Good Example Of Rhetorical Analysis Essay

Type of paper: Essay

Topic: Habits, Development, Power, Literature, Books, Routine, Reward, People

Pages: 3

Words: 825

Published: 2020/11/21

Charles Duhigg was born in 1974 in New Mexico. He studied history at Yale and completed his MBA from Harvard Business School. He has worked for the New York Times as a reporter since 2006. His latest series is based on Apple and called The iEconomy, which won the Pulitzer Prize for explanatory reporting in 2013. He was also in the team of finalists for the 2009 Pulitzer Prize. He also bagged the George Polk, National Academies of sciences and National Journalism awards. He wrote the series “Toxic Waters” and “Golden Opportunity”. Before joining The New York Times, he was a staff writer at the Los Angeles Times. Before becoming a journalist, he worked for private equity. He has written the “Power of Habit”, which was in The New York Times bestsellers list for over 60 weeks.
In his book, “The Power of Habit’, the author Charles Duhigg is repeatedly telling us that habits can be changed, provided we understand how they work. He substantiates this argument by taking us through numerous stories and case histories. That he has meticulously researched the subject is apparent from the case histories and their subsequent derivatives. He has read a huge lot of papers on the subject of habit formation and changing habits and spoken to many experts and scientists from the areas of clinical psychology and social psychology to present his findings. He talks about the “Habit Loop”, which is based on three elements – Cue, Routine and Reward. The basis of this is theory is grounded on the conjecture that most of the choices a person makes daily are not really choices, but habits. He talks about the success of the former NFL coach, Tony Dungy who with relentless practice, drilled into his team a limited number of crucial match winning moves, which could be executed without consciously thinking about it, which in other words mean that these moves became a habit.
Duhigg got interested in habits after a meeting with s U.S Army Major in a place called Kufa in Iraq. This Major studied video recordings of riots at the town square and then requested the Mayor of that town to bar food vendors from selling in that area. The result was that the riots stopped, since people congregating there, dispersed to eat in other areas.
Duhigg says that habits are never forgotten. They may be changed, but the old changed habits lurk in our subconscious and come back if allowed to. Scientists say that the brain is continually looking for ways to save work and if left unattended, will try and make routines into habits. All bad habits which have changed, have to be given up each day. So if we want to cultivate a new habit, we have to devise a cue, a routine and a reward. But simply doing this is not enough. Habits create cravings in the brain. These cravings are for the rewards, which once fulfilled, make our brain release endorphins or the “feel Good” hormone. The need or craving for the reward is what makes a habit stick. Change is based on belief. If a person believes that a change is possible, then it can be done successfully.
Are we responsible for our habits? According to Duhigg, yes we are, if they are known to us and also the subsequent consequences. An example is given of a housewife from Iowa, who due to boredom gambled away her family’s fortunes amounting to millions by playing blackjack. The judiciary rules against the woman and held her responsible for the debts incurred because she was aware that she suffered from a gambling addiction.
Some habits, known as “keystone Habits” have the power to influence other habits. Keystone habits trigger off a process that can transform other habits. Willpower is termed as the most crucial keystone habit. Willpower is like a muscle which gets exhausted when it is overused. So, if willpower usage is reduced in one part of our lives, it is retained for use in other parts and can be roped in for executing a change in habit.. Willpower can become a habit, if the desired behavior is decided earlier and on the appropriate cue the set routine is followed. A routine becomes automated because of repetitions and thus saves on time, energy and reduces uncertainties. A company’s employees do not have to ask their superiors for decisions at every step, since a process and workflow exist, which are based on routines.
Duhigg narrates specific case studies to exemplify his argument, that habits can be changed and changed for an improvement over the current position. This argument is rather simplified and the implied suggestion that by changing our habits on personal and professional fronts can immediately result in benefits is hard to accept. Behavior, it says can become a habit if it is repeated often enough. He says that once you understand that habits can change, you are responsible for rebuilding them. The grey areas of behavioral change are not examined in detail. People develop bad habits too. Like drug addiction, smoking, drinking alcohol and gambling. These habits are compulsions and are so rewarding that they are extremely difficult to change. Some of these habits are dependent on chemical stimulus, like alcohol, nicotine or other drugs. These can only be changed through proper treatment, support of friends and family and an immense amount of willpower.
So we may ask, who should read this book. Well everyone with a bad habit should. But again, is there a single person who is free from all bad habits? Not many. The bent of the book is towards changing bad habits, so that a better quality of life or profession evolves.
“The Power of Habit” is not a self help book which will magically alter the lives of its readers by advocating changes in routines. The insights it provides by the numerous case histories will provide direction to people keen on changing their own obstinate routines and habits. The appendix is a good point of reference. This is not a new concept. Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous and clinical psychiatrists have been advising similar concepts for a long time now. Break a bad habit like addiction. Forcibly, if necessary. Change the triggers for the feel good factors. Change the idea of the reward. Change the existing routines, including the waking up time in the mornings and then it is possible that a bad habit can be changed. But as mentioned earlier, willpower plays an ultimately crucial role in adhering to the changed habit. Again, as mentioned before, the changed habits linger in our subconscious and can resurface if allowed to.


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