Debbie's World of Books
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Review: The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg

April 30th, 2019 by Debbie's World of Books

Source: Purchased

Publication date: February 28, 2012

Publisher: Random House

Rating: ★★★½☆

About the Book

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.

My Thoughts

I’d say this was more of 3.5 stars but not quite a 4 star read for me. It started off great and I was honestly fascinated but the studies the author references and in particular the anecdotes about how Starbucks trains their employees. Maybe that just stuck with me because I do love my tea/refreshers from Starbucks and have to say how amazing most of the Starbucks employees I’ve encountered are. Their attitude as a whole are so customer focused that even when I do encounter issues with my visit they go above and beyond to fix it.

That said once you drill down into the basic concept it’s pretty obvious that most of our life is lived through a series of habits we form and that changing those habits can have a huge effect on the direction our lives take. While I found reading the book enjoyable I kept waiting to read more about how we can change these habits but that is not really addressed until the very last chapter of the book. I guess I was hoping for some “miracle” bits of advice that would make interrupting an existing pattern and replacing it with a new pattern easier but of course that never comes. The author does give some good methods to try and narrow down what your cues are for habits you want to change that are great for practical application. I just wish that had come earlier in the book. I could definitely tell when I felt the book started to get a bit repetitive because the number of highlights I made dropped of significantly. This book could have been a lot shorter and a much tighter read in my opinion. I’d say the first half and then the last chapter are definitely worth reading and the rest could be skimmed.

Find it online

Amazon | B&N | Goodreads

Posted in 3 Star Books, 4 Star Books, Books, Non-fiction

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