Monday, May 28, 2012

Understand and Change Behavior

May 2012 Book Review

The Power of Habit

Charles Duhigg

This book is Mindset meets Brandwashed.  Both were excellent books and Charles Duhigg’s behavioral analysis is simple and powerful.  Almost anyone should be able to take something valuable away from this book.   He uses varying examples crossing business, government, sports, health care, civil rights and even advertising to demonstrate the power of habits.  More importantly, Duhigg shows us how to leverage its understanding with application.
He demonstrates “The Habit Loop” throughout the book with varying examples (see below for definition of The Habit Loop) and discusses how to leverage the loop to change habits. 
By recognizing rewards and cues and combining it with a strong plan and belief, habits can be broken.  His framework for habit change includes: identifying the routine, experimenting with rewards, isolating the cue, and having a plan.  I know I’ll be incorporating lessons from this book in my job and life.

Here are a few quotes from the book:
“When a habit emerges, the brain stops fully participating in decision making.  It stops working so hard, or diverts focus to other tasks.  So unless you deliberately fight a habit – unless you find new routines – the pattern will unfold automatically.”
“This is how new habits are created:  by putting together a cue, a routine, and a reward, and the cultivating a craving that drives the loop.”
“A huge body of research has shown that small wins have enormous power, an influence disproportionate to the accomplishments of the victories themselves.”
“Self-discipline predicted academic performance more robustly than did IQ.”
“Willpower isn’t just a skill.  It’s a muscle, like the muscles in your arms or legs, and it gets tired as it works harder…”

The Fightin' Analyst Book Rating:

out of five stars