Good reader, and many interesting stories about persons whose injuries allow a closer examination of those parts of the brain that control habits and other behaviors. And some of the other stories well researched (London Subway Fire, Rosa Parks boycott, etc,) and were interesting.
No. This is a collection of stories looking for a theme. In fact, it seems like he had to work hard to find a theme to fit his stories. The longer I read, the thinner the connection.
In the final section, the author sets up a comparison between two individuals (a sleep walker who killed his wife and a gambler who spent all her family's money) and set up a red herring suggesting that habits out of their control forced their actions and they should have been treated equally. The weakness in the argument was so apparent that it was just irritating when he finally came around to make the obvious case that the gambler had many opportunities for intervention and the sleepwalker who acted once. So while I learned some things about habits early in the book and then listened to some interesting stories in the middle, the longer the book went, the more it became obvious that anything in this author's world could be easily explained--and included in--a book about habits.
A rule of thumb about attending conferences is that if you come back with at least one good idea, it was probably worthwhile to invest your time.
I feel the same way about this book. Divide the number of pages by three and you probably have the ideal length for the material presented. However, the core premise is sound and the supporting stories are generally interesting. (Exception: The Tampa Bay Bucs example just didn't fit, no matter how hard the author tried to pound that square peg into a round hole.)
Bottom line: It's a so-so read, but worth slogging through.
What a marvelous book! My husband and I listened to it over about 7 days and each night we would discuss what we had heard the night before at length. We learned to observe our own habits and think about which ones we wanted to change. The story is engaging; at times funny and other times tragic but the effect keeps the listener interested.
The author builds each chapter and the listener is satisfied at the end. I recommend this book to anyone who is curious about why we do the things that we do. Also, if you are a reader of Drs. Dan Arielly and Daniel Gilbert you will appreciate this book.
I always judge the value of something by what I have learned from it and I have learned a lot about my own habits after listening to and thinking critically about the points made in this book.
1) Awful - I couldn't wait for the book to end. I don't understand why this book rated so highly. Basil ganglia aside, the book DOES NOT fulfill its promise of explaining Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business. His central premise is that most of what we do is on autopilot, so were not responsible for our actions. When Charles Duhigg run out of things to say about what Neanderthals we all are, he meanders into database marketing and rails against the gaming industry. Ridiculous. sophomoric snival.
2) Boring - The points are often so drawn out that you think to yourself, does the author have to spell out ever detail as if he's talking to a 3 year old about staying away from the hot stove?
3) Predictable - I could have cut out half the book and knew exactly as much. I actually felt less intelligent when I finished this book.
4) Regrettable - Regret that I spent all that time listening. I kept thinking there must be some redeeming value, so I kept reading. No such luck. The book was a disaster from page 1 clear through to the end. It reminds me of the CHILDHOOD FAIRYTALE of the Emperor who had no clothes. This emperor HAS NOT INFORMATION WORTH READING.
Yes, if they wanted to change something in their life, or if they wanted to understand the power of habits.
This book does open your mind to the power of habits and their effect on our everyday lives. It offers some interesting ways to change habits that you have. Once you change one small habit in your life it becomes easier to start making big changes, and you would be surprised with how many things you do in life are driven by habit. Changing habits can help you to stop bitting your nails, and ultimately to change your view and outlook on everyday life and change your whole life for the better. Stories like how Paul O'Neil changed Alcoa do provide some evidence of how executives are using these techniques in business. Other stories are not as interesting or strong. Good length, good narrator.
By cutting out 80% of the "human interest" stories and sticking to the promised "Why we do what we do...". Illustrating by example is all well and good but I found myself deeply frustrated with the amount of time spent tangentially setting up the same points. Imagine a book on the civil engineering discipline of bridge building spending 20 minutes talking about how aunt Margie needed to drive to the market to get sugar for her pound cake .... blah blah blah. I'm half way through and I regularly have to breathe deeply and count to ten in frustration at the ridiculous lengths this author went to to bloat his couple of very interesting nuggets into a full length book.
Anger, frustration, disappointment.
I originally bypassed this book, pre-judging it as more of the same from various mental health professionals and experts in neuroscience. Then I heard it referenced in an unrelated podcast about the game of Blackjack and my interest was piqued.
Some of the examples and case studies have frequently appeared in non-fiction and fiction alike, but this book makes use of plenty of other newer and more unusual (at least to me) examples, stories and experiences, and is quite salient on how habit works. I wasn't as interested in the dynamics of habit in groups and I almost put the book down and gave it a rest at the beginning of that section. I kept with it, though and was "hooked by habit" once again.
Can't add more to what others have said, though agreed, it would have been helpful to have had access to the user guide mentioned by another reviewer. I was not expecting a "how to" book on the methods of change in personal and professional life, so I was not disappointed, and actually I prefer a macro lens in books of this genre, and appreciated the aerial view of the dynamics of change, preferring it to a book on how habits develop and affect the individual in general and me personally. But the latter does get covered anyway and it's a bonus.
The narration is perfect and I am glad the author was not selected for this reading. That statement is not necessarily applicable to this book and this author as I have never heard his speaking voice but generally, self-narration frequently doesn't work all that well - just personal taste here - and I prefer a neutral voice, a reading by someone who is not necessarily a stakeholder in the book and whose interpretation can be more objective.
I'm sure I'll give this one another read at some point.
I expected more self help and less stories. Although the stories are supposed to be examples, the didn't actually cover the lesson on how to change habbits which I was looking for.
After the first hour or so, everything useful had been said. After that it was literally 9 hours of stories that are examples of the principles. Thia book could have been cut in half and still had been too long.
This book should be 20 pages long. Several interesting stories, but the overall substance and actual content should be a 20 page short read. Although I got a few valuable insights out of the book overall I would say the book is a waste of time!