Book Reviews

Atomic Habits by James Clear

atomic habits

About the Book

If you’re looking for actionable takeaways to 10 X your productivity, look no further. James has knocked it out the park with this one!

From marbles in jars to getting to the gym, Atomic Habits provides the perfect roadmap to building a better life. I’ve implemented many of the book’s ideas and just a few months later, I’m already feeling the benefits.

But you don’t care about that!

Here are some of its standout moments…

Favourite Passages:

  • “… changes that seem small and unimportant at first will compound into remarkable results if you’re willing to stick with them for years.” Introduction: My Story
  • “… if you can get 1 percent better each day for one year, you’ll end up thirty-seven times better by the time you’re done.” 1: The Surprising Power of Atomic Habits
  • “You should be far more concerned with your current trajectory than with your current results.” 1: The Surprising Power of Atomic Habits
  • “Cancer spends 80 percent of its life undetectable, then takes over the body in months… Similarly, habits often appear to make no difference until you cross a critical threshold and unlock a new level of performance.” 1: The Surprising Power of Atomic Habits
  • “The goal in any sport is to finish with the best score, but it would be ridiculous to spend the whole game staring at the scoreboard. The only way to actually win is to get better each day. In the words of three-time Super Bowl winner Bill Walsh, ‘The score takes care of itself.'” 1: The Surprising Power of Atomic Habits
  • “Many people begin the process of changing their habits by focusing on what they want to achieve. This leads us to outcome-based habits. The alternative is to build identity-based habits. With this approach, we start by focusing on who we wish to become.” 2: How Your Habits Shape Your Identity
  • “Progress requires unlearning. Becoming the best version of yourself requires you to continuously edit your beliefs, and to upgrade and expand your identity.” 2: How Your Habits Shape Your Identity
  • “You don’t need a unanimous vote to win an election; you just need a majority. It doesn’t matter if you cast a few votes for a bad behaviour or an unproductive habit. Your goal is simply to win the majority of time.” 2: How Your Habits Shape Your Identity
  1. Decide the type of person you want to be.
  2. Prove it to yourself with small wins.

2: How Your Habits Shape Your Identity

  • “Stop thinking about your environment as filled with objects. Start thinking about it as filled with relationships.” 6: Motivation is Overrated; Environment Often Matters More
  • “Instead, ‘disciplined’ people are better at structuring their lives in a way that does not require heroic willpower and self-control. In other words, they spend less time in tempting situations.” 7: The Secret to Self-Control
  • “Here’s the punch line: You can break a habit, but you’re unlikely to forget it. Once the mental grooves of habit have been carved into your brain, they are nearly impossible to remove entirely – even if they go unused for quite a while. And that means simply resisting temptation is an ineffective strategy.” 7: The Secret to Self-Control
  • “If you’re surrounded by jazz lovers, you’re more likely to believe it’s reasonable to play jazz every day. Your culture sets your expectation for what is ‘normal’. Surround yourself with people who have the habits you want to have yourself. You’ll rise together.” 9: The Role of Family and Friends in Shaping Your Habits
  • “You can adapt this strategy for nearly any purpose. Say you want to feel happier in general. Find something that makes you truly happy – like petting your dog or taking a bubble bath – and then create a short routine that your perform every time before you do the thing you love. Maybe you take three deep breaths and smile.” 10: How to Find and Fix the Causes of Your Bad Habits
  • “Energy is precious, and the brain is wired to conserve it whenever possible. It is human nature to follow the Law of Least Effort, which states that when deciding between two similar options, people will naturally gravitate toward the option that requires the least amount of effort.” 12: The Law of Least Effort
  • “For instance, my wife keeps a box of greeting cards that are presorted by occasion – birthday, sympathy, wedding, graduation, and more. Whenever necessary, she grabs an appropriate card and sends it off. She is incredibly good at remembering to send cards because she has reduced the friction of doing so.” 12: The Law of Least Effort
  • “Even when you know you should start small, it’s easy to start too big. When you dream about making a change, excitement inevitably takes over and you end up trying to do too much too soon. The most effective way to I know to counteract this tendency is to use the Two-Minute Rule, which states, ‘When you start a new habit, it should take less than two minutes to do… // ‘Read before bed each night’ becomes ‘Read one page.'” 13: How to Stop Procrastinating by Using the Two-Minute Rule
  • “… let’s update the Cardinal Rule of Behaviour Change: What is immediately rewarded is repeated. What is immediately punished is avoided.” 15: The Cardinal Rule of Behaviour Change
  • “If you’re willing to wait for the rewards, you’ll face less competition and often get a bigger payoff. As the saying goes, the last mile is always the least crowded.” 15: The Cardinal Rule of Behaviour Change
  • “You want to make avoidance visible. Open a savings account and label it for something you want – maybe ‘Leather Jacket’. Whenever you pass on a purchase, put the same amount of money into the account. Skip your morning latte? Transfer $5. Pass on another month of Netflix? Move $10 over. It’s like creating a loyalty program for yourself. The immediate reward of seeing yourself save money toward the leather jacket feels a lot better than being deprived. You are making it satisfying to do nothing.” 15: The Cardinal Rule of Behaviour Change
  • “Instead [of rewarding yourself with ice cream], maybe your reward is a massage, which is both a luxury and a vote toward taking care of your body. Now the short-term reward is aligned with your long-term vision of being a healthy person.” 15: The Cardinal Rule of Behaviour Change
  • “Incentives can start a habit. Identity sustains a habit.” 15: The Cardinal Rule of Behaviour Change
  • “‘Every morning I would start with 120 paper clips in one jar and I would keep dialling the phone until I had moved them all to the second jar.'” 16: How to Stick with Good Habits Every Day
  • “‘Don’t break the chain’ is a powerful mantra. Don’t break the chain of sales calls and you’ll build a successful book of business. Don’t break the chain of workouts and you’ll get fit faster than you’d expect.” 16: How to Stick with Good Habits Every Day
  • “Whenever this happens to me, I try to remind myself of a simple rule: never miss twice.” 16: How to Stick with Good Habits Every Day
  • “He mentioned the factors you might expect [that contribute to success]: 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.” 19: The Goldilocks Rule: How to Stay Motivated in Life and Work
  • “The greatest threat to success is not failure but boredom. We get bored with habits because they stop delighting us. The outcomes become expected. And as our habits become ordinary, we start derailing our progress to seek novelty.” 19: The Goldilocks Rule: How to Stay Motivated in Life and Work
  • “Professionals stick to the schedule; amateurs let life get in the way. Professionals know what is important to them and work toward it with purpose; amateurs get pulled off course by the urgencies of life.” 19: The Goldilocks Rule: How to Stay Motivated in Life and Work

Star Rating


I’ve only got good things to say about this book. Give it a read and I know you won’t be disappointed!

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