Steve Pollack Book Review: The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg

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power of habit

The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg: Book Review

In  opens in a new windowThe Power of Habit opens in a new windowCharles Duhigg explores the neurological and behavioral science and the psychological reward mechanisms that form and reinforce our everyday habits. 

Duhigg presents meaningful examples and useful advice for how to apply the science behind habit to increase willpower and transform our decision-making, but The Power of Habit is much more than a self-help book on how to change bad habits and acquire good ones. This book is also a study of how the habit patterns and habit loops of individuals can influence and impact businesses and organizations.

Structurally, Duhigg presents The Power of Habit in three parts, beginning with a part-one exploration of how habits work and how and why transformation happens.

In part two Duhigg discusses the habits of successful organizations, where he offers anecdotal examples of the habits that matter most, and the ways in which leaders establish and reinforce organizational habits (both by accident and intentionally). Also in this section, he presents an interesting case study of the ways Target uses their customers' big data to predict (and influence) consumer spending habits and patterns.

Part three of the book is an exploration of the habits of entire societies and the neurology of free will--and how these impact individual responsibility for adopting (and changing) habits.

While Duhigg does an excellent job of presenting the "self help" application of his arguments,  the real meat of this book is in the examples he gives of the ways in which companies and organizations capitalize (both literally and figuratively) on human nature as it relates to habit.

For a reader who is looking strictly for a self-help primer on how an individual can eradicate or adopt certain habitual behaviors, the additional focus on organizational leadership may seem like a distraction.  However, as a fascinating exploration of how science can illuminate the ways in which habit patterns and habit loops form, and how they impact organizational leadership and inform business practices, this book is an absolute must-read.

 

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