Every once in a while I read a book that completely reorders the way I think about certain things. The Power of Habit, by Charles Duhigg, is one of those books. I talk about it an annoying amount of time. As a municipal court judge, I’ve actually sentenced people to read it and write about what they learned if I think they are having trouble breaking bad habits.
Duhigg talks about the science behind different kinds of habits, and why certain habits are harder than others to break. The difference between habit and addiction is discussed. You also learn how to apply what you’ve learned to your own life. The book is written from a business perspective, but it is easy to translate the advice to more mundane or creative avenues.
The real life examples are fascinating—like the development of Febreze and why a hit song is a hit song. It also talks about why AA works. It has made me aware of which of my behaviors are habits and which are choices. Spoiler alert—it’s not always the ones you think.
This is not normally the kind of book I’d read. I read it because it came to me randomly in the mail from someone who got my address during one of those ‘chain letter’ things that go around Facebook from time to time – you buy a book for someone, and put your name on a list, and then you get random books in the mail from random people for a while. It’s a great way to be exposed to things you wouldn’t otherwise pick up. All of which is a long way to say that I’m not much of a ‘self-help’ type book reader. This is more research than self-help, though. The appendix with references and sources is approximately a quarter of the pages of the book.
If you liked “Freakonomics” or Malcom Gladwell’s books, you’ll likely enjoy this one as well.
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