The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business by Charles Duhigg

09 Nov

The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and BusinessThe Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business by Charles Duhigg

My Rating★★★☆☆

Nothing Succeeds Like Success: A Case Study

Hey. Have you heard of Thomas Baker? How about Carol Wright? Chris Cameron? Vineet Shaw? Let us discuss Baker.

Thomas Baker was an average joe, but not without ambitions. A few years ago, acting on a tip, Tom, a competitive enough guy, decided to take his life into his own hands. What’s more, he decided to pick up one more Self-help book and this time follow up thoroughly on it. No holds barred. He asked around, looked in that wonderful site and finally decided on what seemed to him like the best out there right now. The ratings seemed to be out of the world too. The author, in the intro, even tries to reassure him against feeling overwhelmed by the excess of research in the book. This is exactly the sort of help that Tom needed.

Tom read the book with great diligence. He made notes and he made placards and he even bought magnets for his fridge and special sticky tapes for his mirrors. He knew this could work. He only had to believe.

He changed his routines, identified and included habit-forming cues. He created them, he played around with them, he even had some fun. He was very inventive and imaginative. The author would have commended the effort if he knew. Tom decide that he would write to Duhigg about his success once it pays off.

A month passed. Tom had made slight improvements but no major pay-off seemed to be in the offing. He chided himself for expecting windfalls. He reminded himself that these things take time. He kept at it.

6 months now. Even the minor gains he had made originally have fallen by the wayside now. He had read he book three times in this time, truing to reaffirm his faith. He was discouraged now but he kept at it.

2 years. The book is long forgotten. But Tom had taken the trouble to document his experiences and had sent a detailed case study to the author. He had requested that it be included in the next edition of the book. He wanted the author to include a chapter on failures – on how it might not work for everyone. He wanted a caveat, a mild statement of warning that just because a book worth of case studies of success is presented, there is no reason to expect that any approach (no matter how good) might work for everyone. Humans would be fulfilling Asimovesque dreams if that were the case. He thought this would add depth and realism to an otherwise fine book.

He did not even get an auto-generated acknowledgment slip. But that was ok, he had discovered a new Gladwell book on another airport aisle. Apparently, it is not just habits that doesn’t stick, lessons don’t either.

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Posted by on November 9, 2013 in Book Reviews, Books


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"Stranger, if you passing meet me and desire to speak to me, why should you not speak to me? And why should I not speak to you?" - Walt Whitman

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