The Power Of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business

Author: Charles Duhigg

Genre: Self- help, Non – fiction

Charles Duhigg, a New York Times reporter, published The Power of Habit in 2012. The book explores the science behind habit making and reformation. When Charles was a reporter in Iraq, it suddenly dawned on him that U.S. Military is one of the biggest habit – formation organizations, where the entire organization depended on endless routines to get the soldiers to perform without wasting time. During crisis, loss of seconds equaled loss of life.

We all are slaves to our habits,which either make us or break us. More than 40 percent of actions people perform each day aren’t actually decisions, but habits. Only in the past two decades have researchers and marketers really begun understanding how habits work and more importantly, how they change.

This book is divided into three parts:

Part One: The Habits of Individuals

  • Habits, Scientist say, emerge because the brain is constantly looking for ways to save efforts. When habit loop emerges, the brain stops fully participating in decision making.
  • How does the habit loop emerge? First, there is a cue – a trigger that tells your brain to go into automatic mode and which habit to use. Second, there is a routine – which can be physical or mental or emotional. Third, there is a reward – which helps the brain to decide that if this particular loop is worth remembering or not.
  • At the time of WW1, the oral hygiene of the Americans was at steep decline, still no one was ready to buy a toothpaste. A prominent American executive Claude C. Hopkins turned the Pepsodent brand into one of the best-known products. This happened because he found a cue and reward (scintillating smile) that fueled the daily toothbrushing as a habit.