Sunday, November 1, 2020

Review of The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business by Charles Duhigg

This review was written by Eugene Kernes

Book can be found in:
Genre = Decision Making
Intriguing Connections = The Forge Called Habits

Elaborate Description

A spectacular explanation behind the science of behavior. Some behavior, after a while, become routine. They are done without much through, done as a reflex. That reflex, usually set of by a particular cue, a signal to let the brain know to apply a particular patter, a habit, with the result of a reward. Some habits help our lives, but as the brain seeks to reduce mental energy, tries to make habits out of everything, which means that habits can be as dangerous as they are helpful.

Habits act like an unconscious response, and can be unconscious, created by the basal ganglia. The habit loop created via the brain, which starts from the cue, going to the routine, and ending with the reward, was found via a patient who lost access to short term memory. Even though the patient was not able to remember doing any activity, the patient started to create habits.

Some habits are formed easily, while others require many repetitions. Just repetition of actions does not turn the actions into habit, to make a habit loop requires more. Expectation of the reward, usually referred to as cravings for the reward, is essential for a habit to form. Prior habits can be changed, but they never go away. Prior habits are overcome by new habits using the same cue and reward. Changing a prior behavior for a better one can be done via just repetition, but that only helps under normal circumstances. Under extreme circumstances, prior behavior will take control. To keep the new habits, belief in its success is needed. It takes hard work to stay away from bad habits but having a goal and grit to achieve that goal can facilitate habit growth.

Organizations and societies have habits as well. Depending on the habits of the firm, the habits can either inhibit or facilitate better quality products and service. What the company teaches its employees, in the case of what is rewarded and what is punished, can drastically alter how the organization functions. In the service industry, teaching how to respond to different stresses can vastly change the way the employees interact with the customers.

Going from the science of habit loops, to how they impact our individual selves, then organizations, then society, Duhigg wrote this book from a variety of perspectives and uses. From how habits can create and are changed, to how companies can manipulate our peoples’ habits, the sheer applicability of habits is the core benefit of this book. The book focuses on the positive impact of habits but does reference the negative side of habits as well.

Book Details

Edition ISBN:  9781400069286
Pages to read:  294
Publication:     2012
Format:            Hardcover

Ratings out of 5:
Readability     5
Content           5
Overall           5