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Dr. Jonah Berger on How Great Catalysts Remove the Barriers to Change
The Catalyst: How to Change Anyone's Mind

In today’s episode, Dr. Jonah Berger (@j1berger), a bestselling author and University of Pennsylvania Wharton School marketing professor, shares how great catalysts remove the barriers to change. By understanding and tapping into these drivers of change, you can become more effective in your own life, career, and relationships. We discuss his latest book, The Catalyst.

Purchase The Catalyst by Jonah Berger: (Amazon Link)

What Causes Us to Resist Change?

As Jonah Berger points out, options are provided to us daily. Some decisions are more significant than others, and while some may not have much of an impact overall, others may have a profound impact. When faced with a significant decision in life or business, it’s all too tempting to err on the side of caution—sometimes to our personal or financial harm. It is in our nature.

Often the very thing that hinders our ability to change is our preoccupation with “self” or “ego.”

Inaction is often cheaper than action in the moment. But over time, the small things end up costing us a lot more.

John R. Miles

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Listen to the episode on Apple PodcastsSpotifyPodcast Addict, Pocket CastsStitcherCastboxGoogle PodcastsListen NotesAmazon Music, or on your favorite podcast platform. You can watch the interview on YouTube below.


In This Episode, Dr. Jonah Berger And I Discuss His New Book, The Catalyst, And How to Remove the Barriers to Change

The great catalysts don’t push harder. They identify those roadblocks and mitigate them. They figure out why that person is unwilling to change. They help people see that they can choose the outcome they want, regardless of what they’re doing, regardless of your big organization, a small one, a for-profit or nonprofit. These barriers come up again and again. And the more we understand them, the more we can effectively change minds and drive action.

This interview is packed full of information on how to change someone’s mind and will help you overcome any barriers to change. So what are you waiting for? Start changing minds today!

The interview and book cover the following subjects:

  • What it means to be a catalyst, from personal growth to organizational change
  • The five things that impede change and how to deal with them
  • How to successfully begin a conversation about the change immediately
  • How to overcome the barriers to change
  • What we can learn in the aftermath of the Tide Pods Challenge
  • How do the Catalysts know how to understand before they try to influence
  • Have any questions, comments, or stories you’d like to share? Drop us a line at [email protected]m!
  • And much more…
227 | How Catalysts Remove the Barriers to Change | Dr. Jonah Berger | Passion Struck with John R. Miles
227 | How Catalysts Remove the Barriers to Change | Dr. Jonah Berger | Passion Struck with John R. Miles

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Quote by Dr. Jonah Berger from the Passion Struck podcast on push back and removing the barriers to change

New to the show? These Starter Packs are collections of our most popular episodes grouped by topic, and we now have them also on Spotify. You can also browse starter packs for existing listeners to find your old favorites. Every week, John interviews everyday heroes from all walks of life. Learn how to subscribe to the show and never miss a new episode and topic.

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More From My Interview With Dr. Jonah Beger On Becoming the Catalyst of Change

The Catalyst by Jonah Berger for the passion struck recommended book list

During our interview, I asked Jonah how The Catalyst takes a different approach to remove the barriers to change.

Jonah Berger explains, “if you look at whether it’s that hostage negotiator that a transformational leader, the folks that are really good at change again, and again, you see the same five barriers come up. And so, in the catalyst, I put them in a framework called the reduce framework. And that’s an acronym that stands for reactance, endowment, distance, uncertainty, and corroborating evidence, and I’m cheating a little bit there.

The corroborating evidence is two words, but I’m using them as one principle. It’s a CE and reduce. But that’s precisely what great catalysts do. They don’t push harder. They identify those roadblocks, and they mitigate them, right? They figure out well why is that person unwilling to change? Or how can I read and feel like pushing to help people see that they can actually choose the outcome that they want using guided choice, for example, rather than pushing and so happy to dive into a few of the principles in the reduced framework.

But again, and again, regardless of what you’re doing, regardless of your big organization, a small one a for profit and nonprofit, these barriers come up again and again. And I think the more we understand them, the more we can effectively change minds and drive action.

Thanks, Dr. Jonah Berger!

If you enjoyed this interview with Jonah Berger, let him know by clicking on the link below and sending her a quick shout on Twitter:

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And if you want us to answer your questions or you have a topic you would like John to discuss on one of our upcoming weekly Momentum Friday episodes, drop us a line at [email protected].

Resources From The Show With Dr. Jonah Berger

Please note that some of the links on this page (books, movies, music, etc.) lead to affiliate programs for which The Passion Struck podcast receives compensation. It’s just one of the ways we keep the lights on around here. Thank you so much for being so supportive!




Contagious by Jonah Berger:

Invisible Influence by Jonah Berger:

Magic Words by Jonah Berger:

My solo episode on what it means to be a person of courage:

My interview with Seth Godin on why we need systems to change to save the planet and address climate change:

My interview with Dr. Scott Barry Kaufman and Dr. Jordan Feingold on Choosing Growth and transcending self-doubt, fear, and anxiety:

My interview with NYU Stern School of Business Professor Scott Galloway on Why America is Adrift:

My solo episode on why micro choices matter:

About Today’s Guest, Dr. Jonah Berger

Passion Struck album cover episode 227 with Dr. Jonah Berger

Dr. Jonah Berger is a world-renowned expert on change, word of mouth, influence, consumer behavior, and how products, ideas, and behaviors catch on. He has published over 50 articles in top‐tier academic journals, teaches Wharton’s highest-rated online course, and popular outlets like The New York Times and Harvard Business Review often cover his work. He’s keynoted hundreds of events and often consults for organizations like Google, Apple, Nike, and the Gates Foundation.

Berger has been recognized with a number of awards for both scholarship and teaching, including various early career awards. He was named one of the top 30 leaders in business by the American Management Association and one of the most creative people in business by Fast Company magazine. His research has been featured multiple times in the New York Times Magazine’s “Year in Ideas” and Wharton gave him the Iron Professor award for awesome faculty research.

Dr. Berger has helped hundreds of companies like Apple, Google, Nike, and GE get their products, services, and ideas to catch on. He’s helped Facebook launch new hardware, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation sharpen messaging, and small start-ups, political campaigns, and nonprofit organizations change minds and drive action.  He’s also keynoted hundreds of major conferences and events like SXSW and Cannes Lions and spoken to audiences from 10 to 10,000 people around the world.

He received a BA from Stanford University in Human Judgment and Decision Making and a Ph.D. from Stanford in Marketing.

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John R. Miles is a serial entrepreneur and the CEO and founder of Passion Struck. This full-service media company helps people live intentionally by creating best-in-class educational and entertainment content. John is also a prolific public speaker, venture capitalist, and author named to the ComputerWorld Top 100 IT Leaders.

John is the host of the PassionStruckPodcast. The show focused on exploring the mindset and philosophy of the world’s most inspiring people to learn their lessons to living intentionally. Passion Struck aspires to speak to the humanity of people in a way that makes them want to live better, be better and impact.

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