Book Review: The Power of Habit

9781400069286_custom-401a0d258f36abc0afccb673d3bab1de7926e20e-s6-c30Title: The Power of Habit
Author: Charles Duhigg
Genre: Nonfiction Self-Help/Business/Psychology
Publisher: Random House
Publication Date: February 28, 2012
Pages: 375 pages
Format Read: Audiobook
Standalone or series: Standalone
Where I got the book: Library Libby app
Date finished reading: April 17, 2019

Goodreads Description: A young woman walks into a laboratory. Over the past two years, she has transformed almost every aspect of her life. She has quit smoking, run a marathon, and been promoted at work. The patterns inside her brain, neurologists discover, have fundamentally changed.

Marketers at Procter & Gamble study videos of people making their beds. They are desperately trying to figure out how to sell a new product called Febreze, on track to be one of the biggest flops in company history. Suddenly, one of them detects a nearly imperceptible pattern—and with a slight shift in advertising, Febreze goes on to earn a billion dollars a year.

An untested CEO takes over one of the largest companies in America. His first order of business is attacking a single pattern among his employees—how they approach worker safety—and soon the firm, Alcoa, becomes the top performer in the Dow Jones.

What do all these people have in common? They achieved success by focusing on the patterns that shape every aspect of our lives.

They succeeded by transforming habits.

In The Power of Habit, award-winning New York Times business reporter Charles Duhigg takes us to the thrilling edge of scientific discoveries that explain why habits exist and how they can be changed. With penetrating intelligence and an ability to distill vast amounts of information into engrossing narratives, Duhigg brings to life a whole new understanding of human nature and its potential for transformation.

Along the way we learn why some people and companies struggle to change, despite years of trying, while others seem to remake themselves overnight. We visit laboratories where neuroscientists explore how habits work and where, exactly, they reside in our brains. We discover how the right habits were crucial to the success of Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps, Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz, and civil-rights hero Martin Luther King, Jr. We go inside Procter & Gamble, Target superstores, Rick Warren’s Saddleback Church, NFL locker rooms, and the nation’s largest hospitals and see how implementing so-called keystone habits can earn billions and mean the difference between failure and success, life and death.

At its core, The Power of Habit contains an exhilarating argument: The key to exercising regularly, losing weight, raising exceptional children, becoming more productive, building revolutionary companies and social movements, and achieving success is understanding how habits work.

Habits aren’t destiny. As Charles Duhigg shows, by harnessing this new science, we can transform our businesses, our communities, and our lives.

My Review: I chose this audiobook from the library, because it was a recommended read in some of the time management books I’ve been reading lately. Perhaps, if I would have read the Goodreads description, I may have thought twice before reading this. I really thought it would be equal parts scientific research and the actual building of habits, but it is about 98% about the scientific research and those examples really dragged on and on. Even though I understand the reason for discussing the role habits play in businesses and social movements, I just found that I didn’t really care. I couldn’t relate my every day life to these studies. I thought this would be about the importance of habit-building AND a how-to guide. I was wrong. Although, to be fair, he did give some helpful everyday pointers at the very end of the book in the Appendix. I just didn’t care about everything that came before. I don’t care what Febreze or Starbucks does. Also, did the author have to include such horrifically graphic details during the hospital section and the underground fire story? I don’t feel that discussing the drilling into a guy’s head or burning flesh adds anything to this book.

That actually leads me to the most disappointing part of this read for me, which was that I stopped understanding what the point of the book was. If it was just to point out that everyone has habits in work and life, then well done. Because the author gives examples of both positive and negative habits, I found that I was confused on whether habit-building is a positive thing to do or a negative thing to do. I constantly thought about just not finishing the book, but I kept hoping that there would be something useful to me or interesting, but there really wasn’t. Despite the high ratings this book has, I was not a fan.

My Rating: ♦ ♦

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1 thought on “Book Review: The Power of Habit

  1. Thank you, I was considering to read the book, as I heard a lot about it, but I think I’ll find something else after reading your review.

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