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Book Review: ‘The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do In Life and Business’ by Charles Duhigg

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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.

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About Dr Joseph S Maresca

I've taught approx. 34 sections of collegiate courses including computer applications, college algebra, collegiate statistics, law, accounting, finance and economics. The experience includes service as a Board Director on the CPA Journal and Editor of the CPA Candidates Inc. Newsletter. In college, I worked as a statistics lab assistant. Manhattan College awarded a BS in an allied area of operations research. The program included courses in calculus, ordinary differential equations, probability, statistical inference, linear algebra , the more advanced operations research, price analysis and econometrics. Membership in the Delta Mu Delta National Honor Society was granted together with the degree. My experience includes both private account and industry. In addition, I've worked extensively in the Examinations Division of the AICPA from time to time. Recently, I passed the Engineering in Training Exam which consisted of 9 hours of examination in chemistry, physics, calculus, differential equations, linear algebra, probability/ statistics, fluids, electronics, materials science/structure of matter, mechanics, statics, thermodynamics, computer science, dynamics and a host of minor subject areas like engineering economics. A very small percentage of engineers actually take and pass the EIT exam. The number has hovered at circa 5%. Several decades ago, I passed the CPA examination and obtained another license in Computer Information Systems Auditing. A CISA must have knowledge in the areas of data center review, systems applications, the operating system of the computer, disaster recovery, contingency planning, developmental systems, the standards which govern facility reviews and a host of other areas. An MBA in Accounting with an Advanced Professional Certificate in Computer Applications/ Information Systems , an Advanced Professional Certificate in Finance and an Advanced Professional Certificate in Organizational Design were earned at New York University-Graduate School of Business (Stern ). In December of 2005, an earned PhD in Accounting was granted by the Ross College. The program entrance requires a previous Masters Degree for admittance together with a host of other criteria. The REGISTRAR of Ross College contact is: Tel . US 202-318-4454 FAX [records for Dr. Joseph S. Maresca Box 646 Bronxville NY 10708-3602] The clinical experience included the teaching of approximately 34 sections of college accounting, economics, statistics, college algebra, law, thesis project coursework and the professional grading of approx. 50,000 CPA examination essays with the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. Additionally, membership is held in the Sigma Beta Delta International Honor Society chartered in 1994. Significant writings include over 10 copyrights in the name of the author (Joseph S. Maresca) and a patent in the earthquake sciences.