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The Power of Habit
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Listen in 20 min.
Learn the key ideas of the book by Charles Duhigg

The Power of Habit

Improve your life by changing your habits

When we are required to make revolutionary decisions, whether it be within a company, on a personal level, or socially, there is a good chance that behind it lies the implementation or the modification of a habit loop. Not only that: a large part of today’s marketing makes use of the power of habit to better understand the needs of their customers and to sell more. Habits are one of the basic mechanisms in the human brain, and learning to recognise them and change them means taking hold of an immense power. In his book The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do In Life and In Business, Charles Duhigg takes us on a journey of discovery into the significance of need and of the habit loop,  providing examples to illustrate some practical methods we can use to bring about change. 

The Power of Habit
Read in 16 min.
Listen in 20 min.

Habits are important because they are behind most of the choices we make

According to an article in 2006 by a researcher at Duke University in North Carolina, more than 40% of the actions we take every day are because of habit. Contrary to what we might think, our lives and the world that surrounds us are not regulated by conscious decisions, but by cycles of habit. Our morning wake-up routine is a habit, as is our journey to work, and the way we relate to people we meet during any given day. Not only that: habits also regulate the company we work for or the one that manages the underground train we travel on every day, the social structure within which we live and move, our circle of friends and acquaintances, as well as influencing our level of involvement in politics and other movements.

The study of habit is a field which has received a big boost over the last ten years: previously very little was known about it and as little as fifty years ago, what we know today, namely that everything around us is actually based on models and cycles, would have been considered almost science fiction. Thanks to the development of studies in neurology and the psychology of habit, not only are we aware today of the complex intersection of cycles, habits and needs that regulate the everyday world, but we also understand how they work, and this allows us to study and modify them. This provides us with the opportunity to positively change our lives and the companies we work for, and in some cases, even the whole world, starting by simply changing a single, tiny habit.


The key ideas of "The Power of Habit"

Habits are important because they are behind most of the choices we make
Habits are a three phase cycle
To improve our habits we can focus on gratification and routine
The Alcoa case shows that habits are also crucial for companies
Habit loops can change society and are in fact at the heart of the formation of the civil rights movement
We can change our habits by studying and changing the habit loop
Take-home message
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