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Good Habits, Bad Habits: The Science of Making Positive Changes That Stick
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A landmark book about how we form habits, and what we can do with this knowledge to make positive change

We spend a shocking 43 percent of our day doing things without thinking about them. That means that almost half of our actions aren't conscious choices but the result of our non-conscious mind nudging our body to act along learned behaviors. How we respond to the people around us; the way we conduct ourselves in a meeting; what we buy; when and how we exercise, eat, and drink—a truly remarkable number of things we do every day, regardless of their complexity, operate outside of our awareness. We do them automatically. We do them by habit. And yet, whenever we want to change something about ourselves, we rely on willpower. We keep turning to our conscious selves, hoping that our determination and intention will be enough to effect positive change. And that is why almost all of us fail. But what if you could harness the extraordinary power of your unconscious mind, which already determines so much of what you do, to truly reach your goals?

Wendy Wood draws on three decades of original research to explain the fascinating science of how we form habits, and offers the key to unlocking our habitual mind in order to make the changes we seek. A potent mix of neuroscience, case studies, and experiments conducted in her lab, Good Habits, Bad Habits is a comprehensive, accessible, and above all deeply practical book that will change the way you think about almost every aspect of your life. By explaining how our brains are wired to respond to rewards, receive cues from our surroundings, and shut down when faced with too much friction, Wood skillfully dissects habit formation, demonstrating how we can take advantage of this knowledge to form better habits. Her clear and incisive work shows why willpower alone is woefully inadequate when we're working toward building the life we truly want, and offers real hope for those who want to make positive change.

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Format:
Adobe EPUB eBook, Kindle Book, OverDrive Read
Street Date:
10/01/2019
Language:
English
ISBN:
9781250159083
ASIN:
B07PKGTDMB
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APA Citation (style guide)

Wendy Wood. (2019). Good Habits, Bad Habits: The Science of Making Positive Changes That Stick. Farrar, Straus and Giroux.

Chicago / Turabian - Author Date Citation (style guide)

Wendy Wood. 2019. Good Habits, Bad Habits: The Science of Making Positive Changes That Stick. Farrar, Straus and Giroux.

Chicago / Turabian - Humanities Citation (style guide)

Wendy Wood, Good Habits, Bad Habits: The Science of Making Positive Changes That Stick. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2019.

MLA Citation (style guide)

Wendy Wood. Good Habits, Bad Habits: The Science of Making Positive Changes That Stick. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2019. Web.

Note! Citation formats are based on standards as of July 2010. Citations contain only title, author, edition, publisher, and year published. Citations should be used as a guideline and should be double checked for accuracy.
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      • bioText: Wendy Wood is Provost Professor of Psychology and Business at the University of Southern California. She has written for The Washington Post and the Los Angeles Times, and her work has been featured in The New York Times, the Chicago Tribune, Time magazine, and USA Today, and on NPR. She lectures widely and recently launched the website myhabitlab.org to convey scientific insight on habit to the general public.
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shortDescription

A landmark book about how we form habits, and what we can do with this knowledge to make positive change

We spend a shocking 43 percent of our day doing things without thinking about them. That means that almost half of our actions aren't conscious choices but the result of our non-conscious mind nudging our body to act along learned behaviors. How we respond to the people around us; the way we conduct ourselves in a meeting; what we buy; when and how we exercise, eat, and drink—a truly remarkable number of things we do every day, regardless of their complexity, operate outside of our awareness. We do them automatically. We do them by habit. And yet, whenever we want to change something about ourselves, we rely on willpower. We keep turning to our conscious selves, hoping that our determination and intention will be enough to effect positive change. And that is why almost all of us fail. But what if you could harness the extraordinary power of your...

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title
Good Habits, Bad Habits
fullDescription

A landmark book about how we form habits, and what we can do with this knowledge to make positive change

We spend a shocking 43 percent of our day doing things without thinking about them. That means that almost half of our actions aren't conscious choices but the result of our non-conscious mind nudging our body to act along learned behaviors. How we respond to the people around us; the way we conduct ourselves in a meeting; what we buy; when and how we exercise, eat, and drink—a truly remarkable number of things we do every day, regardless of their complexity, operate outside of our awareness. We do them automatically. We do them by habit. And yet, whenever we want to change something about ourselves, we rely on willpower. We keep turning to our conscious selves, hoping that our determination and intention will be enough to effect positive change. And that is why almost all of us fail. But what if you could harness the extraordinary power of your unconscious mind, which already determines so much of what you do, to truly reach your goals?

Wendy Wood draws on three decades of original research to explain the fascinating science of how we form habits, and offers the key to unlocking our habitual mind in order to make the changes we seek. A potent mix of neuroscience, case studies, and experiments conducted in her lab, Good Habits, Bad Habits is a comprehensive, accessible, and above all deeply practical book that will change the way you think about almost every aspect of your life. By explaining how our brains are wired to respond to rewards, receive cues from our surroundings, and shut down when faced with too much friction, Wood skillfully dissects habit formation, demonstrating how we can take advantage of this knowledge to form better habits. Her clear and incisive work shows why willpower alone is woefully inadequate when we're working toward building the life we truly want, and offers real hope for those who want to make positive change.

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reviews
      • premium: False
      • source: grouping desired behaviors together with already-established behavioral patterns to incorporate actions into routines. Wood's research and perspective on the malleability of habits will bring hope to any reader looking to create long-term behavioral...
      • content: "[An] enlightening debut . . . [Wendy Wood] eloquently explains current research on the role habits play in everyday activities such as snacking, exercising, and commuting . . . Her insightful, data-driven advice includes tactics such as "stacking"
      • premium: False
      • source: Cass R. Sunstein, Robert Walmsley University Professor, Harvard University, and author of How Change Happens
      • content: "Fascinating and fun, this book will change a lot of lives. So much of human behavior is habitual--sometimes for better, sometimes for worse. Wood brings state-of-the-art social science into contact with the most pressing issues in daily life. She's a tremendous guide."
      • premium: False
      • source: Dan Ariely, author of Predictably Irrational
      • content: "Wendy Wood is the most thoughtful, innovative researcher studying the central role habits play in human behavior. Her work on habits has guided scientific understanding and will have a similar impact on public knowledge. I can't imagine a better person writing this book."
      • premium: False
      • source: Adam Grant, author of Originals
      • content: "Wendy Wood is the world's leading expert on habits--how we make them, break them, and change them. I expect that her book will be both eye-opening and immensely useful in teaching people how to get more done, quit smoking, start exercising, make better choices, and stop annoying their partners."
      • premium: True
      • source: Publisher's Weekly
      • content:

        Starred review from July 15, 2019
        In her enlightening debut, Wood, professor of psychology at USC, rejects the popular narrative that links willpower to lasting behavioral change, and instead proposes that most human conduct stems from learned habits, not conscious decision-making. Wood contends that the way to create new behavioral patterns that will eventually become second nature is to engage in habitual, repetitive action. Wood acknowledges research that shows that some people might possess innate powers of self-control that defy the norm, but she argues that these supposedly high levels of self-control should really be understood as efficient habit formation. She eloquently explains current research on the role habits play in everyday activities such as snacking, exercising, and commuting. She also offers strategies for stopping undesirable habits by disrupting the contexts that enable them, and shares real-life examples of habit change. For instance, she demonstrates how laws banning smoking in public spaces forced a widespread change of habits and led to a national decline in smoking
        . Her insightful, data-driven advice includes tactics such as “stacking”—grouping desired behaviors together with already-established behavioral patterns to incorporate actions into routines. Wood’s research and perspective on the malleability of habits will bring hope to any reader looking to create long-term behavioral change.

      • premium: True
      • source: Kirkus
      • content:

        September 1, 2019
        The nuances of creating a proactive, positively charged habitual life. Wood (Psychology and Business/Univ. of Southern California) has spent her career amassing research material to support theories that human behavior is best controlled with habitual repetition rather than willpower and good intentions, which are often not nearly enough to shift everyday activity. The author believes that in order to change behavior, the mechanics of habit formation must be understood first. Wood persuasively instructs readers with an informative amalgam of data, graduate training experiments, and psychological theories on conscious thought and rewiring desire and mannerisms. She notes that the same learning mechanisms responsible for bad habits also control good ones. "Going to the gym regularly and smoking a couple of cigarettes a day are the same," she writes, with the difference being how our habitual selves perceive and strive for personal goals. Wood notes that recent scientific studies reveal just how difficult human behavior is to change over the long term, but this data is also arming people with better game plans to disrupt the forces behind destructive patterns. Perhaps the most practical aspect of the book is the focus on functional tools and principles to interrupt and overcome the kinds of habits that prevent people from attaining more fruitful livelihoods and overall contentment. It is possible to achieve what she calls a "habit life" free from negative influences through the systematic replacement of poor habits with new ones that are beneficial and become just as familiar and comfortable. She instructs readers to disable the compulsive cues that engage such potentially bad behavior as overeating, distracted driving, and online shopping. When applied to real-life situations and acknowledged by readers seeking true behavioral reengineering, her research and valuable perspectives offer both hope and the possibility for a more manageable, productive life. A practical and cautionary story about how to break the cellphone habit concludes this intelligent assessment with encouragement. A timely, essential guide to understanding and molding our behaviors to achieve better results in our ever changing lifestyles.

        COPYRIGHT(2019) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

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