Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business” as Want to Read:
The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Read Excerpt* *Different edition

The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business

3.98  ·  Rating Details  ·  110,646 Ratings  ·  6,719 Reviews

With a new Afterword by the author

In The Power of Habit, Pulitzer Prize–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 boardro
ebook, 313 pages
Published February 28th 2012 by Random House (first published 2011)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Power of Habit, please sign up.

Popular Answered Questions

Mohammed Forget about big changes, start with small ones. Every habit will trigger a domino effect and you will be amazed.

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
I just read Kelly McGonigal's "The Willpower Instinct", so I can't help but compare the two.

Duhigg is an investigative reporter for the NY Times, while McGonigal is a research psychologist, and the differences come across in the writing. McGonigal has a much better grasp on the research and how to apply it, while Duhigg brings in stories that are entertaining but stretch his powers of interpretation. His most annoying stylistic problem is that he breaks his stories up, stopping one to start anot
Robert Chapman
This is great book, and you need to read it. How is that for a definitive opening line? The reason it’s such a good book is because it uses research to explain how habits are formed and changed. Everyone knows someone who was out of shape, or was a smoker, and then in what appeared as if almost overnight, changed themselves in a short period of time. How did they do that? They formed new habits and changed old ones, that’s how.

Do something enough and it becomes a habit, good or bad. This is expl
Read this because of fascinating NYT magazine excerpt on how Target tracks our buying habits. The rest of the book is not as compelling -- anecdotes sometimes don't support particular arguments he's attempting to illustrate (the Hey-Ya examples being the most egregious), and his section on how social movements occur is weak and unconvincing, and not really about habits, per se. Style and structure were often clunky, and the book seems a bit muddled as its ultimate purpose. I dunno, I guess I was ...more
May 28, 2012 Rhianna rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This may be a crappy review since its going up via iPhone. Sorry.

First caveat: I work in research. A big part of my job is creating these habit loops and seeing if they can be altered or enhanced via medication.

Second caveat: I'm a nerd and love journal articles, scientific writing, and technical reading, even off the job.

Third caveat: I only got to chapter eight.

I honestly don't know what I was expecting. By far and large, when there's big buzz about a book I inevitably dislike it with very
Riku Sayuj

Nothing Succeeds Like Success: A Case Study

Hey. Have you heard of Thomas Baker? How about Carol Wright? Chris Cameron? Vineet Shaw? Let us discuss Baker.

Thomas Baker was an average joe, but not without ambitions. A few years ago, acting on a tip, Tom, a competitive enough guy, decided to take his life into his own hands. What’s more, he decided to pick up one more Self-help book and this time follow up thoroughly on it. No holds barred. He asked around, looked in that wonderful site and finally
Dec 04, 2013 Trevor rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: jim t
Shelves: psychology
I need to start with the obvious – this guy is one of those writers. One of those writers that make you want to track him down and hurt him. And not just him, maybe even his pets too. He assumes you are as thick as dog-shit and that you won’t get what it is he is talking about unless he makes it painfully (PAINFULLY) clear. He has missed his calling. He really should have gone into the self-help book market – let’s face it, assuming your readers are dumb in that market is just ‘responding to rea ...more
Jul 25, 2012 Johnny rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: psychology, sociology
Judging from the prologue of The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business, the first thing necessary in modifying one’s behavior is to note the actual components of that behavior. The author cites a visit with a military officer in charge of normalizing a village (Kufa) in Iraq. The officer started by observing video of how riots began and noticed that the trouble usually broke out after people had milled around for a while and food trucks and spectators arrived. He changed the ...more
Arda Aghazarian
Enjoyable. The book presents a framework of understanding how habits work, and serves as a guide to show how to change habits.

“Once you choose who you want to be, believe you want to change, and it becomes real.” “Visualize the kind of person you would like to become, focus on one habit you would potentially develop, and transform that into what would become natural; requiring no effort or thinking.” “To modify a habit, you must decide to change it. You must consciously accept the hard work of
Chad Warner
This long-winded book explains how habits form in individuals, organizations, and social groups. Despite the intriguing premise, the verbose anecdotes left me screaming, “I get the point already!” A better book (or article) would have resulted from taking the appendix (a short, practical guide to changing a habit) and adding some of the psychological research and a few brief examples. (After I wrote this review, I discovered Charles Duhigg's New York Times article, which is basically what I desc ...more
Jan 15, 2016 Scott rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Duhigg's Power of Habit offered a staggering statistic about our lives: 40% of what we do is habitual. 40 percent! That means that a huge majority of what we do in our lives is practically unconscious and habitually helping us progress or digress.

The major takeaways for me include two main insights. First, identifying your habit's cues and rewards gives one understanding of why we do what we do. For example, when analyzing my habit of running, there are specific cues and rewards that both initi
How do some of us wake up for 6 a.m. jogs every day? What leads people to develop gambling addictions? Why do people brush their teeth every day while never remembering to wear sunscreen? Charles Duhigg answers these questions and more in The Power of Habit, a well-researched book on what motivates us to make the decisions we do in everyday life and in business.

Duhigg's background as a reporter shows in this book. He does a good job of stringing together a wide variety of topics to fit his thesi
Charles Duhigg has three fascinating half-books here. They’re all joined by the theme of habits. He speaks of habits from a personal perspective. Then he talks about business habits, switching from cognitive psychology to organizational psychology. And finally, he talks about sociology.

What unifying pattern do these three have? That same old model I learned back in college in 1991… The idea of cues, actions, and rewards is throughout this book. It’s not very new nor very strong; in fact, Duhigg
Mohamed  Abo-Elgheit
بيقولك (بس كلام أكيد يعني) لو جبت فار وحطيته في متاهة زي اللي في الصورة دي كده، وبعدين فجاة مع صوت الكليك شلت الحاجز اللي بيفصل بين الجزء اللي الفار محبوس فيه وبين الجزء اللي في حته الشوكولاته ... الفار هيبدأ يجري علي كل ركن ويشمشم في كل جتى وهياخد وقت طويل على ما هيوصل لنهاية المتاهة وياكل حتى الشوكولاته .. في المرة التانية اللي هتعمل فيها نفس التجربة لنفس الفار، هتلاحظ انه بقا اسرع وبقا بيضيع وقت اقل في التسكع في جنبات المتاهة لحد ما يوصل لحته الشوكولاته..
في المرة التلاتين، هتتفاجأ! لأنك هتلا
Joe Soltzberg
Nov 12, 2015 Joe Soltzberg rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A very good book about habit formation. My favorite parts were the various stories and anecdotes the author provided for each lesson about habits. The book is fairly cohesive and my only complaint is that the 'how to use this book' section at the end is a bit too simple and doesn't encompass the ideas in every chapter (such as incorporating keystone habits, etc.). Nonetheless, definitely worth a read. I didn't get this book to try and change any of my habits, but still learned a ton.

Here's what
Jul 10, 2012 Sue rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The title of this book may be misleading if you want to lose weight, stop procrastinating, or get to appointments on time. It would be easy to think you’d found a self-help book. Okay, maybe it could help a reader break an unwanted habit. Duhigg does try to analyze those behaviors. There are a few good stories of people who quit smoking or started exercising.

But it is more accurately about patterns of behavior in groups as well as individuals: in corporations, the military, and the marketplace.
Mary Helene
May 21, 2012 Mary Helene rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 underestimat
This is a well researched, well written book about habits and the psychology behind it. And yet, it was far from a home run. What I want most of all from reading non-fiction popular psychology books is for them to have an impact on me.
The very basic requirement is to learn something new, but I also want them to make me think about my actions and behaviours and those from people around me, and preferably also to have a changing impact on me, which can be small or large, but has to be meaningful
Nyamka Ganni
Сэтгэл судлал, хүний зан араншин сонирхдог хэдий ч нарийн мэдлэгээр маруухан надад үнэхээр таалагдлаа.
Зуршил хэрхэн үүсдэг, түүнийг яаж өөрчилж болох зэргийг шинжлэх ухааны үүднээс нь тайлбарлаад бодит амьдрал дээрх жишээнүүдийг дурьдсан байна.

- Аливаа үйлдлийг хангалттай олон удаа хийхэд зуршил болж хүнээс ямар ч шийдвэр гаргах шаардлагагүйгээр хийгддэг үйлдэл болж хувирч болно.
- Дээрх шинж чанарыг ашиглаж зуршил болгохыг хүсч байгаа үйлдлээ байнга давтан хийхэд өөрийн мэдэлг
Jul 18, 2015 Louise rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: psychology
Charles Duhigg's premise is that habits are formed when behaviors are rewarded. Because the brain is wired to anticipate a reward it directs behavior towards getting the reward. The author presents some studies that show brain activity in the anticipation and reward cycles. He poses a "golden Rule" of habit change which is to identify the cue that anticipates the reward and find an alternative route to that reward. He cites AA, group/team and religious experiences to show that for habits to stic ...more
Mar 14, 2012 Franz rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If you are looking for a how-to book, in the strict sense this isn't it. But if you want to change your habits you can glean how to do so from the main text, and Duhigg provides specific hints in an appendix. Duhigg does tell us how habits form without our awareness (every habit follows the pattern of cue-response-reward loops with cravings--expectations of the reward--thrown into the mix) and why they form (the brain's method of saving effort by turning any routine into an unthought habit) and ...more
Mirek Kukla
The “Power of Habit” is a frustrating book to review. At its core, it presents ideas that are both interesting and practical: this book will - or at least might – change the way you think about, form, and conquer habits. At the same time, it’s flooded with same fuzzy and irrelevant “case studies” that pollute your average pop psychology book. The first part of this book nicely summarizes recent findings in the field of psychology concerning habits – how they form, how they function, and ho
Whitley Birks
Mar 04, 2012 Whitley Birks rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
This is a review of an ARC received through a First Reads giveaway.

For most of my adult life, I have struggled with bad habits that have kept me unemployed, ineffective when I was employed, unable to do the things that I want, and generally unhappy. About once a year I try and reinvent myself, and it'll work for a few days and then fail. Still, I have done quite a bit of research into habits and how to change them, and I've collected a lot of tidbits of information that float around in my brain.
Atila Iamarino
Jan 08, 2016 Atila Iamarino rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Muito bom para entender o poder que a mudança de hábitos pode trazer. Foi o autor que descobriu a história de como a Target acompanhava os consumidores para predizer gravidez. Tem boas ideias e ótimos exemplos de como hábitos acontecem e regem a vida. Mas o livro é bem mais longo do que precisa, detalha demais os exemplos e muitas vezes dá uma boa forçada no que é explicado por hábito ou não para poder citar como exemplo ou incluir.
Feb 19, 2014 Ruel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fascinating look at the process of habit-forming. Duhigg discusses the science of habits and provides excellent anecdotes to support his theories. The chapters cover various topics, all seen through the prism of people's habits: exercise and diet, Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, shoppers at Target, the birth of the civil rights movement, and more.

I'm a big fan of Malcolm Gladwell and there are parts of this book that read like something from him. Like Gladwell, Duhigg takes the science and appli
Senthil Kumaran
Jun 09, 2013 Senthil Kumaran rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"What we most often do is not because we choose to do it, but there is some part of our brain that is wired in way that it makes us do it automatically".

This is the central theme of this book and this book goes in great detail about what are habits, scientifically, physiologically and how we can make Habit has the central focus of the activities around us, the events that we subject ourself to and the way we respond to every day seemingly insignificant events.

This is a great book to understand
Oct 26, 2012 Rob rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: business, change
It's a fascinating read, combining some very accessible medical science with insights into human behaviour. Duhigg's an entertaining writer as well as an extensively-researched one; he uses suspense to superb effect at several points, and his revelations on the predictive power of Big Data in identifying our habits are startling. The first half and concluding sections are especially compelling, particularly with his recipe for changing old habits into new ones.

I'm less convinced by his look at o
John Brown
May 05, 2012 John Brown rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Have you ever gotten into the car to go to destination A and a few turns later realized you’re going to destination B and have to turn around?

If so, you’ve experienced the power of habit.

Have you ever told yourself you will NOT eat the cookies sitting out on the counter and two minutes later pick one up and eat it? Or perhaps it was the cigarette. Or the drink.


Did you know that the genius behind the methods of Tom Dungy–the only coach in the NFL history to reach the play-offs ten years in
Allan Elder
The basics of this book are fascinating. The Habit Loop consists of a cue, which calls a routine, which seeks a reward. That is whole book. There is little reason to read the rest of it unless you like a lot examples of this loop. Unfortunately, the book does not really explore the science of habits and absolutely, completely, ignores the research on behaviorism which explains the entire premise of the book. The science of behaviorism, while not popular, covers this material in a way that is act ...more
Marco Pavan
Aug 30, 2015 Marco Pavan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
I found this book so easy to read and the content was both entertaining and incredibly simple to digest. The non-fictitious stories were a bit long but for a non fiction lover as myself, I found them exquisite. I need to thank Otis for pointing out this book as a great read. It definitely left a mark and triggered my brain to effectively start replacing some of my habits!
Jan 03, 2016 Negin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An interesting book to finish as many set New Year's resolutions (not me. I don't bother with that sort of stuff anymore.) I’ve been avoiding self-help books for some time, probably because I’m at a point where I find them annoying and a bit boring. I’d rather escape into some good fiction any day! I thought that this book would be yet another self-help book and so I’d been reluctant to read it for a while. I was wrong. It’s not a self-help book and it doesn’t tell you how to change your habits. ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
  • This Will Make You Smarter: New Scientific Concepts to Improve Your Thinking
  • Willpower: Rediscovering the Greatest Human Strength
  • Making It All Work: Winning at the Game of Work and Business of Life
  • The Willpower Instinct: How Self-Control Works, Why It Matters, and What You Can Do to Get More of It
  • Making Habits, Breaking Habits: Why We Do Things, Why We Don't, and How to Make Any Change Stick
  • Fascinate: Unlocking the Secret Triggers of Influence, Persuasion, and Captivation
  • The Way We're Working Isn't Working: The Four Forgotten Needs That Energize Great Performance
  • Everything is Obvious: Once You Know the Answer
  • Situations Matter: Understanding How Context Transforms Your World
  • Redirect: The Surprising New Science of Psychological Change
  • What Makes Your Brain Happy and Why You Should Do the Opposite
  • Just Listen: Discover the Secret to Getting Through to Absolutely Anyone
  • The Optimism Bias: A Tour of the Irrationally Positive Brain
  • Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain
  • Drunk Tank Pink: And Other Unexpected Forces that Shape How We Think, Feel, and Behave
  • Contagious: Why Things Catch On
  • How Will You Measure Your Life?
  • Business Model You: A One-Page Method for Reinventing Your Career

Share This Book

“Change might not be fast and it isn't always easy. But with time and effort, almost any habit can be reshaped.” 78 likes
“Typically, people who exercise, start eating better and becoming more productive at work. They smoke less and show more patience with colleagues and family. They use their credit cards less frequently and say they feel less stressed. Exercise is a keystone habit that triggers widespread change.” 71 likes
More quotes…