Never being one to ignore a compelling title, Atomic Habits by James Clear (2018, Avery) looked like an interesting read that promised a different view of self-development, progress in small steps. And in a big way, it delivered.
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 is careful to point out that the ability to perform can reasonably limit how much action can occur, which should encourage readers to self-examine ability and capacity in connection with what is required even if those two measures are temporary.
The book is organized with multiple sections, suc
h 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). It is through this lens that the author carefully positions the four-part model into a usable framework for self-development where the ultimate measure of effectiveness is determined by the habits effectiveness at moving someone closer to who they desire to be.
Additional sections of the book include a chapter on how to make habits irresistible. This is especially important because one challenge that some self-developers share is the propensity of "planning to plan" where research or learning simply be
gets 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 prog
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 immediately apply its principles. It delivers on sharing strategies and a framework for achieving meaningful results and we look forward to c
ontinuing to integrate the model into our own pursuits.