The book didn't stink, no.
Quite the opposite actually, it stood out for its clarity of purpose -- demonstrating how human intelligence is connected to habits and what we can do to make changes in the way we work, and live.
Febreze was there because of a landmark case study about how P&G figured out how to promote their new compound and product that would spread and sell.
It involved understanding how to insert a new habit into people's existing routines. According to Duhigg, P&G learned that human habits can be broken down into a three step process:
- A cue that triggers a specific kind of behavior
- The performance routine that is triggered
- The psychological reward for performing the routine
To win share of mind/and wallet, the key was to: keep the ads simple: find an obvious cue and clearly define the reward.
By far the best part of reading The Power of Habit: How we do What we do in Life and Business (Amazon affiliate link) was corresponding with the author, veteran New York Times columnist Charles Duhigg.
In a very warm follow up email, he reminded of a recent exchange we had for a story he was working on, and presented the reason why I was receiving the book.
I did take the time to read the whole book. Here's why:
- it's well written -- clear language devoid of buzz terminology appeals to me
- it's well researched -- beyond doing the homework, there is enough detail with each example to make the reader's job of seeing how they relate to the central thesis effortless
- its fresh take -- culled from different facets of life and business, the examples use a fresh point of view and new information. In addition to P&G, Duhigg writes about Target and the Rhode Island Hospital, Starbucks, Pepsodent, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the Indianapolis Colts, and Rosa Parks and the Saddleback Church
- its immediate application to changing bad habits -- say, for example, that you want to stick with an exercise program, or a new nutritional diet, or learning a second language... the tools alone can do only so much
My take on Denning's review* is we keep revisiting the past because we're collectively hooked on proven success stories and models. I don't agree completely with Denning's suggested management book list, though it's a proven and accepted roster.
Indeed, it isn't rocket science, it's called building prosperity and confidence by making the best promises you can keep. Applied to Boards, this is called the Tunjic Offense and Mechanics, and you'll hear a lot more about it soon (both descriptive AND prescriptive).
Do you have a system that works when it comes to changing habits?
See more reviews:
New York Times: How Companies Learn Your Secrets by Charles Duhigg
*Forbes: How do You Fix Bad Habits? by Steve Denning
Wall Street Journal: How Habits Hold Us by Jonah Lehrer
BoingBoing: Target's Creepy Data-Mining Program Predicts Your Future Shopping Changes, Disguises This Fact from You by Cory Doctorow
Presenting the Conversation Agent WORKSHOP, an opportunity to create new habits.
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