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The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business [Audiobook, Unabridged] [Audio CD]

Charles Duhigg , Mike Chamberlain
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Feb. 28 2012

NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY
The Wall Street Journal • Financial Times

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

A young woman walks into a laboratory. Over the past two years, she has transformed almost every aspect of her life. She has quit smoking, run a marathon, and been promoted at work. The patterns inside her brain, neurologists discover, have fundamentally changed.
 
Marketers at Procter & Gamble study videos of people making their beds. They are desperately trying to figure out how to sell a new product called Febreze, on track to be one of the biggest flops in company history. Suddenly, one of them detects a nearly imperceptible pattern—and with a slight shift in advertising, Febreze goes on to earn a billion dollars a year.
 
An untested CEO takes over one of the largest companies in America. His first order of business is attacking a single pattern among his employees—how they approach worker safety—and soon the firm, Alcoa, becomes the top performer in the Dow Jones.
 
What do all these people have in common? They achieved success by focusing on the patterns that shape every aspect of our lives.
 
They succeeded by transforming habits.
 
In The Power of Habit, award-winning New York Times business reporter Charles Duhigg takes us to the thrilling edge of scientific discoveries that explain why habits exist and how they can be changed. With penetrating intelligence and an ability to distill vast amounts of information into engrossing narratives, Duhigg brings to life a whole new understanding of human nature and its potential for transformation.
 
Along the way we learn why some people and companies struggle to change, despite years of trying, while others seem to remake themselves overnight. We visit laboratories where neuroscientists explore how habits work and where, exactly, they reside in our brains. We discover how the right habits were crucial to the success of Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps, Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz, and civil-rights hero Martin Luther King, Jr. We go inside Procter & Gamble, Target superstores, Rick Warren’s Saddleback Church, NFL locker rooms, and the nation’s largest hospitals and see how implementing so-called keystone habits can earn billions and mean the difference between failure and success, life and death.
 
At its core, The Power of Habit contains an exhilarating argument: The key to exercising regularly, losing weight, raising exceptional children, becoming more productive, building revolutionary companies and social movements, and achieving success is understanding how habits work.
 
Habits aren’t destiny. As Charles Duhigg shows, by harnessing this new science, we can transform our businesses, our communities, and our lives.

Praise for The Power of Habit
 
“Sharp, provocative, and useful.”—Jim Collins
 
“Few [books] become essential manuals for business and living. The Power of Habit is an exception. Charles Duhigg not only explains how habits are formed but how to kick bad ones and hang on to the good.”Financial Times
 
“A flat-out great read.”—David Allen, bestselling author of Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity
 
“You’ll never look at yourself, your organization, or your world quite the same way.”—Daniel H. Pink, bestselling author of Drive and A Whole New Mind
 
“Entertaining . . . enjoyable . . . fascinating . . . a serious look at the science of habit formation and change.”The New York Times Book Review




From the Hardcover edition.

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The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business + The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change
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Review

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • NPR BESTSELLER • WASHINGTON POST BESTSELLER • LOS ANGELES TIMES BESTSELLER • USA TODAY BESTSELLER • PUBLISHERS WEEKLY BESTSELLER

“Sharp, provocative, and useful.”—Jim Collins
 
“Few [books] become essential manuals for business and living. The Power of Habit is an exception. Charles Duhigg not only explains how habits are formed but how to kick bad ones and hang on to the good.”Financial Times
 
“A flat-out great read.”—David Allen, bestselling author of Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity
 
“You’ll never look at yourself, your organization, or your world quite the same way.”—Daniel H. Pink, bestselling author of Drive and A Whole New Mind
 
“Entertaining . . . enjoyable . . . fascinating . . . a serious look at the science of habit formation and change.”The New York Times Book Review
 
“Cue: see cover. Routine: read book. Reward: fully comprehend the art of manipulation.”Bloomberg Businessweek

“A fresh examination of how routine behaviors take hold and whether they are susceptible to change . . . The stories that Duhigg has knitted together are all fascinating in their own right, but take on an added dimension when wedded to his examination of habits.”— Associated Press
 
“There’s been a lot of research over the past several years about how our habits shape us, and this work is beautifully described in the new book The Power of Habit.”—David Brooks, The New York Times
 
“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
 
“I have been spinning like a top since reading The Power of Habit, New York Times journalist Charles Duhigg’s fascinating best-seller about how people, businesses and organizations develop the positive routines that make them productive—and happy.”The Washington Post
 
“An absolutely fascinating . . . book [that explores] a startling and sometimes dismaying collision between the increasingly sophisticated scientific understanding of habits—how they’re formed, how they can be disrupted and changed—and, among other things, companies’ efforts to use that knowledge to steer your habits and money their way.”Wired
 
“If Duhigg is right about the nature of habits, which I think he is, then trying to get rid of these bad habits won’t work. Instead, what is needed is to teach the managers to identify the cues that lead to these bad habits and rewards, and then learn alternative routines that lead to similar rewards, i.e. business and personal success.”Forbes
 
The Power of Habit is chock-full of fascinating anecdotes . . . how an early twentieth century adman turned Pepsodent into the first bestselling toothpaste by creating the habit of brushing daily, how a team of marketing mavens at Procter & Gamble rescued Febreze from the scrapheap of failed products by recognizing that a fresh smell was a fine reward for a cleaning task, how Michael Phelps’ coach instilled habits that made him an Olympic champion many times over, and how Tony Dungy turned the Indianapolis Colts into a Super Bowl–winning team.”Los Angeles Times
 
“Duhigg clearly knows that people do not like, or even buy, the idea that we’re not creatures of choice. He carefully explains each step of habit building, using science and—the best part—a slew of interesting anecdotes.”The Seattle Times
 
“Duhigg argues that much of our lives is ruled by unconscious habits, good and bad, but that by becoming consciously aware of the cues that trigger our habits and the rewards they provide, we can change bad practices into good ones.”Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
 
“Duhigg’s revelation that Target had developed a model to predict whether female customers were pregnant ignited a firestorm after an excerpt from his book, The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business, was published.”USA Today


From the Hardcover edition.

About the Author

Charles Duhigg is an investigative reporter for The New York Times. He is a winner of the National Academies of Sciences, National Journalism, and George Polk awards, and was part of a team of finalists for the 2009 Pulitzer Prize. He is a frequent contributor to This American Life, NPR, PBS NewsHour, and Frontline. A graduate of Harvard Business School and Yale College, he lives in Brooklyn with his wife and two kids.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
By fastreader TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover
One definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. So if you are wanting a different result you have to change what you are doing. Or else there is that whole insanity thing staring you in the face.

In the Power of Habit the author Charles Duhigg links to the insanity (se above) of people expecting to change an outcome without changing the input or process. In the book these three points in the process are called Cue - Routine - Reward.

Simple, yet complex. As in any endeavour to deconstruct or reverse engineer anything to do with humans, the devil is in the details. What looks like something simple upon first observation, becomes increasingly complex as you peel away the layers. Humans are emotional and non linear. Plus just to make life interesting, and it does, we all sing along to a different playbook. One that is created by who you are, who your relatives are, who you run into in life, karma (had to throw that one in), your education and how you use all this to problem solve.

The Cue, Routine, Reward trilogy is an attempt to simplify the process and it works. The author gives us examples where changes to the routine can have sometimes dramatic changes. Sometimes the changes to the routine are small and sometimes they are large.

The author goes further in that he starts with humans and then moves onto organizations and societies using the same trilogy of cue, routine, and reward.

For anyone who wants at least a small chance of understanding why we do what we do, why organizations and society acts as it does this book will be insightful and instructive.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
By Robert Morris HALL OF FAME TOP 10 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover
This review is from: The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business (Hardcover)
This is not an easy book to describe because Charles Duhigg offers such a wealth of information in so many different areas. For example:

o What a habit is...and isn't
o What the habit loop is and does
o How and why we form good and bad habits
o Why it is so difficult to sustain good habits and so easy to sustain bad ones
o Which external influences most effectively manipulate both good and bad habits
o How to defend good habits
o How to break bad habits
o How and why our habits reveal our values

In Part One, Duhigg focuses on how habits emerge within individual lives (e.g. ; in the next, he examines the habits of successful companies and organizations; and then in Part Three, he looks at the habits of societies. "We now know why habits emerge, how they change, and the science behind their mechanics. We know how to break them into parts and rebuild them to our specifications. We know how to make people eat less, exercise more, work more efficiently, and live healthier lives. Transforming a habit isn't necessarily easy or quick. It isn't always simple. But it is possible. And now we know why."

There in a brief passage is the essence of what motivated Duhigg to write this book and also perhaps, just perhaps, a sufficient reason for people who read it to then rebuild their habits to their expectations, based on what they have learned from the book.

One of Duhigg's most valuable insights (among the several dozen he shares) is that organizations as well as individuals can develop bad habits or allow them to develop.
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23 of 28 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars High stories to substance ratio March 18 2012
Format:Hardcover
I had high expectations for this book. I did get some insights but my interest stopped midway. A main problem with this 'popular science' genre can be captured by the ratio of stories to substance. The author, no doubt an accomplished writer, is at his best when telling stories. He is a good writer and is able to make abstract ideas accessible. However, when it comes to substance, there is little new in this book. Notions such as reinforcement, conditioning and routines have been around since the 1940s. Also, the author ignores or simplifies many things about habits such as their creative role, the way they relate to beliefs, surprises and social interaction and on. We also know that habits are not completely mindless and do not require repetition to exist. I do not admire this genre although I can see how it may address some readers' needs. I wish we get rid of this habit and have instead books with a more balance between wisdom and folklore.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
By Josie
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Great, and still reading it. Lots of good info about losing weight or finishing with addictions,.
Good for a business too, how to motivate and inspire your employees. Great information
about Starbucks and WHY those people are always so nice.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book was a gift. On first reading, I realized it was a reasonable, more accurate explanation of a process known to all of us. In my world everything is not super, or perfect, or self actualized. It is normal. This book is above the norm. It is thoughtfully presented ideas. The science explained to support the conclusion was consistent with research on behavioural psychology and what I know about brain chemistry.

I found it so useful, I bought a copy for another friend. Easily recommended.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars good read to help understand our behaviour
Insightful, good read to help understand our behaviour
Published 28 days ago by Joanna Pencak
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Excellent knowlege to have under your belt, especialoly if your a sales person.

John
Published 1 month ago by John Dyck
3.0 out of 5 stars Not finished because...
After a couple weeks of maintaining a 'read everyday' habit life jumped up and punched me in the face with it's fist of distraction as usual. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Anthony Clark
1.0 out of 5 stars I have read through a lot of empowering books over the year, this...
The author provides nothing more than stories and anecdotes, he does not provides any analysis of his own whatsoever, very disappointed i will literally burn the cd' s and throw in... Read more
Published 4 months ago by Patrick Frechette
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing Book - Opens Up Your Mind to How Habits are Formed
This book opened my mind to how habits are formed and changed. I can now use the knowledge to improve my understanding about people around me, my own behaviors and responses to... Read more
Published 4 months ago by Ashish Kothari
5.0 out of 5 stars A great book !
I literally loved this book. Very instructive. Lots of examples can be used to change some of our habits. I'd definitely recommend it to anyone.
Published 5 months ago by Jean-Sebastien Villa
5.0 out of 5 stars Very Actionable.
Really opened my eyes up to the actual power that a habit can have on you and why they are so hard to change. Or why some things seem impossible. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Alex Drysdale
5.0 out of 5 stars A great read
A very interesting read, ending up in my top favourites easily. Very cool studies are included to back up the information. I will read it again.
Published 15 months ago by MR DARIN GERMYN
5.0 out of 5 stars Useful.
What's been my problem has been dealt with in this book. After you read this book, you feel you have more control over your life.
Published 15 months ago by Kamal Maissami Fard
5.0 out of 5 stars Very interesting
I would recommend this book to anyone trying to make some changes in their lives...This book will give you another view on your habits and you can tweak them... Read more
Published 16 months ago by Harry Beckett
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