• Good Habits, Bad Habits

  • The Science of Making Positive Changes That Stick
  • By: Wendy Wood
  • Narrated by: Wendy Wood
  • Length: 9 hrs and 7 mins
  • 4.4 out of 5 stars (292 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

This program is read by the author.

A landmark audiobook about how we form habits, and what we can do with this knowledge to make positive change.  

We spend a shocking 43 percent of our day doing things without thinking about them. That means that almost half of our actions aren’t conscious choices, but the result of our non-conscious mind nudging our body to act along learned behaviors. How we respond to the people around us; the way we conduct ourselves in a meeting; what we buy; when and how we exercise, eat, and drink - a truly remarkable number of things we do every day, regardless of their complexity, operate outside of our awareness. We do them automatically. We do them by habit. And yet, whenever we want to change something about ourselves, we rely on willpower. We keep turning to our conscious selves, hoping that our determination and intention will be enough to effect positive change. And that is why almost all of us fail. But what if you could harness the extraordinary power of your unconscious mind, which already determines so much of what you do, to truly reach your goals? 

Wendy Wood draws on three decades of original research to explain the fascinating science of how we form habits, and offers the key to unlocking our habitual mind in order to make the changes we seek. A potent mix of neuroscience, case studies, and experiments conducted in her lab, Good Habits, Bad Habits is a comprehensive, accessible, and above all deeply practical book that will change the way you think about almost every aspect of your life. By explaining how our brains are wired to respond to rewards, receive cues from our surroundings, and shut down when faced with too much friction, Wood skillfully dissects habit formation, demonstrating how we can take advantage of this knowledge to form better habits. Her clear and incisive work shows why willpower alone is woefully inadequate when we’re working toward building the life we truly want, and offers real hope for those who want to make positive change.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying PDF will be available in your Audible Library along with the audio.

©2019 Wendy Wood (P)2019 Macmillan Audio

What listeners say about Good Habits, Bad Habits

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  • Overall
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Excellent summary of current habit science

I'm an occupational therapist. I get tangled up in or meddle with habits daily--the habits of my patients. So my interest in habits is both professional as well as personal. When Duhigg's "Power of Habit" was published, I listened to it on Audible, then bought the hardback and the Kindle version. I've read lots of different journal articles on habit science. All left me more informed, but the information felt pretty fragmented. So when I found out that a leading habit scientist had written a book for laypeople on habits, I had to have this book.
Understanding habit draws on research from neuroscience to psychology to behavioral economics. Habits are not what we think they are, Wood takes the research, the anecdotes and the myths about habit and synthesizes them into a readable-or listenable--whole. I've read the negative reviews from folks who wanted a self-help book without having to wade through the science. Well, there are plenty of other books that do that. But understanding that our "habit self" operates differently is key to changing habits. Appreciating the science at least makes the habit self more understandable.
Wood is a obviously not a professional narrator, but her narration is far better than most other author-narrated audiobooks I've listened to-or struggled to listen to. I do agree with a reviewer who suggested a summary at the end of each chapter. The chapters are dense with information. Chapter summaries would improve readability and make it easier to refer back to key concepts.
I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in habits or habit science. I already have the hardback and am about to order the Kindle version. For my OT colleagues, this should be a fundamental text for every occupational therapy educational program and for every practicing occupational therapist.

8 people found this helpful

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Absolutely outstanding!

This is simply one of the best popular books I have ever read on habits – – and I have read a lot of books on this topic. Dr. Wood should be commended for being able to take well researched concepts and make them understandable to a broad audience.

6 people found this helpful

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My Take Away

This book made me realize the things I need to work on and fix. It also made me realize all the habits (good/bad) I have been accustomed to doing over the years. Definitely recommend to read and allow yourself to be open minded about the stories and see how it applies to you.

5 people found this helpful

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Great research

Some amazing work here tying in some extensive research on habits. Takeaways: leverage driving force, friction, and rewards. Includes some practical ways to do so. At times gets a bit over-involved in examples from research that don't add value commensurate to the amount of treatment they receive. Just skim when you feel that way, and take away all the habit goodness.

3 people found this helpful

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Excellent researcher, writer, reader

Excellent, must-read. Well done in every direction. In-depth research over many, many years is presented for the layperson in understandable terms with a companionable voice. This work challenges some old notions and schools of thought.
Life-changing. Thank you thank you.

2 people found this helpful

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Could be a pamphlet

The useful information contained in this book could easily fit in a 20 page pamphlet. I also don't like the author's love of vice taxes to discourage consumption. My main issue with vice taxes is the money is just wasted, not used to offset the costs of the habit. Take cigarette and alcohol taxes for example: where does the money go? Does it go to Medicaid to defray the costs of providing healthcare related to liver failure or lung cancer? Does it go to rehab programs to help people quit smoking and drinking? Nope! It goes into the general fund, and is burned up in government waste.

4 people found this helpful

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How to have good habits and avoid bad one

What I like in the story is the deep explanation of how to acquire good habits and avoid bad ones

1 person found this helpful

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it's in there somewhere

My guess is most people would buy this book to find a tip or two on how to change A bad habit or ingrain a new good habit.


You will get those. However in order to do so you will have to Wade through endless research and musings by the author that underscore her social view that government should enact laws that restrict free choices in order to achieve desired effects on an unintelligent population. Even her voice and occasional chuckle betray her disdain for the poor huddled masses

1 person found this helpful

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Life Changing

Thank you Wendy Wood, for your research, time, and knowledge. This book has and will continue to change my life for the better. I understand myself significantly more and will continue to move forward in my own habit of self-development. It is truly priceless knowledge that can be used in all aspects of life. I will absolutely read and study this book more than once. I will make a HABIT out of it. 😁

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Suzanne Latapie

I have listened to this book so many times!! Excellent in all aspects. Now time to implement the ideas!!