August 5, 2012

Review - The Power Of Habit (Charles Duhigg)

In The Power of Habit, award-winning New York Times business reporter Charles Duhigg takes us to the thrilling edge of scientific discoveries that explain why habits exist and how they can be changed. With penetrating intelligence and an ability to distill vast amounts of information into engrossing narratives, Duhigg brings to life a whole new understanding of human nature and its potential for transformation.
Along the way we learn why some people and companies struggle to change, despite years of trying, while others seem to remake themselves overnight. We visit laboratories where neuroscientists explore how habits work and where, exactly, they reside in our brains. We discover how the right habits were crucial to the success of Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps, Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz, and civil-rights hero Martin Luther King, Jr. We go inside Procter & Gamble, Target superstores, Rick Warren’s Saddleback Church, NFL locker rooms, and the nation’s largest hospitals and see how implementing so-called keystone habits can earn billions and mean the difference between failure and success, life and death.


Review
We all have our little habits, some of them most likely of the bad kind, and those are the ones we strive to overcome. If only it would be that simple. In his book The Power Of Habit Charles Duhigg approaches the subject of what habits are and how we can ultimately change them.
Written in an engaging style, with just the right balance of scientific fact and actual examples, you can tell straight away that the author has a journalistic background. This certainly pays off and pulled me right into this fascinating field of social sciences, or more precisely, human behavior.
As much as I enjoyed the first few chapters, it soon became clear that despite the different case studies of individuals, organizations, as well as societies, the core of each chapter was repeating itself over and over again, ultimately becoming redundant. The underlying message that habits cannot be eradicated, but must instead be replaced, and the connection between "cue", "routine" and "reward" haven't just been presented once or twice, but countless times, culminating in a guide to using the ideas presented in the book. You could practically skip the actual book and still get the gist by reading the appendix alone. As much as the narrative swept me along and the deliberations proved to be insightful, I felt that the book in its entirety has been unnecessarily blown up by its length.
In short: Interesting yet repetitive study on habits and how to change them!

3/5 Trees

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Random House. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

2 comments:

  1. I have a copy of this book too, not read it yet. It sounds interesting, but I can imagine that it becomes repetitive as you say. It depends how much the author has to say - if it's really a couple of points that are made, then it repeats around these. Still, I'm curious!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I really enjoyed the way this book's been written, but the repetition did start to get a little annoying half way through. Still, a good book!

      Delete