The Power of Habit - Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business
Charles Duhigg

by

Nina Calhoun

Chapter 9
Summary

In this chapter, Charles concentrates on the complex links between habits that are considered to be automatic behaviors which he terms as the “the neurology of free will”, as well as the role of the community in assigning responsibility (Duhigg, 2012). He is more curious about the “ethics of habit, and choice” which is seen through the lives of both Angie Bachmann, and Brian Thomas (Duhigg, 2012). On the surface, these two appear to have different experiences when it comes to losing, however, the actions demonstrate how the brain responds to habits which have been ingrained, and how these neurological processes trigger them to make particular decisions.

Analysis

Charles states that some habits which people possess are ingrained in their neurology to an extent that they can occur automatically without any input from other parts of the brain. Following this argument, Angie’s gambling problem, and Brian’s sleep terror appear to be similar when they are both viewed as reflex behaviors. The other cases which Charles covers in this chapter include cases of murders, physical assault, and rape which are committed by individuals when they are sleeping mentally rather than physically. He, however, notes that in instances in which people commit crimes as a result of an addiction, for example, gambling, when the conscious mind is involved, they should be held accountable for their action. This is due to the fact that they are fully cognizant of the actions they are taking part in, and have a choice to change their behaviors. Charles, throughout the chapters, continues to give insights that indeed habits are not one’s destiny, and as such one can choose to adopt positive habits. He claims that the ‘real power of habit’ is the knowledge that habits are what one chooses them to be (Duhigg, 2012). As they are not hereditary, every individual has an opportunity to develop positive behaviors.

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