Wednesday, October 8, 2014

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

Date: 09/2014

Title: "The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business"

Author: Charles Duhigg

Duration: 10 hrs and 57 mins

Review: Cue, routine, reward.  This is the basic formula for so much of what fills our days.  In this book, the author shows us this structure in a surprisingly large swath of life, both personal life, and group and collective life including family and business activities.  I liked this book.  It gave me some insights into building, or at least thinking about products that emphasize this structure, cue routine, reward, and how they would be, as a result of this emphasis, more likely to take off and become consolidated in user's lives. Also, it reinforced my belief in the very strong effect that this structure has on human beings and activities.  We rely on the habit structure as a mental shortcut that allows us to not re-think the many thousands of actions, and even thoughts, that we need everyday.  Many of our most basic needs, are provided for by utilizing a habit structure.
The Febreze case that Duhigg relates is really interesting and illustrative of the fact that you need the entire structure, all three elements in the right order to create a product that fully takes advantage of the habit loop.
This book inspired me to think about products from this perspective. The habit structure is neither good nor bad, and this vital mental structure can be used to sell fast food just as well as it can be used to get people to brush their teeth, or even spend more time with, or stop yelling at their kids.  Those of us that think about product design, and especially those of us that try to make pro-social, "good" products should really consider this more and try to design to it.  I liked this book and recommend it for anyone who wants to better understand people, especially, themselves.