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The habits of success – or failure

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

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Our habits say a lot about us, and knowing how people go about their daily lives can prove to be useful information.

How did Proctor and Gamble turn Febreze from a flop into a necessity? By studying videos of people making their beds and shifting their ad strategy to accommodate a simple pattern.

How did a military strategist in Baghdad prevent crowds from rioting? By banning food vendors from the public square – hungry protesters eventually dispersed in search of snacks.

How did Michael Phelps win eight Olympic Gold Medals? By transforming and focusing on his race-day routine.

Patterns of human behavior based on cues, triggers and rewards can rule our lives, causing us to stop at Starbucks, reach for that 3:00 p.m. snack or cigarette, wake up early even on weekends. Many of our most basic actions are not the products of well-considered decision-making, but outgrowths of habits we don’t even realize exist. Understanding the science behind our habits can give us the power to transform them – and ourselves.

What habits do you have? How do they affect your job, your relationship, your decisions? Would you change them if you could?


Charles Duhigg, investigative reporter for The New York Times and author of “The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and in Business” (Random House).

Excerpt from "The Power of Habit":