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The Power of Habits: Why We Do What We Do In Life and Business

by Charles Duhigg

Why you should read this book? You will dive deep into the science of habits and learn how to harness the power of habits to accelerate your career experience (read more about "accelerating your career experience" in this post). This is an important idea for recent graduates and new professionals who want to take control of their own professional development.

In his book, Duhigg, an award winning business journalist, also explores institutional habits and the idea of keystone habits that can be used to turn around organizations like Alcoa, the Fortune 500 manufacturing company, or products like P&G’s Febreze air freshener.

This book tells the story of 4 characters– Sniff, Scurry, Hem and Haw– and the different ways they interpret and ultimately deal with change in their environment.  This story of adaptability is parable which makes the story fun and easy to read.  The characters in the story include two mice named Sniff and Scurry and two mice-sized people named Hem and Haw with all of the human traits and flaws (human characteristics).  The four characters live in a maze and search for cheese which represents food and happiness– the ultimate prize.

The story is woven around several key lessons about change:

  • Change Happens – They keep moving the cheese

  • Anticipate Change – Get ready for the cheese to move

  • Monitor Change – Smell the cheese often so you know when it is getting old

  • Adapt to Change Quickly – The quicker you let go of old cheese, the sooner you can enjoy new cheese

  • Change –  Move with the cheese

  • Enjoy Change – savor the adventure and enjoy the taste of new cheese!

  • Be Ready to Change Quickly and Enjoy it Again & Again – They keep moving the cheese

Why Read this Book?  This book is an easy read with a profound message, so read it and re-read it often.  The simplicity of the story reveals new dimensions each time you read it.  The lessons offered in this book also apply to your personal life, family, friendships and any organization to which you belong.  The author, Spencer Johnson also co-authored along with Ken Blanchard The One Minute Manager, the #1 New York Times best seller.

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