BOOK REVIEW | ATOMIC HABITS
Ahh, summer reading. Whether you take a book to the beach or your favorite e-reader to the shores of a lake, almost nothing beats a good read while soaking up the warmer temperatures summer offers.
And Atomic Habits by James Clear is the perfect accompaniment to any planned warm getaway and is published by Avery in 2018. The read is available as a paper-printed book and for electronic reading. A quick review of the cover finds that it has reportedly sold more than two million copies and features information that is easy and proven for building good habits while breaking bad ones.
Like probably many readers, the introduction to most books seems to serve only to delay getting to the best parts. Not this time, however. The opening creates a solid foundation and context for the remainder of the book. In short, it would be a mistake to miss or jump over this section.
The core focuses of the model is a four-step event: cue, craving, response, and reward. The four components are sequenced events, while habits are defined as "behavior that has been repeated enough times to become automatic" (p 44). Each habit shares the same four-part events, in the same order, every time. Uniquely, the author carefully points out that the ability to perform can reasonably limit how much action can occur. This consideration should encourage readers to self-examine their ability and capacity in connection with what is required, even if those two measures are temporary.
The book is organized into multiple sections, such as "Make it Obvious" wherein the author makes the critical argument that "[t]here are no good habits or bad habits. There are only effective habits" (p 65). Through this lens, the author carefully positions the four-part model into a usable framework for self-development where the habit's effectiveness determines the ultimate measure of effectiveness at moving someone closer to who they desire to be.
Additional sections of the book include a chapter on making habits irresistible. This consideration is especially important because one challenge that some self-developers share is the propensity of "planning to plan" where research or learning simply begets more research and learning while meaningful action never occurs. To address this, the author's chapter "Walk Slowly but Never Backward" is worth reading and re-reading when real progress seems fleeting.
In conclusion, Atomic Habits is a book about little things and makes a big im
pression and should be part of any self-developers coveted bookshelf. We not only enjoyed the read but found ways to apply its principles immediately. It delivers on sharing strategies and a framework for achieving meaningful results, and we look forward to continuing to integrate the model into our own pursuits.