Book Review: The Power of Habbit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business

Author: Charles Duhigg

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It is not often that I can say I learned something really interesting.  The Power of Habit is such a good book that I could not put it down.  You won’t be able to either.

The Power of Habit is about routines that we fall in to.  There are many habits that we form in our lifetime.  Some are good and some are bad.  Have you had trouble losing weight?  How about stop smoking?

Now that I am in my 40s I am going through the battle of losing weight, staying healthy and active.  I never thought it would be this hard.  We get into this habit and we don't know how to get out of it or even realize that it is possible to change our bad habits.   

The book explains that you can change your habit.  It’s not easy but it is possible.  The author explains that, “unless you deliberately fight a habit-unless you find new routine-the pattern will unfold automatically.  You will keep repeating bad habit automatically unless you find a way to change it.

The Power of Habit is written in three parts:

Part 1) The Habits of Individuals

Part 2) The Habits of Successful Organizations

Part 3) The Habit of Societies

In the appendix, there is a small guide that shows how you can change your habits.

Habbit Loop: Cue → Routine → Reward

Once we develop a routine, going to vending machine when you get hungry, our brains automatically triggers those routines when we are hungry. We can pack a healthy snack and put it on our desk.  By having a healthy snack, or reward, then we have an alternative to going to the vending machine for unhealthy snack.  

But what causes the hunger to begin with?  Did we not eat enough for lunch?  Are we really hungry or are we stressed?  Perhaps sitting makes one tired and by going to the vending machine allows us to stretch our legs.  So, What is the cue?  What is it that is triggering us to go to the vending machine?  

Find the the cue is much more difficult. Once known, changing the behavior that leads us to trigger the routine will solve the root cause.  

This is just one example of a bad habit and how it can be changed.  Mr. Duhigg offers countless examples in individuals, organizations, and societies of how habits form and how they were changed for the better.