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Book: Atomic Habits

May 09, 2019

This is a part of the list of read books which I maintain. See all of them. You can only find here a blob of notes from the book itself and some thoghts on them. More often than not the actual book is more useful than what you can see here.


Title: Atomic Habits
Author: James Clear

1. The Surprising Power of Atomic Habits

That’s how knowledge works. It builds up, like compound interest.

The most powerful outcomes are delayed.

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.

True long-term thinking is goal-less thinking

4. The Man Who Didn’t Look Right

Another woman I came across in my research was a former preschool teacher who had switched to a corporate job. Even though she was now working with adults, her old habits would kick in and she kept asking coworkers if they had washed their hands after going to the bathroom.

I also found the story of a man who had spent years working as a lifeguard and would occasionally yell “Walk!” whenever he saw a child running.

5. The Best Way to Start a New Habit

the tendency for one purchase to lead to another one has a name: the Diderot Effect. The Diderot Effect states that obtaining a new possession often creates a spiral of consumption that leads to additional purchases.

11. Walk Slowly, but Never Backward

The best is the enemy of the good.

12. The Law of Least Effort

But the truth is, our real motivation is to be lazy and to do what is convenient.

And despite what the latest productivity best seller will tell you, this is a smart strategy, not a dumb one.

Energy is precious, and the brain is wired to conserve it whenever possible.

addition by subtraction

The Japanese companies looked for every point of friction in the manufacturing process and eliminated it.

13. How to Stop Procrastinating by Using the Two-Minute Rule

The point is to master the habit of showing up.

The secret is to always stay below the point where it feels like work.

The best way is to always stop when you are going good.

14. How to Make Good Habits Inevitable and Bad Habits Impossible

Civilization advances by extending the number of operations we can perform without thinking about them.

16. How to Stick with Good Habits Every Day

You don’t realize how valuable it is to just show up on your bad (or busy) days.

The human mind wants to “win” whatever game is being played.

When a measure becomes a target, it ceases to be a good measure.

17. How an Accountability Partner Can Change Everything

My suggestion was quite simple,” he wrote in 1981. “Put that [nuclear] code number in a little capsule, and then implant that capsule right next to the heart of a volunteer. The volunteer would carry with him a big, heavy butcher knife as he accompanied the President. If ever the President wanted to fire nuclear weapons, the only way he could do so would be for him first, with his own hands, to kill one human being. The President says, ‘George, I’m sorry but tens of millions must die.’ He has to look at someone and realize what death is—what an innocent death is. Blood on the White House carpet. It’s reality brought home.

18. The Truth About Talent

It’s a virtuous cycle.

19. The Goldilocks Rule: How to Stay Motivated in Life and Work

The Goldilocks Rule states that humans experience peak motivation when working on tasks that are right on the edge of their current abilities. Not too hard. Not too easy. Just right.

Men desire novelty to such an extent that those who are doing well wish for a change as much as those who are doing badly.

Anyone can work hard when they feel motivated. It’s the ability to keep going when work isn’t exciting that makes the difference.

20. The Downside of Creating Good Habits

The way to be successful is to learn how to do things right, then do them the same way every time.

It’s remarkable what you can build if you just don’t stop

It’s remarkable the knowledge you can build if you don’t stop learning. It’s remarkable the fortune you can build if you don’t stop saving.

Small habits don’t add up. They compound.


Andrei Glingeanu

Andrei Glingeanu's notes and thoughts. You should follow him on Twitter, Instagram or contact via email. The stuff he loves to read can be found here on this site or on goodreads.