The Power of Habit

by

Charles Duhigg

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Lisa Allen Character Analysis

Lisa Allen is an American woman who overcame a series of destructive habits—like smoking, overeating, and indebting herself—in a very short period of time, after getting divorced and taking a trip to Cairo. A scientific study showed that her brain formed new, stronger pathways to accommodate her new habits—although the pathways associated with her old habits didn’t totally disappear. Duhigg uses Lisa Allen’s story to introduce The Power of Habit because she shows how radical habit change is possible and can transform people’s lives for the better.

Lisa Allen Quotes in The Power of Habit

The The Power of Habit quotes below are all either spoken by Lisa Allen or refer to Lisa Allen . 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.
Prologue Quotes

She needed a goal in her life, she thought. Something to work toward.
So she decided, sitting in the taxi, that she would come back to Egypt and trek through the desert.
It was a crazy idea, Lisa knew. She was out of shape, overweight, with no money in the bank. She didn’t know the name of the desert she was looking at or if such a trip was possible. None of that mattered, though. She needed something to focus on. Lisa decided that she would give herself one year to prepare. And to survive such an expedition, she was certain she would have to make sacrifices.
In particular, she would need to quit smoking.

Related Characters: Charles Duhigg (speaker), Lisa Allen
Related Symbols: Keystone Habits
Page Number: xiii
Explanation and Analysis:

When researchers began examining images of Lisa’s brain, they saw something remarkable: One set of neurological patterns—her old habits—had been overridden by new patterns. They could still see the neural activity of her old behaviors, but those impulses were crowded out by new urges. As Lisa’s habits changed, so had her brain.

Related Characters: Charles Duhigg (speaker), Lisa Allen
Related Symbols: Brain Scans and Studies
Page Number: xiv
Explanation and Analysis:
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The Power of Habit PDF

Lisa Allen Character Timeline in The Power of Habit

The timeline below shows where the character Lisa Allen appears in The Power of Habit. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Prologue: The Habit Cure
Habits, Human Behavior, and Success Theme Icon
Habit Change and Personal Growth  Theme Icon
In a research study about habit change, Lisa Allen was “the scientists’ favorite participant.” For almost two decades, she smoked, drank, was obese, amassed... (full context)
Habits, Human Behavior, and Success Theme Icon
Habit Change and Personal Growth  Theme Icon
Lisa Allen told the scientists that she decided to quit smoking a few months after a sudden... (full context)
Habits, Human Behavior, and Success Theme Icon
Habit Change and Personal Growth  Theme Icon
In the laboratory, brain scans clearly showed the change in Allen’s habits. The neurological patterns associated with her old habits were still there, but she had... (full context)