Books that had a lasting impact on my life (Book 5: Power of Habit)

The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business by Charles Duhigg explains how habits are formed and how we can change them. I like that the book is filled with interesting scientific theories and case studies, but more than that, I love the book for being so well-written.

Of the things I learned from it, the most valuable one was the habit loop. Mr. Duhigg explained that a habit always starts with a trigger (ex: you are stressed, you are bored, you are sad) and then there’s a response (ex: you smoke a cigarette, you bite your nails, you get drunk). You can’t just will yourself out of the habit and say you’ll stop. The triggers will always be there, and they will push you back into your old ways. What you need to do is replace your response and therefore form a new habit. This is why smokers are advised to eat candy. So when they feel the trigger of stress, they eat candy instead.

The Power of Habit was more than just a book with facts, it was a book that was enhanced by style, infused with fictional or poetic techniques, and punctuated with feeling. When I write my non-fiction articles, I do the same. I don’t invent facts but I present the facts using fiction’s techniques through creating a narrative structure and building a scene. I also poetry’s descriptive techniques.

This is why I really liked the part where Mr. Duhigg discusses the case of Eugene. Eugene can’t remember what he did the day before but he still formed habits. (Spoiler alert!) When Eugene was about to die, he suddenly turned to his daughter and said, “I’m lucky to have a daughter like you”. That scene was so poignant and it was as though a foreshadowing of his peaceful passing.

I wonder how Mr. Duhigg was able to discover that detail. I wonder what question he asked. Most of all, I hope that someday I’ll be able to write something as beautiful as that scene.

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Note: For some entries in this blog, a few names and details have been deliberately and willingly changed by the author. This is a personal decision made by the author for specific reasons known to her and is not an endorsement for censorship.

All the opinions expressed in this page and in this blog are my own and do not represent the official stances of the companies, institutions, and organizations that I am affiliated with. I am a person. I’m not just a manifestation of corporate interests. I have an identity that is separate from my company because even if human beings are paid for a service by corporations, human beings are not owned by corporations. 


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