Reading is essential for many reasons, but don’t take it from me…

“A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies… The man who never reads lives only one.”
— George R.R. Martin

or…

“You don’t have to burn books to destroy a culture. Just get people to stop reading them.”
— Ray Bradbury

bookshelves

I’ve found that a habit that rekindled from boredom during the pandemic has blossomed into something which has helped my critical thinking, knowledge retention, and idea generation.

I’ve been reading a minimum of three times per week for periods of 30 minutes or longer since about May 2020. It has become so enjoyable, that I’ve even set a goal to read 26 or more books this year. I’m happy to report that I’m on pace to meet this goal.

To retain what I’ve learned or enjoyed most from my reading, I’ve decided to write an occasional book review for (mostly myself, or) those interested in similar topics.

I’ve been reading mostly technical books, self-help, and some science-fiction, and to start this review series off I decided to look into The Power of Habit, by Charles Duhigg.

 

Book 1: The Power of Habit (Charles Duhigg)

The Power of Habit

As someone both interested in habits that influence productivity and one that has faced issues with addiction, I’m always interested in reading about the psychology and process of habit formation or change.

This 302-page book by “award-winning, business reporter”, Charles Duhigg, is an entertaining and easy read.

You don’t have to be a scientist or an academic to get something out of it.

Duhigg has researched and explored habits in individuals across various circumstances (athletes, leaders, school dropouts, etc.) and even looked at them from an organizational and societal perspective. He shares his findings in this book.

Each chapter weaves an individual story of a person, organization, or socially impactful event into an overarching analysis of habits: their formation, how they work, and how we can make this process work for us.

There are two parts of this book that I especially liked (though it’s entertaining as a whole):

  1. An expository piece on Michael Phelps, the Olympic swimmer, and his routine for success in the swim lane and out. I won’t spoil the details of the book, but there is a nice piece about how he has habitually taken on this process of visualizing his success in competition. It’s great and, in my opinion, motivating even as a non-athlete.
  2. There is an appendix with a guide/instruction of how the author applied what we’ve learned from the book to form different, more healthy habits. I was grateful to notice this appendix about halfway through, which was around the time I began to wonder how I might apply the lessons from these entertaining stories to my life.

All in all, The Power of Habit is an entertaining and well-researched read that doesn’t come off as preachy or too academic to be accessible for the average reader.

This book was my starter in a series of habit development books that I’ve decided to read to explore my own behaviors.

I certainly recommend it, will likely reread it, and am currently using what I learned to explore my triggers for unhealthy diet cravings and exercise procrastination.

Wish me luck!

Thanks for reading! If you enjoyed this article…

You can expect a post from me at a minimum of every two weeks on topics related to my journey and if you have any questions that I’m not answering please don’t hesitate to reach out to me (comments, DMs, tweets, etc.)

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