Review: The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg

Title: The Power of Habit – Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business

Author: Charles Duhigg

Publisher: Random House

Pages: 375

Genre: Self-Improvement

Publication Date: February 28, 2012

Charles Duhigg is a business reporter who has researched and explained various scientific explanations as to why people form the habits they have. A habit, Duhigg, is a three step process: a cue, a routine, and a reward. All habits can be broken down to these three steps, but, at the same time, there are more complicated steps involved in habit formation and changing habits. Duhigg explains how habits are formed an changed in individuals, businesses, and societies. He explores cases of people with memory loss forming new habits, how businesses have changed their culture, and how movements in society have been influenced by people’s habits. In the end, he offers a four step process for how to form new habits.

I thought this book was great. It was easy to read and understand, and the findings were amazing. I loved the stories and how he interweaves the various stories with researched backed facts. I found myself watching my own patterns of behavior through the eyes of the habit loop. I’m interested in finding ways to use the loop to form new and better habits in my life.

I even found the section on businesses interesting. I thought that part would be boring and irrelevant to my life, but learning how Starbucks shapes its culture and how other businesses focused on one keystone habit to improve their product was actually very interesting. I actually though Starbucks was better at training their employees at customer service than Disneyland is, at least when I worked there. I wasn’t given acronyms and habits to fall back on when a customer complained; I had to wing it and bring the Disney magic all on my own.

If you have any interest in habits and forming and changing them, I think you’d like this book. It’s a great read as we come to the new year and gives plenty of food for thought.