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. All of these questions are answered in Charles Duhigg’s The Power of Habits: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business.
In this Power of Habit review, I’ll talk about how you can use this book to help develop good habits. The key to a permanent change is to break down the habit loop into three distinct components.  When you know why you take a certain action, it becomes easier to substitute this behavior with a positive change.
To change a habit, you must keep the old cue, and deliver the old reward, but insert a new routine. The majority of the first section provides examples from individuals and organizations that use habit loops to improve product sales.  For instance, Duhigg talks about how companies like Pepsodent and Febreeze identified the routines of customers and used this information to sell more products.
Again, Duhigg does a great job of showing how habits can have a positive (and negative) impact on all aspects of society.  He gives example from Alcoa, Michael Phelps, Target, King’s Cross Station, Starbuck’s Coffeehouse and the “Hey Ya!” song by Outkast. A keystone habit can be defined as a single habit that produces a positive, chain effect in a person or organization. This section details important social habit lessons from the Montgomery Bus Boycott, Rick Warren’s Saddleback Church, and how “free will” relates to a gambling addiction.
During this phase you’ll adjust your habit, so it delivers a different result.  This helps you figure out why you follow it.

Write down these five answers, every time you experience a habit cue, and you will take that first step towards making a lasting change. In this final step, you will follow a routine that provides the same reward without following the negative habit.  The simplest way to do this is to have a specific plan of action whenever you experience a cue. Having a specific course of action makes it easier to change a habit because you’re giving the brain the same reward that it seeks when a specific cue is triggered.
The Power of Habit is an excellent book that’s chock full of interesting concepts and examples. Duhigg´s book can be applied to a lot of fields, and I think that it is a good read for anyone that is working with communication, marketing and advertising. The Power of Habit Summary contains the key concepts from the book about how habits are created and how to replace old habits with new ones. December 19, 2014 I just tweeted it – nothing popped out to download it…??
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. You’ll take all the feedback from the five questions (step 3) and create a step-by-step blueprint for how to act when you feel the need to follow a bad habit. But I think that the most valuable part is that you can apply its content to practically any field you like. Basic training teaches soldiers carefully designed habits for how to shoot, think, and communicate under i¬?re.
The Power of Habit Summary is not domain specific but contains rather universal knowledge that can be used to change people – both you and others. On the battlei¬?eld, every command that's issued draws on behaviors practiced to the point of automation. It is a great book, perhaps one of the most interesting that I’ve read if I consider the potential in its core idea.

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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