- Paperback: 383 pages
- Publisher: Random House Trade (January 7, 2014)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 081298160X
- ISBN-13: 978-0812981605
- Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.8 x 7.9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 318 g
- Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #481 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business Paperback – 7 January 2014
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"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 "Entertaining . . . enjoyable . . . fascinating . . . a serious look at the science of habit formation and change."--The New York Times Book Review "Cue: see cover. Routine: read book. Reward: fully comprehend the art of manipulation."--Bloomberg Businessweek
"A fresh examination of how routine behaviors take hold and whether they are susceptible to change . . . The stories that Duhigg has knitted together are all fascinating in their own right, but take on an added dimension when wedded to his examination of habits."-- Associated Press "There's been a lot of research over the past several years about how our habits shape us, and this work is beautifully described in the new book The Power of Habit."--David Brooks, The New York Times "A first-rate book--based on an impressive mass of research, written in a lively style and providing just the right balance of intellectual seriousness with practical advice on how to break our bad habits."--The Economist "I have been spinning like a top since reading The Power of Habit, New York Times journalist Charles Duhigg's fascinating best-seller about how people, businesses and organizations develop the positive routines that make them productive--and happy."--The Washington Post "An absolutely fascinating . . . book [that explores] a startling and sometimes dismaying collision between the increasingly sophisticated scientific understanding of habits--how they're formed, how they can be disrupted and changed--and, among other things, companies' efforts to use that knowledge to steer your habits and money their way."--Wired "If Duhigg is right about the nature of habits, which I think he is, then trying to get rid of these bad habits won't work. Instead, what is needed is to teach the managers to identify the cues that lead to these bad habits and rewards, and then learn alternative routines that lead to similar rewards, i.e. business and personal success."--Forbes "The Power of Habit is chock-full of fascinating anecdotes . . . how an early twentieth century adman turned Pepsodent into the first bestselling toothpaste by creating the habit of brushing daily, how a team of marketing mavens at Procter & Gamble rescued Febreze from the scrapheap of failed products by recognizing that a fresh smell was a fine reward for a cleaning task, how Michael Phelps' coach instilled habits that made him an Olympic champion many times over, and how Tony Dungy turned the Indianapolis Colts into a Super Bowl-winning team."--Los Angeles Times
About the Author
Charles Duhigg is an investigative reporter for The New York Times. He is a winner of the National Academies of Sciences, National Journalism, and George Polk awards, and was part of a team of finalists for the 2009 Pulitzer Prize. He is a frequent contributor to This American Life, NPR, PBS NewsHour, and Frontline. A graduate of Harvard Business School and Yale College, he lives in Brooklyn with his wife and two kids.
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Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
But what I wanted more than that were clear and concrete tactics or strategies to "hack" my habits...
Strategies and tactics that were groundbreaking, clear, repeatable, and effectively "life changing"...
Nope. Not so much.
I grade content quality by number of under-linings, margin notes, and folded pages I've set at the end of the read...
It scored extremely low in all of those categories. So it's not particular dense with usefulness.
A few other things I didn't like...
This book is 95% story, or anecdote. I'm not really into stories. I'd read a novel for a story. I read non-fiction to learn something useful- and prefer to do it quickly.
The stories themselves are delivered non-sequentially...
story A beginning
story B beginning
story C beginning
Story D beginning
To understand story A we need to story B. To understand story B we need story C. To understand story C we need story D.
Then story A's middle or ending
Then story B's middle or ending
Then story C's middle or ending
Then story D's middle or ending
It might be interesting to write this way, but it's an irritating read. Who wants their thought sequences disparate like this?
This distracting structure could have been redeemed if there were meaningful conclusions or anything actionable amidst the mire.
But there was not.
Overall, is it worth reading? Yes...if you have nothing else very interesting to read.
While the 1st part is circumscribed to the individual level of analysis, on parts 2 and 3 the author takes the analysis from the micro to organizations (meso-level) and societies (macro-level). The author describes “the power of weak ties” of social networks, and claims that it helps understand the rise of social movements —which it clearly does. But in his explanation, networks are rebranded as “the habit of peer pressure”. Networks —as well as peer pressure, or culture— can be powerful forces for change, undoubtedly. But networks are not habits —as per his own definition. Different phenomena are conflated into the concept of habits, and in doing so the concept loses elegance and consistency.
Intellectually, the book is revealing. On a personal level, it is incredibly useful —and I’m thankful to the author for writing it. I would have limited the book claims to the phenomena it can explain beyond any reasonable doubt. By taking the concept of habits beyond what it can solidly explain, parts 2 & 3 detract a bit of value and credibility from the book. Were it not for that, I would have given 5 stars to the book. In balance, this is still a great book that --with the caveat expressed-- I strongly recommend.
Based on studies of animal behavior and human behavior, we (that is rats, monkeys and humans) form habits the same way. There is a cue of some kind that triggers a habit, followed by some form of routine that has been completed memorized and operates more or less automatically, followed by some form of reward that reinforces the habit. Whether it is buckling our seat belt, brushing out teeth, smoking a cigarette or using heroin, this same habit loop operates in all of us.
The brain creates habits because it simplifies our activities. If we had to consciously decide and think out everything we do every day throughout the day from scratch it would be overwhelming for the brain. Habits are little routines that automate aspects of our behavior. We are not usually conscious that the habit is being formed, and once it is in place we need not expend much thought to follow it. It is a very effective efficiency that our minds use to free us up to think about other things.
Since we now know how a habit is formed and how they function we can modify existing habits and create new ones. We must identify the right cue which leads to the desired routine which is then followed by the reward. We must know in advance, or expect, the reward to motivate us to engage in the routine. The reward generates endorphins in the brain which are powerful motivators. They motivate us to repeat the routine every time the cue occurs. It is a bit more complex than that, but that is the gist of it.
Duhigg goes on to explain in fascinating detail how studies have shown us how we can modify a habit and how to replace one habit with another. This is very important because we can learn from it how to replace a bad habit (smoking) with a good one (exercise).
Certain habits also develop in organizations and in societies and they come together to create a culture, whether it is the culture of a corporation or the culture of a society. Culture, it seems, is primarily driven by key habits.
What I found useful about this book:
This book helps us understand how habits are formed and how we can use them to our benefit, change them when we need to and replace them when necessary. Duhigg does warn the reader that although we understand the way habits are made and altered it is not always easy to do it. Determining the actual cue for example can take some experimentation and work.
The book is very well written. It is engaging. It contains lots of references to studies and science but not in a dry or boring way. It is a series of fascinating stories. It is very well organized.
Notes on Author:
Charles Duhigg is an award winning investigative reporter for the New York Times.
Other Books by This Author:
Smarter, Faster, Better
Three Great Ideas You Can Use:
1. Habits all function in the same basic way: a cue begins a behavior routine which ends in a reward. Once we understand this we can understand how habits work and how to change them or use them.
2. We are manipulated every day by business through habits. Marketing has become in many ways habit focused.
3. Once we know how to form and change a habit we can gain more real control over our own behaviors; we can replace bad habits and create good ones.
The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business
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