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The Power of Habit

Why We Do What We Do, and How to Change
Written by: Charles Duhigg
Narrated by: Mike Chamberlain
Length: 10 hrs and 53 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (1,305 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Brought to you by Penguin.

There's never been a better time to set new habits. This book will change your life.

Why do we do develop habits? And how can we change them?

We can always change. In The Power of Habit, award-winning New York Times business reporter Charles Duhigg translates cutting-edge behavioural science into practical self-improvement action, distilling advanced neuroscience into fascinating narratives of transformation.

Why can some people and companies change overnight and some stay stuck in their old ruts? The answer lies deep in the human brain, and The Power of Habits reveals the secret pressure points that can change a life. From Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps to Martin Luther King Jr., from the CEO of Starbucks to the locker rooms of the NFL, Duhigg explores the incredible results of keystone habits and how they can make all the difference between billions and millions, failure and success – or even life and death. 

The Power of Habit makes an exhilarating case: the key to almost any door in life is instilling the right habit. From exercise to weight loss, child-rearing to productivity, market disruption to social revolution and above all success, the right habits can change everything. 

Habits aren't destiny. They’re science, one which can transform our businesses, our communities and our lives.

©2012 Charles Duhigg (P)2012 Random House Audiobooks

Critic Reviews

"It’s a fascinating insight into making and breaking habits and offers practical advice, funny stories and critical thinking." (Press Association)

"Plenty of business books that try to tap into the scientific world manage to distil complicated research into readable prose. But few take the next step and become essential manuals for business and living. The Power of Habit is an exception." (Andrew Hill, Financial Times)

"Full of great ideas" (Evening Standard)

What listeners say about The Power of Habit

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Good book but lengthy one

Author could have made stories bit more concise and explained concepts in crisp manner.At times stories and details are too elaborate

5 people found this helpful

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Why did I wait to hear this book!

About the Narrator -
Mike Chamberlain's voice is clean, fresh, light, and unalloyed. The tone feels as if he brings the words directly from the author's mind to us with absolute conviction. His overall performance moves me to find more books with his narration.

About the Author -
I believe Charles has delved here a powerful finding. His study on Habits and the research done and committed here is nuanced and follows thorough folds of logic to bring the listener and reader to conclusion. His literary style is plain and can be understood by even the tender reader or listener.

About the Content -
This is one of the best books in the aisles of Personal Development, Business, Success, and self-help. Habits as whole are well traced. Its effect on us, how we develop it, how it changes us and its invisible implications over a course of period change us and our environment. A profound and in-depth study into how we can overcome. The paths we need to take in order to overcome these habits (bad ones- nail biting, gambling, injury, overeating - you name it).

This has begun a good change in me. I have started making these concious decisions in life that I otherwise wouldn't have had the gumption to try.

Powerful, wise, and bloody brilliant.

9 people found this helpful

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loved the logics behind why we do what we do.

very impressive- superb stories, well narrated. I am going to do some experiments right tomorrow to replace one bad habit with the other.

21 people found this helpful

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Good read

Helps you understand how habits are formed and modified in individuals and organisations. Useful if you have an urge to change but unable to.

17 people found this helpful

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Wow

I really enjoyed the way book was read. Thank you for making such a wonder and useful app

12 people found this helpful

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Too long for too less of take away

This book feels too long for the message it tries to deliver. The example stories are good but too long for them to make an impact. I felt like this book can be edited and shorted by 30% at least.

1 person found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars

it is a good book, but gets boring in parts

the idea it floats is impressive and also the narration is gripping in most parts

3 people found this helpful

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This book really helps!!!!

I am actually surprised, gentlemen about the effectiveness of this book!
It actually took away my smoking habit!
Just give it a try, and keep in mind, "Change is possible".

2 people found this helpful

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Great read

It's interesting to know more about how habits work, and how to work to change it.

2 people found this helpful

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Deeper understanding of habits

Its my first audible listen. enjoyed it. Scintific approach on habit formation, deformation. Hoping to get better at good habit formtion...

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  • Hamada
  • 28-08-13

I want more

Where does The Power of Habit rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

it is probably in the top 10%

Any additional comments?

The book is such a tease!! hold on, it is probably not fair to say that. the book is really valuable it offers great insight into the mind and how it works, into how habits form. but I need more.

1) there is so much around us that take advantage of how habits form, in a way that is sometimes (in my view) unethical. it makes me question a lot of the marketing that takes place. also made me wonder who has access to my habits and how do they use it. SCARY

2) the book offers no recipe for change. it tells you change is possible, it tells you the ingredients of the habit which can be potentially used for affecting change but it still leaves you wondering how to portion out the ingredients. not intentionally but just because of the nature of habit and the nature of individuals and how divers they are. it makes me want more.

9 people found this helpful

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  • Udo
  • 05-04-13

Only stories, no evidence

This book is from beginning to the end an example for all kind of cognitive fallacies and biases.

Don't get me wrong:
I believe that most of the author's hypotheses are true. But, the author does a very poor job of showing convincing evidence for his hypotheses.

You encounter instead hindsight bias, availability bias, non-sequiturs and anecdotal evidence.

For example, the author gives several examples of success stories, like "CEO "x" was very successful. CEO "x" used to do "y". Therefore, doing "y" is the reason why CEO "x" was successful. "

What about all the other CEOs who did "y" but weren't successful?
What else did CEO "x" do? Maybe one of THOSE things also contributed to the success as well?

I found myself repeatedly saying: "You cannot conclude that from what you just told me!"

Only few examples are given, where a scientific approach and unbiased logic were used.


I also think, that some anecdotes lighten up the flow of a non-fiction-book.
But an entire book full of anecdotes?

Furthermore, most of the stories are soooo tedious. E.g. I had to fast forward the story about this coach guy....

Also, I found the narrator a little bit annoying: in my opinion there was too much over-emphasizing and dramatization.

Over all, I regret the time for listening to this book.

I give two stars instead of just one star, because the hypotheses shown in this book are very interesting.

31 people found this helpful

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  • Sebastian
  • 11-03-19

anecdotal

Lots of anecdotes, little science.
I exoected more studies and actionable advice backe by science. instead its a collection of stories about alcoholics anonymous et cetera and the studies are sort of buried among all of those. but maybe that is your thing!

3 people found this helpful

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  • Carl
  • 15-05-12

Truly Life Changing

Any additional comments?

If you're reading this then chances are, you want to change something in your life. I've read self help books for years, some good, many terrible. This book stands head and shoulders above them all because the core concept of the book is a prerequisite for any other self help book to work.

In my opinion, anyone can write a self help book full of useful tips. You know the ones - "start with your outcome in mind, set goals, seek the advice of mentors, exercise in the morning, blah blah blah". Nothing wrong with any of that advice ..... other than the fact that so few people have the ability to follow it.

This book is the missing foundation. It's the platform that once in place will provide you the means to make successes of all the other self-help books out there (if you still need them that is).

And one more thing. Duhigg's methodology isn't really 'his' methodology. It relies on current research surrounding the triggers and rewards that make us do the things we do. It's refreshing to read a self-help book like this; one where the author forms his conclusions from empirical research instead of the all too frequent self help author who wakes us one day and writes a book about how much better our lives would be if we were self-disciplined.

9 people found this helpful

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  • harshvardhan
  • 26-02-19

Good book with interesting facts.

A must read to understand the nature of habits and habit forming and how to use it to our advantage.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 12-02-19

Good storyline and performance

I love the way the author, Charles Duhigg, uses the power of parallel storylines to bring out key learning points. Well written with good examples.

Good performance by the narrator, Mike Chamberlain, to bring the right expression for each character.

1 person found this helpful

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  • George Polyviou
  • 04-11-18

Not what I expected.

While the book teaches the fundamentals of habits and in the end accomplishes what it promised to do, in my opinion the countless stories are not needed at all. It goes in great unnecessary detail and in the end the points made are the same. This book could have been half the pages it is and that might be an understatement! Do not purchase this if you're looking for a compact book that goes straight to the point. This could be great for people that want to learn more about habits while not being bombarded with complex terminology but rather digest the book through entertaining stories.

Overall it's not a bad book but definitely not for me since I feel it wasted more time than it taught me.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Andia
  • 13-04-20

An eye opener about Habits

loved the inspirational stories about how change is possible and I even cried after hearing the story of Tony Dungey and his dedication and the heartfelt team that just did what they were trained to do!

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  • Anonymous User
  • 25-12-19

Iceberg of human behaviour

This book really helped me understand the Iceberg of human behaviour by taking me to the depths of what is behind the habits and how we are in a way slaves of it. And most importantly, how we can change our habits to the ones that we really desire. The author brings diverse examples that are gripping. Amazing and most rewarding read!

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  • Anonymous User
  • 17-09-19

Amazing listen

I would recommend this book to anyone who is looking to make some changes in their lives but don’t know how to start. This book doesn’t have the magical secret that people often think is always there but it will be of great assistance and the rest is up to you.

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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Mark Pack
  • 22-07-12

Appendix missing

Something to watch out for if you buy this audio version: when I got it, the book's Appendix ("A Reader's Guide to Using These Ideas') was missing.

157 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Jamie
  • 17-04-12

Absolutely excellent book

I really, really loved this book. This is the first time I have been driven to write a review on audible. If you're interested in how we make, or change habits, either as individuals or organisations, this is essential listening.

Just one thing though. The narrator, Mike Chamberlain, does a high pitched voice when reporting speech made by a woman. Do you even realise you're doing this Mike? It sounds a bit like you're taking the piss.

Otherwise though a fabulous listen/read.

165 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
  • J
  • 05-09-12

Good book but not a useful one

I really enjoyed this book. It has a whole bunch of interesting anecdotes that are woven together in a very well-done way. I would recommend it as something interesting to listen to.

That being said however this book really doesn't teach the reader anything about habit and it certainly doesn't teach you how to change your habits.

If you're looking for an entertaining listen then you cannot go wrong with this. If you're looking for a self-help book then steer clear.

91 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Robert
  • 23-12-12

Very good but lack precise program to change

I highly recommend this book, it describes a lot of interesting situations including habits in personal life as well as in company organization. It is absolutely worth a read only for those stories.



There are some drawbacks. Its missing good conclusion how reader can change his daily habits. All chapters and described stories are not so coherent as to create single book. You read/listen to book as compilation of interesting cases not single work with some good purpose and conclusion.



Audiobook is pleasure to listen and well prepared. If you are interested in topic, it is absolutely worth to buy.

28 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Paul
  • 08-10-12

I stopped biting my nails

It's now about a month since finishing the book, and I still haven't bitten my nails! That's pretty awesome if you ask me.



Don't be put off by the whining of Mike Chamberlain's narration. Yes, it's very American and nasal, but you soon get used to it. It's worth it for the content, I promise. It would seem out-of-context to deliver self-improvement material in any other accent.



I love the notions and ideas within this book. Personally, a single driver to explain all human behaviour is an appealing concept to me. Of course it can't account for the bursts of creative flair, or capricious emotion that humans sometime display. But by the end of the book, it's hammered home that EVERYTHING is down to habit. And I believe a very large part of human nature is.



The sections about keystone habits are useful and intriguing. There are many case studies, how a football team was turned from underdog to Super Bowl winner, how Starbucks train their staff, why the Kings Cross tube station fire happened, and how you can change your life and more.



All of these rather disparate and sensational events were ALL DOWN to habits! A beautiful, singular theory, but left me wanting to corroborate these events. The book is called The Power Of Habit, so its no wonder all the chapters build on each other to prove the gravity of such power.



I'm not saying that's a bad thing. A book should encourage you to go out and study the the subject further, or research the authour and his findings.



If you love self-help books, or want to change some habits of your own, then this book is a must.



I look at Starbucks in a completely different light now. (Will just go and check if Charles Duhigg is on the board ;-) )



48 people found this helpful

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  • i
  • 11-10-12

the power of habit...

This is so long winded and dull.. normally I am pleased with Audible but this title fails to engage , it is long winded and has no real value. It has no obvious benefits and was a waste of my money! More like a story book than a self help title. Very Disappointing.. but all credit to the one who wrote the description for this rubbish as they made me buy it! I have bought many titles from audible and most are excellent... this is not one I can recommend to anyone.. if I could get a refund.. this would be it!

49 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Marcela
  • 09-12-12

explains the science behind self help books

I liked this book because it has a clear structure. Firstly you learn how a human brain functions in terms of memory and patterns, where the memory is stored, where the habits are stored and how this was scientifically proven. Then you learn how we have to think first to manage a situation and then how we create a habit out of a situation and this whole process is not done intentionally by us. It is the process, which is driven by the efficiency of our brains with a habit to be defined as-cue-pattern-reward. It was fascinating to learn how the science behind this was used endlessly in advertising, how habits cannot be really changed, just overwritten. You learn about core habits and how doing one positive thing can affect the whole array of your behaviour. The importance of belief was another issue and how it happens that we are able to make changes in our lives and how it relates to the importance of community and support groups. Then how these simple principles apply to companies and societies. I enjoyed all stories and scientific experiments, which were mentioned in the book, I think it gave the book credibility and 'dry scientific' facts came to life in those. I really enjoyed learning something new as I hardly ever think of the fact how our brains work, this is not a self help book at all, but it gives you a sufficient glimpse into how you can do things, inspires you, explains the science behind self help books, rather than tells you what to do. I feel I learnt something important in a very pleasant way. Thank you. Charles and Mike :)

9 people found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
  • Kenny
  • 02-09-12

An awful agony of an audiobook

This book might be tolerable in book form, where you could skim the endless anecdotes and irrelevant, meaningless detail (do you care what an amnesia-sufferer eats for breakfast?). In audio form, it was a trial of my patience and because it lacks any overall structure, I'm pretty sure that I tuned out for most of the "conclusions", though many that were there seemed to be wild extrapolations (Tony Dungee's Colts team did not develop new habits until... Tony Dungee's son died?) based on a single celebrity datapoint.

Worst of all, this "unabridged" book can be summarised into about 5 facts with absolutely loss of fidelity, assuming that you understand facts and don't need anecdotes of the founder of the AA and Tony Dungee in order to accept them.

If what you want are a bunch of stories that vaguely involve the word "habit" this book is for you. If what you want are insights how habits form, how you can influence habits, you are far better off reading a five sentence summary of this book.

One extra note: I don't believe that this is in the "Malcolm Gladwell" class of anti-scientific conclusions based on coincidentally similar anecdotes. There is a sufficient amount of scientific evidence and study that it is true. So rather than taking the Gladwellian approach of a surprising conclusion by stringing together stories, it instead takes scientific study as its base and tries to find exemplar case studies to pad out the factual base with narrative. But you'd be better off sticking to facts if you actually care about facts.

50 people found this helpful

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  • Beefy
  • 20-02-15

This book had its ups and downs

The power of habit is a good audio book it is filled with a lot of knowledge and fascinating stories some of the stories dragged on a bit, very interesting the only thing is, it was telling me a lot about other people and companies habits but I don't really see why some of the stories were in it as it didn't really help me with my life and habit forms just about other companies habits and how the changed for the better it is good but I struggled to finish it. over all I'm glad I bought it as I've heard so much about it but kinda disappointed as there was a lot of info that didn't mean much to me.

8 people found this helpful

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  • Karl Moody
  • 03-12-18

Absolute drivvle

This whole story book is absolute waffle. I only lasted about 3 hours then skipped through the rest to see if there was any actual advice in here . . . and there isn't! It's all just storied about people who have run experiments etc. Yes we realise habits are powerful and important in life but nothing about how to change them as we are all expecting to hear and the reason why we all buy this book!

3 people found this helpful

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  • Steve
  • 06-08-16

A collection of research stories

I listened to this expectantly looking forward to how the principals could be applied, excited by the stories of success. Finally, a brief appendix at the end of the book outlined how to apply them. It's a good book if you enjoy hearing about research stories and scientific evidence for the principal of habit forming, but the stories are long winded and way too detailed. More like a story book than anything else, don't buy if you want principals and techniques for results. There are actual techniques that could have been included, such as starting tiny habits and make your trigger something simple. I returned the book as it was not what I was looking for. Maybe I had the wrong ideas about the book before reading it, but don't buy if you want practical and helpful suggestions for taking action. Great however if you want the evidence on habit formation and how it contributes to success.

53 people found this helpful

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  • MR Geoff Bowen
  • 26-08-16

Useless storytelling

The stories were somewhat interested, but of little practical use. After investing my time and money, I feel very much let down. Can not recommend!

23 people found this helpful

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  • Rose
  • 31-08-14

Excellent Book!!!

What made the experience of listening to The Power of Habit the most enjoyable?

The stories in the book are quite real and intriguing that you want to know more. Very well written. It has been a long time that I haven't read such a good book as this one.

What does Mike Chamberlain bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

Very well narrated. Excellent voice that doesn't make you fall asleep.

Any additional comments?

100% recommended if you want to know how our brain works on terms of habits and how we can change them when we realized are not good for our living.

12 people found this helpful

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  • Joshua Ngatoko
  • 06-03-17

Maybe a dry read at the start but press on

I did struggle to start it but as I got further on it became much more compelling. it asks some great questions as well as help you consider your day-to-day shortcomings. It's more about understanding habits rather than giving you a step by step plan (although it does give you one in the index) and the knowledge of understanding how a thing works rather than a guide will prove to be far more important.
Great book, glad I stuck it out.

5 people found this helpful

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  • Christine
  • 23-06-15

Simply brilliant

I loved this book. It gave real life examples and help me understand myself. I then went onto buy Gretchen Rubin's book "Better than before, mastering the habits of our everyday lives" and I'm hooked. It gives you clarity and control on habits that before I thought were just random.

10 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 25-04-17

Awesome Story-filled motivating.

This book is so worthwhile I went and bought a hard copy. The book is filled with anecdotes that support and bolster the important learning material in the text.
The audio is easy to listen to.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 24-09-18

1% practical use, 99% stories.

I would say you should find a book comprehensive summary and read it in 15-30 minutes (There are a lot)

The idea is so short, 99% of the book are stories of people using Habit loop in different ways, which might be good for pleasure reading, but not really good if you read with a sole purpose of self-improvement.

2 people found this helpful

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  • M
  • 23-05-17

Second listening, learned even more

Second listening, learned even more this time around. Best line for me is that when you realise you have a habit, it's your freedom and responsibility to change that habit. Some of the corporate and gambling stuff felt like filler, but the Gold is in there as well.

4 people found this helpful

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  • CINTIA ROJO ORTIZ
  • 11-09-18

Just OK

Very good. I just think sometimes the author confuses habit with culture or simple conditional behaviors.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Elle
  • 08-01-16

Revolutionised my thinking

Loved it passionately, took forever to finish but worth the time - it helped me see a lot about my life that I hadn't been able to understand or change before. Thank you for this book!

2 people found this helpful