In this section of the blog I will periodically discuss books that I have found to be thought provoking. These will not always be works about therapy, and in fact my hope is to identify a wide range of literature that is both thought provoking and helpful (in terms of understanding and identifying ways to help people change behavior).
The Power of Habit: Why We do What We do in Life and Business, by Charles Duhigg
In this highly readable work, Duhigg advances the idea that much of behavior is driven or controlled by habits. His deceptively simple thesis is that if we can better understand how habits work, how they can control behavior, that we will be much more able to change behavior. Duhigg is not referring to only individual behavior but also to behavior on a corporate and community levels, as well. His examples range from an analysis of how habits can explain compulsive gambling to how the famous Montgomery Bus Boycott was successful, in part, because of the power of habits. The Power of Habit is clearly not a self help book. Rather, it is an analysis of human behavior, and how something as simple as habits influence and shape behavior. Duhigg’s work calls into question many of our cherished explanations for how and why people behave the way they do. It also suggests that behavior can be changed quite effectively if we understand how habits work.
I would highly recommend this book. While it may be unsettling to think that something as simple as habits underlie many negative and positive patterns of behavior, it is also a hopeful idea, because it suggests that change is quite possible.