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Charles Duhigg on The Power of Habit (Full Transcript)

Charles Duhigg

Full text of Charles Duhigg on The Power of Habit at TEDxTeachersCollege conference.

Listen to the MP3 Audio here: MP3 – The Power of Habit-by Charles Duhigg at TEDxTeachersCollege


My name is Charles Duhigg. And I’m the author of this book The Power of Habit.

So imagine for a minute that you have this cookie problem. Okay, a cookie habit. Every day you go up in the afternoon. Let’s say, you work in a building in midtown. It’s called The New York Times. On the 14th floor is cafeteria with this amazing, amazing cookie selection. And you put this little note on your monitor that says Do not eat the cookie. And then every afternoon you manage to ignore that note and go upstairs and get a cookie. And imagine for a minute that this has caused you to put on a little bit of weight, let’s say, roughly 8.7 pounds. And when I say you, what I actually mean is me. Because I’m describing my life at eating cookies.

So I was really interested in why I, a successful human being, won a Pulitzer Prize last week, I think I’m a pretty smart guy. Why I have this difficulty resisting cookies, right? There’s a lot of things I can do in my life. And I began researching the science of habits, what, how habits work. And what I learned is that we’re actually living through this golden age of understanding the neurology of habit formation. I ended up writing this book out of it. And I want to tell you a little bit about what I learned and what it has to do with teaching kids in mindfulness. But in order to do it, first of all, I have to tell you a story about a rat.

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