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  • Sep 18, 2014
  • Updated: 8:33pm

The Power of Habit

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 03 June, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 03 June, 2012, 12:00am

The Power of Habit
by Charles Duhigg
(read by Mike Chamberlain) Random House Audio (audiobook)

Humans are creatures of habit. But the things that we seem hard-wired to do can be altered if we understand how they work. Citing a study that finds up to 40 per cent of our actions are habitual, Charles Duhigg shows how people - and companies - have changed their routines for the better. Stopping smoking and consuming junk food are obvious examples of bad habits that can be overcome. But the author also gives examples of how business habits can be altered. Former US Treasury chief Paul O'Neill, who became aluminium giant Alcoa's CEO in the 1980s, greatly improved worker safety, creating an environment in which other beneficial behaviour emerged. How-to addicts will appreciate Duhigg's advice for developing good habits: gym gear by the bed can be the cue for a morning jog, which then creates a craving for the reward to come - breakfast. Target and Starbucks are also scrutinised for habits that boost profits. The book, although fascinating, suffers from its narration, with Mike Chamberlain's imitation of female voices sure to set most listeners on edge.

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