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The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg

The Power of Habit (original 2012; edition 2013)

by Charles Duhigg

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3,8121652,009 (3.87)79
Title:The Power of Habit
Authors:Charles Duhigg
Info:Random House Books (2013), Paperback, 371 pages
Collections:Your library

Work details

The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business by Charles Duhigg (2012)

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    No Impact Man: The Adventures of a Guilty Liberal Who Attempts to Save the Planet and the Discoveries He Makes About Himself and Our Way of Life in the Process by Colin Beavan (mene)
    mene: In "The Power of Habit", it is described why people do things a certain way. The reason people buy so many things is also explained. "No Impact Man" is a good example of someone changing their habits (in a very extreme way). The author of "No Impact Man" also talks about why people buy so many things, among other things.… (more)

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Showing 1-5 of 172 (next | show all)
What a great story teller! and these stories have been spreading. Every time I talk with someone about this book, they've already heard one of the stories! (Is Mr.Duhigg all over the airwaves or are his stories just re-tellable?)

In light of the recent rebuke of American nuns, I'd like to point out to the bishops that these ladies pop up prophetically in remarkable places, including p.229 in this text. (I misread my notes. The nuns show up earlier; this is a section where the author underestimates the role and power of religious conviction.)

I checked this book out of the library but we just may buy it. Worth reading again, lending out.

p.s. The casino story: horrifying. ( )
  MaryHeleneMele | May 6, 2019 |
In The Power of Habit, Charles Duhigg illustrates how the “habit loop” of cue, routine, and reward applies to actions of individuals, companies, and even societies. He talks about how individuals can use this knowledge to change unhelpful habits and start better ones, and how companies can use information about individuals’ habits to be creepy as hell when sending them targeted (pun intended) advertising. And while it may be a bit facile to refer to major social movements for change as “habits”, it can sometimes take only one small action to move a community from resignation to revolution.

This book is illuminating and well written, and the habit loop is a very simple concept that can be applied right away. I myself used it the very day I finished the book. The section about institutional habits and how they organically develop, and how they can be consciously changed, was also interesting. The part about companies using people’s personal information to identify their habits may seem charmingly quaint now, because this book was published in 2012 and the algorithms that figure this stuff out have probably become even more sophisticated in the meantime.

I found out about this book from reading Careful: A User's Guide to Our Injury-Prone Minds (Duhigg blurbed that book), so if you liked that one, you might like this one too. I’d also recommend it if you like books such as The Checklist Manifesto, by Atul Gawande. ( )
  rabbitprincess | Apr 10, 2019 |
This is a very valuable book. While I did know that habits are important, this book has opened my eyes to thinking about some of my struggles as habits that can be changed.

Duhigg focuses on research, providing a framework to explain habits, not on personal advice - although it does offer a general plan outline in the appendix on how to construct your own plan to change habits.

The first three chapters explain the habit loop: cue, routine, and reward. We learn that to change bad habits, we can substitute the routine, but the cue and reward must stay the same. Successful change also involves belief and the support from a community. Keystone habits are habits that can launch major changes - for example, people who quit smoking or start exercising soon ake other healthier changes in their lives, too. I just basically summarized the book.

The personal applications of habits were all relevant, so were the organizational habits. However, the bit about Rosa Parks and the civil right's movement was stretching the definition of habit - it was about how a social movement is triggered and spreads. I was also frustrated about the willpower experiments. The cookie experiment did not test willpower - it was testing how people react when they are frustrated!! In other words, there were some interesting tidbits that applied the word "habit" or "willpower" to something that was only loosely related.

The writing style is formulaic and somewhat dry and repetitive. It reads like a few ideas were expanded into a full length book. The ideas are worthwhile, though, and the case studies are interesting enough to keep reading, even if they are less and less relevant. Reading those is optional. Read the appendix, though, if you are interested in launching your own investigation into your habits and how to change them.

Overall, a thought provoking book that might launch changes in one's life if they are primed for one. ( )
  Gezemice | Oct 29, 2018 |
(original review, 2012)

I was just thinking earlier this week about the 4 dimensions of rituals that Mervin Verbit, a sociologist, wrote about: content, frequency, intensity and centrality. And, although he was talking more about religious rituals, I think they apply to most other kinds of rituals in our lives too. And, I think that if our everyday rituals include these 4 dimensions in the right proportions, they can allow us pay more attention to what we’re doing and give us the space to be more creative. Note that I'm not suggesting that rituals, in themselves, can make anyone more creative - rather that they enable some of the right conditions for creativity.

I believe "centrality" refers to how central the overall practice is within one's life. If it is central enough and the other 3 dimensions are present, the practice constitutes as a ritual. Charles Duhigg, in The Power of Habit, called them "Keystone Habits". And, while he did not suggest ritualisation, I find that there is a strong connection between long-standing habits and rituals - particularly when all Verbit's 4 dimensions are present.

I like the idea of rituals, but how do you differentiate between ritual and good working practice? I sort of see good or optimal working practices as a subset of rituals, so I'm not sure you would differentiate between the two.

I'm wondering if we might possibly mean "How do you differentiate between rituals that are optimal/good working practices vs. those that are not optimal working practices?" And, that is certainly an interesting question. I suppose there would have to be a 5th dimension then - the impact or the end-result that is generated from the particular ritual or working practice. I haven't read any sociological theories on this yet, but, I'm sure they exist. I imagine, also, that we start getting into slippery territory here as the definition of "impact" and "end-result" will likely vary on multiple levels - e.g. with reference to the one practising the ritual, others who may be impacted by it, any actual by-products that result and who, in turn, they might impact...... Also, there is the difficulty of actually being able to measure or see the impact / end-result. I need to think on this some more, clearly. :) Books like these raise good questions and also give me something to chew on. Sorry I'm not being more helpful besides just thinking out loud like this. Maybe we need to investigate other ritual-related and habit-related theories out there.

Bottom-line: It's not the number of beans in your morning that's important (I don't drink coffee by the way), the important bit is that the beans are crushed with a cherry wood pestle in an Italian white marble mortar. Turning the pestle three turns clockwise to every counter turn. And, of course, there's the water which must be drawn at dawn from the well in a brass bucket then transferred to the stove in an enameled bowl. But all preparation may be ruined if served in the wrong cup. Because I don't drink coffee, my morning ritual is 20m of Chi Kung every single day. If I’ve got the time, I do some Zhan Zhung as well.

Worth mulling over more. [Note: I'm no sociologist, just an avid reader. But, this is one of my favourite topics, so I like to read/discuss. Doesn't make me an expert, I hasten to add.] ( )
  antao | Oct 6, 2018 |
Personally, I'm tired of the streaming anecdotes format of nonfiction. Books end up being longer than they need to be with less of the information in interested in. ( )
  CassandraT | Sep 23, 2018 |
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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.

Marketeers at Proctor & Gamble study videos of people making their beds.  The are desperately trying to figure out how to sell a new product called Febreze, which is 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 focussing on the patterns that shape every aspect of our lives.

They succeeded in transforming habits.

In The Power of Habit, award-winning New York Times business reporter Charles Duhigg takes us to the thrilling edge of scientific discoveries that explain why habits exist and how they can be changes.   With penetrating intelligence and an ability to distill vast amounts of information into engrossing narratives, Duhigg brings to life a whole new understanding of human nature and its potential for transformation.

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 Proctor & Gamble, Target superstores, Rick Warren's Saddleback Church, NFL locker rooms, and the nation's largest hospitals to 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 an exhilarating 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.

Habits aren't destiny.  As Charles Duhigg shows, by harnessing this new science, we can transform our business, our communities, and our lives.  [from the jacket]
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Duhigg takes us to the thrilling edge of scientific discoveries that explain why habits exist and how they can be changed.

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