The Power of Habit: Book Review + 5 Lessons

July 30, 2020 in Book Reviews - No Comments

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Author: Charles Duhigg

Genre: Non-fiction / Personal Development / Psychology

The Power of Habit is a really popular book, released in 2012, and it’s been on the bestseller list.

Chances are you’ve heard about it!

BOOK SUMMARY

The focus of The Power of Habit is creating awareness for understanding how habits are formed, and how to use that understanding to modify our habits.

The book is divided into sections focusing on how habits influence individuals, teams, organizations, and even social movements!

The book is written in easy to read language. Stories are used to drive home key points and takeaways, making it an easy enough read. The book is grounded in science but uses stories to reinforce those facts.

Here’s an excerpt from New York Times if you want a taste of the book.

FOR YOU IF…

You want to create or change habits, but are struggling to turn that into reality

The book through various case studies and stories gives you examples of how you can change and create habits.

If you need direction to change or create new habits, this book will help you become more aware of your habits!

NOT FOR YOU IF…

You already are working on a plan to create or change your habits

The crux of the book is that you need to be aware of your habits before you change them.

If you’re someone who is already aware of what habits you need to change and create, have a plan in place, this book is not going to improve your plans.

Photo by Cathryn Lavery on Unsplash

FIVE THOUGHTS / KEY TAKEAWAYS

What you take from a book is only worth the lessons you learn.

1 – The Habit Loop

“Champions don’t do extraordinary things. They do ordinary things, but they do them without thinking, too fast for the other team to react. They follow the habits they’ve learned.” 

― Charles Duhigg, The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business

Every habit works in a loop that then reinforces it.

  • Cue: The trigger that forces you to act.
  • Routine: an action that actually do (this is probably what you’re trying to break or create)
  • Reward: the reward which helps to enforce the habit.

This is one point the book really drives home. When habits are formed, they become second nature to us! The habit loop is the reason we can create habits to become actions that we don’t think twice about.

2 – Keystone Habits

Some habits create a domino effect. Studies, for example, have shown that by exercising, people start eating better, they become more productive etc.

“Typically, people who exercise, start eating better and becoming more productive at work. They smoke less and show more patience with colleagues and family. They use their credit cards less frequently and say they feel less stressed. Exercise is a keystone habit that triggers widespread change.” 

― Charles Duhigg, The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business

The idea is to figure out if there are keystone habits, that can drive you to create or maintain other good habits. Some people swear that making your bed in the morning drives you to become more positive and productive all day!

3 – Changing Habits

“The Golden Rule of Habit Change: You can’t extinguish a bad habit, you can only change it.” 

― Charles Duhigg, The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business

The key to getting rid of a bad habit is to change it. Using the habit loop, if you wanted to change a habit, you would have to change the routine part, either the cue, routine or reward.

4 – Teams and Organizations can leverage keystone habits

The book has different case studies of different companies like Starbucks and Target where they utilized the concept of the habit loop and keystone habits. Using these techniques to create positive behaviors has helped them succeed in creating great customer service and marketing success.

5 – Social movements can take off because of habits

The book focuses on how Rosa Park’s dissonance was a catalyst that triggered protests among friends and acquaintances and was propelled into a movement that lasted, because of social habits.

This context is even more appropriate in 2020 with regards to how movements have sustained in to demand systemic change in society today.

OVERALL OPINION

USEFUL ADVICE TO HELP YOU CREATE AND MAINTAIN GOOD HABITS

The first section of the book on individual habits was the most useful and interesting for me personally. The rest of the book where the focus was on organizations and social movements was not as relevant nor interesting to me.

Would love to know your thoughts in the comments below!

Looking for more book reviews? Check out some of my other favorites!

Cheers,


Anum H

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