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One must listen if one wishes to be listened to.La Rochefoucault

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The Power of Habit

The Power of Habit

How do habits work and how can one rely on them to initiate good practices in the business?

Author(s): Charles Duhigg

Publisher: Random House

Date of publication: 2012

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This book analyzes the mechanics of habits, both individual and collective. The habit is initially a deliberate choice that then transforms into an automatic reaction. It then becomes very difficult to suppress it, because its scheme is recorded in our brain. The author rather recommends to replace it by another habit. He insists on the need to identify what triggers the habit and what it is fulfilling. Thus, it becomes easier to anticipate the way to replace it without our brain sending signals of anger or frustration.

The book explores the topic from multiple angles: healthy living, society moves, marketing, training, change management. He thus offers multiple perspectives, to the satisfaction of the curious reader. We thus learn, for example, that the retail chain Target knows how to identify pregnant customers through the habits that their shopping baskets reveal, and guesses their stage of pregnancy. It then succeeds in developing their loyalty by sending them coupons anticipating their future purchases—of food supplements for example, which they consume far more than other customers. A significant part of the book is dedicated to change management and to the implementation of best practices in business, with the examples of Alcoa and Starbucks in particular.

An eye-opening book on an important mechanism, with a positive tone, which encourages the reader to change habits without minimizing the difficulties this represents.