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

Charles Duhigg · 11 HN comments
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Amazon Summary
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • This instant classic explores how we can change our lives by changing our habits. NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY The Wall Street Journal • Financial Times In The Power of Habit, award-winning business reporter Charles Duhigg takes us to the thrilling edge of scientific discoveries that explain why habits exist and how they can be changed. Distilling vast amounts of information into engrossing narratives that take us from the boardrooms of Procter & Gamble to the sidelines of the NFL to the front lines of the civil rights movement, Duhigg presents a whole new understanding of human nature and its potential. At its core, The Power of Habit contains an exhilarating argument: The key to exercising regularly, losing weight, being more productive, and achieving success is understanding how habits work. As Duhigg shows, by harnessing this new science, we can transform our businesses, our communities, and our lives. Praise for The Power of Habit “Sharp, provocative, and useful.” —Jim Collins “Few [books] become essential manuals for business and living. The Power of Habit is an exception. Charles Duhigg not only explains how habits are formed but how to kick bad ones and hang on to the good.” — Financial Times “A flat-out great read.” —David Allen, bestselling author of Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity “You’ll never look at yourself, your organization, or your world quite the same way.” —Daniel H. Pink, bestselling author of Drive and A Whole New Mind “Entertaining . . . enjoyable . . . fascinating . . . a serious look at the science of habit formation and change.” — The New York Times Book Review
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Hacker News Stories and Comments

All the comments and stories posted to Hacker News that reference this book.
The Power of Habit, great book, just finished it.
The new habit you want to introduce should be a small thing (maybe a tiny component of a bigger change you want). And you always have to set a trigger for it and celebrate once you do it... Stupid example: I want to introduce flossing my teeth, so i start with a tiny habit - flossing just one tooth right before i start brushing my teeth. The trigger is something I already do every day and it already is my habit - brushing my teeh. So, everytime i go to the bathroom with the aim to brush my teeth, I imediately remember that I'll floss one tooth. And after I do it, I congratulate myslef for doing it (a celebration).

Important - you can't start with 25 habits you want to change. You will fail if you do. Start with 2 - 3 really tiny ones.

You might want to try tiny habit exercise:

And you alsow might find this book helpful understanding how habits work:

Story about the sports coach along with other similar ones are mentioned in the best-selling book, "The Power of Habit[1]", which is an excellent read describing exactly an example of what you have called the framework-oriented approach. Recommended.


I try not to recommend pop-psych books, but The Power of Habit taught me some useful tricks:

The upshot is that you can't stop this part of yourself. You can only redirect it. You have a rich set of impulse-reward cycles triggered by the thought of beginning something difficult. You can't help responding to the triggers, but you can change the routines and the rewards.

In other words, you can't win by fighting. Don't swim against the current. Use your existing bad habits as a frame for new better ones.

Somebody else mentioned that you might be bored. Perhaps you are unchallenged. You could be lacking perspective and proper role models. I would encourage you to take yourself out of the startup scene (which is largely vapid nonsense) and try something more viscerally challenging, intellectually engaging, or just out of the ordinary. Find a research job, work in the theater, go to sea, volunteer in the third world, backpack around the world, teach classes to your friends or kids, pick up a craft like glassblowing or carpentry, build a house, WWOOF, etc.

Did you go to college? If so, what was your degree?

(Shoot me an email if you want to chat – I'm a few years older, but was in a similar position not too long ago – skiptracer at gmail.)

A professor of mine used to tell me something helpful. It took some time to accept, but he would say: "nobody cares what you have to say until you're 35". At this age, and through your 20's, what you're doing is just warming up. You have quite some time until you're in your prime. So take your time. Enjoy your dwindling youth, learn, grow, and prepare.
The Billion Dollar Mind Trick: An Intro To Triggers

  > This article skims the surface of habit formation
  > - HN commenter
The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do In Life and Business

  > [using the habit loop] cycle to structure habits in your own life 
  > - HN commenter
Don't Shoot the Dog!: The New Art of Teaching and Training

  > a manual and a philosophy for solving the problems in your life caused by 
  > other's behavior, whether it is your husband, your children, your pets, or
  > your co-workers 
  > - Amazon reviewer
The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business -

How to Stop Worrying and Start Living -

How to Win Friends & Influence People -

I am currently reading The Power of Habit. Great book indeed.
How to Stop Worrying and Start Living is a life changing book. If I never read it, I probably would have jumped off a bridge with all the stress of product launches and public failures that are inevitable as an entrepreneur.
I recommend the book "The power of habit", written by Charles Duhigg, a NYT bestseller. WIt contains many years of academic research on psychology, and explains not only habit, but willpower.

Also, watch this video.

And here's the book:

Nice series of videos (for those with not enough willpower to read the book ;)... )
May 13, 2012 · techiferous on 30 minutes a day
I love this skeptical and evidence-demanding attitude.

You may find evidence to support this (and other information about habits) in The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg.

From personal experience, I've found the Seinfeld Calendar to be powerful, which is similar to the idea the author wrote about.

But is that correlation vs causation? As someone who dedicates some time each day to what I want to succeed in, am I just aping some of the habits of the successful without really doing what matters?
This article skims the surface of habit formation. For a great read on the topic, checkout the current bestseller: The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do In Life and Business.

The jist of it is that we all have habit loops that we respond to without realizing it. They flow through the cycle of CUE->ROUTINE->REWARD->CRAVE. Everything starts with a CUE, which triggers the habit. It could be something as simple as the little red indicator on your iphone app. This is followed by ROUTINE - or the series of actions that we normally think of as a habit. Next is the REWARD which can be surprising at times - you might think you get that cookie after lunch to enjoy the sugar rush, but in reality you might just enjoy talking to coworkers in the cafeteria. Lastly, for any habit to stick, you must CRAVE the reward at the end.

The book goes in more depth about how to use this cycle to structure habits in your own life (I have FINALLY started to workout and wake up early since reading the book). It also has great case studies about how advertisers, product managers, people managers, and more are structure these habits to influence consumers, employees, etc

I found this book unusually good for a popular nonfiction book, in the sense that it actually had a decent insights/page count ratio:

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