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.
Very very long stories, often repeating, not very well written and unrealistic.
If you need content to be included in long stories and this in often repeating sequence, then this is the right audio book for you!
If you want to have it to the point, then it is a huge time investment... for a few little (very interesting) points.
It is a very interesting topic - of high relevance for me, but much too boring to listen to.
Half the time, no need for obviously self created story lines and come much more to the point.
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.
If the author would have focused on the development of a person's habit forming processes as opposed to adding business culture development midway through the book. The business examples were short and unconvincing and I felt were manufactured to fit the author's thesis.
Read user reviews before buying. This book might not be what you are looking for.
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.
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.
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.).
The story never got going. It did not provide answers or even suggestions. Nothing more then a collection of semi interesting anecdotes.
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.
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.
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.
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