The Power of Habit
Why We Do What We Do in Life and BusinessBook - 2012
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER * This instant classic explores how we can change our lives by changing our habits.
NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY The Wall Street Journal * Financial Times
In The Power of Habit, award-winning business reporter Charles Duhigg takes us to the thrilling edge of scientific discoveries that explain why habits exist and how they can be changed. Distilling vast amounts of information into engrossing narratives that take us from the boardrooms of Procter & Gamble to the sidelines of the NFL to the front lines of the civil rights movement, Duhigg presents a whole new understanding of human nature and its potential. At its core, The Power of Habit contains an exhilarating argument: The key to exercising regularly, losing weight, being more productive, and achieving success is understanding how habits work. As Duhigg shows, by harnessing this new science, we can transform our businesses, our communities, and our lives.
Praise for The Power of Habit
"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
"A flat-out great read." --David Allen, bestselling author of Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity
"You'll never look at yourself, your organization, or your world quite the same way." --Daniel H. Pink, bestselling author of Drive and A Whole New Mind
"Entertaining . . . enjoyable . . . fascinating . . . a serious look at the science of habit formation and change." -- The New York Times Book Review
Featured Blogs and Events
It’s January so you knew this was coming. I’ve given up on New Year’s Resolutions because it is an exercise in futility and guilt. That said, the new year is coinciding beautifully with my attempt to develop new or changed habits. I have enlisted the help of two books to take my best stab at the slow, steady process of good habit formation. Charles Duhigg’s The Power of Habit has been… (more)
From the critics
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Habits can be changed, if we understand how they work.
Habits, scientists say, emerge because the brain is constantly looking for ways to save effort.
When a habit emerges, the brain stops fully participating in decision making. It stops working so hard, or diverts focus to other tasks. So... unless you find new routines—the pattern will unfold automatically.
This explains why habits are so powerful: They create neurological cravings. Most of the time, these cravings emerge so gradually that we’re not really aware they exist, so we’re often blind to their influence. But as we associate cues with certain rewards, a subconscious craving emerges in our brains that starts the habit loop spinning.
That’s why signing kids up for piano lessons or sports is so important. It has nothing to do with creating a good musician or a five-year-old soccer star. When you learn to force yourself to practice for an hour or run fifteen laps, you start building self-regulatory strength.
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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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