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The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do and How to Change
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The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do and How to Change

3.97 of 5 stars 3.97  ·  rating details  ·  97,566 ratings  ·  6,187 reviews
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.

Marketers at Procter & Gamble study videos of people making their beds. They are desperately trying to figur
Paperback, 371 pages
Published 2013 by Random House Books (first published 2011)
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Mohammed Forget about big changes, start with small ones. Every habit will trigger a domino effect and you will be amazed.

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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
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 3 of 5 stars  ·  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
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
Scott Christensen
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
Mary Helene
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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.
Senthil Kumaran
"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
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
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
Aaron Thibeault
A full executive-style summary of this book is available here:

It is often said that we are creatures of habit, in that many of our daily activities end up being a matter of routine rather than direct deliberation (just think of your morning run-through). While this is no doubt true, author Charles Duhigg insists that this is but the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the impact that habits have on our daily lives. Indeed, in his new book `The Power of Ha
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
I read this book after reading its overall message in article form. Duhigg makes the claim that habits are everything, and then offers ways to change them in order to improve your life. This is not schlocky self-help- the tone is a little more subdued and a little more academic than most books of that nature. He can make habit-changing seem facile at times, which is eyebrow-raising when he's talking about addiction and addictive behavior, but he does come back at the end to point out that while ...more
Andy Shuping
“The Power of Habit” is one of those rare books that I started recommending before I even finished it. Charles Duhigg writes a practical book that pulls from multiple sources to explain how habits work, how they’re developed, how they’re formed in the brain, and how we might go about transforming them. Written in the style of Malcolm Gladwell’s books, Charles translates scientific language into clear, concise, and easy to understand for the average reader. He breaks the book down into three main ...more
Cassandra Kay Silva
The problem with this "genre" of books is that they leave 90% of the writing up to anecdotes and authors in this instance rarely have much that they are really trying to convey. I felt this strongly with the power of habit. The anecdotes were good but they did not flesh out the premise of book nor did it appear that the author made enough "statements" to provide any substance here. The thing that this book has going for it is that most of us don't really think about our habits and how they affec ...more
Marco Pavan
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!
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“Change might not be fast and it isn't always easy. But with time and effort, almost any habit can be reshaped.” 72 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.” 61 likes
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