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Good Habits, Bad Habits is a timeless look at the habits in our daily and work lives. We have all experienced shifts in our everyday habits due to pandemics, the economy, and changing technology. So, it’s especially important to understand how to structure habits at work and home to achieve a balance of productivity, health, and relationships to promote wellbeing.  


Habit science offers a blueprint for how to handle changes in our lives in order to be happy and successful. It isn’t always obvious how to handle change. Contrary to what you might think, willpower is not the answer. Information about what we should do and goal setting also fall short. Research shows that the way to create long-term changes that stick is understanding how to form new habits.


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.

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"A timely, essential guide to understanding and molding our behaviors to achieve better results in our ever-changing lifestyles."

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Kirkus Reviews

"Many authors have written about habits….but Wood is also a premier scientist in psychology, working on how habits affect and are affected by the human mind. Top tip: Willpower isn’t enough. But through her original research, Wood explains what does work."

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Bethan Patrick, Washington Post

"Insightful, data-driven advice…Wood’s research and perspective on the malleability of habits will bring hope to any reader looking to create long-term behavioral change."

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Publisher Weekly, Starred Review

“Why is it so hard to break bad habits and start good ones?  This book has the answers.  Good Habits, Bad Habits has changed the way I think about human behavior.  WendyWood is a leading researcher in psychology with a deep understanding or attitude and behavior change.  If you are struggling to change your own behaviors or are simply interested in understanding the human condition, Good Habits, Bad Habits should be on your reading list.  Woods is an engaging writer and a marvelous thinker.  This is the best psychology book I’ve read in a long time.”

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James W. Pennebaker, Regents Professor of Psychology, University of Texas at Austin.
Author of The Secret Life of Pronouns and Opening Up by Writing it Down

“Fascinating and fun, this book will change a lot of lives. So much of human behavior is habitual — sometimes for better, sometimes for worse.  Wood brings state-of-the-art social science into contact with the most pressing issues in daily life. She’s a tremendous guide.”

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Cass R. Sunstein, Cass R. Sunstein, Robert Walmsley University Professor, Harvard University.

Author of How Change Happens and Nudge

“No one has studied how habits form and influence behavior better than Wendy Wood.  More importantly for readers, no book has done a better job of showing how to change negative habits in to powerful, helpful versions than Good Habits, Bad Habits.”


Robert B. Cialdini, Author of Influence and Pre-Suasion

Wendy Wood has been featured in the NYTimes:



And the Washington Post:

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