The Power Of Habit

The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business is a book by Charles Duhigg, a New York Times reporter, published in February 2012 by Random House. It explores the science behind habit creation and reformation. The book reached the best seller list for The New York Times, Amazon.com, and USA Today. It was long listed for the Financial Times and McKinsey Business Book of the Year Award in 2012.

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 Habitaward-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.

  • Author: Charles Duhigg
  • Genre: Self-Help
  • Originally published: 28 February 2012
Best Quotes From "The Power Of Habit"
  • “Change might not be fast and it isn’t always easy. But with time and effort, almost any habit can be reshaped.”
  • “Typically, people who exercise, start eating better and becoming more productive at work. They smoke less and show more patience with colleagues and family. They use their credit cards less frequently and say they feel less stressed. Exercise is a keystone habit that triggers widespread change.”
  • “The Golden Rule of Habit Change: You can’t extinguish a bad habit, you can only change it.”
  • “Champions don’t do extraordinary things. They do ordinary things, but they do them without thinking, too fast for the other team to react. They follow the habits they’ve learned.”
  • “Rather, to change a habit, you must keep the old cue, and deliver the old reward, but insert a new routine.”
About The Author:
Charles Duhigg

Charles Duhigg (born 1974) is a Pulitzer-prize winning American journalist and non-fiction author. He was a reporter for The New York Times and is the author of two books on habits and productivity, titled The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business and Smarter Faster Better.

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