- Publisher: Random House; 1st edition (January 1, 2013)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1847946240
- ISBN-13: 978-1847946249
- Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 1 x 7.8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 9.9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4,772 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,138,819 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do, and How to Change 1st Edition
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About the bookhabits are difficult to change. The neuroscience behind the functioning of habits is still not known to many. On one hand, there is always one section of the society which finds it exceptionally easy to adapt to new situations, new environment and frequent changes. On the other hand, there are people and organizations who strive hard to mold themselves into a changing environment. The power of habit: why we do what we do and how to change presents us with brilliant information in the most engaging way that enlightens us towards the depth of human nature and its tremendous potential to transform. Through this book we visit laboratories where neuroscientists explore how habits work and where, exactly, they reside in our brains. We also understand the importance of the right habits which led to the success of great personalities. Keystone habits help earn billions and can also make a difference between failure and success, life and death. Hence, the power of habit: why we do what we do and how to change gives the readers an insight into the world's top notch companies, rick warren's saddleback church, nfl locker rooms and the nation's largest hospital to suggest the importance of right habits. Charles duhigg, the author, proves that we can tremendously transform our lives for the good and also better the community and businesses that are a part of our lives. This book was published by rhuk on 7th february, 2013 and is available in paperback. Isbn-10: 1847946240. Key features the power of habit maintained a position in the new york times best seller lists for 62 weeks.
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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.
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.
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