Habits can make you or ruin you

Each one of us has a bad habit that they want to get rid of, and wishes to create a new habit that will improve his or her life. I picked up this book from the shelves of top 10s, I didn’t expect much of it, but to my surprise, it is surely one of the best books I have ever read my entire life.

Charles Duhigg did not write a self-help book that tries to help you move away from evil habits and create new habits, “The Power of Habit” is a completely scientific book, full of researches, proven theories, test subjects, statistics, results, real life stories and examples. It doesn’t stop just there, but also goes into deep marketing strategies that were built solely on consumer habit identification, how they arrived to conclude that and how they also shaped and create a new habit for consumer once they applied the magical cycle.

Every habit starts with a cue, followed by a routine, to receive a reward. Take runners for example, that’s one great habit, and take stress eaters, that’s another habit, not a good one though.

Cue: Feeling stressed out
Routine: Craving for chocolate
Reward: Feeling better

The trick is to replace the routine with another. But it’s not that simple, and only this book and its content will tell you why.

Even though it’s not a fantasy or a romance book, it’s still one of those books that are not easy to put down.

Let’s talk Marketing. The P&G team back in the days were trying to promote Febreze (air freshener), they tried several ways to make it part of people’s habits but they weren’t successful at first, until one customer told them (after extensive research):

“Spraying feels like a little mini-celebration when I’m done with a room.” (Then she smiled and left the room – videotapes that were collected over the years by P&G about people cleaning their homes)

The spraying was not because they wanted to clean the air from a bad odor for them, it was all about the reward.

It’s definitely a very interesting book, not a self-help book at all. If you’re a marketing person, this is definitely a must- read as it tells you a lot on how you can approach consumers and what kind of cycle you can create for your product with them.

The book also delves deeply several real life business and how the angles that they took for habit changing, for example Starbucks and their employee training program which helps them serve their customers better. How Michael Phelps became an Olympic champion by having a specific routine to follow that is all about small wins and ability to perform even with tough obstacles due to the fact that he has his techniques built into his sub-conscious, and many other very inspiring stories.

Here are some of my favorite excerpts from the book:

If you asked doctors or public health officials for a plan to fight infant deaths, none of them would have suggested changing how teachers were trained

[…]

O’Neill’s experiences with infant mortality illustrate the second way that keystone habits encourage change: by creating structures to help other habits to flourish. […] His habits of constantly pushing other bureaucrats to continue researching until they found a problem’s root causes overhauled how the government thought about problems like infant mortality

About FunkyOzzi

Why so Serious? A software developer / SEO / SEM womosapien. I worry if I travel back in time, what will I work then.

One comment

  1. I remember really enjoying this book.. Good review! adequately reflects how fascinating it is…

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