In the tradition of bestsellers like The Power Of Habit and Grit, a renowned Harvard social psychologist demonstrates the power of small acts—and how turning habits into rituals can add joy and meaning to life.
THE RITUAL EFFECT
From Habit to Ritual, Harness the Surprising Power of Everyday Actions
by Michael Norton
Scribner, April 2024
(via Park & Fine Literary and Media)
Our lives are filled with repetitive tasks meant to boost productivity—what we know as habits. Over time, we do these activities automatically. But when we perform these habits mindfully—when we focus on the precise way an act is performed—we create a ritual. Now, an everyday act goes from black-and-white to technicolor. And as author and Harvard professor Michael Norton explains here, it’s these rituals that make life worth living.
From fostering deeper relationships to comforting a speaker before a presentation, from savoring a meal to coping with grief, rituals produce an incredible array of psychological and emotional responses that are specific to whatever challenge we face. Barack Obama, Steve Jobs, and countless successful entrepreneurs, politicians, athletes, and artists make effective use of rituals. Now, drawing on decades of original research, author Michal Norton reveals how shifting from a “habitual” mindset to a “ritual” mindset can both enhance performance and add meaning to your life.
Compelling, inspiring, and practical, THE RITUAL EFFECT takes us on a fascinating tour of the intention-filled acts that drive human behavior and shows us how to create simple rituals to imbue everyday life with a sense of purpose and joy.
Michael Norton is the Harold M. Brierley Professor of Business Administration at the Harvard Business School. He has studied human behavior as it relates to love and inequality, time and money, and happiness and grief. He is the author of THE RITUAL EFFECT and the coauthor—with Elizabeth Dunn—of HAPPY MONEY: The Science of Happier Spending. In 2012, he was selected by Wired magazine as one of “50 People Who Will Change the World.” His TEDx talk, How to Buy Happiness, has been viewed nearly 4.5 million times. He is a frequent contributor to such publications as The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, and Scientific American, and has made numerous television, radio, and podcast appearances.