This won’t be a normal book review. First of all, I haven’t finished reading it yet. And it’s way too soon to say exactly what results I’ve achieved by using its advice because I really haven’t used any yet.
But what I can tell you is that the author, James Clear’s explanation of his strategies to allow people to break bad habits and make good habits, jibes remarkably well with my long, very checkered career of developing better habits for just about every aspect of my life. It’s as if this book was written specifically for people like me. And by people like me what I mean is extremely lazy people with an awful work ethic.
There are chapters on the psychological and neurological origins of habit formation and there are rules for optimizing good habits and rules for minimizing the temptations of bad habits (which tend to be mirror images of each other). And there are checklists for scheduling all the good activities you will want to piggyback on each other in the course of your new, improved, productive but quite crowded day.
The book doesn’t have a large component of feel-good cheerleading. It’s more of a how-to manual for maximizing success and minimize relapses. And it isn’t one of those systems that depend on heroic willpower and any external products. He’s not selling anything that I’ve read about so far. It’s logical strategies to manipulate human nature to direct effort and provide support for the natural power of repetition and the application of small incremental change over time.
I think the reason I’ve been enthusiastic about this book is because it formulates things, I’ve already recognized about behavioral modification, but underpins it with explanations about what additional steps can be taken to protect against the everyday problems that so often derail people from making changes to their habits.
I don’t want to sound too enthusiastic about the usefulness of this book for everyone. Possibly I am the poster child for this book. Maybe most people don’t need to know about dopamine in order to institute a permanent habit for exercise or rework their schedules. But for whatever reason this book clicks for me. If you’re in a self-improvement mode and need a textbook to set it up this might be just what you need. It’s probably in a library near you so you can check it out and see if it works for you.