Thursday, October 22, 2015

The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg

Posted by Rebecca Brendel


Reviewed by: José Beltrán

What I Read: The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business by Charles Duhigg

Find It @YCLD: Here!


What It's About: The science of advertising is about how corporations want to create a habit in us to buy their products by creating cravings in us. The routine becomes a habit. Habits are the brain’s way to save effort. The automatic three step process of cue-routine-reward loop becomes automatic i.e. a habit. The habit becomes automatic. However, “habits can be ignored, changed, or replaced as needed.” “Habits never really disappear, because they are encoded into the brain. Unfortunately, the brain does not distinguish between a bad habit and a good habit. Habits are a way to protect the brain from being overwhelmed by details. The Golden Rule of habit change. Use the same cues, and get the same reward, but shift the routine, and one habit replaces another. We must first identify the cues and rewards. “The brain can be reprogrammed, just be deliberate about it.” We must have the belief that change is possible. That belief is easier within a support group. 

What I Thought: This book provides ample examples of habit-forming from real life: Alcoholics Anonymous; drug addicts; champion swimmer Michael Phelps; Paul O’Neil on creating a culture in Alcoa by finding the grit to remake workplaces through an emphasis on safety; dieting by simply keeping a food journal. Willpower (self-discipline, self-regulator skills) is the single most import keystone habit. I do not watch TV football. The author enthralled me with his exciting play by play of Major League football teams under coach Dungy. Wow! It kept me on the edge of the seat.


Our basal ganglia control our habits. What bad habit do you want to lose: overeating, gambling, debt, sex, drugs, hoarding, self-mutilation, smoking video game addictions, emotional dependency… Why is AA so successful? Because it attacks not the symptoms but the root of the problem, the habits that surround the vice. Is it a habit or is it an addiction? There’s nothing we can’t do if you get the habits right “like opening and closing a door, driving, or even eating." Without habits, we would be hindered in communicating, because we could not understand body language. Unthinkingly we would go through life as human robots. “However as useful as habits are a blessing they can also be a curse.” Unlike an automaton, we can make the decision and effort to change our automatic behavior as needed to reprogram ourselves. Habits create unconscious neurological cravings. Cravings, unfulfilled desires makes us angry, unhappy, mopey, frustrated, depressed, disappointed, but they do keep us motivated. What will an alcohol or cigarette addict not do for his addiction? A habit cannot simply disappear: it must be replaced!

Or look this book up on NoveList!

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