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.
on May 17, 2014
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.
on July 11, 2012
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.
This book continues the focus on where neuroscience and the brain meets business strategy and marketing. I am the grocery shopping for my family - the book's tale of how we are controlled by supermarkets like rats in a capitalistic maze read like my weekly routine. It offends and impresses me how hard they are working to make me break the list I bring each week.
When the author does interviews he often talks about a case study in the book where a department store did such deep data analysis they captured part of the massive baby market because they could tell a woman was pregnant before she had told ANYONE, spouse/family included. You'll leave this story realizing how much better you can serve your clients/donors if you apply this "life cycle" observation approach.
The book's many valuable touch points on networking include a great chapter on the power of weak ties, that LinkedIn allows us to find "people like us" quickly in the business world is powerful.
Discussing how to harness the power of peer pressure and how to make it work for you was brilliant and again, really down to earth.
What you will remember about this book are the many lessons you learn from the stories...
-About how the music industry uses the power of the familiar
- About how athletes use the power of training to get instant response from their minds/bodies to WIN
- About how businesses capture the power of keystone habits ( one small thing that affects every part of the business ) to positivity influence
It's a fabulous read that will no doubt spark your creative mind to take a lot of notes for today and turn them into business improvement and revenue tomorrow.
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. For example, tolerating incivility and thus condoning it, conducting performance evaluations unfairly and/or inconsistently, and under-valuing employees and/or customers. However, in that event, only individuals can break those organizational bad habits and only if their habits are equal to that challenge. Duhigg devotes all of Part Two (Chapters 4-7) an explanation of how best to respond to that challenge. Stephen Covey also has much of value to say about what meeting that challenge requires of people in his classic, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change.
on May 23, 2015
“You will 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)
Finally, finished reading of this amazing book. The book is based on numerous research studies about habits. The interesting thing about it is Duhigg's wonderful storytelling style through which the reader goes on an unforgettable journey by bunch of real attractive stories about different individuals. The reader starts his journey from the human brain and how habits work there, then flies over different organizations which successfully implemented habits and finally the book lands at the habits of societies and social patterns and explains why they are important in social movements. If I was the minister of education, I would definitely make reading of this book obligatory for all the students! Recommend it to all.
Thank you Charles Duhigg author of The Power of Habit
#book #improvement #life #business
A part of the book's prologue:
" "All our life, so far as it has definite form, is but a mass of habits," William James wrote in 1892. Most of the choices we make each day may feel like the products of well-considered decision making, but they're not. They're habits. And though each habit means relatively little on its own, over time, the meals we order, what we say to our kids each night, whether we save or spend, how often we exercise, and the way we organize our thoughts and work routines have enormous impacts on our health, productivity, financial security, and happiness."
"For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice." -- Romans 7:19 (NKJV)
This book could have been more aptly titled, "How Can I Stop ________ ?"
The author's purpose seems to be making you more aware of your habitual behaviors, especially the ones that you probably wish you hadn't done just a short time later. Will this book help you to live without regret? No. But it will make you feel better equipped to try.
If you have read anything about neuroscience and habits, you are probably already more knowledgeable than you will be after reading The Power of Habit, which seems to be intended for those new to the subject who would like the simplest possible explanation. And it is a very clear and simple explanation. I admire people who can do that. It's beyond my personal skills.
So what will you learn? In many diagrams, you will see expressed the concept that when we act on cues (a "routine") that give us a reward, we form habits of doing the things that got us the reward the last time we acted on the cue. In other words, Pavlov rang the bell when he fed the dogs. After awhile, he could just ring the bell and the dogs would salivate because they associated the bell with food to soon come. Animal training is often based on the same approach, by providing food when a desired behavior occurs.
You'll also learn a little about how you can overcome such habits in a brief (too brief, to my taste) appendix:
(1)Identify the routine you habitually do.
(2)Experiment with different rewards to replace the one you don't want to seek any more.
(3)Isolate the cue that triggers the routine.
(4)Have a plan to act differently.
As a simple example, if you stuff yourself full of ice cream at night, you would need to find a reward that you like better than ice cream (That will be a challenge, but you'll eventually find one.). If a trip to the refrigerator normally triggers the ice cream eating, you might have a plan that kept you out of the kitchen at night while you were occupied with something you really love doing in a different part of your home (such as painting with water colors in a workroom).
You'll learn a bit of the neurology behind these observations in Part One about individual habits. Keep in mind that the old habit is still in your brain and nervous system. You can only overcome it with a new, stronger habit. Key examples involve how people became consistent at brushing their teeth and how Febreze found a way to attract customers by building on observations of a little ritual people do while cleaning.
Part Two explores organizational change with an example from Alcoa of using safety to lead people to rethink their work habits, a training example from Starbucks, how horrible medical results led Rhode Island Hospital to improve protocols, and ways that Target uses data-mined information about its customers to entice them to spend more money.
Part Three looks at social habits and makes an unusual argument for why the Montgomery bus boycott worked. I wasn't sure that I completely agreed with the analysis, but it's the best example in the book. There's also a brief look at how Saddleback Church uses small groups to encourage its congregants.
The final chapter of this part looks at when we can operate with free will and when we probably can't. The argument is that if we are awake we are able to make choices. Now, there's a big surprise! The chapter distinguishes between compulsive gambling and sleepwalking. Hmmm.
What's the book's biggest weakness? Mr. Duhigg has tunnel vision. Everything fits neatly into his nonfiction thesis. Not! So take what you read with at least a few grains of salt.
The book's biggest potential strength is in providing you with encouragement that you may be able to get rid of some pesky habits that you've struggled with for some time. Good luck!
*A full executive-style summary of this book is now available at newbooksinbrief dot wordpress dot com. A condensed podcast version of the summary is also available at the site.
It is often said that we are creatures of habit, in that many of our daily activities end up being a matter of routine rather than direct deliberation (just think of your morning run-through). While this is no doubt true, author Charles Duhigg insists that this is but the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the impact that habits have on our daily lives. Indeed, in his new book `The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business' Duhigg argues that habits not only pervade our personal lives, but that they have an integral role to play in the businesses and other organizations of which we are a part, and that they are also at the heart of social movements and societies at large.
The first part of the book focuses on the role that habits play in our personal lives. Here we learn about the habit loop consisting of cue, routine, and reward, and how the elements in this loop can be manipulated to help modify our habits (say from crashing on the couch with a bag of chips, to heading out for a run). We also learn about the power of particular habits called keystone habits (which include exercise, as well as eating together as a family) that help initiate a domino effect that touches all of the other aspects of our lives. Also, we learn about the power of belief--and the importance of social groups in helping create this belief--that stands behind successful habit transformation programs such as Alcoholics Anonymous.
The second part of the book concentrates on how habits help shape businesses and organizations. Here we learn that the formation of habits and routines within organizations is unavoidable; what's more, that it is always best for the leadership of a group to make a deliberate effort to shape the habits of their organizations, and in a way that ensures a high degree of equality and fairness for its various members, while nonetheless making it clear who is ultimately in charge of each particular aspect of the operation. Second, we learn that keystone habits--which are at the center of our personal lives--are also pivotal when it comes to larger organizations (and how a particular keystone habit was applied to resurrect the once great but flailing American aluminum company Alcoa). We also learn about the greatest keystone habit of all: willpower, and how this habit can best be cultivated (and how companies such as Starbucks are employing these lessons to help train employees successfully). Finally, we learn about how companies such as Proctor & Gamble and Target instill habits in their customers.
The third and final part of the book examines the importance of habits in social movements, such as the civil rights movement of the 1960's. Here we learn that movements tend to follow a three-part process. To start with, a movement tends to begin with a group of close acquaintances and friends. The movement tends to grow when these people spread it to the broader communities of which they are a part. Finally, in order to really take hold and spread, the movement must be guided forward by an effective leader who lays down new habits for the movement's adherents in a way that allows them to gain a sense of identity.
On the negative side, the organization of the book is somewhat muddled, as there is significant overlap in the parts on individuals and organizations. Also, the section on social movements rests on a precious few examples, and therefore, the theory seems less convincing than it might otherwise be. Still, though, there are many things to be learned here and the book is well worth the read. For a full summary of the book, as well as many of the juicier details and anecdotes to be found therein, visit the website at newbooksinbrief dot wordpress dot com, and click on article #9. The information in the article is also available in a condensed version as a podcast on the same site.
on April 2, 2014
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 various things and so much more... It's a whole new world out there for me now as I have started questioning myself why I do what I do in life, career and business.
on March 18, 2012
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.
Investigative reporter Charles Duhigg has written an entertaining book to help readers change their habits. 'The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business' takes a serious and in-depth look at the science of habit formation without adopting a condescending "self help" tone.
Duhigg remains optimistic about how we can put the science to use. He suggests that, by understanding the nature of habits, we can influence group behavior, turning companies into profit makers and ensuring the success of social movements. He makes his case through fascinating stories and case histories: how and why Target can tell which of its female customers are pregnant, how Rick Warren went from a depressed minister of a small congregation to the leader of one of the biggest megachurches in the world, why Rosa Parks's refusal to give up her seat started a movement and why a 1987 fire in a London Underground station failed to be contained, leading to the deaths of 31 people.
Unfortunately, it's not always clear from Duhigg's book how we should boil down these examples into a prescription for change. Certainly, one way comes through repetition, practising a routing until it becomes automatic. Altering the habit loop of cue, habit, reward can help someone give up an afternoon cookie. But then there are compulsions and addictions, behaviors that involve dependence on a chemical substance, like nicotine or alcohol, or behaviours like gambling that have become so rewarding that they're nearly impossible to resist. As many wrecked families can attest, these habits are the hardest to change. Unfortunately there is no magic bullet, though intensive treatments and social support can work.
Habitual behaviors come in many different forms, and squeezing them into one framework misses some of the nuances of how to change behavior effectively. Nonetheless, 'The Power of Habit' is an enjoyable book, and readers will find useful advice about how to change at least some of their bad habits ' even if they want to eat their cake.