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Book Club - The Power of Habit

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

The NAPO-NY Book Club met at the Barnes & Noble Cafe on Saturday, July 16 to discuss Charles Duhigg’s “The Power of Habit.” Six members attended and the meeting began with a general discussion about one of our favorite topics – how to gain and work with clients! One attendee mentioned that she loved the opportunity to chat with other members in a small-group setting.

Before long, the conversation turned to “The Power of Habit” and how we can use the lessons from the book to help our clients influence their habits. Some readers loved Duhigg’s writing style, which relied on storytelling and citing research to illustrate the mechanisms behind forming and changing habits. Others felt that too much information was provided, and that they would rather have the facts instead of reading the details of the scientific studies.

The most important insight we gained from the book was the necessity of replacing unwanted habits with new routines, instead of eradicating them completely. The trick, as Duhigg says, is to keep the cue and the reward the same, and change the routine. We had difficulty trying to apply these guidelines to figure out the best way to curb nighttime snacking habits – we determined that our desire to snack probably stems from a need for comfort, not hunger, but few things provide the comfort and satisfaction of a pint of Ben and Jerry’s! However, several readers agreed that they are better able to stick to eating plans when they regularly attend Weight Watchers meetings, which aligns with another of the book’s findings: that the support of a like-minded group makes habit changes more likely.

For those who find themselves impatient with Duhigg’s investigative reporting approach to writing, the last two sections of the book provide straightforward actionable information. The 11-page afterword shares the stories of readers who used the book to effect real drastic change in their lives, and the 11-page appendix is a straightforward step-by-step guide to changing your own habits. You might choose to start with these sections, and if they pique your curiosity, go back to the beginning to get the science behind how habits work.