I am slightly biased in writing this review because prior to reading the book I already possessed a near religious belief in habits and how they impact our lives. Having read previous habit books like Charles Duhigg Power of Habits and Marshall Goldsmith “triggers”, I felt I was at least relatively intermediate on my knowledge of the topic.
Why did I read the book then? Because learning (or reinforcing learning) about habits is one of the most powerful ways for you to improve in the game of life. Your habits shape your destiny is one of my core beliefs so I am always happy to try to get a new “edge” or ways to improve them. I also expected to find new gems that would help reinforce the message of why habits are so powerful and I was not disappointed.
But enough of my own habits and life, the question is whether you should read this book? The resounding answer is YES. Honestly, who doesn’t want to get better at something? Or who doesn't want to stop doing something?
James Clear is a fantastic writer who I have followed his informative articles on a variety of topics for nearly a year. A lot of what is in the book is material he has written about on his website as other reviewers have stated but he puts it together in a very neat format for the book so even his regular readers should get something out of this. I actually took so many notes/highlights from the Kindle edition that I almost reached the publisher limit of 10% - a sign that I believe highly in what I am reading and want to reflect upon it for years to come.
The opening pages of the book lay down a quote I will now repeat forever “if you can get 1% better each day for one year, you’ll end up thirty- seven times better by the time you’re done. Conversely, if you get 1% worse each day for one year, you’ll decline nearly down to zero.” The beginning lays out why habits are so powerful and how habits shape who we are as people before getting into the HOW of starting to build better habits.
The core of the book is based on the author’s “4 Laws” of habit change - Make it obvious, Make it Attractive, Make it Easy, Make it Satisfying”. By following the laws of habit creation we improve our chances of success in creating new habits.
Without droning on too long, I must highly recommend this book. Even if you have no idea about what a habit is or if you are already advanced in the practising of habit change then this book will still teach you so much. If not just a refresher on the topic to keep you motivated. Seriously, anyone of any age could benefit from this book. It gives you the tools to start thinking more clearly about your life and improving it. I would recommend it to anyone over the other habit books I have read (see above) as it is relatively short and provides the “how to” parts on a silver platter.
I will end my post on a few excellent quotes of the book towards the end (Ch.19 ”How to Stay Motivated” as this is the golden question for once you finish the book. A coach was asked by Clear what is the difference between the best athletes and everyone else? The coach said: ‘the factors you might expect: genetics, luck, talent. But then he said something I wasn’t expecting: “At some point it comes down to who can handle the boredom of training every day, doing the same lifts over and over and over.”
“Mastery requires practice. But the more you practice something, the more boring and routine it becomes. Once the beginner gains have been made and we learn what to expect, our interest starts to fade.
It is a fantastic book but the key thing will be can you then translate that into action? The book gives you the best leg up you can get - it’s then up to you to turn knowledge into action and go and get 1% better every darn day.
I found the four laws easy to understand and apply. Two things especially useful were the concepts about 'the plateau of latent potential', and 'the three layers of behavior change'. I believe that if we adopt identity-based behavior we can overcome the barriers to reaping the rewards that lie beyond our latent potential. I gladly recommend reading this book.
James has an extremely direct and readable style. He's clearly a student of human nature and uses a wealth of examples that can give you enough to get started with immediately.
The opening story of an injury from baseball may be traumatising for some squeamish readers, but it shows the amazing courage that James had as a very young man. I believe his extraordinary dedication and fidelity to writing and to learning about how we make or break our habits was enough to give this long-lasting gift of this book to the world.
Atomic Habits seems to be perfectly tailored to this age of distraction, and he gives advice for everybody on how they can rise above the clutter and noise.
Complex topics explained simply and succinctly. Entertaining, actionable and insightful. Habits are systems not goals.....GOLD, thank you James! It was like reading a book by an old friend. I look forward to James's emails every week and this book takes his learnings to the next level.
It's rare that I buy a book for my teenage kids to read, then INSIST they read it. This is one of only three. So, buy it, read it, and do what James tells you. I guarantee your life will thank you immediately.
Atomic Habits takes self help to a new level, through a rigorous scientific study of how to compound the benefits of good habits. Tiny ‘atomic’ improvements in your lifestyle may seem to make little difference. Clear demonstrates that the results of such changes are exponential rather than linear. Every step on the path of improvement multiplies with every other step, as long as we maintain consistent effort and keep a clear eye on our process. Like compound interest in finance, the yield curve of compounding our interests repays constant focus. A brilliant book, with excellent case studies and grounding in the psychology of human behaviour.
Absolutely LOVED this book. Am in the process of reading it again and writing notes. My husband found it as it was a habit book with all 5-star reviews.
I love listening to YouTube videos etc. of Jim Rohn, Tony Robbins, Brian Tracey, Jordan Peterson, and I feel this book is the missing link in applying their teachings.
I love that it’s not goal-orientated as such, as the motivation for goals often can’t sustain you day-in, day-out to do the necessary things to change your life. Setting up systems in this way has blown my mind!