Saturday, January 01, 2022

Books: New Year's Resolution Double Feature

2021 really flew by, didn't it? It was the year most of us emerged from the pandemic, hopefully with some healthier routines. Here are two books that might inspire you to take care of yourself in the "new normal":

The Power of Habit, by Charles Duhigg

This book looks into the mechanisms underlying everything from relatively simple routines (brushing your teeth) to tragic addictions (gambling and drugs). Journalist Charles Duhigg posits that what we do is not really driven by notions like motivation, drive, and willpower, but by habits - behavioral loops consisting of cues, routines, and rewards.  The book's claim is that if you can change parts of the habit loop, you can change your habits, and changing your habits becomes tantamount to changing yourself. I'm not sure how much of that is right, but it couldn't hurt to try it for a New Year's resolution.

Exercised, by Daniel E. Lieberman

I took up running in a big way in 2021, and Exercised, a book by Harvard biology professor Daniel Lieberman, explains both why humans evolved to benefit from everyday physical exercise...and why so many of us in the modern world hate to do it. Lieberman punctures various myths (you need 8 hours of sleep every night, it's normal to be less active as we age) from the perspective of evolutionary biology and anthropology, including studies of the few remaining hunter-gather cultures. The upshot? To paraphrase The Shawshank Redemption, get busy moving or get busy dying.


Post a Comment

<< Home