The Power of Habit

Posted July 1, 2012 in Self-Insight, What We're Reading

Power-of-Habit-TP_nospineBy: Charles Duhigg

Reviewed by: Glain Roberts-McCabe

The Premise: Science says that 95% of what we do is out of habit… only 5% is conscious choice. To succeed against your goals – whether that’s to lose weight, to get a new job, to run a marathon – requires changing out old habits for new. Through a mix of science and stories, author Charles Duhigg shares how habits work and what you need to do to change yours. The book breaks down the science of a habit… from the cue that causes the routine that gives you the reward. It looks at habits from a personal level, an organizational level and a societal level.Duhigg provides some interesting examples of corporate leaders who turned around derailing companies by focussing on one key habit to change (or introduce). He also looks at how personal networks can support the change of society’s habits by diving into why Rosa Park’s actions in Alabama were such a firebrand for the civil rights movement. Using a simple, easy to remember model, Duhigg provides a roadmap for anyone interested in changing just about anything.

The Bottom Line: Don’t be daunted by the size of this book (800+ pages). It is a completely engaging read. Duhigg does a great job (for skeptics like me) of bringing in the science while weaving in the personal stories and examples. For leaders, this book works on so many levels. Whether you’re trying to curb a habit that’s bothering you, or trying to understand how to shift the engrained culture (habits) of a team, there are countless examples and ideas to give you food for thought. Like anything though, reading this book is only 5% of the habit changing equation. The remaining 95% is what you actually do with it. Duhigg gives you the formula for changing your habits… it’s going to be up to you to do all the heavy lifting to make the new ones stick.

Roundtable Rating: Check out Charles Duhigg’s website to get more information on the book and to watch a great video summarizing the key concepts.

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