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The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business
The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business
The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business
Ebook486 pages7 hours

The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars



About this ebook

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • This instant classic explores how we can change our lives by changing our habits.

NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY The Wall Street Journal • Financial Times

In The Power of Habit, award-winning business reporter Charles Duhigg takes us to the thrilling edge of scientific discoveries that explain why habits exist and how they can be changed. Distilling vast amounts of information into engrossing narratives that take us from the boardrooms of Procter & Gamble to the sidelines of the NFL to the front lines of the civil rights movement, Duhigg presents a whole new understanding of human nature and its potential. At its core, The Power of Habit contains an exhilarating argument: The key to exercising regularly, losing weight, being more productive, and achieving success is understanding how habits work. As Duhigg shows, by harnessing this new science, we can transform our businesses, our communities, and our lives.

With a new Afterword by the author
“Sharp, provocative, and useful.”—Jim Collins
“Few [books] become essential manuals for business and living. The Power of Habit is an exception. Charles Duhigg not only explains how habits are formed but how to kick bad ones and hang on to the good.”Financial Times
“A flat-out great read.”—David Allen, bestselling author of Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity

“You’ll never look at yourself, your organization, or your world quite the same way.”—Daniel H. Pink, bestselling author of Drive and A Whole New Mind

“Entertaining . . . enjoyable . . . fascinating . . . a serious look at the science of habit formation and change.”The New York Times Book Review
Release dateFeb 28, 2012
The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business

Reviews for The Power of Habit

Rating: 3.9606299212598426 out of 5 stars

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  • Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
    I first came across this work when an excerpt of the Target customer habit tracking was posted online somewhere in 2012, and it was relevant, interesting, yet terrifying.

    A repost of Duhigg breaking his afternoon cookie habit came across my twitter feed earlier this year.

    When I saw this at the library a month ago, it seemed like a sign that I should finally get around to reading this, and like reading anything on TVTropes, once you see patterns, you can't unsee them.

    The thesis of The Power of Habit lies in our habit circle: a cue happens, we're compelled to perform our habit, and then get rewarded. Sometimes only a hint of a cue is required for us to automatically apply the habit, expecting reward. Duhigg demonstrates this again and again through anecdotes on an individual level, a company's level, and at a national level (the power of weak ties in the civil rights movement of the 1960s, for example).

    The notes section is quite extensive should you wish to continue reading on a particular topic, and it's also fascinating to see what various entities had to say (or didn't say) when asked for fact-checking comments.

    I can only hope that awareness of the cycle can be harnessed to change some of my own fidgety actions.
  • Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
    I heard the author interviewed and decided to read the book. I hoped that having a better understanding of triggers and goals would help me reestablish a workout routine. I got the theory and know what I need to do, now I just have to put it in practice. I lost interest after finishing the first part of the book, which deals with individuals. The latter part of gets into how businesses use habit.
  • Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
    Personally, I'm tired of the streaming anecdotes format of nonfiction. Books end up being longer than they need to be with less of the information in interested in.
  • Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
    I only read the first section of the book dealing with habit changing for individuals. I decided to rate it, because I've begun using what I learned in those few pages and have found it enormously helpful. It's only been a couple days working with it, but I feel like I've gotten to the power of how to form a couple habits I've really wanted to develop. Finding a cue and a reward are the keys that opened this up for me. Duhigg gives enough examples to give a good idea of what to look for in analyzing what would be good cues and rewards.

    I had first read a short book, The Power of Habit ...in 30 Minutes, by Garamond Press which is a summary of Duhigg's book. That gave me the overall look at the process, but I found those early chapters in Duhigg's book to be very helpful in fleshing it out for me.

    I highly recommend this book, or at least the first few chapters, for those wanting to change bad habits to good ones or to develop new habits. I found a couple good summaries online as well, but I'm glad I read from the book.
  • Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
    Power of Habit, my friend recommended it to me. It is a quick, easy read with a lot of stories. The Book is structured from starting from, How Habits work, How an Individual forms a habit, How an Organization forms a habit, How Societies form Habit.

    The first story of lean-women in-front of researchers captured my attention. And it motivated me to dig deeper into this book. The meat of the book is in the first half, how Habits form, and what people have done to change their habits. Old Habits never die. If you are a Christian Theist like me, we believe, there's a warfare within us, And only God helps us in our walks each day. I'm not sure of, what key-stone habits do I have, and how do I help others to find them?

    I was happy to see William James's name in the book. I had thought of reading about him, for a long time.

    Overall, an excellent book. I would recommend this to everyone.

    Deus Vult,
  • Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
    This is an interesting work in that it helps to distil a good deal of scientific research into a practical and interesting guidebook. Habits are effortless ways to live, some good, some bad. But what is clear from the research is that habits consist of three elements:

    1. The Cue.

    2. The Routine.

    3. The Reward.

    Extrapolating from this process, the way to change one's habits is as follows:

    1. Identify the routine.

    2. Experiment with rewards.

    3. Isolate the cue.

    4. Have a plan.

    Duhigg not only looks at individuals, but discusses organisational habits. I would call these institutions (rules, routines, procedures), but Duhigg looks into various organisations such as Alcoholics Anonymous, and then broadens this to includes how Target uses statistical data to "target" advertising to customers. The discussion on Pepsodent toothpaste ans how the tingly feeling now associated with brushing one's teeth was a way to create a habit, to the point where if we do not experience the tingle from the toothpaste, we would consider our teeth not clean. What is equally interesting is the notion of suds forming when using cleaning products (including toothpaste). Some time back, we looked for soap alternatives that did not contain the foaming agent sodium lauryl ether sulfate(SLES). (I recall too how we learnt that not all vinegar products are created equal - if you use vinegar to clean your house in an environmentally-friendly manner, ensure you are using brewed vinegar, not the cheaper varieties which I understand are made from a petrochemical by-product.) Put simply, SLES is in almost every product we use because we have become habituated to the nation that cleaning products are not workings unless they foam up (yes, including your toothpaste). Duhigg doesn't mention this chemical but it now makes sense why so many products include this unnecessary chemical - it is to create habits that sell products. While this is quite depressing, Duhigg also mentions the social habits that kicked in during the Montgomery bus boycott in the 1960s, and Dr Martin Luther King Jr.'s use of such social habits to create a social movement. The book concludes with a discussion of free will, and in an appendix, Duhigg provides his procedure for changing his own habits. I find this work useful in combination with many others I have read, such as Change Anything, and almost any of the motivational work by Steven Pressfield. Putting the science behind the process makes for a more nuanced understanding of why we do the things we do. While at times I felt the work was overtly middle-class and mono-cultural, reading at times like a work written before the social decline in the US recognised in Robert Putnam's Bowling Alone, this shouldn't take away from the usefulness of recognising the processes of habits, and the ways to analyse these habits with an aim to changing oneself. As James Allen (1926) may have put it, it is only through self-examination and self-analysis that we can achieve self-purification. Duhigg provides a useful way to actualise such examination and analysis, and a starting point for action.