Charles Duhigg “The Power of Habit”

“Most of the choices we make each day may feel like the products of well-considered decision making, but they’re not. They’re habits. And though each habit means relatively little on its own, over time, the meals we order, what we say to our kids each night, whether we save or spend, how often we exercise, and the way we organize our thoughts and work routines have enormous impacts on our health, productivity, financial security, and happiness.”Charles Duhigg, Pulitzer prize winner, writes in his book “The Power of Habit”

Charles Duhigg, an investigative reporter for The New York Times, became interested in habits, their formation and influence on our lives. He reviewed a large amount of researches about habits, interviewed the ordinary people as well as the leaders of successful companies. The most important and interesting things about habits he placed in his book “The Power of Habit: Why Do We What We Do in Life and Business”.

This book was translated into 30 languages, and more than 1,5 mln copies were sold around the world.

“The Power of Habit” consists of three parts. The first focuses on how habits emerge within human life. This part explores the neurology of habit formation, its components and how marketers use this information to stimulate our purchases.

“This process within our brains is a three-step loop. First, there is a cue, a trigger that tells your brain to go into automatic mode and which habit to use. Then there is the routine, which can be physical or mental or emotional. Finally, there is a reward, which helps your brain figure out if this particular loop is worth remembering for the future: THE HABIT LOOP.”

Also Charles talks about how to change the habits:

“Rather, to change a habit, you must keep the old cue, and deliver the old reward, but insert a new routine.” 

The second part examines the habits of organizations. It analyzes the organizational habits and their impact on the company’s success. Here you will discover how the key habits helped Paul O’Neill to increase the profitability of Alcoa.  And how self-discipline and willpower helped Starbucks became the world-known coffee company.

“This is how willpower becomes a habit: by choosing a certain behavior ahead of time, and then following that routine when an inflection point arrives.”

The third part looks at the habits of societies. Here you will read about how Martin Luther King Jr. and fighters for civil rights succeeded by changing established habits of the community of Montgomery. Also how a habit to go to church emerges, and how social habits affect our decision.

“A movement starts because of the social habits of friendship and the strong ties between close acquaintances. It grows because of the habits of a community, and the weak ties that hold neighborhoods and clans together. And it endures because a movement’s leaders give participants new habits that create a fresh sense of identity and a feeling of ownership.”

Why to read:

  1. “The Power of Habit” is a collection of hundreds of interesting facts and research experiments. It reveals all the details of the process of habit formation and shows you many examples from our personal and social life, and business.
  2. If you are interested in human brain functioning and consciousness.
  3. If you decided to get rid of bad habits and create new and healthy ones.

Minus – despite a great author’s desire to demonstrate the process of creating habits and their use in life, sometimes there were too much examples. So foe me, this book was a little bit overloaded by facts.

But in general, the book is very good, recommend.

Score – 4/5

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