Book Review: The Power of Habit

To be honest, I first picked up this book up because of the bright yellow cover with bold red type face.  In hindsight, it was great foreshadowing for my time spending reading The Power of Habit: Why We do What We do in Life and Business b

Power of Habity Charles Duhigg.  I realized I have a habit for going to Barns and Nobel to kill time before a movie and picking up books with interesting covers.  Part knowledge and understanding of the subject, and part self-help, The Power of Habit is a great read for many different audiences and applicable to many stages of one’s life.  Duhigg offers stories to back up scientific facts and data points with the cadence of a TV series writer.  I found myself more than once wanting to get through the next part of chapter and get back to a story that took a pause, just like a well timed commercial break during your favorite TV show’s finale. The book begins in the most logical place; the habits of individuals.  The subsequent chapters do a wonderful job breaking down a habit and looking critically at the different parts.  Duhigg ultimately taking the stance that one only needs to change the behavior, not the trigger or the reward, to make a habit positive.  All while riveting stories of people’s lives are sprinkled about the pages. An aluminum manufacture, a football team, and Target all have one thing in common: their organizational habits are profiled in this book in a way that reads like a prime time investigative news show.  By far the realization a company such as Target has figured out how to individualize coupons to customers based on what they buy and even predict their next shopping experience is unnerving.  What part two if the book focuses on primarily are the habits of organizations, but the secondary focus is on the difference of positive and negative uses of understanding the power of habits.  Alcoa, a large international aluminum manufacturer based in America, is profiled in a way where the company focused on the safety of its employees and changing the culture of a large company while increasing profits over the years.  Alcoa essentially harnessed the power of habit by creating, changing, and introducing habit into a culture. So how does The Power of Habit relate to leadership?  For someone whose time is in high demand, this book can help you analyze some habits in your life.  It provides some helpful tips in working to change a habit or introduce a habit. If you are a member of an organization that is frustrated with how things are run, I recommend this book to improve the inner workings of your organization, like Alcoa. Overall, the time investment on the front end, should outweigh the long term benefits of the books teachings.

-Joe Wheeless