New York Times business writer Charles Duhigg explores the science behind why we do what we do, and how companies use our habit-forming tendencies to sell and market products to us. January 8, 2014 • In softcover nonfiction, William Knoedelseder looks at the family behind Budweiser, Charles Duhigg delves into the science of habit, Fred Kaplan explores an Army revolution, and Whole Foods' founder argues for businesses pursuing a higher purpose.
December 24, 2012 • How is it that some people are able to change their bad habits and reinvent themselves, while others try and fall short? March 5, 2012 • Every habit-forming activity follows the same behavioral and neurological patterns, says New York Times business writer Charles Duhigg.
February 27, 2012 • In his new book, Charles Duhigg explores cutting-edge research into the neuroscience of habit formation a€” and how companies and advertisers are using it to their advantage.
Note: Book excerpts are provided by the publisher and may contain language some find offensive. Prologue I i¬?rst became interested in the science of habits eight years ago, as a newspaper reporter in Baghdad. Written by New York Times business reporter Charles Duhigg, the book describes the science of habits, explains how patterns affect productivity, and teaches us how changing patterns in your life and your business can make all the difference between wild success and total failure. As Duhigg explains, our brain is consistently looking to conserve energy so it “chunks” sequences of actions together, developing automatic routines in our behavior – those actions we tend to do mindlessly – which leaves room for it to focus on other things. In order to change an automatic routine or habit, it’s important to understand the way they work.
The Golden Rule of habit change, as shown in the third wheel, is keeping the same cue and reward, but changing the routine in the middle. Understanding how habits can affect the success or failure of an industry, Get the Picture took on a self-directed project to interview a dozen veteran graphic practitioners and facilitators with the intent to uncover the best habits for fully leveraging the power of using visuals.
Besides gathering lots of insightful information on how graphics, when well-integrated, can produce high levels of excitement, increase participant interaction and encourage higher-level thinking that leads to new insight – we’ve also learned that although more and more people are turning to visuals as a resource, far too many of them do not get the full value out of working with a facilitator and graphic recorder in their meetings.
Oftentimes, what you find when visuals are not being utilized to their full extent, is that both the client and the facilitator are new to graphic recording, meaning neither of them has experienced the full depth of potential the tool or their graphic recorder have to offer.

As the field of practitioners expands, practices diversify and the demand for graphic recording increases, we’re excited to promote the use of visuals as a process tool and support the development of good habits for using graphic recording. Check back soon for our first post to discover exciting ways to get the ultimate value out of your meeting visuals. As part of our annual series on the books we missed, New York Times investigative reporter Charles Duhigg discusses his book The Power Of Habit and about the science of habit formation.
Understanding and interrupting that loop is key to breaking a habit, says journalist Charles Duhigg.
His new book The Power of Habit explores the science behind why we do what we do a€” and how companies are working to use our habits to market products to us. So, instead of getting coffee every afternoon, perhaps you could take a 15-minute walk at 3 PM instead. Learn how to fully (and meaningfully) integrate graphic recording into your entire meeting process and be sure to take part in the conversation by leaving your comments below. That way you get the reward you’re looking for … and add a little exercise and rejuvenation into your day without extra caffeine!
By paying close attention to their routines, businesses can encourage the good ones, and change the ones that are detrimental to their success. Basic training teaches soldiers carefully designed habits for how to shoot, think, and communicate under i¬?re. The loop begins when we are triggered by something that initiates one of our automatic routines with the goal of achieving a certain reward.
On the battlei¬?eld, every command that's issued draws on behaviors practiced to the point of automation.
The entire organization relies on endlessly rehearsed routines for building bases, setting strategic priorities, and deciding how to respond to attacks.
In those early days of the war, when the insurgency was spreading and death tolls were mounting, commanders were looking for habits they could instill among soldiers and Iraqis that might create a durable peace.

He was an army major who had analyzed videotapes of recent riots and had identii¬?ed a pattern: Violence was usually preceded by a crowd of Iraqis gathering in a plaza or other open space and, over the course of several hours, growing in size.
He had attended classes that taught him habits for saving money, exercising each day, and communicating with bunkmates. As he moved up the ranks, he learned the importance of organizational habits in ensuring that subordinates could make decisions without constantly asking permission, and how the right routines made it easier to work alongside people he normally couldn't stand.
And now, as an impromptu nation builder, he was seeing how crowds and cultures abided by many of the same rules. In some sense, he said, a community was a giant collection of habits occurring among thousands of people that, depending on how they're ini¬‚uenced, could result in violence or peace.
In addition to removing the food vendors, he had launched dozens of different experiments in Kufa to ini¬‚uence residents' habits. He told me that prior to entering the military, his best career option had been repairing telephone lines, or, possibly, becoming a methamphetamine entrepreneur, a path some of his high school peers had chosen to less success.
Now, he oversaw eight hundred troops in one of the most sophisticated i¬?ghting organizations on earth.
I tell my soldiers all the time, there's nothing you can't do if you get the habits right." In the past decade, our understanding of the neurology and psychology of habits and the way patterns work within our lives, societies, and organizations has expanded in ways we couldn't have imagined i¬?fty years ago.
We understand how to make people eat less, exercise more, work more efi¬?ciently, and live healthier lives.
No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

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