” that we can turn to our advantage much of the time.

Lazy? Milkman thinks that's one of our best qualities. It prevents us from wasting time doing unnecessary stuff in unnecessarily arduous ways.

How to exploit our natural instinct to preserve energy: create defaults so that doing the right thing is the path of least resistance.

We can't use that strategy in every situation, but we can use it a lot more than we think.

Conforming? Everyone tells us to “be ourselves,” and parents warn against the risks of peer pressure by asking if we would jump off a bridge if everyone else was doing it too.

Exploit that impulse by surrounding yourself with emulable (not a word; thanks, little red dots in my editor) people and deliberately try to “copy and paste” their effective strategies and tactics.

Impulsive? Tie your challenging work to pleasure: listen to Harry Potter and Alex Cross when you work out (but only when you work out).

And so on.

The only fatal flaw in Milkman's universe, it seems, is hubris – a refusal to acknowledge our weaknesses and limitations, which then prevents us from acting to counter them.

In our conversation, we talked about the one line in emails that dramatically boosted rates of vaccination in recipients, and the fact that we really don't know why it worked.

We covered the reexamination of the dogma (which I believed until this conversation) that external rewards suppress intrinsic motivation. 

And we talked about Milkman's work on racial and gender bias, and how a very substantial and solid body of scientific evidence about what works to reduce bias has been collected, even as the public discourse remains polarized and moralistic rather than empirical.

You'll love this conversation if you love science, behavior change, and laughter. Here's the link again (see how I make it easy for you ;) 

Last Call for the Final Coach Training of 2021

Yes, I checked, and there are only four months until 2022. Remarkable, since I and most people I know are still trying to wrap our heads around 2020. 

But all that means is helping others improve their health habits and outcomes is more important than ever. Whether you're a healthcare professional who needs your patients to comply with your lifestyle prescriptions, or a health coach looking to up your game and develop more reliable tools for helping people make positive change, or a plant-based evangelist tired of trying to convince people to eat more plants and fewer animal products - this coach training is for you.

It begins the first week in September, and runs through mid-December. Takes about 3-4 hours per week to do right. 

And not only will you become a more effective coach, you'll also get coached along the way on your own issues: diet, exercise, stress management, marketing, career, you name it. If you haven't worked with a coach before, you'll be amazed at how much progress you can make with someone guiding you to run achievable experiments and develop massive traction on your most important goals.

Read all about the program, and sign up for an enrollment interview (hurry - the deadline is next week) at