Chapter 8: How Movements Happen: Charles Duhigg’s The Power Of Habit Book Chapter Summary.

Mr. Duhigg enlightens us right off the bat in Chapter 8 of his book, “The Power of Habit,” that movements take shape via a three part process. He tells us that this process is recognized by sociologists and historians alike.

It is true that one simple act by an individual can begin a movement; whether it has to do with equal rights or anything else. However, Mr. Duhigg tells us here that the act does need to be carried out by the right person. This person would be someone who has the right close friends, usually across multiple social stratifications, in order for a proper rallying of support for the movement/cause to begin triggering the right societal habits.

These social habits, considered to be part one of starting a movement, make it possible for the movement to gain momentum and snowball; attaining support from more and more people as it progresses. After all, who wouldn’t want to support their friends in a worthy cause, right? Who wouldn’t help the special people in their lives if that person had suffered a major insult or injustice?

Of course, according to Charles, this then takes us into part two of the process. This is where strong ties (close personal friends) then begin to link a movement’s founder to weak ties. He explains that weak ties are friends of friends and associates who are spread throughout a larger community.

Mr. Duhigg tells us here that it has been found that, when it comes to persuading people to lend support to a cause, weak ties can actually be just as effective as strong ties. This is because most folks gain business connections and access to other social networks, they would otherwise never be able to achieve on their own, without the influence of the mere acquaintances in their lives. The more organizations people are involved in the more weak ties they have, too. It’s kind of like being on Social Bookmarking Websites in the sense that we all know people who know people, who know people, who deal socially and professionally with us. So Mr. Duhigg’s assertions here that because of the way societal patterns/habits work many folks will support a movement, merely due to a sense of obligation, are pretty accurate. People will sometimes support things because (according to Charles) they fear they just might lose their social standing if they don’t; which in turn could cost them business plus other social perks they regularly enjoy.

In the third part of what makes a movement successful; Charles tells us that the leadership of the cause gives members habits to follow. He says these habits should instill a sense of ownership, identity and help them to self-organize. Mr. Duhigg tells us that only after this step is completed (along with the first two just discussed here) does any kind of a movement have a real prayer of making it off the ground.

Author: Brian Schnabel

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