National Editor Tom Karst
National Editor Tom Karst

Just picked up "The Power of Habit" by Charles Duhigg at the local library, and it is a fascinating read. The premise, in short, is that we are the sum of our habits.

From the book...

"When you woke up this morning, what did you do first? Did you hop in the shower, check your email, or grab a donut from the kitchen counter. Did you brush your teeth before or after you toweled off? Tie the the left or right shoe first?".

And later..

"Most of the choices we make each day may feel like the products of well-considered decision making, but they're not. They're habits. And though each habit means relatively little on its own, over time, the meals we order, what we way to our kids each night, whether we save or spend, how often we exercise and the way we organize our thoughts and work routines have enormous impacts on our health, productivity and happiness.


Just starting the book, but I like it so far..

Chapter titles

The Habit Loop: the science of habit formation

The Craving Brain: How Pepsodent changed America's teeth brushing habits by creating a craving

The Golden Rule of Habit Change: If we keep the same cue and the same reward, a new routine can be inserted

Keystone Habits, or the Ballad of Paul O'Neill: How Alcoa made worker safety its obsession and soared

Starbucks and the habit of success: How Starbucks instills willpower in employees to help them through rough patches

The Power of a Crisis: Creating habits through accident and design

How Target Knows What You Want Before You Do: Reference to the WWI Committee on Food Habits and its successful campaign to get Americans to eat organ meat.  "To change people's diets, the exotic must become familiar. And to do that, you must camouflage it in everyday garb."

Saddleback Church and the Montgomery Bus Boycott:

The Neurology of Free Will: Are We Responsible for our Habits?




TK: The framework for change is found in the appendix, with the counsel "almost any habit can be reshaped."

The author has a lot to say about how habits are reshaped, with references to routine, rewards, cues and having a plan. Perhaps fruit and vegetable marketers may find his comments on the "Committee on Food Habits" sufficiently inspiring to rethink fresh produce promotion principles.