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.