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

by Charles Duhigg

A young woman walks into a laboratory. Over the past two years, she has transformed almost every aspect of her life. She has quit smoking, run a marathon, and been promoted at work. The patterns inside her brain, neurologists discover, have fundamentally changed. Marketers at Procter & Gamble study videos of people making their beds. They are desperately trying to figure out how to sell a new product called Febreze, on track to be one of the biggest flops in company history. Suddenly, one of them detects a nearly imperceptible pattern--and with a slight shift in advertising, Febreze goes on to earn a billion dollars a year. An untested CEO takes over one of the largest companies in America. His first order of business is attacking a single pattern among his employees--how they approach worker safety--and soon the firm, Alcoa, becomes the top performer in the Dow Jones. What do all these people have in common? They achieved success by focusing on the patterns that shape every aspect of our lives. They succeeded by transforming habits. In The Power of Habit, award-winning New York Times business reporter Charles Duhigg takes us to the thrilling edge of scientific discoveries that explain why habits exist and how they can be changed. With penetrating intelligence and an ability to distill vast amounts of information into engrossing narratives, Duhigg brings to life a whole new understanding of human nature and its potential for transformation. Along the way we learn why some people and companies struggle to change, despite years of trying, while others seem to remake themselves overnight. We visit laboratories where neuroscientists explore how habits work and where, exactly, they reside in our brains. We discover how the right habits were crucial to the success of Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps, Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz, and civil-rights hero Martin Luther King, Jr. We go inside Procter & Gamble, Target superstores, Rick Warren's Saddleback Church, NFL locker rooms, and the nation's largest hospitals and see how implementing so-called keystone habits can earn billions and mean the difference between failure and success, life and death. At its core, The Power of Habit contains an exhilarating argument: The key to exercising regularly, losing weight, raising exceptional children, becoming more productive, building revolutionary companies and social movements, and achieving success is understanding how habits work. Habits aren't destiny. As Charles Duhigg shows, by harnessing this new science, we can transform our businesses, our communities, and our lives.From the Hardcover edition.

Smarter Faster Better

by Charles Duhigg

From the bestselling author of The Power of Habit comes a fascinating new book exploring the science of productivity, and why, in today's world, managing how you think--rather than what you think about--can transform your life.Productivity, recent studies suggest, isn't always about driving ourselves harder, working faster and pushing ourselves toward greater "efficiency." Rather, real productivity relies on managing how we think, identify goals, construct teams and make decisions. The most productive people, companies and organizations don't merely act differently--they envision the world and their choices in profoundly different ways. This book explores eight concepts that are critical to increasing productivity. It takes you into the cockpit of two passenger jets (one crashes) to understand the importance of constructing mental models--telling yourself stories about yourself in order to subconsciously focus on what really matters. It introduces us to basic training in the U.S. Marine Corps, where the internal locus of control is exploited to increase self-motivation. It chronicles the outbreak of Israel's Yom Kippur War to examine cognitive closure--a dangerous trap that stems from our natural desire to feel productive and check every last thing off our to-do lists, causing us to miss obvious risks and bigger opportunities. It uses a high-achieving public school in Cincinnati to illuminate the concept of disfluency, which holds that we learn faster and more deeply when we make the data harder to absorb. It shows how the principles of lean manufacturing--in which decision-making power is pushed to the lowest levels of the hierarchy--allowed the FBI to produce a software system that had eluded them for years. It explores how Disney made Frozen into a record success by encouraging tension among animation teams--a version of what biologists refer to as the Intermediate Disturbance Hypothesis, which posits that nature is most creative when crises occur. With the combination of relentless curiosity, deep reporting and rich storytelling that defined The Power of Habit, Charles Duhigg takes readers from neurology laboratories to Google's brainstorming sessions and illustrates how we can all increase productivity in our lives.From the Hardcover edition.

Smarter Faster Better

by Charles Duhigg

From the author of the New York Times bestselling phenomenon The Power of Habit comes a fascinating new book that explores the science of productivity, and why, in today's world, managing how you think--rather than what you think--can transform your life. A young woman drops out of a PhD program and starts playing poker. By training herself to envision contradictory futures, she learns to anticipate her opponents' missteps--and becomes one of the most successful players in the world. A group of data scientists at Google embark on a four-year study of how the best teams function, and find that how a group interacts is more important than who is in the group--a principle, it turns out, that also helps explain why Saturday Night Live became a hit. A Marine Corps general, faced with low morale among recruits, reimagines boot camp--and discovers that instilling a "bias toward action" can turn even the most directionless teenagers into self-motivating achievers. The filmmakers behind Disney's Frozen are nearly out of time and on the brink of catastrophe--until they shake up their team in just the right way, spurring a creative breakthrough that leads to one of the highest-grossing movies of all time. What do these people have in common? They know that productivity relies on making certain choices. The way we frame our daily decisions; the big ambitions we embrace and the easy goals we ignore; the cultures we establish as leaders to drive innovation; the way we interact with data: These are the things that separate the merely busy from the genuinely productive. At the core of Smarter Faster Better are eight key concepts--from motivation and goal setting to focus and decision making--that explain why some people and companies get so much done. Drawing on the latest findings in neuroscience, psychology, and behavioral economics--as well as the experiences of CEOs, educational reformers, four-star generals, FBI agents, airplane pilots, and Broadway songwriters--this painstakingly researched book explains that the most productive people, companies, and organizations don't merely act differently. They view the world, and their choices, in profoundly different ways.In The Power of Habit, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Charles Duhigg explained why we do what we do. In Smarter Faster Better, he applies the same relentless curiosity, deep reporting, and rich storytelling to explain how we can improve at the things we do. It's a groundbreaking exploration of the science of productivity, one that can help anyone learn to succeed with less stress and struggle, and to get more done without sacrificing what we care about most--to become smarter, faster, and better at everything we do.Advance praise for Smarter Faster Better "As he did in The Power of Habit, Duhigg melds cutting-edge science, deep reporting, and wide-ranging stories to give us a fuller, more human way of thinking about how productivity actually happens."--Susan Cain, author of Quiet "Duhigg uses engaging storytelling to highlight fascinating research and core principles that we can all learn and use in our daily lives. A masterful must-read for anyone who wants to get more (and more creative) stuff done."--David Allen, author of Getting Things Done "Duhigg has a gift for asking just the right question, and then igniting the same curiosity in the rest of us. In Smarter Faster Better he finds provocative answers to a riddle of our age."--Jim Collins, author of Good to GreatFrom the Hardcover edition.

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