Kater Cheek'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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Nov 13, 2012

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Read in November, 2012

I've read so many of these pop-science kind of books that they all start to run together after a while, but this one seems superior to many. As its title suggests, it's about the power of habit. It starts out detailing the neurology behind our unthinking patterns of behavior, and then extrapolates into how habits affect organizations and personal relations.

The strength of this book is the way Duhigg uses anecdotes and stories to illustrate his points. In the section about organizational habits, he talks about a hospital where the hostile interaction between nurses and doctors led to increased mistakes (reminding me of the story about the Korean pilots from Malcolm Gladwell's book.) Duhigg does interpret "habit" rather loosely.

While the very last section of the book does provide some suggestions for how to break yourself of a bad habit, this book is not the best guidebook for that. It doesn't teach you some of the things that other books do about how to begin good habits (make it easy, surround yourself with people who also do it, etc.) and while it has some good strategies for breaking a bad habit, it comes so late and is such a small part of the book that people who are looking for guidance on how to quit smoking or quit biting their fingernails should at the very least supplement this book with a more practical guide.

I recommend this book for people who like pop science about neurology, liberally sprinkled with interesting anecdotes
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