The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg

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Success can be achieved by understanding and remaking our habits. Award-winning New York Times business reporter Charles Duhigg explores why some people, companies, and communities never achieve real transformation, while others remake themselves almost overnight. He takes you to laboratories where neuroscientists create and extinguish habits as though flipping a switch. He tells the stories of Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz and civil-rights hero Martin Luthor King, Jr., and shows how habits were essential to their success. You'll go inside Procter & Gamble, Rick Warren's Saddleback Church, and a riverboat casino, where implementing "keystone habits" can earn billions. At its core, The Power of Habit contains an exhilarating argument: The key to becoming more productive, exercising regularly, tapping into our reserves of creativity, building revolutionary companies and social movements, conquering our most stubborn vices, and, ultimately, achieving success is to understand how habits work. As Duhigg notes, "Transforming a habit-or a life- isn't necessarily easy or quick. It isn't always simple. But it is possible."

Rating: ★★☆☆

Cover Art: Interesting concept of the hamster wheel. Does what it is supposed to – show what the book is about.

Review:

This ARC was sent to me by Random House through a GoodReads FirstReads giveaway. Now, I’m not one to normally pick up a non-fiction book over a fiction, but I must say that this was a fascinating read. The author writes in a way that is understandable despite all the facts and history intertwined with the stories he tells within the book. This is definitely not a self-help book, as I first thought it to be. There is no chapter on “how to change” your habit(s), which the cover of the book misleads the reader to believe. [I just realized that the publishers must have changed the cover. Originally, the book was called “The Power of Habit: Why we do What we do and How to Change it.” (Which is on the cover of my copy) Now, the newest, and most likely, the published edition, is called “The Power of Habit: Why we do What we do in Life and Business” – much more appropriate, I’d say.]

Not only was the information about the Habit Loop informative, but I found the stories that went along with the facts even better. Duhigg worked stories about large companies, historical figures, and individuals into his book to show evidence of a claim: that habits are controlling much of what we, society, and businesses do. He touches on Starbucks, Proctor & Gamble [company that distributes Febreze], and Target – delving into the reasoning behind big decisions such as where to put fruits and vegetables in a grocery store.

It was slow to get through and I had to be in a certain mind-set to want to read this. Definitely is not for everyone and at times it was slow, and either too informative, or not informative enough. I wanted to know more about the science behind the habits, and it seemed Duhigg only touched the surface of that. Although, the science-y part isn’t for everyone, so I can understand his reasons for that. Also was not a fan of the repetitiveness and jumping from one story to another and back again. Have to admit, it isn’t going to change my life, but it made me more aware of these things we call “habits.”

~C

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