The Power of Habit

The Power of Habit

Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business

Book - 2012 | 1st ed
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A young woman walks into a laboratory. Over the past two years, she has transformed almost every aspect of her life. She has quit smoking, run a marathon, and been promoted at work. The patterns inside her brain, neurologists discover, have fundamentally changed. Marketers at Procter & Gamble study videos of people making their beds. They are desperately trying to figure out how to sell a new product called Febreze, on track to be one of the biggest flops in company history. Suddenly, one of them detects a nearly imperceptible pattern -- and with a slight shift in advertising, Febreze goes on to earn a billion dollars a year. An untested CEO takes over one of the largest companies in America. His first order of business is attacking a single pattern among his employees -- how they approach worker safety -- and soon the firm, Alcoa, becomes the top performer in the Dow Jones. What do all these people have in common? They achieved success by focusing on the patterns that shape every aspect of our lives. They succeeded by transforming habits. In The Power of Habit, business reporter Charles Duhigg takes us to the edge of scientific discoveries that explain why habits exist and how they can be changed. Along the way we learn why some people and companies struggle to change, despite years of trying, while others seem to remake themselves overnight. We visit laboratories where neuroscientists explore how habits work and where, exactly, they reside in our brains. We discover how the right habits were crucial to the success of Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps, Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz, and civil-rights hero Martin Luther King, Jr. We go inside Procter & Gamble, Target superstores, Rick Warren Saddleback Church, NFL locker rooms, and the nation largest hospitals and see how implementing so-called keystone habits can earn billions and mean the difference between failure and success, life and death. At its core, The Power of Habit contains one argument: The key to exercising regularly, losing weight, raising exceptional children, becoming more productive, building revolutionary companies and social movements, and achieving success is understanding how habits work.
Publisher: New York : Random House, ©2012
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 9781400069286
Branch Call Number: 158.1 DUHIGG
Characteristics: xx, 371 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm


From the critics

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Jan 14, 2018

Very good book about habits: cue, routine, reward. It has stories about how different habits has affected people, how people succeeded in changing habits, etc. It's a very good book about being more self-aware and potential for growth as well as self-change.

Dec 12, 2017

This is an awesome book that explains the cycle of a habit, which interesting case studies to go along with it. Strongly recommend it.

Jun 05, 2017

Good book, would recommend it to read to understand that we can manipulate and change out habits by understanding the way they work.

Mar 16, 2017

Personally, I haven't read the book yet, but after taking a look at peoples' comments, I would like to read it. Those feedback are encouraging to read.

Aug 16, 2016

This is not a self-help book, so if you are looking for that you may be disappointed, though it does make a helpful starting point for changing your own habits. This book provides an enjoyable look at how habits affect individual lives, corporations and organizations, even societies. Well researched with fascinating stories from many different areas, such as the marketing of a hit song, the transformation of a losing football team, Starbucks employee training, and the spread of a fire in the London Underground.

Jan 07, 2016

This is essentially a compilation of examples supporting the author's model of how habits are formed. There is virtually no information on techniques for changing habits. A breezy, entertaining read but not very instructive if you're looking for something to help you change.

Oct 14, 2015

The book is a good starting point in thinking about habits. The basic pattern of cue-response-reward seems to be correct. Duhigg contends that the only way to change a habit (the golden rule of habit chapter 3) is if you replace it with another one. The habit itself may not be the problem though (the reward may be the real problem). He does point you in the right direction although you need to think for yourself about where your pattern might be a problem. I think there could also be a similar pattern cue-response-punishment that might make you averse to the pattern, but he doesn't get into that at all. He doesn't make any judgements about how others may exploit your habits or seek to create them in order to exploit you (febreeze and target being the main examples) so again you have to think for yourself. Good reporting doesn't judge, so take it at that level. Also read the notes section as it calls out that a lot of the narratives were embellished significantly-like "based on a true story" movies (especially the hospital story).

Jun 13, 2015

Extremely informative and very helpful.

bolsen13 Apr 09, 2015

Overall this was quite an enjoyable book. It was certainly interesting and the examples used by the author were effective, though slightly odd. Even after reading the very small application section at the end I was left feeling as though I ultimately hadn't learned much. Very little "practical application" in my opinion.. though that might just be unique to my life. I enjoyed reading the book on the whole, and my only other complaint is the seemingly random cliff-hangers done mid-chapter, which were a lot more frustrating than they were intriguing. Solid read if you would like to learn more about habits, but don't expect it to change your life overnight.

Jun 04, 2014

Interesting and quick read. Some of the information was familiar from other books on similar subjects (I think I remembered some of it from "Switch: How To Change When Change Is Hard" - though I liked this book better). Helpful for making change in personal life and business.

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Apr 28, 2016

KonaKitsune thinks this title is suitable for All Ages


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Oct 14, 2015

The book contends that basis of most of our actions are based off of this pattern. Cue-response-reward. When repeated enough these patterns are ingrained into us and become habits. The book contends in chapter 3 that we can't eliminate habits, only replace them. To do this you identify the cue, replace with a new action, and then are rewarded. For example if you have a cookie everyday at 3 PM, you instead go for a walk, you have replaced the bad habit. At the end of the book he explains how to change a habit. 1. Identify the routine 2. experiment with different rewards 3. Isolate the cue 4. Develop a plan to have alternatives somewhere in the path.

Common Cues are: location, time, emotional state, other people, immediately proceeding actions. Experiment (failures will provide feedback) until you change your habit.


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"The behaviors that occur unthinkingly are evidence of our truest selves" -Aristotle


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