Tuesday, October 16, 2012

#289 / Habit Forming

Charles Duhigg writes for The New York Times. His most recent book, The Power of Habit, is partly a report on recent medical research, partly a self-help manual for individuals, and partly an advisory to corporate executives on models of successful business management. 

Duhigg also supplies a very nice analysis of the Civil Rights Movement, beginning with Rosa Parks and the Montgomery bus boycott, and tells us what made that protest so successful. In other words, The Power of Habit also provides guidance to those who would like to ignite a successful movement of social change. That was the part I really liked!

Duhigg's book reminded me, more than anything, of another book I've recently read, Connected. Connected focuses on the rules that govern our collective existence. The Power of Habit focuses on the rules that govern our individual actions. Both books, however, suggest ways that we can move from a systematic and "scientific" analysis of how we operate, and how we act, to insights that can change our behavior - and thus change our world

Movements don't emerge because everyone suddenly decides to face the same direction at once. They rely on social patterns that begin as the habits of friendship, growth through the habits of communities, and are sustained by new habits that change participants' sense of self.  [Duhigg, 244]

I have seen it happen in Santa Cruz County.

Probably time to try that one more time!

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