29 Jul Book Review: Atomic Habits: An Easy and Proven Way to Build Good Habits and Break Bad Ones by James Clear
‘Time magnifies the margin between success and failure. It will multiply whatever you feed it.’ That is according to James Clear, author of the book ‘Atomic Habits.’ We know that any kind of change is difficult. But rather than making big chances in our lives, Clear proposes a system to get 1 per cent better every day. He knows that real change comes from the compounding effect of hundreds of small decisions – doing two push-ups a day, waking up five minutes early, or holding a single short phone call. He calls them atomic habits.
Clear affirms that, ‘Good habits make time your ally. Bad habits make time your enemy. Habits are a double-edged sword. Bad habits can cut you down just as easily as good habits can build you up, which is why understanding the details is crucial. You need to know how habits work and how to design them to your liking, so you can avoid the dangerous half of the blade’.
In this book, Clears reveals exactly how these minuscule changes can grow into such life-altering outcomes. He uncovers a handful of simple life hacks and delves into cutting-edge psychology and neuroscience to explain why they matter. Along the way, he tells inspiring stories of Olympic gold medallists, leading CEOs, and distinguished scientists who have used the science of tiny habits to stay productive, motivated, and happy.
According to Clear, “Goal setting suffers from a serious case of survivorship bias. We concentrate on the people who end up winning—the survivors—and mistakenly assume that ambitious goals led to their success while overlooking all of the people who had the same objective but didn’t succeed. Every Olympian wants to win a gold medal. Every candidate wants to get the job. And if successful and unsuccessful people share the same goals, then the goal cannot be what differentiates the winners from the losers. It wasn’t the goal of winning the Tour de France that propelled the British cyclists to the top of the sport. Presumably, they had wanted to win the race every year before – just like every other professional team. The goal had always been there. It was only when they implemented a system of continuous small improvements that they achieved a different outcome.”