Overview of The Power Of Habit Book By Charles Duhigg
You can change your life dramatically – from taking control of your life to quitting smoking or exercising more by building habits.
Key Concepts from The Power Of Habit Book
There are 3 key parts to a habit:
1. Cue – this triggers your brain to go into an automatic habit mode e.g., getting into the car in the morning.
2. Routine – this is the thing that you go do or experience e.g., driving to Starbucks to get your morning fix.
3. Reward – the thing you get that makes your brain crave it more and more e.g., the caffeine rush from your Starbucks drink.
Keystone habits create structures that help other habits to flourish.
Teaching teachers so that they pass on health and nutrition info to teenage girls lowers baby mortality rates.
Food journaling (for 1 week) creates a structure that helps other habits to flourish – 6 month into the study, people who kept daily food records had lost twice as much weight.
Duhigg’s framework for building habits
1. Identify the routine
2. Experiment with rewards
3. Isolate the cue
4. Have a plan
What I liked about The Power Of Habit Book
The book contains lots of stories illustrating habits – from personal stories of people who built habits, to stories about the people who were studied in the experiments that created habit theory, to stories of how companies used the basic concepts of habits to create better (and more profitable) companies or advertising campaigns (Target and Frebreze) but also happier and more fulfilled employees (Alco and Starbucks).
In brief, the book is super easy to read and very memorable.
What I didn’t like about The Power Of Habit Book
It’s not a practical book. It’s a book written by a journalist reporting on habit theory. While there is a chapter on how to build habits yourself, it’s less from experience of having helped others through this process and more about his interpretation of habit theory (mostly based on the 3 components of habits).
It’s a great introduction to habits and why you should build good habits (as well as the power of building them), but it’s not a book for how to build sustainable habits.
Also, I wish he had talked about accountability more specifically – it was mentioned with respect to Alco and the employees reporting accidents and how a manager was fired for not reporting the accidents. It was also touched on when he mentioned the AA and how community helps with sticking to habits, but exactly how or why accountability can help wasn’t discussed.
These are my personal book summaries that I write for all non-fiction books that I read – they are my own quick and raw opinions.