The Power of Habit

by

Charles Duhigg

Teachers and parents! Struggling with distance learning? Our Teacher Edition on The Power of Habit can help.

Angie Bachmann Character Analysis

Angie Bachmann is an American stay-at-home mother from Iowa who started visiting the local casino, then developed a severe gambling problem, and finally bankrupted herself and her entire family. At first, Bachmann went to the casino to cope with her feelings of boredom and loneliness. But over time, gambling became her only routine for coping with negative feelings—including her anxiety about her gambling addiction. While she tried to quit, the gaming company Harrah’s kept enticing her back by flying her out to casinos, gifting her free hotel rooms, and even extending her a line of credit. However, when she sued Harrah’s, the court ruled that she was responsible for her own bad habits because she understood and had the power to change them. (Duhigg agrees with this conclusion.) Bachmann’s story suggests that, no matter how powerful and resistant to change bad habits can be, people are still responsible for them.

Angie Bachmann Quotes in The Power of Habit

The The Power of Habit quotes below are all either spoken by Angie Bachmann or refer to Angie Bachmann . For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Habits, Human Behavior, and Success Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Random House edition of The Power of Habit published in 2014.
Chapter 9 Quotes

Thomas is the most sympathetic murderer conceivable, someone so close to being a victim himself that when the trial ended, the judge tried to console him.
Yet many of those same excuses can be made for Angie Bachmann, the gambler. She was also devastated by her actions. She would later say she carries a deep sense of guilt. And as it turns out, she was also following deeply ingrained habits that made it increasingly difficult for decision making to intervene.

Related Characters: Charles Duhigg (speaker), Brian Thomas , Angie Bachmann
Page Number: 259
Explanation and Analysis:

Every habit, no matter its complexity, is malleable. The most addicted alcoholics can become sober. The most dysfunctional companies can transform themselves. A high school dropout can become a successful manager.
However, to modify a habit, you must decide to change it. You must consciously accept the hard work of identifying the cues and rewards that drive the habits’ routines, and find alternatives. You must know you have control and be self-conscious enough to use it—and every chapter in this book is devoted to illustrating a different aspect of why that control is real.

Related Characters: Charles Duhigg (speaker), Angie Bachmann , Brian Thomas
Page Number: 270
Explanation and Analysis:

Perhaps a sleepwalking murderer can plausibly argue he wasn’t aware of his habit, and so he doesn’t bear responsibility for his crime. But almost all the other patterns that exist in most people’s lives—how we eat and sleep and talk to our kids, how we unthinkingly spend our time, attention, and money—those are habits that we know exist. And once you understand that habits can change, you have the freedom—and the responsibility—to remake them. Once you understand that habits can be rebuilt, the power of habit becomes easier to grasp, and the only option left is to get to work.

Related Characters: Charles Duhigg (speaker), Angie Bachmann , Brian Thomas
Page Number: 271
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire The Power of Habit LitChart as a printable PDF.
The Power of Habit PDF

Angie Bachmann Character Timeline in The Power of Habit

The timeline below shows where the character Angie Bachmann appears in The Power of Habit. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 9: The Neurology of Free Will: Are We Responsible for Our Habits?
Habits, Human Behavior, and Success Theme Icon
The Moral Consequences of Habits Theme Icon
Angie Bachmann had been a stay-at-home mother for two decades. When her youngest daughter finally started school,... (full context)
Habits, Human Behavior, and Success Theme Icon
The Moral Consequences of Habits Theme Icon
When Angie Bachmann began caring for her parents, who were dying of lung disease, she started to feel... (full context)
Habits, Human Behavior, and Success Theme Icon
The Moral Consequences of Habits Theme Icon
...that he was innocent because he killed his wife while asleep. But Duhigg asks why Angie Bachmann wasn’t also considered innocent—as she was also just following her habits. (full context)
Habits, Human Behavior, and Success Theme Icon
The Moral Consequences of Habits Theme Icon
When Angie Bachmann ’s parents died within two months of each other, she was devastated. She also inherited... (full context)
Habits, Human Behavior, and Success Theme Icon
The Moral Consequences of Habits Theme Icon
In 2006, Angie Bachmann was nearly broke when Harrah’s invited her to a casino. She gambled away the rest... (full context)
Habit Change and Personal Growth  Theme Icon
The Moral Consequences of Habits Theme Icon
...the cue-routine-reward loop behind their habits, they can decide to change them. This is why Angie Bachmann is responsible for her actions and Brian Thomas isn’t: Bachmann knew about her bad habits,... (full context)