The Power Of Habit: Why We Do What We Do In Life And Business by Charles DuhiggThe Power Of Habit: Why We Do What We Do In Life And Business by Charles Duhigg

The Power Of Habit: Why We Do What We Do In Life And Business

byCharles Duhigg

Paperback | January 7, 2014

Pricing and Purchase Info

$13.84 online 
$23.00 list price save 39%
Earn 69 plum® points

Prices and offers may vary in store


In stock online

Ships free on orders over $25

Available in stores


Groundbreaking new research shows that by grabbing hold of the three-step "loop" all habits form in our brains--cue, routine, reward--we can change them, giving us the power to take control over our lives.
"We are what we repeatedly do," said Aristotle. "Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit." On the most basic level, a habit is a simple neurological loop: there is a cue (my mouth feels gross), a routine (hello, Crest), and a reward (ahhh, minty fresh). Understanding this loop is the key to exercising regularly or becoming more productive at work or tapping into reserves of creativity. Marketers, too, are learning how to exploit these loops to boost sales; CEOs and coaches are using them to change how employees work and athletes compete. As this book shows, tweaking even one habit, as long as it's the right one, can have staggering effects.
In The Power of Habit, award-winning New York Times business reporter Charles Duhigg takes readers inside labs where brain scans record habits as they flourish and die; classrooms in which students learn to boost their willpower; and boardrooms where executives dream up products that tug on our deepest habitual urges. Full of compelling narratives that will appeal to fans of Michael Lewis, Jonah Lehrer, and Chip and Dan Heath, The Power of Habit contains an exhilarating argument: our most basic actions are not the product of well-considered decision making, but of habits we often do not realize exist. By harnessing this new science, we can transform our lives.
CHARLES DUHIGG is an investigative reporter for The New York Times. He is a winner of the George Polk and National Academies of Science awards, and was part of a team of finalists for the 2009 Pulitzer Prize. He is a frequent contributor to NPR, This American Life, and Frontline. A gradaute of Harvard Business School and Yale College, ...
Title:The Power Of Habit: Why We Do What We Do In Life And BusinessFormat:PaperbackProduct dimensions:416 pages, 7.99 × 5.17 × 0.84 inShipping dimensions:7.99 × 5.17 × 0.84 inPublished:January 7, 2014Publisher:Doubleday CanadaLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0385669763

ISBN - 13:9780385669764


Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great read I found this one very helpful. I've been reading a lot of self motivation and I really enjoyed this one
Date published: 2019-01-17
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Life-Changing A life-changing book with practical advice based on compiled research and facts, easy-to-read, too, as the author has presented his findings with numerous, real-life examples that read like stories.
Date published: 2018-11-22
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Motivational An interesting and helpful book that gives you insight on how the brain, companies and society works!
Date published: 2018-09-25
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Helpful and motivating A lot of padding with the examples he gives but this was insightful on how we do things and why.
Date published: 2018-08-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Best read!! whether you're looking to break a bad habit yourself, or just interested in understanding how habits are formed, this book will keep your eyes glued to the page! I loved Duhigg's illustration of keystone habits and how once you change one big habit in your life (i.e; giving up smoking) it begins to trickle down into other lifestyle changes such as becoming more active, eating healthier, waking up earlier and being more productive, etc. I took a lot from this book and i highly recommend it!
Date published: 2018-08-23
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Interesting A good read and an influential insight into your habit-forming psyche.
Date published: 2018-08-15
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Interesting book! I was hooked from the first sentence of the book. The author does a great job of tying in literature/research of habits and human behaviour and provided explanations that are easy to understand.
Date published: 2018-08-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Love! This book was awesome! I ended up buying my boyfriend a copy as well! It's insightful and research backed. It explains the process of forming habits and breaking them using group, individual, and business examples which help illustrate the points the author is making. Definitely a great read, this book is underrated!
Date published: 2018-07-28
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Really enjoyed this book Just finished this book and felt as if it was really well written and gave me a lot to think about.
Date published: 2018-07-26
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Lots of good information in this book! I loved reading this book. I was constantly learning new things and kept me captivated the entire time. I also loved reading all of the practical applications that businesses have used habits for. Highly recommend!
Date published: 2018-07-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from An intriguing insight into the formation of habits. A unique way to learn about habit formation and continuation, using scientific studies and real life anecdotes. There was a variety of habits analyzed, ranging personal to group culture. A great read!
Date published: 2018-07-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Insightful 24 hours with this book and I cannot put it down. Great insight I hope to implement into my daily life.
Date published: 2018-05-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Very Insightful Great Read. Will defs recommend. Explains the psychology of habits. Captivating from the beginning to the end.
Date published: 2018-04-12
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Exhilarating! A great read. How I never came across this book is beyond me. The book is clearly not getting the recognition it deserves. A great guide for anyone looking for guidance in the world of business.
Date published: 2018-04-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Loved it This book is one of my favorite ones. It's eye opening and it has lots of influences in my daily life and business. Charles Duhigg is a genius and his other book "Smarter Faster Better" is in my list to read.
Date published: 2018-02-27
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Love it Have read this twice now and it's very eye opening
Date published: 2018-01-26
Rated 5 out of 5 by from fantastic read I'll admit, I wanted a quick cop-out to my terrible habits but found an incredibly eye-opening and delightful read with many helpful tips on how to really change and form habits.
Date published: 2017-12-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great book Solid book, very insightful, you really learn and become more aware of a lot of implicit things that you'd think you'd already know #plumreview
Date published: 2017-11-11
Rated 5 out of 5 by from very helpful very helping book, teaches me how to perform and use my energy to the maximum level!!
Date published: 2017-11-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Always learning. This book teaches you from the beginning on how to change and adjust your own habits. Has definitely helped me.
Date published: 2017-10-30
Rated 4 out of 5 by from I actually learned something.... I am not a self-help book reader. I actually learned something from this and it didn't bore me.
Date published: 2017-10-19
Rated 4 out of 5 by from It is very good This reading makes me rethink about many things that I do automatically. It is very intreresting!
Date published: 2017-10-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Genius If you want to know why you do what you do everyday and how to change it to your advantage this book is for you.
Date published: 2017-09-27
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Very well written Not a single part that was boring to read
Date published: 2017-09-07
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great book for developing and changing habits This book was great for understanding your own habits and deciding which ones are benefitting you and not. It helped me develop new habits that I still employ today. Highly recomend
Date published: 2017-08-07
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Simple to understand Very easy read, simple to understand, and keeps your attention throughout. Highly recommend this book
Date published: 2017-06-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Very Informative Interesting read of both psychological and business mixed together.
Date published: 2017-05-03
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great Read! wonderful incite! A fascinating and easy read
Date published: 2017-05-01
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent insight into the influence of habit on daily life Duhigg's conversational tone blends beautifully with the scientific research to provide an easy to read yet informative reference. The Power of Habit can help you identify strategies to use in your own life to take control of your habits. It is also an interesting read and excellent reference if you are curious about the research that has been conducted on habit formation, self-discipline, or other related aspects of neurology and psychology.
Date published: 2017-03-14
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Interesting insight into habits As a usual reader of only fiction, I found that this book gave very interesting examples of habits and why we have them. It kept me engaged which is rare with self-help/nonfiction books.
Date published: 2017-03-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A book backed up with huge amount of research I love reading this book from the beginning til the end. This book is easy to read, and i'm amazed by the great amount of researches, interviews and readings to support his writing. When i read this book i was inspired to form a new habit. His work conducted related to this book after it got published was incredibly helpful (it's towards the end of the book). It provided 4 steps to experiment and form a new habit; he even provided a personal simple example to back up how to used these four steps. I found them really helpful.
Date published: 2017-03-03
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Very interesting Good read. I found it a bit repetitive. A lot more could have been said in fewer words, but still, valuable information, none-the-less.
Date published: 2017-02-13
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Interesting read Great to apply to everyday life. A business & psychology book in one.
Date published: 2017-02-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Really Interesting Makes you think and keeps you wanting to read more. Applicable to all parts of life.
Date published: 2017-02-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Eye opening & informative! I ordered this and was surprised how fast I got it. This book was really an eye opener for me. I learned to recognized which habits aren't good for me and what I need to change to turn them into good habits. It's for sure an interesting and informative book. I recommend this book to those that struggle with trying to have structure in their personal/home/etc lives. I underlined a lot which I'll pass to my son to read next.
Date published: 2017-02-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Love the way the author wrote this book! I'm not a big reader but since I started reading this book, I really glued to it. Amazing real life stories that explains how our brains work and its such an eye opener. It makes you realize your habits and become more concious. This should be the first book anyone reads because it effects your entire life and everything you will ever do!
Date published: 2017-01-30
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Loved this Good book about human nature and how to manipulate it.
Date published: 2017-01-16
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Good book This book gives you a lot of examples of different situations and how people dealt with their habits. Amazing read!
Date published: 2017-01-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Love It! Great book that have read & re-read!
Date published: 2016-12-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing! I loved the use of science to explain how our psychology works as a society and individual, coupled with real life examples.
Date published: 2016-12-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Loved LOVED this! Reading the Power of Habit makes you forget about trying to change the big habits and to start with the small ones. Every habit will trigger another, like a domino effect and you will be amazed and what happens next.
Date published: 2016-11-23
Rated 5 out of 5 by from very interesting I am a marketing students and this book is so relatable to what i study, it was a very interesting read, i have enjoyed every page of it.
Date published: 2016-11-20
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Enjoyable I really loved the case studies discussed in this book - it made it very easy to read. Quite helpful!
Date published: 2016-11-17
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Captivating from the First Sentence I love this book. Right from the beginning it captivated me to learning about habits and why we have them, how we create them, and how we can break them. The stories told about different companies that use habits of consumers is very interesting. This book is a great read for any person looking to improve themselves through the power of habit.
Date published: 2015-04-06
Rated 4 out of 5 by from The Power of Habit An insightful book on how our habits control us. I was fascinated by the story of Febreeze, and how it wouldn't sell until marketers found a way to create a habit in users. The book includes advice on how to change undesirable habits.
Date published: 2014-09-11
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Interesting insight into human behavour Provide individuals with some ideas on how to change bad habits or create new life changing happens.
Date published: 2014-06-30

Read from the Book

How Habits WorkI.In the fall of 1993, a man who would upend much of what we know about habits walked into a laboratory in San Diego for a scheduled appointment. He was elderly, a shade over six feet tall, and neatly dressed in a blue button-down shirt. His thick white hair would have inspired envy at any fiftieth high school reunion. Arthritis caused him to limp slightly as he paced the laboratory's hallways, and he held his wife's hand, walking slowly, as if unsure about what each new step would bring.About a year earlier, Eugene Pauly, or "E.P." as he would come to be known in medical literature, had been at home in Playa del Rey, preparing for dinner, when his wife mentioned that their son, Michael, was coming over."Who's Michael?" Eugene asked."Your child," said his wife, Beverly. "You know, the one we raised?"Eugene looked at her blankly. "Who is that?" he asked.The next day, Eugene started vomiting and writhing with stomach cramps. Within twenty-four hours, his dehydration was so pronounced that a panicked Beverly took him to the emergency room. His temperature started rising, hitting 105 degrees as he sweated a yellow halo of perspiration onto the hospital's sheets. He became delirious, then violent, yelling and pushing when nurses tried to insert an IV into his arm. Only after sedation was a physician able to slide a long needle between two vertebra in the small of his back and extract a few drops of cerebrospinal fluid.The doctor performing the procedure sensed trouble immediately. The fluid surrounding the brain and spinal nerves is a barrier against infection and injury. In healthy individuals, it is clear and quick flowing, moving with an almost silky rush through a needle. The sample from Eugene's spine was cloudy and dripped out sluggishly, as if filled with microscopic grit. When the results came back from the laboratory, Eugene's physicians learned why he was ill: He was suffering from viral encephalitis, a relatively common disease that produces cold sores, fever blisters, and mild infections on the skin. In rare cases, however, the virus can make its way into the brain, inflicting catastrophic damage as it chews through the delicate folds of tissue where our thoughts, dreams-and according to some, souls- reside.Eugene's doctors told Beverly there was nothing they could do to counter the damage already done, but a large dose of antiviral drugs might prevent it from spreading. Eugene slipped into a coma and for ten days was close to death. Gradually, as the drugs fought the disease, his fever receded and the virus disappeared. When he finally awoke, he was weak and disoriented and couldn't swallow properly. He couldn't form sentences and would sometimes gasp, as if he had momentarily forgotten how to breathe. But he was alive.Eventually, Eugene was well enough for a battery of tests. The doctors were amazed to find that his body-including his nervous system- appeared largely unscathed. He could move his limbs and was responsive to noise and light. Scans of his head, though, revealed ominous shadows near the center of his brain. The virus had destroyed an oval of tissue close to where his cranium and spinal column met. "He might not be the person you remember," one doctor warned Beverly. "You need to be ready if your husband is gone."Eugene was moved to a different wing of the hospital. Within a week, he was swallowing easily. Another week, and he started talking normally, asking for Jell-O and salt, flipping through television channels and complaining about boring soap operas. By the time he was discharged to a rehabilitation center five weeks later, Eugene was walking down hallways and offering nurses unsolicited advice about their weekend plans."I don't think I've ever seen anyone come back like this," a doctor told Beverly. "I don't want to raise your hopes, but this is amazing."Beverly, however, remained concerned. In the rehab hospital it became clear that the disease had changed her husband in unsettling ways. Eugene couldn't remember which day of the week it was, for instance, or the names of his doctors and nurses, no matter how many times they introduced themselves. "Why do they keep asking me all these questions?" he asked Beverly one day after a physician left his room. When he finally returned home, things got even stranger. Eugene didn't seem to remember their friends. He had trouble following conversations. Some mornings, he would get out of bed, walk into the kitchen, cook himself bacon and eggs, then climb back under the covers and turn on the radio. Forty minutes later, he would do the same thing: get up, cook bacon and eggs, climb back into bed, and fiddle with the radio. Then he would do it again.Alarmed, Beverly reached out to specialists, including a researcher at the University of California, San Diego, who specialized in memory loss. Which is how, on a sunny fall day, Beverly and Eugene found themselves in a nondescript building on the university's campus, holding hands as they walked slowly down a hallway. They were shown into a small exam room. Eugene began chatting with a young woman who was using a computer."Having been in electronics over the years, I'm amazed at all this," he said, gesturing at the machine she was typing on. "When I was younger, that thing would have been in a couple of six-foot racks and taken up this whole room."The woman continued pecking at the keyboard. Eugene chuckled."That is incredible," he said. "All those printed circuits and diodes and triodes. When I was in electronics, there would have been a couple of six-foot racks holding that thing."A scientist entered the room and introduced himself. He asked Eugene how old he was."Oh, let's see, fifty-nine or sixty?" Eugene replied. He was seventy- one years old.The scientist started typing on the computer. Eugene smiled and pointed at it. "That is really something," he said. "You know, when I was in electronics there would have been a couple of six-foot racks holding that thing!"The scientist was fifty-two-year-old Larry Squire, a professor who had spent the past three decades studying the neuroanatomy of memory. His specialty was exploring how the brain stores events. His work with Eugene, however, would soon open a new world to him and hundreds of other researchers who have reshaped our understanding of how habits function. Squire's studies would show that even someone who can't remember his own age or almost anything else can develop habits that seem inconceivably complex-until you realize that everyone relies on similar neurological processes every day. His and others' research would help reveal the subconscious mechanisms that impact the countless choices that seem as if they're the products of well- reasoned thought, but actually are influenced by urges most of us barely recognize or understand.By the time Squire met Eugene, he had already been studying images of his brain for weeks. The scans indicated that almost all the damage within Eugene's skull was limited to a five-centimeter area near the center of his head. The virus had almost entirely destroyed his medial temporal lobe, a sliver of cells which scientists suspected was responsible for all sorts of cognitive tasks such as recall of the past and the regulation of some emotions. The completeness of the destruction didn't surprise Squire-viral encephalitis consumes tissue with a ruthless, almost surgical, precision. What shocked him was how familiar the images seemed.Thirty years earlier, as a PhD student at MIT, Squire had worked alongside a group studying a man known as "H.M.," one of the most famous patients in medical history. When H.M.-his real name was Henry Molaison, but scientists shrouded his identity throughout his life-was seven years old, he was hit by a bicycle and landed hard on his head. Soon afterward, he developed seizures and started blacking out. At sixteen, he had his first grand mal seizure, the kind that affects the entire brain; soon, he was losing consciousness up to ten times a day.By the time he turned twenty-seven, H.M. was desperate. Anticonvulsive drugs hadn't helped. He was smart, but couldn't hold a job. He still lived with his parents. H.M. wanted a normal existence. So he sought help from a physician whose tolerance for experimentation outweighed his fear of malpractice. Studies had suggested that an area of the brain called the hippocampus might play a role in seizures. When the doctor proposed cutting into H.M.'s head, lifting up the front portion of his brain, and, with a small straw, sucking out the hippocampus and some surrounding tissue from the interior of his skull, H.M. gave his consent.The surgery occurred in 1953, and as H.M. healed, his seizures slowed. Almost immediately, however, it became clear that his brain had been radically altered. H.M. knew his name and that his mother was from Ireland. He could remember the 1929 stock market crash and news reports about the invasion of Normandy. But almost everything that came afterward-all the memories, experiences, and struggles from most of the decade before his surgery-had been erased. When a doctor began testing H.M.'s memory by showing him playing cards and lists of numbers, he discovered that H.M. couldn't retain any new information for more than twenty seconds or so.From the day of his surgery until his death in 2008, every person H.M. met, every song he heard, every room he entered, was a completely fresh experience. His brain was frozen in time. Each day, he was befuddled by the fact that someone could change the television channel by pointing a black rectangle of plastic at the screen. He introduced himself to his doctors and nurses over and over, dozens of times each day."I loved learning about H.M., because memory seemed like such a tangible, exciting way to study the brain," Squire told me. "I grew up in Ohio, and I can remember, in first grade, my teacher handing everyone crayons, and I started mixing all the colors together to see if it would make black. Why have I kept that memory, but I can't remember what my teacher looked like? Why does my brain decide that one memory is more important than another?"When Squire received the images of Eugene's brain, he marveled at how similar it seemed to H.M.'s. There were empty, walnut-sized chunks in the middle of both their heads. Eugene's memory-just like H.M.'s-had been removed.As Squire began examining Eugene, though, he saw that this patient was different from H.M. in some profound ways. Whereas almost everyone knew within minutes of meeting H.M. that something was amiss, Eugene could carry on conversations and perform tasks that wouldn't alert a casual observer that anything was wrong. The effects of H.M.'s surgery had been so debilitating that he was institutionalized for the remainder of his life. Eugene, on the other hand, lived at home with his wife. H.M. couldn't really carry on conversations. Eugene, in contrast, had an amazing knack for guiding almost any discussion to a topic he was comfortable talking about at length, such as satellites- he had worked as a technician for an aerospace company-or the weather.Squire started his exam of Eugene by asking him about his youth. Eugene talked about the town where he had grown up in central California, his time in the merchant marines, a trip he had taken to Australia as a young man. He could remember most of the events in his life that had occurred prior to about 1960. When Squire asked about later decades, Eugene politely changed the topic and said he had trouble recollecting some recent events.Squire conducted a few intelligence tests and found that Eugene's intellect was still sharp for a man who couldn't remember the last three decades. What's more, Eugene still had all the habits he had formed in his youth, so whenever Squire gave him a cup of water or complimented him on a particularly detailed answer, Eugene would thank him and offer a compliment in return. Whenever someone entered the room, Eugene would introduce himself and ask about their day.But when Squire asked Eugene to memorize a string of numbers or describe the hallway outside the laboratory's door, the doctor found his patient couldn't retain any new information for more than a minute or so. When someone showed Eugene photos of his grandchildren, he had no idea who they were. When Squire asked if he remembered getting sick, Eugene said he had no recollection of his illness or the hospital stay. In fact, Eugene almost never recalled that he was suffering from amnesia. His mental image of himself didn't include memory loss, and since he couldn't remember the injury, he couldn't conceive of anything being wrong.In the months after meeting Eugene, Squire conducted experiments that tested the limits of his memory. By then, Eugene and Beverly had moved from Playa del Rey to San Diego to be closer to their daughter, and Squire often visited their home for his exams. One day, Squire asked Eugene to sketch a layout of his house. Eugene couldn't draw a rudimentary map showing where the kitchen or bedroom was located. "When you get out of bed in the morning, how do you leave your room?" Squire asked."You know," Eugene said, "I'm not really sure."Squire took notes on his laptop, and as the scientist typed, Eugene became distracted. He glanced across the room and then stood up, walked into a hallway, and opened the door to the bathroom. A few minutes later, the toilet flushed, the faucet ran, and Eugene, wiping his hands on his pants, walked back into the living room and sat down again in his chair next to Squire. He waited patiently for the next question.At the time, no one wondered how a man who couldn't draw a map of his home was able to find the bathroom without hesitation. But that question, and others like it, would eventually lead to a trail of discoveries that has transformed our understanding of habits' power. It would help spark a scientific revolution that today involves hundreds of researchers who are learning, for the first time, to understand all the habits that influence our lives.As Eugene sat at the table, he looked at Squire's laptop."That's amazing," he said, gesturing at the computer. "You know, when I was in electronics, there would have been a couple of six-foot racks holding that thing."

Editorial Reviews - Best 100 Books of - Best 100 Books of 2012“The Power of Habit is an enjoyable book, and readers will find useful advice about how to change at least some of their bad habits — even if they want to keep their salt.” —The New York Times (editor’s choice) “Reading the quirky anecdotes and the whizbang science of it all becomes habit-forming in itself. Cue: see cover. Routine: read book. Reward: Fully comprehend the art of manipulation.” —Bloomberg Businessweek“[A]bsolutely fascinating . . . Really juicy, fascinating, sometimes confounding stuff here.” —Wired “Fascinating.” —The Wall Street Journal “Duhigg has a knack for distilling laboratory findings into accessible language. . . . The Power of Habit is a fascinating read.” —The Daily Beast“Duhigg makes everything accessible and useable for habit-makers and habit-breakers alike. Much like a handful of potato chips, in fact, this book is hard to resist.” —The Nashville Ledger“The Power of Habit is a good and educational read. . . . Duhigg doesn't preach, rather he invites you to learn—a much better approach.” —Fortune “Duhigg's writing is easy to consume and is sure to make you laugh. You'll forget that this non-fiction book has as many stats as your college psych textbook.” —Huffington Post “With penetrating intelligence and an ability to distill vast amounts of information into engrossing narratives, Charles brings to life a whole new understanding of human nature and its potential for transformation.” —MarketWatch