Making Habits, Breaking Habits: Why We Do Things, Why We Don't, and How to Make Any Change Stick (Audio CD – Audiobook, CD, Unabridged)

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Say you want to start going to the gym or practicing a musical instrument. How long should it take before you stop having to force it and start doing it automatically?The surprising answers are found in Making Habits, Breaking Habits, a leadi...
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Say you want to start going to the gym or practicing a musical instrument. How long should it take before you stop having to force it and start doing it automatically?

The surprising answers are found in Making Habits, Breaking Habits, a leading psychologist's popular examination of one of the most powerful and underappreciated processes in the brain. Although people like to think that they are in control, the vast majority of human behavior occurs without any decision-making or conscious thought.

Drawing on hundreds of fascinating studies, psychologist Jeremy Dean busts the myths to finally explain why seemingly easy habits, like eating an apple a day, can be surprisingly difficult to form, and how to take charge of your brain's natural "autopilot" to make any change stick.

Witty and intriguing, Making Habits, Breaking Habits shows how behavior occurs more than just a product of what you think. It is possible to bend your habits to your will-and be happier, more creative, and more productive.

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Editorial Reviews


The Bookseller, “Editor’s Pick,” 10/12/12
“Sensible and very readable…By far the most useful of this month’s New You offerings.”
Kirkus Reviews, 1/1/13
“Making changes does take longer than we may expect—no 30-day, 30-pounds-lighter quick fix—but by following the guidelines laid out by Dean, readers have a decent chance at establishing fulfilling, new patterns.”

Publishers Weekly, 12/10/12
“An accessible and informative guide for readers to take control of their lives.”
Bookworm Sez” syndicated review
“By helping us understand what makes us tick and why, author Jeremy Dean avoids platitudes and misty advice to give his readers the tools they need to stop being frustrated by change and lack thereof. He advocates patience and dispels a lot of myths about why we do the things we do (or don’t), explaining why our willpower fails us or why we find some habits easy to make. That’s helpful, and could make a fix that sticks…This book…would be advantageous to anyone who’s serious about changing behavior.”
Curled Up with a Good Book, 1/6/13
“Loaded with surprising information about the brain and human behavior, this book that lays out a strategy for taking charge of ourselves. We probably can’t beat all our habits forever, but Making Habits, Breaking Habits offers a battle plan that allows us to know the enemy and sometimes evade it.”

Philadelphia Tribune, 1/6/13
“Dean busts the myths to finally explain why seemingly easy habits, like eating an apple a day, can be surprisingly difficult to form, and how to take charge of your brain’s natural ‘autopilot’ to make any change stick…Witty and intriguing, Making Habits, Breaking Habits shows how behavior is more than just a product of what you think.”

Spirituality & Practice, 1/15/13
“[A] fascinating book…Dean demonstrates a knack for cutting through generalities and cutting to the heart of the matter. Making Habits, Breaking Habits will shed new light on your own private and public behavior and the many quests for change that you undertake in your everyday life.”, 1/17/13
“What really stands out in Dean’s book…is the insight behind habits and their unconscious nature and often, their benefits…Full of anecdotes and interesting studies, Making Habits, Breaking Habits is an engaging read.”, 1/17/13
“Dean argues convincingly that habits are essentially automatic pilots…The prescriptive part of self-help books is where many of them fall down. Dean’s is better than most…The book reads like one in which Dean primarily shares his own fascination with a variety of research projects of various kinds, pausing occasionally to relate this study or that back to the whole issue of forming and changing habits. And there is nothing wrong with being a bit discursive, especially when the underlying material is as interesting as much of it is here.”
DaySpaJanuary 2013
 “Analyzes the phenomenon of habits, and breaks them down so they can be fully understood—and ultimately managed.”

Truth, January 2013
 “Dean helps you understand the psychology behind your habits—both good and bad—and gives you the information you need to kick a bad habit and finally keep your New Year’s resolution.”, February 2013
 ”This is serious psychology and an often fascinating look at the way habits are formed, reinforced, and strengthened throughout our lives…Smoking, drinking, and comparable bad behaviors can be changed and this book can help anyone seeking to make that change.”
ForeWord, Spring 2013
“Dean teases out the factors contributing to our habit-forming tendencies with a careful analysis of the studies that have examined the impact of intentions, actions, and will-power…The author leads us through it all in a friendly style that makes the minutiae of science accessible.”

Toronto Star, 2/3/13
“[Dean] looks at what we know about habit and offers tips on how we can all change destructive behaviour while adopting routines that will serve us better.”

January Magazine, 2/1/13
“Though Dean is currently working towards a doctorate in psychology, his voice is casual, friendly and smart. More importantly for a book of this nature, he knows how to break his material down and present it in a way that is not only logical, it also stays interesting and connected…An entertaining and deeply interesting book. And a huge bonus for some readers: it actually has the potential to totally change your life.”, 1/29/13
“Dean examines the formation and perpetuation of our habits, and offers tips on how we can avoid pitfalls to create new practices which are more beneficial to us, and which can last a lifetime.”, February 2013
“A psychologist’s popular examination of one of the most powerful and under-appreciated processes in the mind…Witty and intriguing, provocative and practical…The book provides unexpected and fascinating answers to the common problem of changing one’s habits.”
“Mixing roughly three parts information with one part practical technique for yoking habits to the service of self-improvement, Jeremy Dean’s Making Habits, Breaking Habits tours the last hundred years of psychological research on habit and synthesizes an impressive amount of insight into human habit formation and, for that matter, de-formation…He effects a direct, bloggerly style, mercifully unclouded by the stultified prose plaguing many psychology authors whose backgrounds are different from Dean’s (i.e., career academics). Nevertheless, the book is carefully—even densely—footnoted with a trove of research studies.”, 2/20
“Quite interesting to read and it makes you realize that you’re not alone…After reading this book, it just affirms that if you really want to make a change, you can make it happen.”
Midwest Book Review, March 2013
“Provides a lively discussion for general-interest readers seeking to understand how habits are formed, promoted, or changed. A witty and informative approach makes this a survey all readers can readily digest…Any general collection strong in popular psychology will find this an appealing pick.”
--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

About the Author

Psychologist Jeremy Dean is the founder and author of the popular website "PsyBlog" (, which is viewed by upwards of 1 million readers monthly. The site analyses—with wit, clarity, and erudition—psychological studies that are relevant to everyday life. Dean launched PsyBlog in 2004, when he noticed a dearth of smart, readable news for those who like psychological insights backed up by science. Read the world over, the site has been featured in BBC NewsThe New York TimesThe Los Angeles Times, NPR, The Guardian, and The London Times
--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

57 of 58 people found the following review helpfulBy A. G. on February 2, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
...then this book can change your life. It has helped me with true introspection and making active changes to lifelong bad habits. I heard Jeremy Dean (the author) being interviewed on NPR the other day about this book. After the interview, I ordered it immediately. Note - This book will only help you if you are willing to take an honest look inside of yourself and make necessary changes. Not an "overnight process", but I'm having major, positive changes within 2 weeks of reading it!
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52 of 55 people found the following review helpfulBy DrJimLewis on February 8, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I love this book. Dean does a great job of translating research into practical guidelines for dealing with our own habits. I especially liked his treatment of habits as they apply to creativity and happiness. In addition, his blog is a goldmine of far-ranging takes on behavioral research.

As I also have a PhD in psychology, I appreciated the references at the end of the book, which give me the opportunity to dig into the professional literature to review findings for myself. This certainly won't be of much value to a lay person, but is a plus for me.

One particular bit of advice that I enjoyed was his suggestion to vary the way in which you engage in habitual behavior, so that the behavior remains interesting to you. One reason habits like exercising don't last forever is that they become boring.

An excellent contribution and one that should be on the bookshelves of most of us. Incidentally, I bought the Kindle edition, then the hard copy. The Kindle is great because it has hyperlinks that save you time going to references.


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