K'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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's review
Apr 02, 2012

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bookshelves: journalism-pop-nonfiction, cookingcraftshowto
Read in April, 2012

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 expecting slightly more substantial psychology or social science and instead got more of a book solidly for businesses/manager types and people on the beginning of their self-help journeys. But I fall into the latter category, so why am I pooh pooh-ing this book so much? I dunno. Maybe I am just jealous of how $$$ money this dude's gonna make at corporate speaking gigs.

Anyway, lessons I'll take away --
*making your bed every morning and committing to regular exercise are two habits that can transform your entire goddamn life
*Diagram about mouse brain activity spike post-reward eventually arriving prior to reward (the origin of cravings)
*Changing habits requires identifying the cues and rewards that trigger and support the habit behavior, then trying out various substitutes for the behavior that might achieve the same reward
*deliberate advance plans for responding to challenging situations can be extremely helpful (ex Scottish knee/hip replacement patients, Michael Phelps, Starbucks)
*With more challenging habits like alcoholism or stuff related to football, true belief and submission to some higher purpose is necessary
*in general, it's more effective to change others' habits if you make them believe they have some power or authority over their decision than if you coerce them with force
*casinos are super evil

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Comments (showing 1-13 of 13) (13 new)

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Roger Haskins good take aways!

message 2: by Ken (new) - rated it 4 stars

Ken Montville I suppose I should have been tipped off by the title (and subtitle) but the video implies that reading this book can give you the insight you need to change personal habits (e.g., lose weight). I make my bed every morning and my life hasn't been transformed. Just sayin'

message 3: by Angela (new) - added it

Angela "Veganlady" just think, how crappy would your life be if you didnt maje your bed?

message 4: by Laura (new) - added it

Laura An informative and at the same time entertaining review. Got a good chuckle. Thanks

Trupt Actually if you join weighwatchers (which I am part of BTW) then you KNOW how WW is using the info provided in this book!!! I found it most interesting how WW now uses (buzz) words like "routines". When I re-joined WW beginning of this year...I was like "big deal"...they changed few words here and there. But after reading this book I am completely IMPRESSED. :-)

message 6: by Matola's (new) - added it

Matola's Boy great

Austin Storm Good review, that's where I ended up with this book, as well.

message 8: by Jon (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jon True dude Ur take aways seem to be a nice summary to me. Thx

Dennis I gave it a 5, but think you have a fair review. Perhaps target audience is key.

Ellen Keim Thanks for including some "take-aways"-- they helped me to remember what I did learn from the book!

Eddie S. spot on review

Ashley This review is absolutely perfect. My thoughts exactly.

Hanna Hanna Agree with your idea about the social movement (Rosa Park). As far as I know, Rosa Park was an introvert, so she might not be sociable enough to create a movement by relationships. I think it was the timing that made a difference.

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