Monday, November 26, 2012

Book Review: The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business

We do many things based on habit: brush our teeth, eat certain cereals, follow certain routines. Some habits are good. Some we may want to change. The latter are what this book is about. Author Charles Duhigg breaks our habits into three parts: cue, response and reward. In order to change a habit, we must intervene at one or more of these points. But there’s more to it than that. To change, you must believe it’s possible.

Duhigg includes fascinating stories of corporations and how small changes in habits led to huge success stories. These keystone habits, as he calls them, help companies develop cultures in which employees support one another, which is extremely beneficial to all.

One chapter explains how stores can develop advertising campaigns that will appeal to you based on your past purchasing habits. There’s also a chapter asking whether we are responsible for problems and even crimes triggered by habits, such as a man who murdered his wife during his habit of sleepwalking.

The appendix titled “A Reader’s Guide to Using These Ideas” will help you move down the road to evaluating and possibly improving personal and/or occupational habits. More than 50 pages of end notes and a detailed index complete the book. The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do In Life and Business is a fun read and just may offer a few keys to the success of our self-improvement projects.

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