The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg is a self-development genre book. Charles Duhigg is a graduate of Harvard Business School and College. He’s an investigative reporter for The New York Times and a fantastic storyteller. He does a nice job of keeping the reader engaged in multiple stories.
Habits with negative outcomes that have been in our lives for a long time can feel almost immovable. Maybe you’ve tried to exercise and eat healthy a dozen times but to no avail. That can make it feel like the habit can’t be changed. We’ve all been there before with different habits. But every habit is changeable. It’s possible to change. We would better accept that every habit will be difficult to change.
The Power Of Habit Book Summary
The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg is written around a simple but powerful idea. If we understand how habits work, we can change them. Duhigg says Habits are the choices we deliberately make at one time but then stop thinking about them and continue repeating them. Transformation comes when people focus on changing habits as individuals and people inside companies. We start with the habits of individuals.
It starts with the brain. Scientists say habits emerge because the brain constantly looks for ways to save effort. The brain will turn almost any routine into a habit because habits allow minds to work less. An efficient brain allows you to stop thinking about basic behaviors, such as choosing your next meal, so that you can devote mental energy to creativity and adventure.
Next chapter, Charles discusses how habits form. First, as a cue, a trigger that tells your brain to go into automatic mode and which habit to deploy next is routine, physical, mental, or emotional. Lastly is the reward, which helps your brain figure out if this particular loop is worth remembering for the future. It is the habit loop over time. This habit loop’s cue routine reward becomes more automatic, and the cue and reward mesh create a strong sense of anticipation.
Eventually, the habit comes forth, and your brain stops working hard. Craving feeds the habit loop habits, creating neurological cravings. A subconscious craving starts the loop as we associate cues with certain rewards. Craving follows a two-step process. One, the brain identifies a simple and obvious cue. Then two, the brain anticipates defined rewards. The habit emerges when you see the cue and the craving begins, it is near-instantaneous. Once the craving exists, you will act automatically.
Whether good habits or bad habits, the neurological process is the same. That’s why breaking bad habits is so difficult. Your brain can’t tell the difference between bad and good habits. Bad habits lurk in the shadows, waiting for cues and rewards. You can’t extinguish a bad habit, but you can change it. Learning to create new routines can overpower the behaviors we don’t desire and reroute the habit.
After discussing the habits facts, Charles discusses the new habit-creation process. New habits are created by creating a cue, a routine, and a reward and then cultivating a craving that drives the loop. The golden rule of habit change is to keep an old car, deliver the old reward, and insert a new routine. The rule insists you keep the same cue and reward but change the middle step’s routine. Once you know how your habits work, you’re halfway to making a change once you recognize the cues and rewards.
The brain requires you to be deliberate and interrupt the default autopilot response. Some habits are easier to change than others and do not require much. But others demand belief before you’ll be able to change them. Replacement habits only become durable new behaviors accompanied by powerful groups and shared experiences.
The author says a community believes effective change happens when people come together to help one another change. One example is success and assisting many people in changing their drinking habits to stay changed. People must believe change is possible. That helps with the help of a group the habits of successful organizations.
In the Keystone Habits chapter, you will find awesome habit tricks. Some habits matter more than others, remaking businesses and living are the most important positive habits when they dislodge and remake other patterns. These are called keystone habits. People who exercise start eating better, becoming more productive, and feeling less stressed. Building keystone habits comes with small wins, which fuel change by leveraging tiny advantages into patterns that signal bigger achievements are within our reach.
Keystone habits can create cultures that clarify a company’s values in the face of challenges. One example is morning accountability check-in to ensure your team members have what they need to overcome obstacles. Keystone habits and regular two-way conversations become embedded in organizational culture.
To adopt a new habit author prior about willpower. In studies, willpower is the single most important factor in individual success. The best way to strengthen willpower is to make a habit of willpower. It gets tired as it works harder, so there’s less power left over for other things. That’s why productivity experts recommend tackling the hardest tasks for the most creative ones. First, if you can, more tedious routine tasks can follow each day to make willpower a habit, identify a behavior ahead of time, and create a new routine.
In an organizational setting, habits are deliberately designed or created from a lack of forethought. Destructive habits occur when leaders avoid thinking about the culture and develop without guidance. Routines are the foundation of hundreds of unwritten rules companies need to operate and reduce uncertainty. The most crucial benefit of routines is that they create a truce between groups or individuals who may not get along.
Routines allow workers to experiment with new ideas or require permission at every step. Both types create organizational memory for an organization to work. Leaders must cultivate habits to create peace and clarify who’s in charge. However, watch for any truce that may cause damage that outweighs the peace. A single priority, such as worker safety or customer service, may need to overshadow everything else, though it may be unpopular and threaten the balance of power.
A company with dysfunctional habits can’t turn around simply because a leader orders it. Good leaders see a crisis to remake organizational habits. Crises are such valuable opportunities that a wise leader often intentionally prolongs a sense of emergency. Wise leaders seek out moments of crisis or create the perception of crisis and cultivate the sense that something must change until everyone is finally ready.
This book draws on hundreds of academic studies, interviews with more than 300 scientists and executives, and research conducted at dozens of companies. So it’s a pretty well-researched book, even though it’s a few years old.
Author: Charles Duhigg
Average Review: 4.6/5
Category: Medical General Psychology, Personal Success
Publisher: Random House Audio
Available: Kindle | Audible | Hardcover | Paperback
The Power Of Habit Review
The Power of Habit is a fantastic book that is into self-help. The structure of this book is divided into three parts. The first five are the habits of individuals. The second part is the habits of organizations. The third parts talk about the habits of societies.
This book has nine chapters, and it is around 300 pages book. If you want to know how habit works, what the habit loop is, and how you can transform bad habits into good habits, then this book is definitely for you. This book has incredible illustrations and excellent narration, which makes this book very engaging. It also talked about the essential concept called Keystone Habits, which is the most integral part of this book.
Chapter: The habit cure
The brain is physically wired to live off of habit. Habits are neither good nor bad. They’re expected. However, we want to keep some habits that we want to create, don’t want to have, or don’t want to pick up. This book is all about this process of being the human-animal and picking up habits along the way.
You’re doing the same thing day after day without being able to make a change. This book contains the process for making that change and many others. That’s what this is all about. The brain will try to make almost any routine a habit because habits allow our minds to ramp down more often. The effort-saving instinct is a huge advantage.
An efficient brain requires less room, which makes for a smaller head, which makes childbirth easier and therefore causes fewer infant and mother deaths. An efficient brain also stops us from constantly thinking about basic behaviors, such as walking or choosing what to eat. So we can devote mental energy to inventing spears and irrigation systems and, eventually, airplanes and video games.
Chapter: The Habits of Individuals
Habits are one of the main reasons humans can do what they can. They’re the brain’s way of saving effort. After all, the brain and the human-animal are all about conserving energy. If you have to do something regularly, the brain will make it automatic. Do you ever feel like you’ve forgotten your entire drive home, maybe from work or the gym? Of course, that’s a huge thanks to your brain and making that automatic.
You can forget an entire drive home because it’s so automatic. Saving those calories for more important potential things, whether it’s got a negative or positive outcome, doesn’t matter to the brain. It’s all about saving energy. A quick exercise that you can do here is to test your awareness. What are some habits you’re currently experiencing, whether good or bad? We prefer to look at the ones we didn’t intentionally create. We might not even think of these things as habits, potentially how you wake up first thing in the morning.
Chapter: The habit loop (How habits work)
Habits run in a loop: cue, routine, and reward. The key is the trigger, which makes you do something else, the routine. After you do the routine, you get the reward. So Charles Duhigg says that if you substitute any part of this loop, you can get out of your bad habit and adopt a good one. If you want to avoid sugar, then adopt sweet fruits. They also have sugar in some amount, but not as much as chocolate and sweets.
The reward that we’re anticipating or expecting. That anticipation or expectation of the reward drives the habit loop. The reward is going in two parts. There’s the physical part of it. It is obvious benefits to eating ice cream. It tastes good, but that’s a small part compared to the emotional reward people get from it.
Again, this is becoming part of a moment as well. The emotional reward could be relaxation. It could be that they had a stressful day. It is their way to decompress or have a few months to check out and escape the world’s stresses. It could be a sense of reward that they deserve this. They worked hard, and now they get to have this. So it is that reward that triggers this whole thing that keeps it going night after night.
The next thing that you need to do is that you have to have a cue routine and reward good habits as well. You must also have something that keeps you going and recognizes that it is very important if you want to have good habits. That is going to motivate you all the time to adopt good habits. It may be that you don’t have willpower, but you want to gain willpower. In that case, you need to meditate. Meditation helps a lot in gaining willpower. Meditating is something that will give you willpower. Willpower will help you have better habits in the future.
Chapter: The craving brain (How to create new habits)
Our brains have evolved over millions of years to conserve as much energy as possible. It is a process called chunking, where we learn something that becomes automatic. So we’ve all gone through this process many times in our lives. When you think about how you can read, write, walk, and talk, these are all behaviors you learned, and you can now do that on autopilot. It takes almost no energy to do them.
So this is a fascinating understanding of habits because it leads to the understanding that this part of your brain holds these habits, called the basal ganglia. It’s a core part of your brain. It runs on autopilot and is much more powerful than the conscious part of your mind. That’s why if you refer back to when you were learning new behaviors, it’s tiring because you’re using so much energy to learn it. But once you get it, it’s easy and automatic.
Chapter: The golden rule of habit change (Why transformation occurs)
When the author talks about changing habits, he calls habit change the golden rule: you cannot extinguish a bad habit. You can only change it. Now, this is very important when it comes to when you want to change your habits.
When someone has a bad habit, they try to stop it. The truth is, you can’t because it’s your habit is stored in this part of your brain. It’s hardcoded into this part of the brain. So it never goes away. So what did he talk about it? He calls it habit reversal training. He says you keep the same cue and reward and focus energy on changing the behavior.
It is essential because it’s less stuff that you’re trying to change. You’re still keeping some of the initial wirings. You are rerouting it a little bit, which ends up being easier. But it doesn’t feel better because your stress keeps ramping up.
So this is where that habit reversal training and understanding the habit loop becomes essential. You’re using the same cues, and they will kick off and trigger anyways. What you’re doing is you’re keeping the same reward. But we want to find a new way to create that reward. When you keep the reward, you make the reward even bigger.
Chapter: Keystone Habits (Which habits matter most)
When people added keystone habits, they added a positive habit to their lives, creating a chain reaction. It could be something as simple as brushing your teeth in the middle of the day. By doing that, it has a chain reaction. Maybe you eat better in the afternoon because you did something good and feel better about yourself. Boost your self-esteem, and it can start to have all these minor chain reactions and positive effects.
Focusing on one habit at a time and hardwiring it into your mind starts running automatically. Then you move on to the next one. You don’t have any go one at a time. You then know that when you get that excellent habit installed, that in and of itself will have a chain reaction of positive effect on you as well.
The Power of Habit is a book that explains why habits exist and how to change them through scientific discoveries. It contains some fascinating studies on individuals, public figures, and companies. The stories that stood out for me were public figures like Martin Luther King Junior, who sparked the civil rights movement in the 60s.
Also, the Olympic gold medalist, Michael Phelps, whose coach instilled essential habits that enabled him to become a world record holder. The CEO of Starbucks, Howard Schultz, used employee training programs that put key habits in his employees, which turned his company into a worldwide powerhouse.
Personal rating: 4.7/5
It’s not necessarily a business book, but many business stories and anecdotes exist. It talks about what it is and how it’s made up of three things: the key to the routine and the reward. I recommend this book to anybody fascinated by human behavior or struggling with a habit change.
Is The Power of Habit worth it?
“The Power of Habit” is a popular non-fiction book exploring the science behind habits and their influence on our lives. Duhigg presents various case studies and anecdotes, along with research from psychology, neuroscience, and business, to illustrate the impact habits have on individuals, organizations, and society.
The book has received praise for its engaging writing style, practical advice, and ability to simplify complex ideas. Readers find it helpful in understanding and changing their habits and fostering positive habits in their personal and professional lives. If you’re fascinated by the science of habits and looking for ways to improve your life through habit formation, it might be valuable.
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