The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg

This book has been on the often over-hyped best seller lists for months. I often put books on this list down, frustrated and disappointed.
Not this book.Some readers complain many concepts in this book aren’t new, my main man Willy Wonka and his crew were always trying to teach me how to break bad habits like gluttony , envy , chewing gum or watching TV . Leaders in the time management, diet 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” – with analysis and reflection we can make change. They’ve been saying that for a long time and it works that’s why they’re famous. But maybe, it’s only part of 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.

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. A powerful year in my career was when I grew to hate institutional and professional arrogance and bureaucracy for bureaucracy’s sake. Hate it like murder. It’s why I started reading management /leadership books and started this blog. Many people won’t find their way to real work-excellence because their jobs aren’t about life or death, so they aren’t forced to want to do better. There’s a story in this book about how silo’s and bureaucracy actually killed people in a subway fire in London England. The stories told are powerful, they will stay with you and help you think about how you can make change in your own work and life.

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. I know that it’s tied to the power of LinkedIn which allows us to find “people like us” quickly in the business world, and time is money right?

Some great business lessons from the dozens of stories…

-how the music industry uses the power of the familiar

– how cities and the military study habits to make or stop crowds from forming community or tearing it down

– how athletes use the power of training to get instant response from their minds/bodies to succeed

– how businesses capture the power of “one small thing” that affects every part of the business to positivity influence major change

– how to harness the power of peer pressure and how to make it work for you was brilliant and again, really down to earthIt’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.

Would love to hear your comments on the book!
In the mean time here’s Charles talking about the book in his own words… enjoy!


3 Replies to “The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg”

  1. In his bestselling book The Power of Habit, Charles Duhigg, a business reporter for the New York Times, conveys his research in the fields of psychology and neuroscience to provide a scientific approach to understanding habits.

    If you are interested in learning more about the ideas introduced by Charles Duhigg but you are not able to spare the time to sit down and read the THE POWER OF HABIT, then why not read the shorten version?

    THE POWER OF HABIT…in 30 MINUTES is the essential guide to creating change, breaking habits, understanding willpower, and comprehending the main ideas behind Charles Duhigg’s bestseller. You can grab a copy on Amazon for $4.99:

    Best of luck in changing your habits!

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