These are my personal book notes of The Power of Habit by the author Charles Duhigg.

Let’s dive in.


  • Author: Charles Duhigg
  • Title: The Power of Habit
  • Subtitle: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business
  • First published: 2012
  • Type: non-fiction
  • Genre: self-help / mindset
  • Author’s website:
  • Rating: 4/5
  • Recommended: Yes

Key Concepts and Ideas

This book explains the science and mental processes of habit creation and reformation.

Habits, scientists say, emerge because the brain is constantly looking for ways to save effort.

Habits are powerful, but delicate.

They can emerge outside our consciousness, or can be deliberately designed.

They often occur without our permission, but can be reshaped by fiddling with their parts.

They shape our lives far more than we realize – they are so strong, in fact, that they cause our brains to cling to them at the exclusion of all else, including common sense.

The Habit Loop Pattern

It consists of

  • a cue,
  • a routine,
  • and a reward.

These components help us understand how to change bad habits or form good ones.

As people strengthened their willpower muscles in one part of their lives – in the gym, or a money management program – that strength spilled over into what they ate or how hard they worked.

Once willpower became stronger, it touched everything.

The golden rule of habit change states that if you keep the cue, replace the routine, and keep the reward, change will eventually occur.

Willpower isn’t just a skill.

It’s a muscle, like the muscles in your arms or legs, and it gets tired as it works harder, so there’s less power left over for other things.

Belief is a critical element of change. Often people who join groups like accountability groups are better off than those who act alone as individuals.

It is facile to imply that smoking, alcoholism, overeating, or other ingrained patters can be upended without real effort.

Genuine change requires work and self-understanding of the cravings driving behaviors.

A keystone habit is a routine that is capable of initiating new habits in the lives of people.

Typically, people who exercise, start eating better and becoming more productive at work.

They smoke less and show more patience with colleagues and family.

They use their credit cards less frequently and say they feel less stressed.

Exercise is a keystone habit that triggers widespread change.

You have to have the willpower to change a habit, or more precise the routine.

Otherwise, the old habit will unfold automatically.

When a habit emerges, the brain stops fully participating in decision making.

It stops working so hard, or diverts focus to other tasks.

So unless you deliberately fight a habit – unless you find new routines – the pattern will unfold automatically.

Closing Thoughts

My book notes only cover small parts of the book.

So if you like what you read, please consider buying the book from the author.

Thank you for reading and stay awesome,

Tim for Online Business Dude

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