How Companies Learn Your Secrets (or, How Target Knew a Teenager Was Pregnant Before Her Dad)

The New York Times Magazine published an excerpt from my book. If you would like to read it, you can find it here (or, if you would rather read it on this site, there’s a copy of it here.) There were a bunch of comments about the story, which are here. There were also a… Read More

The Power of Habit in Fast Company

Fast Company was kind enough to review the Power of Habit ( Mighty kind! Thanks!

Why Did Whitney Fail Rehab? Too Much Talent.

How the Science of A.A. Explains Whitney Houston’s Death It’s easy to forget, given her scandal-tinged life and tragic death, how incredibly talented Whitney Houston was. She holds the world record as the most-awarded female act of all time, with over 415 major recognitions during her career. She is the only artist to chart seven… Read More

On Democracy Now

I was on Democracy Now yesterday, talking about Apple. (Click on the headline to watch.)

Why the Komen Foundation Outrage? Because of habits.

In 1980, a woman promised her dying sister to change how Americans thought about breast cancer. Thirty years later, the result – the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation – is one of the nation’s largest non-profits, and one of the most successful triumphs in public health marketing and changing health habits. Now, Komen… Read More

Are Habits Different for Women than Men?

  Imagine, for a moment, that a friend comes to your desk and asks for advice: they want to change their smoking and exercise habits. What should they do? Would your habit advice be different if they were a woman than if they were a man? For the last 30 years, the traditional answer has… Read More

Do Smoking Bans Cause Drinking and Driving?

In 2006, two researchers in Wisconsin noticed a weird pattern. A number of cities had recently banned smoking in public places, such as at bars and restaurants. The laws were amazingly effective at cutting down on the number of people using cigarettes. Simply making it harder to smoke meant that fewer people puffed away. But,… Read More

Why Americans started eating kidney and brains

A few people have emailed me to ask about a reference in my last post to the post-WWII era, when Americans started eating more organ meats, like kidney and tongue. Here’s how I describe what happened in my (forthcoming) book: In the early 1940s, the U.S. government began shipping much of the nation’s domestic meat supply to Europe… Read More

Social habits after 9/11

I’ve always been fascinated by how peoples’ habits change in the wake of major events, particularly in unexpected ways. After WWII, for instance, Americans started eating more organ meats, like kidney and tongue. In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, people in Louisiana, Texas and Mississippi started buying more expensive brands of beer, but less expensive brands of toilet… Read More

Alan Krueger, and the economics of small wins (and losses)

Earlier this week President Obama announced that Alan Krueger will be leading his economics team.  Not much of the coverage has focused on Krueger’s awesome (but not terribly important) work on Rockonomics, the economics of the rock industry. Coverage has, however, mentioned Krueger’s recent studies of how peoples’ habits change as they spend more and more time… Read More