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Book Review: The Power of Habit

April 19, 2019

You can’t extinguish a bad habit. You can only change it.
– The Power of Habit

That’s the heart of the message of “The Power of Habit.” Charles Duhigg explains not only why we have habits, but how to change them. This book came highly recommended. And it didn’t disappoint.

Duhigg explained that habits are actually a series of steps:

Cue — Routine — Reward

Habits are often triggered by cues. When we get a cue, for example, it’s three o’clock and we you are hungry, we start the routine, for example, getting a candy bar from the vending machine. Then, we get the reward, in this case, we are no longer hungry.

How do we break the habit of eating too much junk food? We recognize the cue, change the routine, for example eat an apple, and get the same reward.

If all “The Power of Habit” did was explain how to eat better, it wouldn’t be much more than a diet book. But, “The Power of Habit” is much more than that. Duhigg ranges into the nature of the brain. He goes into detail on how habits from in the first place. How the brain gets rewarded.

But, despite it’s deep background in psychology, and brain functions, it’s also a very practical book. In fact, the details and background on the brain only help to reinforce the messages and lessons that Duhigg uses to explain how to change your habits.

The book is immediately applicable. But, it’s also enjoyable just to read.

What I Liked

The book is well laid out. Duhigg mixes anecdotes with reports on serious research and then practical applications. He draws research from decades ago and from the last few years. The most valuable part of the book is it’s application. And not in a purely academic manner. I found things I could immediately use.

What I Didn’t

It’s a minor point, but at times I felt overwhelmed. There was so much information, that once I finished I felt I ought to immediately read it again. Next time I read it, I’ll take notes, both in the book, and in a seperate notebook. And one thing I know for sure, I will be reading “The Power of Habit” on a regular basis.

What it Means For You

This book can be of help to anyone. I’m an IT manager. It has direct application in my role at work. But, it also can be beneficial to someone trying to exercise more, or become a more consistent writer, or stop chewing your nails.

The Power of Habit has more universal application than nearly any book I’ve ever read. I cannot think of anyone that wouldn’t benefit from it. If you want to change your habits, this book will help you do exactly that.

My Rating

Four out of four stars

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and grandchildren.

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(c) 2019 Rodney M Bliss, all rights reserved

From → Book Reviews

  1. Wonderful review! I like how you are able to express your opinion so effectively.
    You have convinced me to read this book. Thank you for writing such a beautiful review!

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