Mark Isero'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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Jan 19, 2013

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This was a thoroughly enjoyable read. Mr. Duhigg writes in a Malcolm Gladwell-type way -- give your reader some anecdotes, then a little social science, then some words of wisdom to improve your life -- and he's mostly successful. When I read with skepticism, then I wasn't convinced. The evidence to his claims seemed weak; it was easy to ask, "But what about this?" But when I let go (and submitted to my pleasurable nonfiction reading habit), then everything was good again.

I read this book first as a teacher, and my biggest takeaway was that small changes can lead to big gains. For instance, many teachers have given up expecting homework completion, even if they believe in homework. But at least in urban schools, homework completion also correlates with college acceptance, so it's probably a good habit for students to master. In this book, Mr. Duhigg explains the concept of "keystone habits" -- habits that are more important than others, ones that build momentum. I'm wondering whether teachers, if they're interested in boosting homework, may have success approaching goal from another angle -- by centering in on a different student habit (perhaps attendance?) or by changing up the cue-routine-reward loop. It's worth an experiment.

The book also encouraged me to look at my own (mostly bad) habits. More important, it got me to think about which one I should tackle first. Which habit might be a keystone habit?
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Comments (showing 1-3 of 3) (3 new)

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Kevin Eagan It looks like we had similar thoughts on this book.


Mark Isero Yes, definitely. If I read it "seriously," then my skepticism and analytical brain took over and found problems. But if I just let myself follow my nonfiction reading habit, then all was well!


Cathy It does Malcolm Gladwell a severe disservice to compare him to Charles Duhigg


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