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Making Habits, Breaking Habits: Why We Do Things, Why We Don't, and How to Make Any Change Stick Hardcover – 17 Jan 2013

4.0 out of 5 stars 34 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Da Capo Lifelong (17 Jan. 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0738215988
  • ISBN-13: 978-0738215983
  • Product Dimensions: 2.5 x 15.2 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,038,042 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Book Description

The founder of the hugely popular PsyBlog demonstrates how to bend habits to your will

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


The Bookseller, "Editor's Pick," 10/12/12"Sensible and very readable...By far the most useful of this month's New You offerings." Kirkus Reviews, 1/1/13"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, readers have a decent chance at establishing fulfilling, new patterns." Publishers Weekly, 12/10/12"An accessible and informative guide for readers to take control of their lives." "Bookworm Sez" syndicated review"By helping us understand what makes us tick and why, author Jeremy Dean avoids platitudes and misty advice to give his readers the tools they need to stop being frustrated by change and lack thereof. He advocates patience and dispels a lot of myths about why we do the things we do (or don't), explaining why our willpower fails us or why we find some habits easy to make. That's helpful, and could make a fix that sticks...This book...would be advantageous to anyone who's serious about changing behavior." Curled Up with a Good Book, 1/6/13"Loaded with surprising information about the brain and human behavior, this book that lays out a strategy for taking charge of ourselves. We probably can't beat all our habits forever, but Making Habits, Breaking Habits offers a battle plan that allows us to know the enemy and sometimes evade it." Philadelphia Tribune, 1/6/13"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 is more than just a product of what you think." Spirituality & Practice, 1/15/13"[A] fascinating book...Dean demonstrates a knack for cutting through generalities and cutting to the heart of the matter. Making Habits, Breaking Habits will shed new light on your own private and public behavior and the many quests for change that you undertake in your everyday life.", 1/17/13"What really stands out in Dean's the insight behind habits and their unconscious nature and often, their benefits...Full of anecdotes and interesting studies, Making Habits, Breaking Habits is an engaging read.", 1/17/13"Dean argues convincingly that habits are essentially automatic pilots...The prescriptive part of self-help books is where many of them fall down. Dean's is better than most...The book reads like one in which Dean primarily shares his own fascination with a variety of research projects of various kinds, pausing occasionally to relate this study or that back to the whole issue of forming and changing habits. And there is nothing wrong with being a bit discursive, especially when the underlying material is as interesting as much of it is here." DaySpa, January 2013 "Analyzes the phenomenon of habits, and breaks them down so they can be fully understood-and ultimately managed." Truth, January 2013 "Dean helps you understand the psychology behind your habits-both good and bad-and gives you the information you need to kick a bad habit and finally keep your New Year's resolution.", February 2013 "This is serious psychology and an often fascinating look at the way habits are formed, reinforced, and strengthened throughout our lives...Smoking, drinking, and comparable bad behaviors can be changed and this book can help anyone seeking to make that change." ForeWord, Spring 2013"Dean teases out the factors contributing to our habit-forming tendencies with a careful analysis of the studies that have examined the impact of intentions, actions, and will-power...The author leads us through it all in a friendly style that makes the minutiae of science accessible." Toronto Star, 2/3/13"[Dean] looks at what we know about habit and offers tips on how we can all change destructive behaviour while adopting routines that will serve us better." January Magazine, 2/1/13"Though Dean is currently working towards a doctorate in psychology, his voice is casual, friendly and smart. More importantly for a book of this nature, he knows how to break his material down and present it in a way that is not only logical, it also stays interesting and connected...An entertaining and deeply interesting book. And a huge bonus for some readers: it actually has the potential to totally change your life.", 1/29/13"Dean examines the formation and perpetuation of our habits, and offers tips on how we can avoid pitfalls to create new practices which are more beneficial to us, and which can last a lifetime.", February 2013"A psychologist's popular examination of one of the most powerful and under-appreciated processes in the mind...Witty and intriguing, provocative and practical...The book provides unexpected and fascinating answers to the common problem of changing one's habits.", 2/24"Mixing roughly three parts information with one part practical technique for yoking habits to the service of self-improvement, Jeremy Dean's Making Habits, Breaking Habits tours the last hundred years of psychological research on habit and synthesizes an impressive amount of insight into human habit formation and, for that matter, de-formation...He effects a direct, bloggerly style, mercifully unclouded by the stultified prose plaguing many psychology authors whose backgrounds are different from Dean's (i.e., career academics). Nevertheless, the book is carefully-even densely-footnoted with a trove of research studies.", 2/20"Quite interesting to read and it makes you realize that you're not alone...After reading this book, it just affirms that if you really want to make a change, you can make it happen." Midwest Book Review, March 2013"Provides a lively discussion for general-interest readers seeking to understand how habits are formed, promoted, or changed. A witty and informative approach makes this a survey all readers can readily digest...Any general collection strong in popular psychology will find this an appealing pick."

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Straight forward, easy to understand, description of why we do what we do day after day without thinking. A scientific book without the jargon together with numerous relevant examples to explain every concept. Unusually for such a book, the author is English and so the examples relate to everyday life in the UK: no baseball here.
Every aspect of habits appears to be covered: why we form them, their value as well as their annoyance, how to make the good ones stronger and how to sidestep the worst.
An excellent, easy, read for everyone. Highly recommended.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is the best kind of self-help book. It doesn't offer easy answers or 'new age' solutions. Instead, it draws on the latest research to show how habits are formed and, crucially, how they can be changed. The author acknowledges how difficult this can be, but he offers sensible advice with a sound scientific base.
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Format: Paperback
The material provided is based on what Jeremy Dean learned from recent and extensive research on (a) how and why we form habits that are both book and bad, (b) the range of timeframe that process involves, (c) why it is so difficult to sustain good habits and break bad habits, and (d) what all this reveals about human nature that will help us to accelerate personal growth and professional development.

In essence, good and bad habits are repetitive patterns of thought and behavior. With regard to the aforementioned research, Dean observes, "Three characteristics have emerged: firstly, we perform habits automatically without much conscious deliberation. Secondly, habitual behaviors provide little emotional response by themselves. Thirdly, habits are strongly rooted in the situations in which they occur. We also know that they can vary considerably in how long they take to form. Questions remain. For example, how much control do we have over our habits? Do we control them or do they control us? If we want to make a change, how easy will it be? Dean addresses these and other questions, citing research revelations and what -- in his opinion -- these revelations suggest.

Here is Dallas near the downtown area, there is a farmer's market at which several merchants offer slices of fresh fruit as samples of their wares. In that same spirit, I offer a few brief excerpts that (I hope) will suggest the thrust and flavor of Dean's presentation of material.

o "The problem for making and breaking habits is that so much is happening in the unconscious mind. Since the unconscious is generally like the Earth's core, impenetrable and unknowable, we can't access it directly. This means that deeply held goals and desires can come into play without our realizing.
Read more ›
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I nearly stopped reading before I reached the practical suggestions because the long stuff at the start about how important habits are was fundamentally flawed. As I read I realised that many of the phenomena the author was taking as habits weren't really habits at all. He also kept saying that habits are unconscious, which isn't always true.

So, not a good start. But just as I was about to give up he got to some research on implementation intentions and things really perked up. He had found some really good studies to talk about and I learned some new and useful things.

Unfortunately, he didn't give enough detail on the studies to allow me a sense of their quality so I'll have to find the original articles. He also was happy to rely on single, unreplicated studies, without giving any warnings. That's disappointing.

Although at one point stressing that resisting temptation and changing habits are not the same thing, the author soon returned to confusing the two!

Overall, not a great book, but the outstanding research talked about in the implementation intentions chapter added two stars to my rating and made it worth the Kindle price. if you're interested in that the you can get most of it by Googling for Peter Gollwitzer, the man behind the implementation intentions idea and a proper scientist.
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Format: Paperback
This book is marketed in the self-help field with its subtitle "How to make changes that stick".

However, it is one of those psychology books that catalogue endless dubious experiments by other psychologists, and is short on practical and pithy advice and exercises for changing habits.

Interesting in its own way, but for practical ideas to help change habits of thought and action there are far more useful tomes by the likes of Stuart Wilde and Tony Robbins among many others.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Well worth the read.
I would have liked to have given 4 stars. However although the information is interesting and relevant it is never clearly summarised in the way I would expect of a presentation and argument of this nature. This is of even more importance when such 'text' books are to be read on a Kindle that despite it's annotating features is not as easily roamed for past references or remembered passages as a print copy.
Mr. Dean has, in my opinion, been let down by his Editor.
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Format: Paperback
I have tried to read many books in this genre many times, but I always get put off and lose interest because the psychological jargon always gets a bit too much and I end up losing interest. This book had me hooked all the way through. I found it almost by accident and I'm so pleased I did. It has definitely made me re-evaluate the things I do and why I do them and I can guarantee that there will be something in this book that we can all relate to. I couldn't believe how accurate many of the descriptions were and once I realised I was guilty of many of them, I'm so happy there was suggestions on ways to fix them. I would recommend this to everyone as I think we all have some bad habits we want to get rid of. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.
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