Is it possible for something as seemingly mundane and commonplace as habit to influence the very building blocks of who we are? And if it is, is there a way for us to harness it?
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)
"In his book The Power Of Habit Charles Duhigg approaches the subject of what habits are and how we can ultimately change them. Written in an engaging style, with just the right balance of scientific fact and actual examples..." (The Book Garden Blog)
"Plenty of business books that try to tap into the scientific world manage to distil complicated research into readable prose. But few take the next step and become essential manuals for business and living. The Power of Habit is an exception." (Andrew Hill, Financial Times)
"Full of great ideas" (Evening Standard)
"I often read about a book staying with you once you put it down, usually because of an emotional impact or profound subject. This book stays with you because you can see it in action in every aspect of your life. I loved it and would definitely recommend it to anyone with, well anyone really because we all have habits, including ones we shouldn't. It is simply such an interesting read!" (MojoMums)
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 ;-) )
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
The power of habit is a good audio book it is filled with a lot of knowledge and fascinating stories some of the stories dragged on a bit, very interesting the only thing is, it was telling me a lot about other people and companies habits but I don't really see why some of the stories were in it as it didn't really help me with my life and habit forms just about other companies habits and how the changed for the better it is good but I struggled to finish it. over all I'm glad I bought it as I've heard so much about it but kinda disappointed as there was a lot of info that didn't mean much to me.
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.
"Only stories, no evidence"
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.
"I want more"
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.
"Truly Life Changing"
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.
"Best book on understanding Habits, by far."
This is the best book on understanding Habits I've read, by far. Great insights wrapped in interesting stories that keep you interested throughout.
"Great analysis and insights"
I would recommend this to anyone who is interested in human behaviour and psychology, the entrepreneur trying to learn abt his/her customers' behaviour, and anyone who is trying to make changes to their own habit (but you dont need this book for that purpose). Its great read, fascinating insights and rich with knowledge. Love it
"I feel like it's 3 books in one"
The chapters that concentrate on individual vs ( organizations & societies) feel a bit odd sandwiched together. The first part belongs to a self help section, the second to an academic book on organizational behavior , and the last to something long the lines of sociology. Personally I was looking for only the first part, and would have appreciated more drilling or content in that context. Decent read none the less.
A lot of food for thought on changing habits both in your personal and professional life. The cases provided to exemplify the theories are very helpful.
"It's OK. Not for everyone. Useful for immoral CEOs"
Not what I expected. It isn't written for personal empowerment or increased personal productivity.
It just reads a list of (modern) historical examples of what large companies and institutions have done to either be less stupid as they scale past the limits of common sense or take advantage of customers' reliance on habits and reluctance to make decisions on a case-by-case basis. To varying levels of creepiness.
The book doesn't carry any particular story arc progression or narrative to build on advice, it is really just a list of mini stories of large companies.
There doesn't seem to be much cutting-edge psychology or instruction. It might somewhat satisfy your curiosity of big corporations data mining techniques or reinforce your opinions about multinational corporations... but if you're a conscientious thinker well into your adulthood, you won't learn much you don't know already that you can apply to your own life.
For what it is, it's fine, or even good, but a little slow paced.
"Must read/listen very practical and easy to follow"
Love this book. It will certainly help me break old bad habits and replace them with greater and more developmental ones. Thank you
"awesome book with great insights insights"
The book was simply awesome filled with intriguing stories exploring habits of people and how they affected decision-making. It provides great insights and a ready framework for people to step back and have a relook into their own habits and notice things that they haven't thought of or noticed before.
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