I recently finished Atomic Habits by James Clear. I am generally not a fan of “self-help” books, but I am trying to add more “what’s everyone talking about” books to my reading mix, so I gave this one a deeper look. It seemed to have traction and getting good responses from business book readers, so I added it to my “Want to Read” list.
The book’s focus is a challenge many people struggle with. That challenge is how to build good habits and, maybe more more importantly for most folks, how to “break” bad habits. Clear’s premise in Atomic Habits is that small, incremental changes made and practiced daily is an approach that is much more likely to succeed than the “all at once, big” change that is likely to fizzle out because it is too hard to sustain.
“This is the meaning of the phrase atomic habits—a regular practice or routine that is not only small and easy to do, but also the source of incredible power; a component of the system of compound growth.”James Clear from Atomic Habits: An Easy Proven Way to Build Good Habits a& Break Bad Ones.
Clear provides a set of frameworks and tools that can help you improve self-awareness and develop new “good” habits or eliminate “bad” ones. He supports the approach, frameworks, and tools he outlines in Atomic Habits with references to psychological studies and research, but this often feels a bit forced and just extra “pad”.
There were a number of things that rang true for me based on my own successes and failures in developing good habits and eliminating bad ones. The book is definitely more “self-help” than a business book. The self-awareness, skills, and tools Clear provides will be useful in any context including your job.
James Clear is a pretty interesting individual. His backstory is in the books so I won’t share it here. Here is an interview from the book launch.
Overall, I would give it a positive recommendation. Not the “must read” some of the media would have you believe, but a useful way to look at things.