The Power of Habit book review

1024 576 David Joannes

Date read: 04.21.2017. How strongly I recommend it: 10/10.

The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business, by Charles Duhigg on Amazon.

See my Kindle highlights here.

(Note: This post contains affiliate links, which means that the ministry of Within Reach Global will receive 4.50% of your total purchase from Amazon.)


Readers from all different demographics will find this book helpful and inspiring. Everyone wants to create healthy habits, better their lives, and live with purpose. This book appeals to men and women of all ages, ethnicities, and backgrounds. Quoting William James, the author states that “All our life, so far as it has definite form, is but a mass of habits.” The author’s voice is uplifting and encouraging, laying out scientific facts and research data that proves how everyone can change their habits and experience a more meaningful life.


This book is story-driven. I was pleasantly surprised that a book of this nature (habit making/creating/shifting) was so filled with personality. Initially I thought that the text would be rather dry. Instead I found myself breezing through each hypothesis because the chapters infused with masterfully narrated tales. The first section focuses on how habits emerge within individual lives. The second part examines the habits of successful companies and organizations. The third part looks at the habits of societies. The author’s uplifting tone is evident in the text: “If you believe you can change—if you make it a habit—the change becomes real. This is the real power of habit: the insight that your habits are what you choose them to be. Once that choice occurs—and becomes automatic—it’s not only real, it starts to seem inevitable”


The poignant clarity of this book’s message is found in the many tailored visual aids. Each image expresses the habit loop: cue, routine, reward. I found the addition of these images especially helpful. The author says, “To change a habit, you must keep the old cue, and deliver the old reward, but insert a new routine. That’s the rule: If you use the same cue, and provide the same reward, you can shift the routine and change the habit. Almost any behavior can be transformed if the cue and reward stay the same.” This is a uniquely constructive piece of advice. We are forever trying to steer the course of our lives but are often going about it the wrong way. This new take on recreating habits is fresh and exciting to me. The author reiterates, “It seems like it should be more complex. The truth is, the brain can be reprogrammed. You just have to be deliberate about it.”


As mentioned above, this book is story-driven. The author weaves between multiple narratives included in each chapter. Rather than simply telling a story chronologically, instead he masterfully moves between these different narratives. The culmination of these stories provides a powerful hypothesis for habit transformation. The book is thought-provoking, inspiring, and encouraging, and the creativity is revealed in the author’s ability to move between multiple narratives to arrive at a stirring conclusion.


Though this book is embedded with neurological research and scientific findings, the text is easy to digest and comprehend. Again, I am compelled to praise the author’s storytelling ability. He transforms scientific research into layman’s terms, simplifying the habit loop for the reader. His inclusion of endnotes can be particularly helpful for those who want to delve deeper into the scientific research. But for those who simply want to breeze through the book in search for gems, the language selection of this book is easy to absorb.


After reading this book, I walked away inspired, believing that it is actually possible to shift negative habits into positive routines. “Once you understand that habits can change, you have the freedom—and the responsibility—to remake them. Once you understand that habits can be rebuilt, the power of habit becomes easier to grasp, and the only option left is to get to work.” But this book touches on multiple facets of my life, not only individual. I find myself considering the rhythms of my organization, Within Reach Global, and what I can do to help foster a culture transformation within our team. This book elicits response. For that reason, I will end this review here because I’m headed to the gym—perhaps a keystone habit that will teach me how to reprogram the other routines in my life.


I give The Power of Habit a 10/10.