The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do In Life and Business by Charles Duhigg is an important book about the impact of habits on individuals, organizations and even entire movements of people. The book explains how habits work, how to create new habits by introducing “craves” and the mechanics of why our habits change. Examples of classic craves are set forth like Starbuck’s coffee and others.
Generally speaking, habit cues are governed by other peoples’ behavior at a specific location and time. Prior emotions are often another important component of a habit. Companies like Target can manipulate consumer habits through frequent consumer preference surveys which point toward simple and obvious cues for inspiring consumers to purchase a product on impulse.
Duhigg provides practical examples of how and why people internalize habits. For example, people go to gyms for a human connection and not necessarily exercise on a treadmill alone. The author explains how organizations develop a memory from unwritten rules on how to get things done. Organizations of every size and shape study the behavior of customers to be able to predict future sales and the demand for an individual product.
The author explains how to extinguish bad habits. First, people must have a strong will to believe that they can change in order to develop the momentum to move a difficult agenda item forward. In moving forward, small wins represent the steady application of a small advantage which people develop incrementally until a complete change can be accomplished.
The Power of Habit is an important book which guides people and organizations through the difficult process of accomplishing change when the need to do so is agreed upon. The presentation is easy to read and the contents are written well. This book will appear to a large constituency in academe, government and in private industry.