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Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do, and How to Change
     

Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do, and How to Change

4.1 264
by Charles Duhigg
 

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How did one ad-man take toothbrushing from an obscure practice to a daily routine across the globe?

How was an army general able to calm violent crowds with the help of fast food?

How the swimmer Michael Phelps break a world record with his goggles full of water?

How are advertisers able to identify and target pregnant women - often before the women have even

Overview

How did one ad-man take toothbrushing from an obscure practice to a daily routine across the globe?

How was an army general able to calm violent crowds with the help of fast food?

How the swimmer Michael Phelps break a world record with his goggles full of water?

How are advertisers able to identify and target pregnant women - often before the women have even told their families?

The answer is habits.

Most of the choices we make each day may feel like they are the products of well-considered decision-making, but they're not. They are habits. And though each one means relatively little on its own, over time these habits have an enormous impact on our health, productivity, financial security and happiness.

People have puzzled over our habits for centuries, but it is only in the past two decades that neurologists, psychologists, sociologists and marketers have really begun to understand how habits work - and, more importantly, how they change.

In The Power of Habit, award-winning New York Times journalist Charles Duhigg takes us to the thrilling edge of scientific discoveries that explain why habits exist, and how they can be changed - to transform businesses, communities and our lives.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780434020362
Publisher:
Heinemann
Publication date:
04/28/2012

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The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 264 reviews.
Ronrose More than 1 year ago
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?
EthanJonesMBA More than 1 year ago
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?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
popscipopulizer More than 1 year ago
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.
RHWoodman More than 1 year ago
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.
lpclemen More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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
sarahcrave More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love these kind of books. It explains how advertisers trick your mind to get you to buy something.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Worth your while, unless you are mentally negligible. He has a nice section at the end that explains how one can change habits.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is great and you will learn a lot but if you don't get in the groove of reading it, you will fall off. It can get "boring". But overall I enjoyed it
ConfuzzledShannon More than 1 year ago
The Power Of Habit claims to be a book that is key for the reader to learn how to make good habits. Such as habits to help a person to exercise, lose weight, raise children, and build a business. Author Charles Duhigg describes that making smaller good habits will help change the bad ones. I listened to the audio version of The Power Of Habit. I thought maybe listening to the audiobook my brain would able to absorb what needs to be done to create some good habits. Some of the stories were interesting including the one about Starbucks and others. As I listened I realized that most of the book was really talking about examples of how others changed or already had habits and how they kept or change them. Which was sadly not what I was looking for. I guess what I wanted was a workbook with The Power Of Habit. I wanted to know where I begin not how someone else did. I needed a little more guidance. This was the first self help book I listened to on audio and I think I will be doing more non-fiction by audio. Even though this is not what I was looking for it was still a interesting book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I was able to apply this book to my personal life as well as my career. Very good template for finding and breaking  habits. 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The author describes many instances where behaviors were changed. He calls these behaviors habits. The examples are interesting but the analysis of cause and effect seems shallow.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
this novel is very captivating. i was shocked about that as it was a non-fiction read but honestly it was a very motivating and realistic approach to life situations. gread read, props to the author!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great read! Perfect for purposes of self help or improving management skills.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book kept me interested page after page. It was really fascinating to read about how habits are formed. Great read!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Interesting and revealing. Shows how habits are made so you can replace or change them. Excellent reading.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Informative like a textbook, but written to be entertaining like a novel.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Very informative with practical steps on how to isolate a habit and start to change it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
An interesting mix of science, research, and real life application. Thos book helps you understand why we do the things we do. The section on how retailers use customer habits to grow their business also intrigued me.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is the most fascinating book I have read in years, I only hope there is a followup/continuation. Very well done, great research.