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The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business | [Charles Duhigg]

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

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.
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Audible Editor Reviews

Why we think it's Essential - Change is hard, or is it? In The Power of Habit, New York Times reporter Charles Duhigg examines just how people and institutions undergo transformation: by changing habits. Narrator Mike Chamberlain (Moonwalking with Einstein) brings just the right mix of objectivity and conviction for a fascinating, life-changing look on how to change. —Diana M.

Publisher's Summary

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.

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  •  
    Brianne 05-24-13
    Brianne 05-24-13 Member Since 2015
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    "It ended too Fast! It was so good!"
    Where does The Power of Habit rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    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!


    What did you learn from The Power of Habit that you would use in your daily life?

    I learned to take moments and observe why I do what I do. This is very useful!


    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Larizalda 12-04-12
    Larizalda 12-04-12
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    "You will learn something about yourself"

    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.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lynn 07-31-12
    Lynn 07-31-12
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    "Get in the Habit"

    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.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    L.I. NY Prof. New York 07-29-12
    L.I. NY Prof. New York 07-29-12 Member Since 2015
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    "Awful-Boring-Predictable-Regretable"

    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.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    PeteSource 04-22-12
    PeteSource 04-22-12
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    "Habits"
    Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

    Yes, if they wanted to change something in their life, or if they wanted to understand the power of habits.


    What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)

    N/A


    Any additional comments?

    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.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Wes 04-04-12
    Wes 04-04-12
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    "Amazing, insightful, scary"

    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.).

    18 of 21 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Steven L. Taylor Toronto, ON Canada 03-14-12
    Steven L. Taylor Toronto, ON Canada 03-14-12 Member Since 2011

    StevenLeonardTaylor.com

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    "Interesting Case Studies on the Power of Thought"
    Would you listen to The Power of Habit again? Why?

    Yes, 'The Power of Habit' is worth another listen as it's dense enough with information I'm sure I missed something.


    What was the most compelling aspect of this narrative?

    The narrator, Mike Chamberlain, has a very authentic delivery and one would believe that he has faith in the material.


    Have you listened to any of Mike Chamberlain???s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    No.


    What insight do you think you???ll apply from The Power of Habit?

    It's fairly straightforward, pay attention to your habits and modify them to serve you better. Piggybacking on to an existing habit is your surest way of succeeding in the altered behaviour.


    Any additional comments?

    'The Power of Habit' is similar to 'Think & Grow Rich' and 'The Secret' but gives case studies from the business world, sports, medicine and other reliable sources.

    25 of 30 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rich Maloy New York, NY United States 11-28-12
    Rich Maloy New York, NY United States 11-28-12 Member Since 2014

    rmaloy

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    "Informative & Practical"
    What did you love best about The Power of Habit?

    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.


    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Gayla 06-04-12
    Gayla 06-04-12 Member Since 2011
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    "Life Changing, World Changing"

    I can't stop talking about the ideas in this book. They are profound, based on sound research and told in an entertaining manner.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    KIM California, USA 05-06-12
    KIM California, USA 05-06-12 Member Since 2012

    Kim

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    "Please get to the point, already"
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    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.


    Would you ever listen to anything by Charles Duhigg again?

    Probably not


    What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

    Anger, frustration, disappointment.


    3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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