I am reviewing this book as part of the 12 Books group discussion which focuses on a business book each month.
The Power of Habit is a well written, logically organized and interesting book. Duhigg divides the book into three sections addressing habits of individuals, successful organizations and societies. Throughout the book he presents several relevant examples of the processes he puts forth on how habits develop and how they can be changed.
In Part One of the book the habits of individuals are addressed through the habit loop, the craving brain, and the golden rule of habit change. The habit loop addresses the three steps in the loop: The cue or trigger, the routine that individuals then fall into and the reward they receive at the end. The craving brain presents the process for creating new habits. The author uses Pepsodent and Febreze as examples of how companies were able to identify cues that changed the habits of individuals through having old habits replaced by new habits. The golden rule of habit change explains how transformation occurs and uses examples of Tony Dungy’s coaching techniques and Alcoholics Anonymous. The author goes on to explain that there is no specific series of steps that are guaranteed to work as belief of the ability to change is a major factor.
Part Two of the book starts with the relevance of keystone habits – those habits that matter the most. Duhigg uses former Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neill and Michael Phelps as examples of how developing keystone habits will lead to successful outcomes. The next chapter revolves around Starbucks and the example of the development of automatic willpower creating a habit of success. The keystone habits important to the development of automatic willpower tie in nicely with an another book in the 12 Books group – Reviving Work Ethic. The author then discusses how a crisis can cause leaders to develop habits through accident and design. He uses a hospital in Providence, Rhode Island as the prime example in this chapter along with the London Underground. The final chapter addresses how companies can predict and manipulate habits. I found this chapter very interesting and could relate to many examples in my life where I can see companies trying to manipulate my buying habits.
Part three looks at the broader picture of the impact of habits in society. The author uses Rick Warren’s Saddleback Church in California and the Montgomery bus boycott in the 1950’s as examples of how movements development. The final chapter addresses the subject of whether or not we are responsible for our habits.
The Appendix takes the reader through a four step process to developing new habits. The steps are identifying the routine, experiment with the rewards, isolate the cue and have a plan. In addition the author has several additional resources available on the website: http://charlesduhigg.com/additional-resources/.
I strongly recommend this book as it guides the reader through the development and changes in habits in an informative and interesting manner.