by Charles Duhigg

Finished on
Author’s site
Publisher’s site

A really fascinating read. Duhigg lays out how habits work: how they are formed, how they are strengthened, and how they can be weakened and broken. He digs into the science behind habits and how they work in a social context.

Duhigg’s a great writer, and the book is a delight to read. Each aspect is illustrated through real-life examples, with the science and the stories told in tandem. I was left eager to find out “what happens next?” in every case.

My main motivation for reading the book was to challenge some established, detrimental habits in my own life. This led me to initially only read the first part (“The Habits of Individuals”), the last chapter (“The Neurology of Free Will”) and the appendix, which offers advice in applying the principles of the book. I thought I could safely skip the second part (“The Habits of Successful Organisations”), as I thought it would only be applicable to business, which is not something I’m particularly interested in. This was a mistake, and if you do this you’ll miss out on a huge amount. Chapter four, about keystone habits and Paul O’Neill’s tenure at Alcoa, is easily one of my favourite bits of the book and has enormous relevance to habits in individuals’ lives, as well as being thrilling to read!

Highly recommended: a pleasure to read, great stories, and a lot to learn.