The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business by Charles Duhigg
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

While an interesting read, it is not one for a personal bookshelf. This book is not a self-help book but rather an informative nonfiction about habit tendencies in people and companies. People are creatures of habit and if you are not aware of why you make each choice, you are acting out of habit rather than a conscious decision. For every habit there is a cue and a reward. To change a habit, according to Charles Duhigg, you have to remove the cue or change the reward to make a habit disappear. An example he uses is a habit to eat a cookie in the afternoon. He had to find the cue and figure out why this habit started in the first place. He found that he didn’t want the cookie but rather the social discussion where he bought his cookie. When he realized this, his habit changed because his actual reward was human interaction not the cookie.
Charles Duhigg also brings up the fact that companies prey upon our habitual nature. It isn’t just the cigarette and alcoholic beverage companies that do this. Toothpaste, Febreeze and Target are the main ones mentioned in his book, but ever company wants a habit formed around their product because it insures sales. People are not often aware of this. But if they get a great result (reward), such as a tingle from their toothpaste or suds from their shampoo, they are going feel that the product worked and buy it again. Pretty soon, we don’t even think about why we choose a brand at the grocery store. We have a habit.
One thing that the author does try to explain is habits are NOT permanent. We have free will. We can change but it has be a conscious effort. Habits allow us to function on autopilot. Free will allows us to examine ourselves and alter our course. Examine your habits often. Why do you do what you do?

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