Top positive review
Read this summary and save your money
Reviewed in India on 13 March 2019
Before I begin my book review, for those who are planning to purchase this book, they must know what this book WILL NOT offer you (in case you’re looking for below points):
1. This book will not help you inculcate habits or help you in forming new habits
2. This book will not dramatically change your life (in case you were hoping so. If you wish to change your life dramatically, you’ll have to help your own self)
3. This book will not help you get rid of your bad habits.
Now that we’re clear with what this book doesn’t offer, let us look at what this book offers:
1. The book will tell you how habits work and how are they formed (the scientific approach). So it does not directly help you in forming new habits or getting rid of bad ones, but you can try applying the scientific approach described in the book and see if it helps you or not.
2. The book will help you understand the power of habits among individuals, organizations and societies through powerful and impactful examples
3. The book will describe various instances and stories around products, instances, and individuals etc, to emphasize on the importance of habits and how we can use habits to our advantage.
The book helps you understand why habits are at the very core of anything you do, how you can change them (scientific approach), and what impact that will have on your business, life and society.
The book is primarily divided into 3 parts
Part 1 – Habits of Individuals
Part 2 – Habits of Successful Organisations
Part 3 – Habits of Societies
The book is written by Pulitzer-prize winning author Charles Duhigg, and was first published in 2012. It is one of the bestseller in the ‘Self-help’ category. Duhigg wrote this book when he got fascinated by the intelligence of a US army major in Iraq, who controlled numerous riots by persuading the town’s mayor to keep food vendors away from gatherings. When people couldn’t satisfy their hunger with food, as they usually did (put of habit), they just left. Duhigg published this book after a lot of research, 8 years after this incident.
Now that you know what led to creation of this book, let’s look at the book summary:
1. Habits work in 3-step loops: cue, routine, reward. The cue is what triggers you to do the habit. The routine is the behavior you then automatically engage in. Lastly, you’ll receive a reward for completing the routine. Example: You get up every morning (Cue), make coffee (routine) and have a rich tasting coffee with a great aroma (reward).
2. You can change your habits by substituting just one part of the loop, the routine. The trick to changing a habit then, is to switch the routine, and leave everything else intact.
3. Your most important habit is willpower, and you can strengthen it over time in 3 ways. These three ways are:
- Do something that requires a lot of discipline. - For example a tough wake-up regimen or strict diet will make you constantly practice delaying gratification and thus give you more willpower
- Plan ahead for worst-case scenarios.
- Preserve your autonomy - When you’re assigned tasks by someone else, which you must do, your willpower muscle tires much quicker.
4. Keystone Habits are those habits which help you transform other habits. Figuring out these habits and working on them can create great transformation. Example – Getting up early can be a keystone habit that can have a positive impact on your other spheres of life such as having breakfast daily without skipping it, reaching work on time, having more time throughout the day for various tasks etc.
The author describes this with wonderful example of Alcoa’s transformation by Paul Neill.
5. Every small habit is like a small win. And a series small wins will help you form a routine/habit. Small wins are a steady application of a small advantage. Once a small win has been accomplished, forces are set in motion that favors another small win. Small wins fuel transformative changes by leveraging tiny advantages into patterns that convince people that bigger achievements are within reach.
The author describes this with the story Michael Phelps, the world renowned swimmer.
6. Transformation is always easier in groups, rather than alone or in isolation. Example – If you have a gym buddy, you’re more likely to hit the gym, than skip it.
7. Good leaders seize crises to remake organizational habits. In fact, crises are such valuable opportunities that a wise leader often prolongs a sense of emergency on purpose. The author describes this with transformation of a subway station after a major fire broke out killing many people.
8. People’s habits are more likely to change when they go through a major life event. To encourage people to practice new behavior, it needs to take advantage of patterns that already exists within them. Author uses example of the hypermarket chain Target, and how it uses customer’s demographics and spending habits to extract key inferences that help them sell relevant products to these consumers.
9. Social change and movement only happen with the existence of the weak link – the change as a whole within a group of people without a direct connection – and the strong link – the change of people around with close relationship (peer pressure). The author describes the movement in Montgomery against racial discrimination and how the movement gathered momentum.
10. Habits emerge within the brain and often, we don’t have the ability to control them, but we’re conscious and aware of them. With that said, it’s still our responsibility to cultivate our own habits and take charge of our own life.
The book is filled with multiple stories and instances that reiterate how important habits are and how we can use them to our advantage. I hope this was helpful! Thanks.
Favorite Quote from the book:
“The difference between who you are and who you want to be is what you do.” – Charles Duhigg