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The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business Hardcover – 2012

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Hardcover, 2012
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Product Details

  • Hardcover
  • Publisher: Random House; 1 edition (2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1400069289
  • ISBN-13: 978-1400069286
  • Product Dimensions: 16.2 x 2.8 x 24.4 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 680 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (47 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #522,869 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

The Wall Street Journal • Financial Times


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 ...

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars

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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By fastreader TOP 500 REVIEWER on March 16 2012
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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Principal on May 17 2014
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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Paul Nazareth on July 11 2012
Format: Hardcover
This book has been on international best seller lists for months.
And I can see why.

You can't skim this book.

As always many concepts in this book aren't new but it is the context, the examination of success and failure - and the solutions applied - make up the core value to this book.

Leaders in the time management, diet industry and money management sectors always tell us to "write down how we spend our time, what we eat and how we spend money every single day" and by analyzing that, then using the knowledge we can make change. They've been saying that for a long time and for many it works but it's only half the solution.

We all have triggers in our life, negative and positive. We react to those daily triggers with responses that have become habit because the result is positive and pleasing. Adults don't change habits easily, many won't be able to at all because the triggers never go away and we need our positive pleasure at the end of the habit. This book teaches the reader how to understand the trigger, change the response to get the same reward. A tricky thing but there are dozens of story from live, business and history that vividly tell this tale of cause and effect.

The stories make for a fascinating and practical read, it actually forces you to slow down and ingest the story and the lessons. Many of the stories really move the reader, more importantly this is a BUSINESS book that tells you why that humanity, emotion and desire for dignity is a business revenue advantage.

I love that this book is BS-free. "Companies aren't families, they're battlefields in a civil war". Worked at a company like that once? Me too. We needs solutions, not coping mechanisms.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Robert Morris HALL OF FAMETOP 10 REVIEWER on April 20 2012
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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