The Power of Habit Chapters 8 and 9


My notes for Chapters 6 and 7 are at work so I am posting this out of order.  I will make a post about Chapter 6 and 7 later this week if I catch up on other work or if I remember to take the notes home.

Chapter 8 continues Duhigg’s stretch of what a habit is.  He talks about how social movements can be forwarded by someone with some strong ties to organizations that then themselves can convince others to participate via weak ties.  Rosa Parks was popular in Montgomery.  Many people in organizations of which she was a part boycotted to support her.  Other members of those groups boycotted because of peer pressure within those groups.  This latter peer pressure is what Duhigg calls the weak-tie effect.

Duhigg also describes how the Saddleback Church grew once the strong tie component was put in place with bible study groups.  All the bible study groups were part of the broadser church which could be considered a weak tie.

In Chapter 9 Duhigg considers two cases.  One man has night terrors and kills his wife thinking she is an attacker who has attacked his wife.  Since during a night terror a person is not awake he is acquitted.  He contrasts this with a woman who gambles away first her own wealth and then the money she inherited from her parents.  She ends up owing Harrah’s $125,000 and when Harrah’s sues to collect she counter sues claiming that the types of incentives Harrah’s offers caused her to lose control of her habit.  She lost.  Duhigg at first says they both in some aspect were out of conscious control because a habit can be that powerful.  Then he backtracks and says she could have done things to break her habit while the murderer could not.  Overall I think the two anecdotes took too long to reach the conclusion that the woman should have changed her habits and that although it is hard to change habits it is not impossible.

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