Wednesday, April 18, 2012 | 5:22 p.m.
- The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business
Cue, routine, reward. That’s how New York Times investigative reporter Charles Duhigg sees the world. All habits, Duhigg says, can be broken up into those three components. We drive by the Golden Arches; we imagine fries in our mouths; we stuff our faces. In The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business, Duhigg argues that the key to breaking a habit is to first identify the cue—sometimes that’s harder than it seems—and then substitute the routine for another. So instead of buying a cookie from the cafeteria every day, we should socialize with our friends sans dessert. Maybe we’re not really hungry; maybe we’re just bored.
Duhigg applies this formula to everything from Pepsodent toothpaste sales to Alcoholics Anonymous success rates. He does so in entertaining fashion. He’s an engaging writer … and that’s why it took me so long to realize I didn’t really like the book. The writing is great, but the actual information is old news. Try chewing gum every time you want a cigarette? I knew that. We all knew that.