Charles Duhigg’s book The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do In Life And Business uses popular culture with academic study to explain the science behind habits. As human beings, we lean on our routines to get through the challenging and mundane parts of life. Our patterns mold our lives and shape the way we perceive the world around us.
The Power of Habit helps to understand our habits. He connects seemingly odd behaviors—like toothbrushing and Febreze usage—and describes how our daily routines make or break us.
First, I’ll share a summary, what I liked, and what I didn’t like.
Duhigg divides the book into three parts:
1. The Habits of Individuals
2. The Habits of Successful Organizations
3. The Habits of Societies
Part 1 discusses how individuals change their habits. Moreover, he discusses the habit loop and how people need to study their patterns to grasp how to change themselves.
Next, Duhigg highlights how to create new habits through several examples ranging from toothbrushing habits and football.
Part 2 combines individual routines into organizations. For example, Duhigg highlights a steel company’s safety standards as a viable routine for workplace success. Also, the book discusses Starbucks’ robust training program to emphasize customer service.
More eerily, Duhigg also talks about advertising’s effect on hijacking our routines to gain profits.
Part 3 was most intriguing because it talked about society’s habits. Duhigg explained the civil rights movement and the Montgomery Bus Boycott. Moreover, the book highlighted Rosa Parks’ network of friends who had strong ties to Parks.
Lastly, part 3 shows how our habits can affect our personal lives through a story about gambling. The book also grapples with the question of why some habits overwhelm some while others do not.
What I Liked
The Power of Habit is the second book I have read from Duhigg, and it didn’t disappoint. Duhigg has a knack for relating a study to his audience.
Case in point, the beginning of the book talks about a couple of case studies about memory loss. I didn’t have to strain through details to know how these cases related to habits.
I thought The Power of Habit was relatable. For example, the book explains an account of a woman who changed her life by quitting smoking.
By quitting smoking, she was able to change other habits in her life. It was a hopeful story for the audience to remember. We all can change despite our circumstances in life.
The Power of Habit cites several reputable studies in his book. Even though The Power of Habit is a popular eye-grabber, it does have some good science in it.
Sometimes, it was a little over my head, but I didn’t get lost in the details. If I had the physical copy of the book, it would have been easier to digest those complex parts.
Keeping An Open Mind
There are lots of fun facts in this book. For example, I learned about the origins of Febreze and why toothpaste has a slight tingle in your mouth. Books are supposed to open the mind, and this one did just that.
I think the essential part of the book was the beginning when it outlines the habit loop. I talked about the habit loop in a previous article, but in short, the habit loop is supposed to help us identify where to change a bad habit into a good one.
Most of all, the book doesn’t say that changing a habit is easy. Most popular books will describe a quick-fix to break habits. However, you have to gather data on your routine.
Going back to the habit loop, you have to collect data about why you do what you do. It’s fundamental to your change.
I listened to the audiobook, and I thought the narration fit the book well! The narrator was engaging, entertaining, and enjoyable all at once.
Admittedly, some may not like the narrator because he sounds like a cliche talking head from the self-help world. Don’t be deterred, though. The material is still excellent.
What I Didn’t Like
I don’t have many critiques of this book. If I could be picky, I would have wanted a little more explanation on the habit loop.
It would have been more helpful for the later parts of the book. It would have been beneficial for the audiobook listener if the book referred back to the habit loop a little more.
I say this with a lot of the books I listen to, but get the printed version! Audiobooks are great for rides in the car or passively listening, but if you want to apply these concepts to your life, get the printed version.
I’m a strong advocate for changing bad habits. I highly recommend this book if you have a terrible habit and you want to change it. Leaders especially need to be self-aware enough to want to improve their behaviors. Moreover, their actions directly influence companies and organizations.
Final note, The Power of Habit is a great segway into goal setting. If you have wanted to set goals and plans for the future, read this book first. There are tons of goal-setting books and content out there, but it won’t help you if you don’t have the habit established first.
In short, read this book! I listen to and read a lot of books, and this one is one of my favorites.
Overall, I give this a 10/10.
If you want to buy the book, click here.
Have you read this book? What was the most exciting part for you? Thanks for reading!