A young woman walks into a laboratory. Over the past two years, she has transformed almost every aspect of her life. She has quit smoking, run a marathon, and been promoted at work. The patterns inside her brain, neurologists discover, have fundamentally changed.
Marketers at Procter & Gamble study videos of people making their beds. They are desperately trying to figure out how to sell a new product called Febreze, on track to be one of the biggest flops in company history. Suddenly, one of them detects a nearly imperceptible pattern - and with a slight shift in advertising, Febreze goes on to earn a billion dollars a year.
An untested CEO takes over one of the largest companies in America. His first order of business is attacking a single pattern among his employees - how they approach worker safety - and soon the firm, Alcoa, becomes the top performer in the Dow Jones.
What do all these people have in common? They achieved success by focusing on the patterns that shape every aspect of our lives. They succeeded by transforming habits.
In The Power of Habit, award-winning New York Times business reporter Charles Duhigg takes us to the thrilling edge of scientific discoveries that explain why habits exist and how they can be changed. With penetrating intelligence and an ability to distill vast amounts of information into engrossing narratives, Duhigg brings to life a whole new understanding of human nature and its potential for transformation.
Along the way, we learn why some people and companies struggle to change, despite years of trying, while others seem to remake themselves overnight. We visit laboratories where neuroscientists explore how habits work and where, exactly, they reside in our brains. We discover how the right habits were crucial to the success of Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps, Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz, and civil-rights hero Martin Luther King, Jr. We go inside Procter & Gamble, Target superstores, Rick Warren’s Saddleback Church, NFL locker rooms, and the nation’s largest hospitals, and see how implementing so-called keystone habits can earn billions and mean the difference between failure and success, life and death.
At its core, The Power of Habit contains an exhilarating argument: The key to exercising regularly, losing weight, raising exceptional children, becoming more productive, building revolutionary companies and social movements, and achieving success is understanding how habits work.
Habits aren’t destiny. As Charles Duhigg shows, by harnessing this new science, we can transform our businesses, our communities, and our lives.
©2012 Charles Duhigg (P)2012 Random House, Inc.
Great insight into how habits are formed. And a somewhat disturbing view into how corporate America can suck us in to habitually buying their productcs (burgers & fries, shampoo, gambling, etc.).
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.
I have listened to over about 100 books, so that is a tough one. I will say that I absolutely enjoyed this book because it offered a point of view backed by science and I was not expecting the book to be more of a learning experience. I was expecting a bit of self help. I was pleasantly surprised. Loved it!
I learned to take moments and observe why I do what I do. This is very useful!
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.
Charles Duhigg is a reporter for the New York Times and author of The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business. I picked this volume up out of sheer curiosity and was well rewarded for my reading time. This is an entertaining and informative book. The book falls into three major sections. In the first, Duhigg brings readers up to speed on current research about individual habits. Wait! Don’t let that discourage you from turning some pages in this book. It is really helpful material. In the next section, Duhigg applies what we are coming to understand about the development of habits to organizations. The most helpful chapter in this section concerns how Starbucks has institutionalized habits of success. In the final section, Habits of Societies, Duhigg describes how the Montgomery Bus Boycott came to be and how the pastor of Saddleback Church came to use habit to build his congregation. Both chapters are well worth the price of the book. Readers hoping to know how to break bad habits will not find direct advice. However, the book outlines how habits are formed and much can be gleaned from that perspective. I hope that Duhigg will follow this volume with others. His writing style is very good and his preparation is evident. The reading of Mike Chamberlain is excellent.
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.
I consider this book to be the third part of an unofficial trilogy of related books: The Tipping Point, Made to Stick, and The Power of Habit. All three look into trends or habits, but each from a different angle. Tipping Point examines the WHY behind trends. Made to Stick, the WHAT behind trends & habits. But this book is the HOW to shape habits.
There is a significant research overlap between Made to Stick & The Power of Habit, so if you've read the former, you'll recognize a couple of stories in the latter. But get it anyway, because this is the best of the bunch.
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.
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.
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