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The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business

4.12  ·  Rating details ·  439,383 ratings  ·  20,434 reviews

With a new Afterword by the author
In The Power of Habit, Pulitzer Prize–winning business reporter Charles Duhigg takes us to the thrilling edge of scientific discoveries that explain why habits exist and how they can be changed. Distilling vast amounts of information into engrossing narratives that take us from the boardr
Paperback, 298 pages
Published January 7th 2014 by Random House Trade Paperbacks (first published February 28th 2012)
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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
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
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
Mario the lone bookwolf (is on a longer vacation)
I was looking forward to a substantial, science and evidence based, compelling read, but just found many mixed up ego and self finding trips, business manager motivation yada, and some good points accidentally mixed in. Read Clear James` Atomic habits instead, it´s much better.

What is really strange is that the chapters seem to follow a logical approach, if one orients her/himself as always first by the titles of the index, and it looks like they are dealing with the meta or concrete context, b
May 09, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Mar 29, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  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
Ahmad Sharabiani
The Power of Habit, Charles Duhigg

The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business is a book by Charles Duhigg, a New York Times reporter, published in February 2012 by Random House.

The Habit loop is a neurological pattern that governs any habit. It consists of three elements: a cue, a routine, and a reward. Understanding these components can help in understanding how to change bad habits or form good ones. The habit loop is always started with a cue, a trigger that transfers the
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
Mar 17, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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, which is basically what I desc ...more
Nandakishore Mridula
I remember reading a story by the famous Malayalam writer Padmarajan called Oru Sameepakala Durantham ("A Tragedy of Recent Times"). It tells of a housing colony in Kerala, bitten by the exercise bug in the early eighties. Someone gets up before sunrise and starts jogging. Soon, he is joined by more and more people until the whole colony is out running, every day. This leaves the houses unattended which comes to the notice of a group of thieves: and they conduct a spate of early morning robberie ...more
Jul 23, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: psychology, sociology
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
Elyse  Walters
Our local book club read this a few years ago. I thought I had a review....perhaps it disappeared? Maybe it's still here?

I saw a friend currently reading it.
I thought this book explained some useful information:
Talked about success through good habits - organizational skills ----addictions- habits hard to break and how to create new ones --
lots of repetition. ( some basic common sense - but also good tidbits and even validation in some areas)
The personal stories of people's lives were intere
Jan 28, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
This was an interesting collection of research about habits and routines. The book felt Gladwellian in that it combined a variety of case studies while arguing a central theme, just as Malcolm Gladwell tends to do in his books.

I think my favorite sections were the ones on Starbucks' training programs, Procter & Gamble's attempts to market Febreze, the safety record at Alcoa, the applications of Hit Song Science, and the historic Montgomery bus boycott of 1955.

The overall theme is about how hab
Jun 04, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This book claims to explain how new science can help us stop bad habits. The advice on habit change ultimately comes down to the appendix with the author's personal anecdote about trying to lose weight. The conclusion is obvious and it's not science; it's just some dude's story. People looking for books on using increased awareness of thought loops to change habits would be better served reading something about cognitive therapy or meditation.
Managing Your Mind The Mental Fitness Guide by Gillian Butler Wherever You Go, There You Are Mindfulness Meditation in Everyday Life by Jon Kabat-Zinn Managing Your Mind: The Mental Fitness Gui
Apr 02, 2022 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
While this book kept popping in my feeds and conversations since many years, somehow got to reading it only now.

This is a well-researched book. The underlying premise is a good one – we carry out many actions as a result of habits rather than by careful evaluation, it is the way our brain develops. By recognizing how this happens, we have an opportunity to change our habits. The format of how we act out our habits is a simple loop of a cue which triggers anticipation, after which we follow-up a
Nada Elshabrawy
May 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio, english
Expect a video about this marvelous book soon.
Habits, both good and bad, govern our life. But it's very difficult for us to start a new one or break a bad one. If we are more aware of why and how habits are formed, then we'll be able to control them. That's exactly what "The Power of Habit" tries to accomplish!

This well-researched book consults academic studies, interviews with many scientists and executives, and research conducted at various companies. I had heard some lessons from this book by watching a few YouTube videos, but reading it
Apr 19, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, 2017
I feel like I’ve just climbed Mt. Rainier. Why you ask? I finished a non-fiction book!

So, I started this climbing excursion because I have bad habits. We all do most of the time. My bad habits are eating unhealthy food, drinking too much wine, not getting enough exercise or procrastinating at work. My hubby and I thought, let’s figure out WHY since we both have bad habits we want to stop. We started this buddy read in February. February?! And you're just finishing it? Now don’t let that sway you
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
Heidi The Reader
The Power of Habit examines behaviors you may not even know you have and hands you the tools to make lasting change at home, at work and in your community... if you want it.

"Each chapter revolves around a central argument: Habits can be changed, if we understand how they work." prologue xvii

First, author Charles Duhigg goes into what makes a habit at the biological level.

"Habits, scientists say, emerge because the brain is constantly looking for ways to save effort. Left to its own devices, the
Jul 06, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Oct 29, 2020 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Gambling, shopping, alcohol, drugs—this book isn’t about Vegas, or perhaps a brief mention is there, but it is about how so many of these habits are held to a degree of fascination, even down to the biological encoding in the brain for the simple act of brushing our teeth. As much as we focus on cold reasoning or our explicit memories to guide our behavior, we know well enough that those pesky habits have a vital influence on our behavior. I’m no psychology expert, but even I get hopelessly lure ...more
Caro (Bookaria)
I thought this would be a self-help book on tips of how to improve habits and it is much more than that. The author analyzes habits on different levels such as in individuals, organizations, businesses and societies. He uses real-life examples and historic events to describe behavioral habits.

Since the book was not what I expected I started getting distracted 20% in but pulled through to the end. About half-way of listening to the audiobook I started to do the review of the book I was expecting
Tharindu Dissanayake
"every habit, no matter its complexity, is malleable."

Habits, ways of life, behaviors, personalities and character; one might expect once you read a couple of books you have figured most of it, but that, I believe, will never be the case. Each book on these areas will provide interesting insights, while some stand out in certain ways. To me, The Power of Habit was one of these.

"You can't order people to change. That's not how the brai
Kahaba-habang basahin... (Too long to read)... Habits should be done perpetually. In order for something to be done habitually, it should be done over and over again. But habit is just one thing, it should began on a single step... And that sometimes is the hardest part...😬
Feb 19, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own-the-book
2nd time reading this book!
- Habits are not apart of memory, it's more like autopilot. Even people with parts of their brain missing that can't remember things still remember their daily habitable routines. They showed a study with rats in a maze and how the rats used their brains a lot in the beginning but redoing the maze they used less and less of their brains. Brains constantly trying to make it run efficiently
- Cue - Routine - Reward. Once this is learned and you start to expect the reward
Yousif Al Zeera
Aug 21, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, nonfiction
This book delves into some science behind the notion of "habits". It hands out the "scientific" process of changing habits. In between, there are interesting stories of how individuals, societies and companies can make the best use out of their habits or other people's habits. ...more
Joe Soltzberg
Aug 17, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A very good book about habit formation. My favorite parts were the various stories and anecdotes the author provided for each lesson about habits. The book is fairly cohesive and my only complaint is that the 'how to use this book' section at the end is a bit too simple and doesn't encompass the ideas in every chapter (such as incorporating keystone habits, etc.). Nonetheless, definitely worth a read. I didn't get this book to try and change any of my habits, but still learned a ton.

Here's what
Mary Helene
May 21, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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