Book Summary: Atomic Habits by James Clear

This book moves you to action. You cannot finish the book without investigating your life and saying, “What small step can I take today to be the person I want to be in the future?” And with Clear’s easy four step process, you will have a simple game plan to make it happen!

3 Quotes You Need To Hear


“The most effective way to change your habits is to focus not on what you want to achieve, but on who you wish to become.” (p.59)

“Habits are the compound interest of self-improvement. The same way that money multiplies through compound interest, the effects of your habits multiply as you repeat them. They seem to make little difference on any given day and yet the impact they deliver over the months and years can be enormous. It is only when looking back two, five, or perhaps ten years later that the value of good habits and the cost of bad ones becomes strikingly apparent.” (p.24)


“Goals are good for setting direction, but systems are best for making progress. (p.34)…The purpose of setting goals is to win the game. The purpose of building systems is to continue playing the game. It’s not about any single accomplishment. It is about the cycle of endless refinement and continuous improvement. Ultimately, it is your commitment to the process that will determine your progress.” (p.37)

2 Big Takeaways

Identity-Based Habits: Think about the last diet you went on. Did you hit your weight goal? Better question: Do you still weigh the same? If you are like me, many of the habits I pick up produce short-term wins, but often I find myself needing to recommit after I drift from these good choices. Clear explains that to create long lasting change in our life, we must embrace habits not as worthy endeavors to add to our life, but as integral parts of our identity. For example, I read books not because I want to learn, but because I am a learner. Or I run, not because I think running is a good habit, but I am in fact a runner. If the habit doesn’t become part of our identity, we will never see the long-term impact we truly want. To start identity-based habits you must decide what type of person you want to be and then prove it to yourself with small wins. 


4-step process to building habits: Habits have four movements: cue, craving, response, and reward. “The cue triggers a craving, which motivate a response, which provides a reward, which satisfies the craving.” (p.71) To instill a habit, you need to address each of these areas. To start a good habit, you need to make the cue obvious, the craving attractive, the response easy, and the reward satisfying. In contrast, to break a bad habit, you need to make the cue invisible, the craving unattractive, the response difficult, and the reward unsatisfying. 

1 Recommendation

I would highly recommend this book for anyone that is working towards self-improvement. James Clear rightly shows that who we become is directly related to the habits that we possess. The author does a great job combining both cognitive and behavioral sciences to present an easy and versatile framework that can be applied across every area of your life. 


Look at your life and consider where would you benefit from self-improvement either through starting a good habit or stopping a bad one. How may you be a more intentional parent? A more loving spouse? A more disciplined individual? A more productive employee? A better boss? 


This book moves you to action. You cannot finish the book without investigating your life and saying, “What small step can I take today to be the person I want to be in the future?” For me, I want to be a learner and a writer and my small step today and for the months ahead, is to blog for ten minutes a day. And this post is a product of creating an obvious cue, an attractive craving, an easy response, and a satisfying reward. 

What Are Your Thoughts?

In your experience, what is one helpful tip to start a good habit or break a bad habit? Comment below.

4 Replies to “Book Summary: Atomic Habits by James Clear”

  1. I’m only like 2% sad that you didn’t say, “My friend Hans recommended this book to me.” No big. I don’t shout out to you in my podcast episodes.

    Love the blog. Keep it up, bro.

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