** The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg

There are two parts in The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business, one that describes how individuals can change their habits and one that addresses changing habits in organizations. The first one I thought was brilliantly told, the other I did not like so much. Habits, it turns out, work so well because they allow us to expand much less energy accomplishing particular tasks. Once something is a habit, our brains don’t have to strain so much to get it done. Moreover, our brains anticipate the post-task reward, prodding us to get with it. So we can anticipate the feeling of fresh teeth and want to brush them (I made up this example but I think it works!) The key to acquiring new habits is therefore to go through the cycle of cue-action-reward until neurons are properly re-wired.

The second half of the book takes us through a series of (to me) unconvincing organizational examples, such as how CEOs can change organizations by choosing just one change, presumably one that is key to all kinds of other desirable behaviors. Sounds like more than habit to me, but rather good management. And the examples of how publicity exploits habits have been told elsewhere (e.g. I Know Who You Are and I Saw what You Did), although admittedly in more awkward ways. Try reading only the first half of the book — but I bet you won’t be able to stop there…

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Filed under Non fiction

One response to “** The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg

  1. Pingback: * Smarter Faster Better by Charles Duhigg | FT's Books

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