Book Summaries
Power of Habits

Power of Habits

Tweaking even one habit, as long as it's the right one, can have staggering effects. Full of compelling narratives, the breakout bestseller will change the way you think about your behavior.

Life is a repeating cycle of behaviors we call habits. Habits are reliable solutions to everyday obstacles that we have internalized to automatically and effortlessly navigate an increasingly complex world. These reinforcing behavioral cycles can help one flourish and so we call them benevolent cycles. Unfortunately, the knife cuts two ways and they can also become a mirror type of reinforcement: vicious cycles. These cycles are reinforcing loops that exacerbate their pernicious effects as the cycle count increases.

Author of The Power of Habit, Charles Duhigg, after rigorous research insightfully writes through captivating storytelling about his framework – divided into four components: CUE, ACTION, REWARD, CRAVING – which comprehensively clarify the mechanisms that empower both benevolent- and vicious cycles.

You might ponder the question: why should this book be important to me? We have learned more about the human brain in the last 50 years than over the last 500 years. We've done this through new technologies that extend our senses and help us remove the curtains to peek inside, enabling us to understand the inner workings of our minds like never before. Most people overestimate how much of their behavior is a conscious exertion of will and thus dismiss what neuroscientists have discovered. But not the marketers, product designers, and tech entrepreneurs of today. According to Y-Combinator founder Paul Graham, “the world is more addictive than it was 40 years ago and it will be even more addictive in the next 40 years. There are things we don’t want to want.” Most people can coexist with alcohol, but you have to be careful. Other habits, especially those that change our perception and train of thought gradually, are considerably more distracting and dangerous.

As philosopher Jean-Paul Satre said many years ago, "we are our choices." Our choices allow us to be the author of our own lives, but unfortunately in our contemporary 21st Century society, our choices are increasingly being co-authored by other people and algorithms. The Power of Habit helps its readers understand these omnipresent external forces and provides them with the first steps to writing their own story.