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The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do, and How to Change | [Charles Duhigg]

The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do, and How to Change

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.
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Publisher's Summary

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

What the Critics Say

"Full of great ideas" (Evening Standard)

"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)

"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)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.2 (331 )
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4.2 (122 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Jamie Monmouth, United Kingdom 17/04/2012
    Jamie Monmouth, United Kingdom 17/04/2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "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.

    34 of 34 people found this review helpful
  •  
    J GOSPORT, United Kingdom 05/09/2012
    J GOSPORT, United Kingdom 05/09/2012
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    "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.

    16 of 16 people found this review helpful
  •  
    i ringwood, United Kingdom 11/10/2012
    i ringwood, United Kingdom 11/10/2012
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    "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!

    11 of 11 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mark Pack London, UK 22/07/2012
    Mark Pack London, UK 22/07/2012
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    "Appendix missing"

    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.

    15 of 16 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Paul Reading, United Kingdom 08/10/2012
    Paul Reading, United Kingdom 08/10/2012
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    "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 ;-) )



    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Thomas United Kingdom 12/08/2012
    Thomas United Kingdom 12/08/2012
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    "Brilliant"

    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.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Alistair Norwich, United Kingdom 16/06/2012
    Alistair Norwich, United Kingdom 16/06/2012
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    "Interesting concepts"

    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.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kenny LONDON, United Kingdom 02/09/2012
    Kenny LONDON, United Kingdom 02/09/2012
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    "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.

    12 of 16 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Max Edinburgh, United Kingdom 17/01/2013
    Max Edinburgh, United Kingdom 17/01/2013

    I drive lots, and audiobooks help maintain my concentration on the road. I have mainly SF, self help and the odd comedy book

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "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.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Robert Opacz kolonia, Poland 23/12/2012
    Robert Opacz kolonia, Poland 23/12/2012
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    "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.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 1-10 of 28 results PREVIOUS123NEXT
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  • Udo
    Muenchen, Germany
    05/04/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "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.

    7 of 7 people found this review helpful
  • Carl
    Gold Coast, Australia
    15/05/12
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Truly Life Changing"
    Any additional comments?

    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.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • Hamada
    Auckland, New Zealand
    28/08/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "I want more"
    Where does The Power of Habit rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    it is probably in the top 10%


    Any additional comments?

    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.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Manie
    10/06/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Starts with a bang but stretched too far."
    Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

    Yes. It has some novel ideas in it, even though the book carries on for too long with diminishing returns (in terms of new and equal quality content).


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

    The habit loop concept is well developed but the author's claim of it being the underlying element in a lot of historic events is very questionable.


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

    Nope, but his performance was very good.


    Was The Power of Habit worth the listening time?

    I only just made it to the end! So I guess it's a yes.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Thomas
    Sylvania, Australia
    03/06/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Interesting key points"
    What made the experience of listening to The Power of Habit the most enjoyable?

    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.


    What about Mike Chamberlain’s performance did you like?

    He was very clear and easy to listen to.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    No


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Amazon Customer
    01/05/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Fundamental but Powerful Advice"
    Would you listen to The Power of Habit again? Why?

    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.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Power of Habit?

    I think the emphasis on Pareto's 80/20 principle, and setting out good habits.


    What about Mike Chamberlain’s performance did you like?

    Speaks eloquently, and easy to listen to.


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

    Focus. Focus. Focus.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Marcel
    South Melbourne, Australia
    07/03/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Interesting and entertaining listen"
    Would you listen to The Power of Habit again? Why?

    Yes, in the future. Not something you need to return to in a hurry.


    What other book might you compare The Power of Habit to and why?

    N/A


    Which scene was your favorite?

    N/A


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    no


    Any additional comments?

    Great delivery and interesting content. Worth a listen.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Ziad
    Forest Hill, Australia
    04/03/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Really worthwhile listen"
    If you could sum up The Power of Habit in three words, what would they be?

    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.


    What about Mike Chamberlain’s performance did you like?

    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.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Thomas
    auckland, New Zealand
    12/02/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Excellent"
    Where does The Power of Habit rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    number 1, filled with useful information that can be applied to real life, excellent up to date examples


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Elizabeth Thottan
    chennai, india
    23/12/12
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "very informative"
    What made the experience of listening to The Power of Habit the most enjoyable?

    The narrative was fantastic.. very easy to understand


    What other book might you compare The Power of Habit to and why?

    There is nothing i can think of now to compare


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

    NO i have not listened to any.. and these questions are quite boring.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    no.. i had to take breaks


    Any additional comments?

    very informative and extremely useful.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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