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 distil 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 Audiobooks
"It’s a fascinating insight into making and breaking habits and offers practical advice, funny stories and critical thinking." (Press Association)
If you're reading this then chances are, you want to change something in your life. I've read self help books for years, some good, many terrible. This book stands head and shoulders above them all because the core concept of the book is a prerequisite for any other self help book to work.
In my opinion, anyone can write a self help book full of useful tips. You know the ones - "start with your outcome in mind, set goals, seek the advice of mentors, exercise in the morning, blah blah blah". Nothing wrong with any of that advice ..... other than the fact that so few people have the ability to follow it.
This book is the missing foundation. It's the platform that once in place will provide you the means to make successes of all the other self-help books out there (if you still need them that is).
And one more thing. Duhigg's methodology isn't really 'his' methodology. It relies on current research surrounding the triggers and rewards that make us do the things we do. It's refreshing to read a self-help book like this; one where the author forms his conclusions from empirical research instead of the all too frequent self help author who wakes us one day and writes a book about how much better our lives would be if we were self-disciplined.
This book is from beginning to the end an example for all kind of cognitive fallacies and biases.
Don't get me wrong:
I believe that most of the author's hypotheses are true. But, the author does a very poor job of showing convincing evidence for his hypotheses.
You encounter instead hindsight bias, availability bias, non-sequiturs and anecdotal evidence.
For example, the author gives several examples of success stories, like "CEO "x" was very successful. CEO "x" used to do "y". Therefore, doing "y" is the reason why CEO "x" was successful. "
What about all the other CEOs who did "y" but weren't successful?
What else did CEO "x" do? Maybe one of THOSE things also contributed to the success as well?
I found myself repeatedly saying: "You cannot conclude that from what you just told me!"
Only few examples are given, where a scientific approach and unbiased logic were used.
I also think, that some anecdotes lighten up the flow of a non-fiction-book.
But an entire book full of anecdotes?
Furthermore, most of the stories are soooo tedious. E.g. I had to fast forward the story about this coach guy....
Also, I found the narrator a little bit annoying: in my opinion there was too much over-emphasizing and dramatization.
Over all, I regret the time for listening to this book.
I give two stars instead of just one star, because the hypotheses shown in this book are very interesting.
it is probably in the top 10%
The book is such a tease!! hold on, it is probably not fair to say that. the book is really valuable it offers great insight into the mind and how it works, into how habits form. but I need more.
1) there is so much around us that take advantage of how habits form, in a way that is sometimes (in my view) unethical. it makes me question a lot of the marketing that takes place. also made me wonder who has access to my habits and how do they use it. SCARY
2) the book offers no recipe for change. it tells you change is possible, it tells you the ingredients of the habit which can be potentially used for affecting change but it still leaves you wondering how to portion out the ingredients. not intentionally but just because of the nature of habit and the nature of individuals and how divers they are. it makes me want more.
Although I feel that some stories tend to drag on a bit, I do think that overall this is a great book and it makes complete sense. Identifying key stone habits is critical and I am amazed at some of the corporate stories where these habits caused incredible destruction over time.This book has given me a completely new angle on business and how decisions are made.
He was very clear and easy to listen to.
I will be listening to The Power of Habit again, to reiterate all those good time management and success behaviours we all know about, but sometimes forget.
I think the emphasis on Pareto's 80/20 principle, and setting out good habits.
Speaks eloquently, and easy to listen to.
Focus. Focus. Focus.
Yes, in the future. Not something you need to return to in a hurry.
Great delivery and interesting content. Worth a listen.
This is a really good book for anyone wanting to develop or change a habit. It gives some science and a lot of practical advice that is realistic to follow. One criticism is that some of the book seems to be "filler" and not really examples of habits as such.
Mike Chamberlain reads clearly and his speech was quite distinctive for this southern-hemisphere dweller. I looked him up and discovered I had listened to another book he'd read.
number 1, filled with useful information that can be applied to real life, excellent up to date examples
The narrative was fantastic.. very easy to understand
There is nothing i can think of now to compare
NO i have not listened to any.. and these questions are quite boring.
no.. i had to take breaks
very informative and extremely useful.
A great listen. A mixture of new and old ideas reinforced with research. Everyone knows about habits, but it's great to know the science behind it, so that you can reshape the habits that make up your life. It's also great to know how corporations use your own habits against you. Again, something you know, but explained so well that you can better prepare yourself for the temptations and habit-altering influences around you.
Whenever I'm tempted to buy something I shouldn't, or I don't feel like going to the gym, I hear the words from this book. I tell myself I'm trying to reshape my habit loop. I know why it's hard for me to say no to that bottle of Coca-Cola, or to go to the gym. But more importantly I've learnt how to either break the habit of doing something I shouldn't, or create a habit of doing something I should.
I've had a life long problem of buying gym memberships, only to use it once or twice a month. I have rejoined the gym, and I am going regularly, 4-5 times a week. The gym is no longer a chore for me. All I needed to do was turn it into a habit. I wasn't easy. This book isn't a miracle cure. It still takes hard work, but this book gives you the insight and advice to "help" you do it, however, the rest is still up to you.
To top it all off, Mike Chamberlain is also a great narrator. I plan on re-listening to this audiobook, but this time take notes while I'm doing it. I recommend you write down anything that you find relevant as you go.
"Absolutely excellent book"
I really, really loved this book. This is the first time I have been driven to write a review on audible. If you're interested in how we make, or change habits, either as individuals or organisations, this is essential listening.
Just one thing though. The narrator, Mike Chamberlain, does a high pitched voice when reporting speech made by a woman. Do you even realise you're doing this Mike? It sounds a bit like you're taking the piss.
Otherwise though a fabulous listen/read.
"Good book but not a useful one"
I really enjoyed this book. It has a whole bunch of interesting anecdotes that are woven together in a very well-done way. I would recommend it as something interesting to listen to.
That being said however this book really doesn't teach the reader anything about habit and it certainly doesn't teach you how to change your habits.
If you're looking for an entertaining listen then you cannot go wrong with this. If you're looking for a self-help book then steer clear.
"the power of habit..."
This is so long winded and dull.. normally I am pleased with Audible but this title fails to engage , it is long winded and has no real value. It has no obvious benefits and was a waste of my money! More like a story book than a self help title. Very Disappointing.. but all credit to the one who wrote the description for this rubbish as they made me buy it! I have bought many titles from audible and most are excellent... this is not one I can recommend to anyone.. if I could get a refund.. this would be it!
Something to watch out for if you buy this audio version: when I got it, the book's Appendix ("A Reader's Guide to Using These Ideas') was missing.
"I stopped biting my nails"
It's now about a month since finishing the book, and I still haven't bitten my nails! That's pretty awesome if you ask me.
Don't be put off by the whining of Mike Chamberlain's narration. Yes, it's very American and nasal, but you soon get used to it. It's worth it for the content, I promise. It would seem out-of-context to deliver self-improvement material in any other accent.
I love the notions and ideas within this book. Personally, a single driver to explain all human behaviour is an appealing concept to me. Of course it can't account for the bursts of creative flair, or capricious emotion that humans sometime display. But by the end of the book, it's hammered home that EVERYTHING is down to habit. And I believe a very large part of human nature is.
The sections about keystone habits are useful and intriguing. There are many case studies, how a football team was turned from underdog to Super Bowl winner, how Starbucks train their staff, why the Kings Cross tube station fire happened, and how you can change your life and more.
All of these rather disparate and sensational events were ALL DOWN to habits! A beautiful, singular theory, but left me wanting to corroborate these events. The book is called The Power Of Habit, so its no wonder all the chapters build on each other to prove the gravity of such power.
I'm not saying that's a bad thing. A book should encourage you to go out and study the the subject further, or research the authour and his findings.
If you love self-help books, or want to change some habits of your own, then this book is a must.
I look at Starbucks in a completely different light now. (Will just go and check if Charles Duhigg is on the board ;-) )
If you want to make changes, or have tried in the past and failed, then this is a great book to get you on the right track. It won't do the work for you, but it will tell you what work you need to do, and how you can do it.
A really interesting book. It would be even better if it was distilled and condensed but there is enough in it to keep you going to the end.
"An awful agony of an audiobook"
This book might be tolerable in book form, where you could skim the endless anecdotes and irrelevant, meaningless detail (do you care what an amnesia-sufferer eats for breakfast?). In audio form, it was a trial of my patience and because it lacks any overall structure, I'm pretty sure that I tuned out for most of the "conclusions", though many that were there seemed to be wild extrapolations (Tony Dungee's Colts team did not develop new habits until... Tony Dungee's son died?) based on a single celebrity datapoint.
Worst of all, this "unabridged" book can be summarised into about 5 facts with absolutely loss of fidelity, assuming that you understand facts and don't need anecdotes of the founder of the AA and Tony Dungee in order to accept them.
If what you want are a bunch of stories that vaguely involve the word "habit" this book is for you. If what you want are insights how habits form, how you can influence habits, you are far better off reading a five sentence summary of this book.
One extra note: I don't believe that this is in the "Malcolm Gladwell" class of anti-scientific conclusions based on coincidentally similar anecdotes. There is a sufficient amount of scientific evidence and study that it is true. So rather than taking the Gladwellian approach of a surprising conclusion by stringing together stories, it instead takes scientific study as its base and tries to find exemplar case studies to pad out the factual base with narrative. But you'd be better off sticking to facts if you actually care about facts.
"Not as good as it thinks it is"
The book is an exploration of why we (and 'we' can be individuals, groups or companies) have habits, what habits are and how we can begin to control our habits so as to be more satisfied. It uses some clear examples, but in all I think it is a woolly and unfocussed book without a clear thesis.
A much better book in the same vein, but one that is better written and easier to apply is 'Your brain at Work' by David Rock.
"Very good but lack precise program to change"
I highly recommend this book, it describes a lot of interesting situations including habits in personal life as well as in company organization. It is absolutely worth a read only for those stories.
There are some drawbacks. Its missing good conclusion how reader can change his daily habits. All chapters and described stories are not so coherent as to create single book. You read/listen to book as compilation of interesting cases not single work with some good purpose and conclusion.
Audiobook is pleasure to listen and well prepared. If you are interested in topic, it is absolutely worth to buy.
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