Learning the Power of Habits
About "The Power of Habit" by Charles Duhigg
Is it strange to write a review of a 350 page book when I’ve read less than 80 pages? Maybe, but I see it as part of showing my commitment to change.
First the discovery – this is not your average self-help book. In fact the classification on the back cover is “Popular Science / Business & Management”. So why was it in the self-help section at the book shop?
The subtitle of the book is “Why we do what we do and how to change it”. That sounds like self-help to me. So perhaps this book is a little bit of everything.
I’m half way through chapter two, and still learning about habits. Chapter three is “The Golden Rule of Habit Change”. After that the book moves on to studying Organizations in part two and Societies in part three. Which means that, if I’m looking for help in improving myself, chapter three is the heart of the book.
So maybe I need to assess this book from a different viewpoint. What I’ve read so far is a scientific study of how the brain works. There are the inevitable studies of how animals react to different stimuli, but they go beyond any I’ve encountered before. The simplest experiments show how easily a habit can become an addiction, even in a so-called dumb animal.
But perhaps the most interesting part of the book thus far is the case study of an elderly man called Eugene Pauly, a man who suffered serious brain damage. Pauly’s long-term memory remains intact, but he is unable to build any new memories and cannot answer simple questions like “Where is the kitchen?” So how is he able to develop new habits?
You will have to read the book to find out more about this remarkable man.
So, if I’m uncertain whether this is a self-help book, is it worth reading? The answer is a definite YES. This is one of the most interesting books I have ever read.
“The Power of Habit” is not about affirmations. It is about understanding the reasons we do what we do. And that is the first step to changing the bad habits we wish to break.