I recently went to Barnes & Noble to buy some books for my birthday. I found a table that had a buy 2 get 1 free deal, but you had to pick books on the table. Immediately I knew two books I wanted. I had no idea what I wanted for the third book. So I meandered around, picked up a few different books, read a few different pages, and stumbled across this book. I had never heard of it before, never heard of the author, and had no idea what it was about. But I've always been interested in cognitive science (science of the brain) and a "why we do the things we do" study of psychology. It peaked my interest enough where I picked it up and brought it home. As soon as I started reading it, I realized I would need a highlighter for all of the morsels of knowledge Duhigg provides along the way.
The book covers three different sections. The first section explains how habits form as part of every day life. It breaks down the science behind the formation of habits and how we can change them. The second part of the book shows how to focus on successful habits to grow an organization or company. The third part looks at large society groups, like churches or the civil rights movement, and how they respond to habits. Throughout each section, it continually reminds you how the habits are formed.
As I'm finishing the book, my group of friends has decided to go on a diet starting August 1st. Here I am reading a book about understanding your habits (both good and bad), learning how to change bad habits and create new habits, and finding the insight to recognize why I may have failed before. What wonderful insight it has provided for me! I still have to put in the hard work, but at least I feel like I know what to look for now. I can follow some of the advice and plans in the book to set myself up for a better chance at success. I really am intrigued to know if my diet will be more successful now that I've read this book.
Not only did the book make me think about my upcoming diet plans with my friends, but it opened up the thought process for a number of different habits I've formed. To quote from the first chapter, "more than 40 percent of the actions people performed each day" aren't actual decisions, but habits. If we can become more observant and retrospective as to why we have created habits for ourselves, it is remarkable to think of the outcome we may be able to have. Of course, there are positive habits. Not all of them are negative. I guess the point is to sit and understand why the habit exists, if it is a positive or negative habit, and if there is a way to change it for the better. I may not want to change every habit I have ever formed, but I'm hoping that this book has at least given me the option to change some of my habits for the better.