Speed Read – The Power of Habit: Why we do what we do and how to change

Charles Duhigg, William Heinemann (2012) (view on Amazon)

The Power of Habit: Why we do what we do and how to changeIntroduction

Habits simplify the complexities of daily life. On a neurological level, habits decrease brain function, notes author and journalist, Charles Duhigg. They allow individuals to perform routine activities and leave them more energy for higher-level thinking. The same is true of corporations or governments, which develop institutional habits to function smoothly.

Duhigg draws on scientific research from the fields of neurology, psychology and sociology to explore how habits are formed, maintained and how they can be changed. He uses case studies of individuals, as well as of corporations such as Target and Alcoa, to explain how the "habit loop" of cue, routine and reward drives behaviour. Identifying what underlies specific behaviours can enable people and organisations to disrupt damaging patterns; it can also be a powerful facilitator for personal and social change.

Central argument