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The Power of Habit | Become a Habit Changer | Book Summary

"The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business" by Charles Duhigg is a book that explores the science behind habit formation and how habits can be changed to improve personal and professional life. The book is written in an engaging and informative manner that is accessible to a wide audience, and the insights provided by the author have the potential to transform the way people think about their habits and the impact they have on their lives.


"The Power of Habit" is relevant for anyone who wants to improve their personal and professional life by understanding the science of habit formation and change. This book is for people who are seeking to understand why they do what they do and how to change unwanted behaviors. It is also for individuals who want to develop good habits and make them stick to achieve their goals. This book is especially relevant for professionals in fields such as business, psychology, marketing, and education who want to understand how habits shape human behavior and how to use this knowledge to create effective strategies and interventions.

Overall, this book is for anyone who wants to understand the psychology of habits and how to harness the power of habit to transform their lives. Whether you're struggling with a bad habit or looking to develop new and positive ones, this book provides a practical and research-based approach to help you achieve your goals.


Part One: The Habits of Individuals

Chapter One: The Habit Loop - How Habits Work In this chapter, Duhigg explains the three-step loop that makes up a habit - the cue, the routine, and the reward. He also explores how habits are formed, and the role they play in our lives. Duhigg gives an example of a woman who struggled with nail-biting for years until she identified the trigger, the routine, and the reward of her habit. She was then able to replace the routine of nail-biting with a healthier habit.

Chapter Two: The Craving Brain - How to Create New Habits In this chapter, Duhigg explains the science of cravings and how they can influence our habits. He explores the idea that habits are not permanent and can be changed if we understand how they work. Duhigg provides an example of how the CEO of Alcoa, Paul O’Neill, transformed the company by focusing on one keystone habit - worker safety. This one habit change transformed the company’s culture and profitability.

Chapter Three: The Golden Rule of Habit Change - Why Transformation Occurs In this chapter, Duhigg explains the importance of identifying the underlying reward of a habit in order to change it. He emphasizes that changing one habit can have a ripple effect on other habits and aspects of our lives. Duhigg gives an example of a man who quit smoking and, in the process, improved his diet, exercise, and relationships.

Part Two: The Habits of Successful Organizations

Chapter Four: Keystone Habits, or the Ballad of Paul O’Neill - Which Habits Matter Most In this chapter, Duhigg explores the idea of keystone habits and how they can have a significant impact on an organization. He gives examples of how companies like Starbucks and Target have used keystone habits to transform their businesses. Duhigg also explains how identifying and changing a keystone habit can have a ripple effect throughout an organization.

Chapter Five: Starbucks and the Habit of Success - When Willpower Becomes Automatic In this chapter, Duhigg uses the example of Starbucks to illustrate how habits can be used to create a successful business. He explains how Starbucks uses habits to create a consistent customer experience across all of its stores. Duhigg also emphasizes the importance of willpower in creating and maintaining habits.

Chapter 6: The Power of a Crisis

The sixth chapter discusses how crises and disruptions can lead to profound changes in an individual's habits. Habits that are deeply ingrained can be changed with the right motivation and support. For instance, individuals who suffer from addiction often only quit when they reach rock bottom and hit a crisis point. The chapter describes how a crisis can provide the necessary motivation to change habits. The key is to identify the cue and reward that are driving the unwanted behavior and substitute a new routine that still satisfies the reward but is healthier.

Example: One of the most striking examples of this is the story of Alcoa, a struggling aluminum company that in the 1980s faced numerous problems in productivity and worker safety. New CEO Paul O'Neill focused the company's attention on safety, and this single change had a ripple effect throughout the entire company. It created a sense of urgency, focus, and accountability that led to significant improvements in productivity and quality. By making safety the focus, workers started to identify and address other areas of the company that needed improvement, such as maintenance and communication.

Chapter 7: How Target Knows What You Want Before You Do

Chapter 7 focuses on the power of habits in the marketing industry. The chapter looks at how companies use data and knowledge of their customers' habits to target advertising and promotions. Companies like Target use algorithms to analyze customers' shopping patterns and make predictions about future purchases. By analyzing purchasing patterns and correlating them with other factors, such as age, income, and marital status, Target can identify when a customer is pregnant before she has even told her family.

Example: In one example cited in the book, Target identified a teenage girl's pregnancy before her father knew by analyzing her shopping habits. Target sent her coupons for baby products, which her father received and was initially outraged by, thinking Target was encouraging his daughter to become pregnant. After a few days, he realized that his daughter was indeed pregnant and had not yet told him. Target's predictive algorithm had accurately identified this before anyone else knew.

Chapter 8: The Neurology of Free Will

Chapter 8 delves into the science behind habits and how they are formed in the brain. The chapter describes the habit loop and the role of the basal ganglia, a part of the brain responsible for storing habits. It also looks at how our brains adapt to new habits over time and how habits become automatic, freeing up our conscious mind for more complex tasks.

Example: The book describes a study conducted on people who had suffered brain damage and lost the ability to form new memories. Despite their memory loss, these individuals were still able to form habits and routines. This demonstrates how ingrained habits can become and how they are stored in different parts of the brain than conscious decision-making.

Chapter 9: The Craving Brain: How to Create New Habits

Chapter 9 looks at how to create new habits and how to change old ones. The chapter emphasizes the importance of identifying the cue and reward that drive the habit and substituting a new routine that satisfies the same reward. The chapter also looks at how to use the power of social groups and accountability to reinforce new habits.

Example: The book cites the example of Alcoholics Anonymous, a program that uses a social support system to help individuals quit drinking. The program emphasizes personal responsibility, accountability, and daily routines, such as reciting the serenity prayer. By providing a supportive community and a routine, the program helps individuals replace their old drinking habits with new ones.

Chapter 10: The Golden Rule of Habit Change

In this final chapter, Duhigg offers a practical framework for changing our habits. He argues that the key to habit change is identifying the cue, routine, and reward that drive our behavior, and then experimenting with different routines until we find one that leads to a similar reward. He calls this the "golden rule of habit change."

Duhigg also emphasizes the importance of belief in the process of habit change. He explains that our beliefs about our ability to change our habits can have a significant impact on our success, and that we can develop a growth mindset by focusing on small wins and developing positive self-talk.


  1. Habits are powerful drivers of behavior and can shape our lives in profound ways.

  2. Habits are formed through repetition and reinforcement, and are stored in the basal ganglia.

  3. Habits consist of a cue, routine, and reward, and can be changed by experimenting with different routines until we find one that leads to a similar reward.

  4. Positive habits can be developed through intentional practice and positive reinforcement.

  5. The key to habit change is belief in the process and a growth mindset that focuses on small wins and positive self-talk.


Title: Creating a Habit Loop

Objective: To identify a habit and create a habit loop to make it stick


  1. Identify a habit: Choose a habit you would like to form or break. It could be related to work, health, or personal development.

  2. Analyze the habit: Break down the habit into its components. Identify the cue or trigger that prompts the habit, the routine or behavior itself, and the reward or outcome that follows.

  3. Replace the routine: Identify a new routine that satisfies the same cue and leads to the same reward. For example, if you are trying to break the habit of snacking on junk food in the afternoon, you could replace it with a healthier snack option like fruit or nuts.

  4. Test the new routine: Practice the new routine for at least a week, noting how you feel and any challenges you encounter.

  5. Reinforce the habit: To reinforce the habit, reward yourself every time you successfully follow the new routine. This could be as simple as patting yourself on the back or treating yourself to a small indulgence.

  6. Repeat and refine: Repeat the new routine until it becomes automatic, and refine the habit loop as needed to make it stick.

By following this exercise, readers can put into practice the concepts outlined in the book and create habits that lead to success in their personal and professional lives.

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