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The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do, and How to Change Paperback – 5 Apr 2012

4.4 out of 5 stars 247 customer reviews

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Paperback, 5 Apr 2012
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Product details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: William Heinemann (5 April 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0434020362
  • ISBN-13: 978-0434020362
  • Product Dimensions: 13.5 x 2.9 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (247 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 207,214 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


"In this fascinating book, Charles Duhigg reveals the myriad ways in which our habits shape our lives. Do you want to know why Febreze became a bestselling product? Or how the science of habits can be used to improve willpower? Read this book." (Jonah Lehrer)

"Once you read this book, you’ll never look at yourself, your organisation, or your world quite the same way." (Daniel H. Pink)

"Absolutely fascinating." (Wired)

"This is a first-rate book – based on an impressive mass of research, written in a lively style and providing just the right balance of intellectual seriousness with practical advice on how to break our bad habits." (The Economist)

"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)

Book Description

An award-winning journalist reveals the secrets of why you do what you do - and how to change

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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.

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

4. Keystone Habits, or The Ballad of Paul O'Neill - Which Habits Matter Most
Read more ›
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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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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
As a solution focused hypnotherapist I often see people who want to rid themselves of bad habits, and although the book is good at explaining what's going on, people do struggle to change the routine or become aware of the cues, so it's not as straight forward as everyone thinks.

I found the habits of organisations fascinating and it's worth reading just for those insights. Though I found the habit of going from one subject to another and back again a little annoying and lost where I was several times. (I'm reading it on a kindle and need to create a habit using it without feeling irritated!). The chapter on Starbucks and the London Underground were particularly interesting.

Don't buy this if you want explanations of neuroscience, but if you're just interested or nosey it's a good summer read.
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