The Power of Habit: Review

by | May 13, 2013 | Book Reviews


I’m going to write reviews of the books I read throughout the year in addition to sharing nuggets of insight from the books with you. The reviews will be as concise as possible, and they’ll be skimmable. If you want to see how many pages I read a day, head on over to the Stats page! I’ll be adding more information to that page as time goes on, like the books I’m reading.

Brief Synopsis/Review

You buy a coffee every morning without thinking too much about it. You bite your nails when you get anxious, again, without thinking about. That’s just.. what you do. About 40% of your actions are automatic responses to cues in your external environment.1 The Power of Habit dives deep into the world of habits – that 40% of us that we don’t think about and find hard to change – and explores why we really do what we do.

Though the book isn’t overly practical, it’s fascinating to discover what the automatic 40% of your mind is up to. For its entertainment value alone, it’s worth picking up this book. It will open up a new world you hadn’t thought of before, and despite the book being a little short on practical, tactical details, the information contained in it is still very valuable.

covershadow.001What you’ll get out of it

  • This book will show you where your habits come from, and most importantly, how you can go about changing the habits you have.
  • The book will make you more mindful of why you do what you do.

Will it make you more productive?

  • Yes and no. But mostly yes.
  • Yes, because it gives you valuable insights on the inner-workings of your mind, which allows you to understand why you do what do you. The book also provides a few great practical tips at the end.
  • No, because the book mostly talks about theory. I’m having a hell of a time writing any articles about the book (and likely won’t), because habits are so hard to boil down into a few easily-digestible tips. It was a great read, though.


  • Download the book’s Appendix (PDF – 524KB), named “A Reader’s Guide to Using These Ideas”. It outlines the four steps necessary to change a habit. If the free PDF piques your interest, consider buying the book.
  • If you don’t have a ton of time to spare, the real meat of the book is in Part One (the first five chapters). After that, the author tells some interesting stories about business and social movements, but the best stuff is in part one.




Images Copyright © 2012 by Charles Duhigg.

  1. Source: – PDF, 147kb 

Written by Chris Bailey

Chris Bailey has written hundreds of articles on the subject of productivity and is the author of three books: How to Calm Your Mind, Hyperfocus, and The Productivity Project. His books have been published in more than 40 languages. Chris writes about productivity on this site and speaks to organizations around the globe on how they can become more productive without hating the process.

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