The Power of Habit

MoneyBestPal Team
The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business 

The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg is a book that explores how habits shape our lives and how we can change them for the better. 

The book is organized into three sections: the habits of individuals, the habits of organizations, and the habits of societies. 

Duhigg illustrates his views in each section with anecdotes and examples from various industries and academic subjects. Also, he offers helpful advice and tactics for modifying habits in various situations.

The book's opening section is devoted to discussing the habits of individuals. A three-step procedure that controls how habits function in our brains is described by Duhigg as the habit loop. A cue, a routine, and a reward are the components of the habit loop. 

To start a habit, our brain needs a cue, which is a trigger. The action or conduct we automatically engage in is referred to as a routine. What we gain or enjoy as a result of following the pattern is a reward.

For example, when you feel stressed (cue), you might bite your nails (routine) to relieve some tension (reward). Or when you wake up (cue), you might brush your teeth (routine) to have a fresh breath (reward). These habits are stored in a part of our brain called the basal ganglia, which helps us save mental energy and focus on other things.

According to Duhigg, the best way to break a habit is to alter the pattern while keeping the cue and reward the same. By doing so, we might satiate our appetites with an action that is more advantageous or appealing. For instance, you can try chewing gum or squeezing a stress ball as a substitute if you wish to stop biting your nails.

Duhigg advises that in order to properly break a habit, we must recognize the signs and rewards that motivate us. He suggests a technique known as the five whys, which entails asking ourselves why we act a certain way until the fundamental cause is discovered. 

Why do you, for instance, bite your nails? because you're anxious. Why are you anxious? because you're overworked. Why are you working so much? Because you put things off. Why do you put things off? due to your fear of failing. Why do you worry about failing? because you don't value yourself.

We may address the genuine issue and come up with better solutions by determining the underlying cause of our behaviors. Duhigg also stresses the value of having a strategy and having faith in our capacity for change. 

He cites research that demonstrates that people are more likely to overcome harmful behaviors and accomplish their goals if they have a strong sense of faith and support from others.

The book's second section focuses on organizational behaviors. According to Duhigg, businesses too develop routines that he refers to as organizational habits. These are the behavioral patterns that influence how staff members collaborate, make choices, and address issues. While some organizational practices are useful, others are detrimental or dysfunctional.

Duhigg introduces the concept of keystone habits, which are habits that have a ripple effect on other habits and outcomes. He gives the example of Paul O'Neill, who was appointed CEO of the huge aluminum giant Alcoa in 1987. 

O'Neill chose to concentrate on one fundamental behavior: worker safety. He was convinced that by enhancing safety, he would also raise standards for quality, output, effectiveness, and profitability.

O'Neill had a point. His emphasis on safety transformed Alcoa's culture and productivity. He gave workers the authority to report mishaps and make improvement suggestions. He pushed for cross-departmental and cross-level cooperation. He honored achievement and innovation. As a result, Alcoa rose to the top of its sector as one of the safest and most prosperous businesses.

The use of data and analytics by businesses to comprehend and shape consumer behavior is another topic Duhigg covers. He cites Target as an illustration, a well-known retailer that makes use of advanced algorithms to forecast its consumers' needs and wants in light of their purchasing patterns. 

With their help, Target can increase customer loyalty and sales by sending customers targeted coupons and offers at the ideal moment and location.

Duhigg warns, however, that when influencing consumer behavior, businesses must exercise caution and moral restraint. He clarifies that customers may have feelings of betrayal or resentment if they learn that businesses are taking advantage of or disclosing their behaviors. As a result, businesses must balance their interests with those of their customers and respect consumer privacy and preferences.

The book's third section focuses on the habits of societies. Duhigg examines the role that habits have in social movements and transitions. He cites two instances: the 1955–1956 Montgomery bus boycott, which ignited the American civil rights movement; and Saddleback Church, one of the biggest and most significant evangelical congregations in the world.

According to Duhigg, social movements, and transformations depend on three things: a leader who articulates a vision and mobilizes followers; a community that promotes the vision and provides one another with support; and a crisis that presents a chance for change. 

He also emphasizes the importance of weak links, which are ties between strangers or acquaintances rather than intimate friends or relatives. Weak linkages can aid in the dissemination of concepts and knowledge to new networks and organizations, extending the reach and effect of a movement.

Duhigg also looks at the issue of responsibility and free will in relation to habits. He agrees that routines can affect our actions and choices, often in unintended or regrettable ways. He also claims that we are not bound by our habits and that, if we so desire, we are free to alter them. 

He uses cases of people who changed their habits and took charge of their lives to beat addiction, criminality, or violence.

In his final chapter, Duhigg urges us to try out several routines to see which ones work best for us. He reminds us that habits are effective tools that can advance our health, happiness, and general well-being while also assisting us in achieving our individual and professional goals. In order for us to learn from one another and create positive change in the world, he also asks us to share our experiences and thoughts with others.


The central concept of "The Power of Habit" is that our habits are made up of three parts–the cue, routine, and reward. This is the habit loop. Each part plays a critical role: the cue serves as the trigger, telling the brain what action to take. Then there’s the routine, which is the action or behavior we take.

"The Power of Habit" explains that rewards refer to the pleasure we feel after doing our routine. This process of turning a set of actions into a habit is called chunking.

A part of our brain–the basal ganglia–stores these patterns, so they run automatically with little brain effort. With these habits in place, we no longer have to think about our every move.

"The Power of Habit" promotes the idea that you can’t extinguish a bad habit, you can only change it. Charles Duhigg discusses strategies we can easily use to create or change our habits.

The authors advise that you can leverage the habit loop to fuel your personal and entrepreneurial success. The Golden Rule of Habit Change: You can’t extinguish a bad habit, you can only change it.

You can purchase this book through the link below: