Book Review: Atomic Habits

Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad OnesAtomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones by James Clear

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Lets talk about the bad stuff first. This is a self help book could be easily categorised as ‘old wine in a new bottle’. A lot of what is mentioned in this book is already known to you from other avenues like religion, parenting, school, leadership courses, self-help books and of course Youtube. From that point of view, the topic lacks novelty.

I am the first one to admit that i read self-help books not necessarily because i want to improve myself but because i enjoy reading them. But more often than not, one or two points of every book tend to stick with you if it does for long enough, it will make a difference.

I like the recommendation from the author to make productivity habits “identity based” instead of “outcome based”. I ve always struggled with outcome based habits as it leads to streaks of disappointment and discontentment even if you meet the outcome. For example, an outcome like “reduce weight by 5 kgs” may add a lot of stress to your life when you think about daily runs and diet. While identifying yourself as “running enthusiast” may make your daily routine easier and even enjoyable. The other easily actionable element from the book is the concept of “2 min habits”. I was surprised how much can be done in 2 mins if you make it a daily habit. I always had trouble teaching my 8 yr old multiplication tables. I piloted the daily “2 mins routine” with her and she could master it in less than 2 weeks. The technique is surprisingly easy and effective.

The book is well written and very actionable. It does a good job in educating you why focussing on repetition(however short) and process is more important than the outcome.

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