Saturday, 4 May 2013

Bookworm: The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg

I noticed someone I knew on GoodReads had marked this book as something to read and I decided to look it up. On having a quick research I came to learn as the title suggests this non fiction offering focuses on habits and everything associated with them.

Not a fan of self-help books, I wasn't looking to turn to this to gain advice on how to change my own habits, but I did think it would be interesting to find out more about why the human race act as we do.

Duhigg splits the information into three main areas - habits in our personal life, habits and business and how to change those habits.

I felt like it took me a long time to read, but this book was so interesting, I think it was where I was trying to fully understand every word that I was a tad slower than I would be with my typical fictional choices.

The author's writing style is very addictive and he is great at explaining things, particularly with the real life stories and images throughout.

Throughout I found the book really educational and fascinating to understand how habits are behind so much we do. However, when I got to the end of the book and the specific guidance on applying the book to your life I also found this useful.

This book features habits on snacking, exercising and gambling to name a few, in addition it also lets you in on how some big names have discovered and used our habits to sell their products/improve their staff - Febreeze, Starbucks and Target. It also talks about habits being used to improve performance of sports stars in the NFL, moments in history, civil rights and religion.

However, it's important for readers to understand this book doesn't really offer all the answers. I read The Power of Habit to get an understanding of habits and read something different, I didn't read it to teach me how to live my life. If you go to this book to do that I think you'll end up disappointed.

Instead I had an enjoyable reading experience, learnt a lot about human behaviour and in fact found it helped me spot patterns in habits in others and even potentially help me in my working life.

Good points
Real life examples

Not so great
A tad cheesy/'American' at times in approach
Quite stretched out, could it be shorter and not so repetitive on points?

This book has been named one of the best books of the year in big publications such as The Wall Street Journal and Financial Times and I can see why. Although by the end of the third section I was feeling the text was a tad repetitive and the book was being dragged out, overall it was a very enjoyable read and I enjoyed reading something different.

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