Whitley Birks's Reviews > The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business

The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg
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Mar 04, 12

bookshelves: 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.

This book doesn't really impart any new information. If you're like me, however, it will give you what you know in a different way. This is not a self-help book. It will not give you platitudes or a list of steps on how to change or any promises of any kind. It does deliver a fascinating narrative on how our brains process habits and give context to the million bits of advice that can be picked up anywhere. It helps you understand the mechanics of what's going on, through case studies and vignettes, and brings it all together into a cohesive whole.

I loved this book. It is probably the first thing I've picked up that has made me take an honest, detailed look at my life and make a plan on how to change it. I have no idea if I'll succeed or fail, as I have so many times before, but this is the first time I feel like I have more behind me than just some dottering, inexact advice.

On a technical level, this is a moderately good book. The author does tend to mix his stories, starting one narrative and then leaving it hanging while he starts another, only to come back and finish the first. I'm annoyed by this style of writing, but the bits were still engaging enough that I kept through it. Then again, I was emotionally invested after the first chapter, so those that are reading for curiosity's sake may be more annoyed by it. Honestly, though? That's the only complaint I have with this book. It's a fast, entertaining, and fascinating read.
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message 1: by Scott (new)

Scott Ledyard After reading this book, I sought reviews to see what others thought about it and how they might implement its ideas. This review matches my experience very closely. The book provides insight into how the brain develops habits and ways they can be modified or created, but is not in itself a self-help book. That is to its credit. It does give one the ability to think about their own habits and create a plan for taking advantage of them. Thanks for your review and I hope it has helped in a lasting way.


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