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Book Review | The Power of Habit – Why we do What we do in Life and Business

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The Power of Habit

Why we do What we do in Life and Business

By Charles Duhigg

the power of habit by charles duhigg book cover

This book uses actual people and cases to talk about the science and formation of our habits, how we can change them and how they impact our lives.

This was not a self-help book or mind-altering transformation read. It was an easy read that offered real life tips, practical language and impactful examples.

As an executive with an organization in the neuroscience field I found it interesting through the first part of the book that dove into the science of how our brain forms habits. I was impressed that it did not go too deep our above and over our heads. Instead with actual real-life examples and easy to understand graphics it showed us how our habits are formed in our mind and how habits just happen without us purposely conducting them.

Duhigg says, “Once you understand that habits can change you have the freedom — and the responsibility — to remake them. Once you understand that habits can be rebuilt, the power becomes easier to grasp, and the only option left is to get to work.” He says 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 uses real life examples, companies and stories like: how and why Target can tell which of its female customers are pregnant, even before they announce to friends and family; how Rick Warren went from a depressed minister of a small congregation to the leader of one of the world’s biggest churches; why Rosa Parks’s refusal to give up her seat started a movement; and why a 1987 fire in a London Underground station lead to the death of 31 people.

Throughout the book, I was able to apply the lessons and examples to both my personal and professional life. It gave a snapshot of how and why we do what we do without even thinking about it. It also gave directions, ideas and suggestions of how to modify, eliminate or alter habits that we have identified as harmful. But the best part of the book was how Duhigg spoke directly to the reader; not above or below, not condescending and not preaching. The books message was practical and forthright, direct and deliberate. It was an easy read with applicable examples and scenarios.

This book will now be added to my reference library and I will be encouraging my team to read it and think about their daily habits, at home and in the office.

Reviewed and submitted by:
Jennifer L Dale, Chief Development Officer at the Center for Neurological Studies
Vice-President & Education Chair, Michigan Society for Healthcare Planning & Marketing