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

The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business
The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business by Charles Duhigg
My rating: 4 of 5 stars


As it says in the title, this book is about habits. How habits can affect your life and what you can do about them. How habits can harm you via things like addiction, and how they can help you, via things like craving for exercise.

The book’s information is very useful, as other reviews would have pointed out. However, I find that the information in the book is readily available elsewhere. Habits and their formation are almost common knowledge, and you can find countless articles about them online.

What the book presents that I haven’t seen before are the real-life stories that Duhigg uses to illustrate the power of habits. These also keep the book interesting to read. Better to use stories to teach than to have the reader look at bland facts.

Another point I find totally new is the idea that companies and organisations as a whole can have habits too. Think of it as a collective habit. This is also something I find other reviewers of this book and other writers on the topic of habits miss out on. This idea is potentially very helpful to all businesses but generally seems neglected in comparison.

In detail: An organisation can have habits such as a habit of safety. Such a ‘keystone’ habit can rally other positive habits to form around it. Safety habits can lead to effectiveness habits, which again can lead to productivity habits. Overall, the chain of habits forms the basis of a company’s culture. In the book, Duhigg tells the story of one such company who focused on the habit of safety. Accidents needed to be reported in an efficient manner. This brought safety up, leading to worker confidence and productivity going up too. And, because of the new way accidents had to be reported, it made internal corporate communications more efficient. I think you can see how the starting benefits can lead to other benefits, and this all started on focusing on improving workplace safety.

If you want to know about habits and how to use them to your advantage, you can read this book, but you can also read other materials available online. However, if you are a business owner, you definitely want to read this just for the ‘keystone’ habits and the corporate habits sections of the book.

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