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Sunday, December 15, 2013

The Power Of Habit

Adhering to the discipline of reading a non-fiction book alongside each novel I've finished over the past four years has resulted in several nice surprises - "The Power of Habit" (2012) by Charles Duhigg is the latest.

Citing research from the field of neuroscience that gets more sophisticated and astonishing with every book I read, Duhigg claims habits can not be eradicated. Instead, they must be "replaced" with new ones. As someone who has struggled more with un-learning old habits vs. learning new ones, his central premise rings true. In Duhigg's formulation, a simple model (cue-routine-reward) describes how habits take hold in individuals, organizations and societies. I was most engaged when the author got to the macro level, possibly because of how persuasively he'd built his case at the micro.

In a slightly defensive but very brief appendix the author uses the model to deconstruct a habit of his own but this is not self-help or how-to. I enjoyed the learning and didn't miss the advice. Timing? Very possible.  


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