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The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business Hardcover – 28 Feb 2012


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 371 pages
  • Publisher: Random House; 1 edition (28 Feb 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1400069289
  • ISBN-13: 978-1400069286
  • Product Dimensions: 24.1 x 16.3 x 2.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (110 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 297,599 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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108 of 109 people found the following review helpful By Change Agent on 17 Jun 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The first section of HABIT which focuses on individuals' behaviour is excellent, describing how sub-conscious a lot of daily decisions can be, and how to change these. I was compelled immediately to find the one key-stone habit I would try to change, by keeping the same cue and reward, but changing the actual habit, and finding ways to believe that change is possible. Case studies of drug addicts and Olympic swimmers were gripping and inspiring.

However, the second and third section were less interesting, mainly because I had come across the same material already several times -- about how will-power is a finite resource (that can, however, be incrased over time) and how companies use psychology and data linking to sell you more stuff. Some of the case studies were over-dramatised, with no clear point or conclusion (e.g. on the Kings Cross fire on the London Underground), and I was not moved to change my organisation on Monday morning.

The book is a frustrating and exciting read at the same time. I really enjoyed the journalistic style and for once, the case studies were not boring. Possibly a bit formulaeic, but entertaining. The beginning is really promising, making you sense we are at the edge of some truly transformational insight -- but then it all fizzles out. It could have done with a clearer set of conclusions rather than complexity that seems to be padding it out and only succeeds in confusing the reader.
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62 of 64 people found the following review helpful By P Nind on 25 April 2012
Format: Paperback
This is a great book. The New York Times reporter, Charles Duhigg, tackles an important reality head on. In The Power of Habit, Duhigg suggests people succeed when they identify patterns that shape their lives--and learn how to change them. I would recommend, Emotional Intelligence 2.0, as an excellent companion to learn how break unproductive habits and master new ones.

The author's main contention is that "you have the freedom and responsibility" to remake your habits. He says "the most addicted alcoholics can become sober. The most dysfunctional companies can transform themselves. A high school dropout can become a successful manager." He makes a convincing case for all this. The only problem is that's all he does. He doesn't show you how to do it. That's my only complaint.

This idea that you can change your habits draws on recent research in experimental psychology, neurology, and applied psychology. As you can see from the table of content below, Duhigg really goes after a broad range of topics. He looks at the habits of individuals, how habits operate in the brain, how companies use them, and how retailers use habits to manipulate buying habits. This provides some fascinating research and stories, such as the fact that grocery stores put fruits and vegetables at the front of the store because people who put these healthy items in their carts are more apt to buy junk food as well before they leave the store.

PART ONE: THE HABITS OF INDIVIDUALS
1. The Habit Loop - How Habits Work
2. The Craving Brain - How to Create New Habits
3. The Golden Rule of Habit Change - Why Transformation Occurs

PART TWO - THE HABITS OF SUCCESSFUL ORGANIZATIONS
4. Keystone Habits, or The Ballad of Paul O'Neill - Which Habits Matter Most
5.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I was impressed by how well this book is written. The author made me think of Malcom Gladwell's writing. Captivating, insightful.

Charles Duhigg is a very good writer, who writes in a way that keeps you wanting to continue reading and, at the same time, take time aside to reflect on your own life and how you can apply what you are learning while reading this book

The subject is extremely insteresting and I would gladly recommend it for anyone looking to change something in their lives, at work or somewhere else, togheter with "Switch" from Chip and Dan Heath. Switch: How to change things when change is hard

On the not so great side, and here's the reason why I don't give it 5 stars, the practical side of the book can truly be improved. The real-life author's example of how a habit can be changed applying the framework of the book is good to understanding concepts, but changing the habit of eating a cookie in the afternoon is generally not a problem for most people. I would have preferred something more practical like the 1-page "How to make a switch" from the Heath brothers or a few more real-life examples of application of Duhigg's framework on harder-to-change habits.

All in all, good book. I can only highly recommend it. I enjoyed reading it.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Robert on 30 Oct 2012
Format: Paperback
These books are becoming so formulaic. A few good ideas about habits backed up by chapter upon chapter of real life examples drawn from lab research, corporate business, and of course, American football. Having come across many of the examples before, and seeing few new insights into habit changing, I skimmed through the first half of the book, then quite uncharacteristically skipped the remainder. In a nutshell: if you have a bad habit, find a new good habit to take priority over it. A bit of jumbo jumbo about cues and rewards too. Personally I rate the book 2* as it's far too heavy on waffle, and too light on strategies and techniques to modify habit. However, those who have never encountered the topic before or who like a long narrative may find it more appealing so I will put an official rating of 3*.
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