Customer Reviews for

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

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

95 out of 119 people found this review helpful.

Make It Or Break It

My usual habit is to pick up a mystery novel and engross myself in the imagined problems of nonfiction characters. I decided to change this habit and try this nonfiction book with the rather intriguing title that professed to help identify our habits and show us how to ...
My usual habit is to pick up a mystery novel and engross myself in the imagined problems of nonfiction characters. I decided to change this habit and try this nonfiction book with the rather intriguing title that professed to help identify our habits and show us how to change them. Habits are those things we initially choose to do, which have evolved, through repeated use into things we do without thinking. Written in language even I can understand, the book breaks down the pattern of habits into three parts that we can recognize and change. The author illustrates that by first identifying components of a habit, we can then work to change them. This is a self help book that may actually be of some help, if we want to change. This book was provided for review by Random House. Now, where did I put that mystery novel?

posted by Ronrose on February 21, 2012

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Most Helpful Critical Review

47 out of 61 people found this review helpful.

Disappointing at best

Although it was well written, I was disappointed because I thought I would be getting hands-in practical advise on how to create new habits within a more structured environment and not stories about other people's habits and how they overcame them. It was so boring to r...
Although it was well written, I was disappointed because I thought I would be getting hands-in practical advise on how to create new habits within a more structured environment and not stories about other people's habits and how they overcame them. It was so boring to read story after story with the same diagrams over and over. Just wasn't what I expected.

posted by 10039523 on March 5, 2012

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  • Posted February 21, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Make It Or Break It

    My usual habit is to pick up a mystery novel and engross myself in the imagined problems of nonfiction characters. I decided to change this habit and try this nonfiction book with the rather intriguing title that professed to help identify our habits and show us how to change them. Habits are those things we initially choose to do, which have evolved, through repeated use into things we do without thinking. Written in language even I can understand, the book breaks down the pattern of habits into three parts that we can recognize and change. The author illustrates that by first identifying components of a habit, we can then work to change them. This is a self help book that may actually be of some help, if we want to change. This book was provided for review by Random House. Now, where did I put that mystery novel?

    95 out of 119 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted April 4, 2012

    I Also Recommend:

    Heal Your Habits

    In this wonderful book, Charles Duhigg, an investigative reporter for The New York Times, tackles an important reality head on. That is, people succeed when they identify patterns that shape their lives--and learn how to change them. This idea--that you can indeed change your habits--draws on recent research in experimental psychology, neurology, and applied psychology. My chief complaint is he doesn't really show you how to break bad habits. For this you should consider Emotional Intelligence 2.0. That book was great for my self-control. As you can see from the TOC below, Duhigg really goes after a broad range of topics. He looks at the habits of individuals, how habits operate in the brain, how companies use them, and how retailers use habits to manipulate buying habits. This provides some fascinating research and stories, such as the fact that grocery stores put fruits and vegetables at the front of the store because people who put these healthy items in their carts are more apt to buy junk food as well before they leave the store. The author's main contention is that "you have the freedom and responsibility" to remake your habits. He says "the most addicted alcoholics can become sober. The most dysfunctional companies can transform themselves. A high school dropout can become a successful manager." He makes a convincing case for all this. The only problem is that's all he does. He doesn't show you how to do it. PART ONE: THE HABITS OF INDIVIDUALS 1. The Habit Loop - How Habits Work 2. The Craving Brain - How to Create New Habits 3. The Golden Rule of Habit Change - Why Transformation Occurs PART TWO - THE HABITS OF SUCCESSFUL ORGANIZATIONS 4. Keystone Habits, or The Ballad of Paul O'Neill - Which Habits Matter Most 5. Starbucks and the Habit of Success - When Willpower Becomes Automatic 6. The Power of a Crisis - How Leaders Create Habits Through Accident and Design 7. How Target Knows What You Want Before You Do - When Companies Predict (and manipulate) Habits PART THREE - THE HABITS OF SOCIETIES 8. Saddleback Church and the Montgomery Bus Boycott - How Movements Happen 9. The Neurology of Free Will - Are We Responsible for Our Habits?

    57 out of 65 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 5, 2012

    Disappointing at best

    Although it was well written, I was disappointed because I thought I would be getting hands-in practical advise on how to create new habits within a more structured environment and not stories about other people's habits and how they overcame them. It was so boring to read story after story with the same diagrams over and over. Just wasn't what I expected.

    47 out of 61 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 6, 2012

    Amazing

    This book provided amazing insight and advice, and kept my interest throughout the entire read. Also, it DOES talk about changing habits in a realistic working environment. Great read.

    40 out of 51 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 5, 2012

    I thought that this was a very interesting read. It is does a g

    I thought that this was a very interesting read. It is does a good job as an explanatory book examining habits of people, organizations, and societies. The case studies were well chosen and varied. Some may not like the format, which jumps between different examples, then back again, which I found distracting, rather than helpful. This does not focus on changing your personal habits, though there is an appendix detailing how a reader may try to change their own habits. I plan on trying out the framework myself. Well worth reading, I am purchasing a second copy to send to a relative.

    25 out of 31 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 1, 2012

    It is often said that we are creatures of habit, in that many of

    It is often said that we are creatures of habit, in that many of our daily activities end up being a matter of routine rather than direct deliberation. While this is no doubt true, author Charles Duhigg insists that this is but the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the impact that habits have on our daily lives. Indeed, in his new book `The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business' Duhigg argues that habits not only pervade our personal lives, but that they have an integral role to play in the businesses and other organizations of which we are a part, and that they are also at the heart of successful social movements.

    The first part of the book focuses on the role that habits play in our personal lives. Here we learn about the habit loop consisting of cue, routine, and reward, and how the elements in this loop can be manipulated to help modify our habits. We also learn about the power of particular habits called keystone habits (which include exercise, as well as eating together as a family) that help initiate a domino effect that touches all of the other aspects of our lives. Also, we learn about the power of belief--and the importance of social groups in helping create this belief--that stands behind successful habit transformation programs.

    The second part of the book concentrates on how habits help shape businesses and organizations. Here we learn that the formation of habits and routines within organizations is unavoidable; what's more, that it is always best for the leadership of a group to make a deliberate effort to shape the habits of their organizations, and in a way that ensures a high degree of equality and fairness for its various members, while nonetheless making it clear who is ultimately in charge of each particular aspect of the operation. Second, we learn that keystone habits--which are at the center of our personal lives--are also pivotal when it comes to larger organizations. We also learn about the greatest keystone habit of all: willpower, and how this habit can best be cultivated (and how companies are employing these lessons to help train employees successfully). Finally, we learn about how companies instill habits in their customers.

    The third and final part of the book examines the importance of habits in social movements. Here we learn that movements tend to follow a three-part process. To start with, a movement tends to begin with a group of close friends. The movement tends to grow when these people spread it to the broader communities of which they are a part. Finally, in order to really take hold and spread, the movement must be guided forward by an effective leader who lays down new habits for the movement's adherents in a way that allows them to gain a sense of identity.

    On the negative side, the organization of the book is somewhat muddled, as there is significant overlap in the parts on individuals and organizations. Also, the section on social movements rests on a precious few examples, and therefore, the theory seems less convincing than it might otherwise be. Still, though, there are many things to be learned here and the book is well worth the read. For a full summary of the book, as well as many of the juicier details and anecdotes to be found therein, visit the website at newbooksinbrief dot wordpress dot com, and click on article #9. The information in the article will also be available in a condensed version as a podcast on the same site soon.

    24 out of 28 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 26, 2012

    Well Worth Your Time to Read and Ponder

    I first heard about this book on NPR. I knew that others had written about habits before Mr. Duhigg, but when I heard his interview, I was intrigued and decided to buy it. I'm glad I did.

    The Power of Habit contains laymen-friendly explanations drawn from case studies (though presented in a friendly style, not the dry "case study" approach of so many business, legal, and medical textbooks) of how habits form, work, affect our behaviors both as individuals and as corporate bodies, and can change. The information in the book is well-researched; the end notes (grouped by chapter and page) are very much worth reading concurrently with the main text. The information is clearly presented, providing depth of coverage while keeping the presentation friendly and the mental strain not overly burdensome. It is a fine book for the educated layman, but I suspect that experts in the field of habits research will find this book rather elementary.

    I have learned that certain habits of mine ARE habits. I've never thought of them that way, but now that I can see them for habits and not inborn parts of my personality, I am in the process of evaluating how to change them to be what I want them to be. We can change our habits; the old, ingrained patterns of behavior don't disappear, and that is what makes habits so hard to break/change, but we can create and ingrain new patterns of behavior in our brains that override or trump the old patterns, thus effectively breaking our habits and creating new ones.

    I have already given away one copy of this book to an acquaintance, and I plan to give a few more to friends and relatives.

    21 out of 22 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 7, 2012

    I got this book- excellent

    This is one of the few books that has changed my life. It has helped me to understand my choices and I have figured out how to change them. I have lost 70 lbs and I was fat all my life. I have also changed smaller things which has improved my life. This book will not give you the exact way to change your life however it will show you how you made decisions in the first place. You simply don't fight to change those decisions but, the routines involved. I really got this one. Excellent

    18 out of 19 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 5, 2012

    Rambles on and on and on...

    Thus book could easily hav been 150 pages shorter than it was. The point gets lost and the reader gets bored with the author's use of superfluous examples. In a word: disappointing. It really should be one of the 99 cents reads.

    12 out of 22 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 17, 2012

    Great read

    I love these kind of books. It explains how advertisers trick your mind to get you to buy something.

    11 out of 16 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 22, 2012

    Excellent

    Worth your while, unless you are mentally negligible. He has a nice section at the end that explains how one can change habits.

    8 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 14, 2012

    The book has interesting stories that very well present the powe

    The book has interesting stories that very well present the power of habits, however, I feel that it has it's tangents. I skipped a lot of pages due to the author's sometime obessive rants regarding one subject.. These rants show a bit of desperation in terms of trying to prove that habits ARE powerful. Honestly, I haven't even finished the book. I stopped reading it because I simply lost interest. It starts off strong, but the thirsty horse was only led to a dry lake.

    In terms of the power of habits, I do agree with some of the author's main points. Habits create who you are and how you are. The ideas did not require an entire book to be presented though, maybe just a few articles could have done the job.

    6 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 21, 2012

    Dont waste your money!

    This book was a disappointment. Don't waste your money. Had lots of interesting information about habits but nothing about how to change them or make them work for you. Wish I could get my money back.

    4 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 5, 2012

    I couldn't stop reading

    The author manages to convey brain studies and case studies in almost a story form. It was fascinating and inspiring. I bought a copy for one friend, and another bought it for her Nook. My husband was fascinated, too. It isn't intended as a book specific to ADHD, but it gives me hope.

    3 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 28, 2012

    Interesting

    Really makes you think!

    3 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 21, 2012

    Boredom

    Hehe this book was soo boring!!!!

    3 out of 33 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 13, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

    No text was provided for this review.

    3 out of 22 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 23, 2012

    Great read!

    This book makes it so easy to understand how habits really work in your brain as well as how to identify the circle of a habit and how you can effectively modify it.
    Totally recommendable!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 28, 2012

    No text was avaliable for this review

    No text was avaliable for this review

    2 out of 20 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 24, 2014

    I was able to apply this book to my personal life as well as my

    I was able to apply this book to my personal life as well as my career. Very good template for finding and breaking  habits. 

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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