Eventually this will be a series of What I Learned posts. I’m on the train to a conference in Chicago and decided not to wait on the library to buy The Power of Habit by Charels Duhigg.
Duhigg promises to describe how habits firm and how you can change them. Interestingly he seems prepared to broadly define habit so that it can apply to organizations and societies. An example in the introduction tells how an American officer in Iraq noticed a pattern in how crowds grew in size and rioted. By removing food vendors from the public square the crowds never reached the critical size to riot.
The American officer was clever, but this makes me wonder what exactly is meant by a habit for a group. Duhigg promises to address this in Parts 2 and 3 of his book. Part 1 centers on the habits of individuals. I may have a summary of a chapter or two on Sunday.