Actionable Gamification Review

Vitaliy Mokosiy
3 min readSep 29, 2019


Actionable Gamification is a book written by Yu-Kai Chou. I had a long-lasting thorough reading getting various ideas on how to apply learned experience to my life and work. Actionable Gamification — the name justifies itself. It’s practical and bringing substantial gratification. The book is definitely worth touting.

10 Takeaways

It’s not a typical review. When I read books, I always write down insights and useful thoughts I get instilled. That’s why I decided to select 10 of them to share with you. Maybe be you will wish to read the book or, vice versa, save your time for anything else :)

Let’s get started!

1. Difference between game and life

If I were my own role-playing character, I wouldn’t stay in town to be idle: watching TV, hanging out and leaving dreams unfulfilled. I would go into wilderness, defeat monsters, gain experiences, learn new skills, accumulate resources, ally myself with those who have complementary skills, learn from those who have higher level than me.

The only problem: life has no clear objectives and visual cues what to do.

2. Gamification is all about motivation

These are 8 Core motivational drives. It is engaging to assess any product or service using the drives and Octalysis framework that includes them.

3. Promises of prospects

When people say they will use you your product tomorrow, it usually means “never”. This is because they are motivated by Loss&Avoidance Core Drive. They want to avoid changes in their habits and behavior.

4. Leaderboard technique

Adding a new player to the end and large gap between Top 10 and newcomer are demotivating mistakes. Good approaches to design safely working leaderboard:

  • Constantly resetting leaderboard. Every week, for instance.
  • Micro-leaderboards between you and your friends

5. Ownership and possession drive: Pet Rock

Pet Rock story became a true surprise for me. A simple rock was being sold in 1975 as a perfect pet turning the founder into a millionaire. Read it briefly here:

6. Mentorship technique

Long-timer experienced employees feel way more significant having options to mentor others.

7. Scarcity

Our brains intuitively seek for things that are scarce and fade away in availability.

8. Unpredictability and Curiosity

During meetings, people keep listening till the moment they hear recognizable common pattern. After that, they kind of switch off. Therefore it is important to talk in a more or less unpredictable manner.

9. Sunk Cost Prison technique

When you don’t want to lose what you gained. It holds from leaving service or stop using a product. Example: Facebook profile with whole story and photos.

10. Is gamification a manipulation?

Same way as Please or Thanks words are. We are taught to say these words in childhood. We expect to hear “Thank you” from another human being and accept it as a reward. It is considered ethical.

Wrapping up

The last thing to mention is simplicity. Yu-Kai Chou wrote the book as a simple read which is easy for perception and further digestion. I highly recommend Yu-Kai’s book for everybody interested in:

  • engaging customers of your products or services
  • decreasing amount of grunt work
  • making your life more playful
  • becoming happier

Vitaliy Mokosiy



Vitaliy Mokosiy

CTO in Atola Technology. Gamification enthusiast. Agile proponent