Book Review: The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg
We live the outcome of our habits whether we’re aware of it or not.
Charles Duhigg goes through scientific facts about human behavior, switching between real people stories of different types of habits and neurological studies about their consequences.
If you haven’t read The Power of Habits by Charles Duhig, join me on this review about the ideas I liked the most of this book.
If you did read the book already I invite you to jump ahead to the comments and leave your opinion and recommendations on other books.
Just as carbohydrates are the first source of energy of our body, since it’s the most effective source of energy with less effort, our brain uses habits as a tool to minimize our effort during our daily duties.
Whether drinking a coffee every morning, talking to a neighbor every day after work or joking around with your classmate after lunch, our days are full of habits. Each of them have effects.
Charles states that we should identify the things in our lives that we are unhappy with or behaviors that we want to get rid of and analyze them one at the time to find out which habit is causing each of them.
It’s almost impossible to eliminate a habit. But, it is way easier to replace a habit with another one that brings the effects that we are actually looking for, if we understand what a habit is made of.
The anatomy of habit
Duhigg states that every habit is the combination of 3 parts:
It might be an specific time of the day, just after another event or action, a feeling, a person… Basically anything that happens before the actual routine.
The actual action that the person with a habit performs.
The instant pleasure or satisfaction that the person gets right after or during the routine.
In the case of a person that is overweight, an example of a habit could be to have dessert daily after every lunch. The cue would be the moment right after having lunch, the routine would be having dessert and, the reward is how he/she feels right after the sugar consumption.
Replacing a habit
According to The power of Habit, the most efficient way to replace a habit with another one is changing the routine but keeping the cue and reward.
We could keep the cue and the reward in the above example by replacing the dessert with chewing gum which would radically decrease the daily caloric intake. Once this new habit is in place, just the feeling of being healthier can be used as a replace for the chewing gum maximizing the effects.
You’d like this book if you are…
Interested in personal development, if you have habits or aspects of your life that you don’t feel comfortable with.
Would you recommend this book?
Yes. Being aware of our habits gives us the opportunity of understanding what we live and why we live it.
Would I read it again?
No, in a short term. But I did read another book from the same author once I finished this one (Smarter Faster Better, I’ll post about it later in my blog).