Charles Duhigg's The power of habit: why we do what we do in life and business, a guide.
- ISBN: 9781614646228 (electronic bk.)
- ISBN: 1614646228 (electronic bk.)
- Physical Description: 1 online resource.
- Publisher: [United States] : Hyperink - The Power of Habit Quicklet : 2012.
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Charles Duhigg was a reporter in Iraq a decade ago when he heard about an army major who was analyzing videotapes of riots. He wanted to see if he could detect any patterns that might help him stop the riots before they began. He did. First, a small crowd would gather in a plaza. Within a few hours, they would begin to chant angry slogans. Spectators would show up. Food vendors would arrive. Time would pass. The chanting would get louder. More time would pass. The spectators would remain in a relatively small space, except around dusk when they got hungry. They'd buy some food, then return to their original spot. That was the pattern for most, but there were some who would march into the middle of the crowd, back out to the edge, back to the middle. Those were the troublemakers. One would throw a bottle, another would throw a rock. Within 15 minutes, there would be a full-scale riot. The major told Duhigg that after observing this pattern, he scheduled a meeting with the town's mayor. He made what must have seemed like an odd request. Would it be possible for the police to keep food vendors out of the plazas? The mayor said yes. A few weeks later, a small crowd gathered near a plaza. As the afternoon wore on, they began chanting angry slogans. Spectators showed up. Time passed. The chanting got louder. More time passed. Dusk fell. But this time, there were no food vendors to feed the crowd. Some went home to eat. Some went to restaurants. By 8PM, nearly everyone was gone. The riot never happened. Duhigg asked the major what made him realize that something as simple as getting rid of the food vendors would end the riots. The major said that the U.S. military had taught all about habits--how they're formed, how they're broken. The U.S. military, he said, was "one of the biggest habit-formation experiments in history" and that understanding habits was "the most important thing" he'd learned in the army. Duhigg became intrigued by habits and their power. "That's what this book is about," he writes. "Changing habits isn't necessarily quick or easy. But it is possible. And now we know how."
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