Book Club Notes: The Power of Habit

Norðurskautið Book Club had its first meetup recently. We discussed the book The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg. The book tells the story of habits, both personal and organizational. It discusses how powerful habits are in our day-to-day lives, and how you can change yours to the better. It’s a mix of stories and research, with insights into how people changed their habits. It also looks at how leaders at big companies used understanding of habits to turn them around.

You can join our book club Facebook group here. Our next book is Give and Take by Adam Grant. Also, if you’re interested Power of Habit, please use this link to buy it, and support Norðurskautið 😺

The book club uses a modified version of this book club blueprint that started at QuizUp (in their book club). We took several minutes thinking on our own about the book and writing notes to put into four categories: Highlights (things about the book that we liked), Low lights (things about the book we didn’t like), Themes / Takeaways (our favorite concepts, themes and ideas from the book), Applications (ideas on how to apply the book’s ideas in our lives or at our companies).

The following is a write-up of our thoughts and discussions:


We thought the book was an easy read that had many interesting stories. The story of Alcoa and the guy who had no short term memory were highlights.


It’s a bit long — we didn’t think the author needed all the anecdotes he put in.

Themes / Takeaways

Habits control much more than we realize. We’re on autopilot a lot of the time. But, by realising it, we can spot them, and change them. One of the key points to changing habits, is believing you can change habits. Basically: We don’t think.

Identifying keystone habits can be an effective tool when initiating change (and never let a crisis go to waste). This is true both for organisations (Alcoa story) and personal well begin (exercise tends to have a cascading effect.

Killing a habit is hard. But, we can more easily change one we already have, so instead of being a bad habit, it becomes a good one. Example: instead of trying to not have a snack at three o’clock, change it out for a healthy snack.


Continuous delivery as a keystone habit. We can think of CD as a keystone habit, because integrating it tends to affect much more, like testing, releasing software and more.

Starting your day with a habit, sets the tone for the day. Suggestion: make the bed.

Creating more small wins, because once winning is a regular thing, the hard things just become part of a chain. Embrace small victories to form good habits.

The next book club will be on July 26th. Join the Facebook group here, and get your edition of Adam Grant’s Give and Take here.