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Publisher's Summary

Say you want to start going to the gym or practicing a musical instrument. How long should it take before you stop having to force it and start doing it automatically? The surprising answers are found in Making Habits, Breaking Habits, a leading psychologist’s popular examination of one of the most powerful and underappreciated processes in the brain. Although people like to think that they are in control, the vast majority of human behavior occurs without any decision-making or conscious thought.

Drawing on hundreds of fascinating studies, psychologist Jeremy Dean busts the myths to finally explain why seemingly easy habits, like eating an apple a day, can be surprisingly difficult to form, and how to take charge of your brain’s natural "autopilot" to make any change stick.

Witty and intriguing, Making Habits, Breaking Habits shows how behavior occurs more than just a product of what you think. It is possible to bend your habits to your will - and be happier, more creative, and more productive.

©2013 Jeremy Dean (P)2013 Gildan Media LLC

Critic Reviews

"Making changes does take longer than we may expect - no 30-day, 30-pounds-lighter quick fix - but by following the guidelines laid out by Dean, listeners have a decent chance at establishing fulfilling, new patterns." ( Kirkus Reviews)
"An accessible and informative guide for listeners to take control of their lives." ( Publishers Weekly)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Kick in the pants for me...

I've a few habits I want to go away and a few that I'd like to add. This book held my attention nicely, helped me understand a few things I didn't and gave me a kick in the right direction. It feels like it is well researched, the voice engaging and some interesting supportive examples. It feels like attending a 200 level psychology college class with a good professor. I got it on sale and it was well worth the few bucks I spent.

10 of 10 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

No Sugar Coating Allowed

The author makes it very clear that he hates the idea of quick and easy permanent change books and theories. In a way he is so outspoken about how difficult and how long new habits take to become established that it almost makes it seem "why even try?".

This book is filled with information and data from many, many research studies. It is a bit dry at times and often discouraging as well. I agree with several other reviewers that it was unnecessarily long winded in parts. All that said--I think the author is correct that the quick fixes and fantasy ideas presented in other books are really not helpful in the end. Far better to know up front what you are up against when you are trying to build positive or eliminate negative habits. Forget about the notion of "21 days to a new you". Think instead about 300 plus days instead!

At times I felt overwhelmed by too much information and too much negativity over all. Plus the overview of when habits become mental illness was pretty dark. To me, a very sobering look at change and the underbelly of habits.

The book does contain helpful points and methods. Just don't expect a positive and upbeat listening experience. A serious book about habits.

31 of 33 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

I feel motivated!

I honestly felt very motivated/empowered after reading this book, but in the same breath, I've heard most of this before.

There were very few unique concepts in this book; it seems that if you've read one, you've read them all. I didn't enjoy it any less because the concepts were a repeat for me, it's always nice to be reminded of them, and to have them fresh in your mind. It's a good book, especially if it's the first one you've read on the topic!

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Get the actual book

Any additional comments?

I purchase unabridged audiobooks expecting that NOTHING is left out of the book and that it is truly unabridged. So when I come to a point in the book where the narrator says "described in detail below" (Seriously? Are you not aware there is no "below" to an audio recording?) I am instantly disappointed. In this case, I found the first such instance in the 9th chapter after the description of the WOOP process. At that point, I determined to stop reading and return the audiobook. Will purchase the kindle version instead.

57 of 66 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • CR
  • Frisco, TX
  • 12-25-15

Worthwhile read. Useable advice.

Book provides steps you can take to create new habits and stop bad ones. For example, you need to practice (do it repetitively) to form habits. Make it part of your routine. Make sure it's something you can commit to. If your ultimate goal seems unattainable, you can start out small to make it easy and build it from there once you have formed a new baseline. Also form a plan of how you will implement (set aside the time, for example, and set a trigger... like I'll exercise daily in the morning right after I wake up). Sean Pratt's narration is clear, well paced, and keeps your interest.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Interesting view in why we do what we do

How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

I have two gripes with this book; First, the author uses a ton of psychological theories and examples to back up his points. There isn't anything inherently wrong with this, however, by about the 3/4 mark the studies were getting boring and I fully understood that he did his research without needing to listen it. Second, although I found this book quite interesting it was quite repetitive. The idea of changing our habits is quite complex, however, it could have been summed up without needing to beat the same ideas and concepts over and over.

What did you like about the performance? What did you dislike?

The guy reading the book felt a little dramatic at first and the content of this particular book does not call for it. By the end though, I really enjoyed his reading style.

What’s an idea from the book that you will remember?

We are less in control of our habits and behaviours than we think.

Any additional comments?

This book is a fascinating look into why people do what they do. It gives great insight into our own personal habits, as well as those of other people. For anyone looking to learn more about why people make the choices they make, this book is a wonderful place to look.

17 of 21 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Ria
  • Toronto, ON, Canada
  • 03-07-13

Excellent, in-depth, research supported insight

What made the experience of listening to Making Habits, Breaking Habits the most enjoyable?

The objectiveness, the worldly points of view; examining all sides of the matter in a very convincing and mind-opening way.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Making Habits, Breaking Habits?

"We need the habit to raise above itself."

What insight do you think you’ll apply from Making Habits, Breaking Habits?

Hopefully the one regarding happy habits....

Any additional comments?

Excellent performance! A great listen that has left me with many inspiring and hopeful thoughts.

10 of 13 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Small steps really do add up...

"Making Habits, Breaking Habits" describes what it takes to form new habits and how to optimize success along the way. The book takes on the 21 day "rule of thumb" that is so often referred to (hint: while it varies based on the habit type, the 21-day parameter generally isn't correct). What I found especially useful is how Dr. Dean describes actionable ways one can increase the likelihood of successful habit forming, by habit type. He also reinforces the concept that multiple small changes can add up to big benefits. This book is a worthwhile listen for anyone trying to develop or reinforce habits, whether it's stopping smoking, eating healthier, exercising more routinely, etc.

15 of 20 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

I cried, I laughed and I shared with my friends

First off I listen to self improvement books several times a year. But this is the first time I felt compelled to share a book with my friends and family. Sean's reading did take a few moments to adjust to, it helps to listen to him at 1.25x or better as he carefully articulates his words. Many public speakers and call center employees do the same, so the others that found the performance poor just didn't look for a solution to the pebble in the shoe. Let's be honest, those people wouldn't have benefited from Sean's book anyway, at least not yet.

I took notes extensively as each lesson was presented. I do wish that the exercises were available as a downloadable PDF as that would have been easy, but life never gives you worthwhile experiences easily. I believe that the content was laid out well and gives the listener the chance at self realization and the necessary tools to enact changes in their own lives.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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  • aidel
  • Chapel Hill, NC
  • 02-11-16

meh

There was some useful information, particularly about the positive, new habits that we have formed and ways to resist having the positive new habits become automated and stale.

some of the suggestions about varying habits run contrary to what we know has worked for successful people such as writers, who have set times to work and are inflexible about varying their patterns of behavior. it seems to me that establishing a basic framework in which to conduct our lives, especially for the chronically disorganized, could offer many benefits. one does not necessarily decompose into boredom when creating time and space for the things we want to pursue (our best selves) and using that time accordingly.

little was said about *how* to form habits that stick.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful