What I learned from reading Atomic Habits

Hey guys,

Last week I finally got round to reading Atomic Habits by James Clear, a worldwide megahit of a book with more than 3 million copies sold.

As an FYI, I read and summarize the best business books for my DIY MBA book club each Friday.

Although the book's main focus, obviously, is around building and sustaining habits, there's a lot that we, Indie Founders, can take away from it. Here are the things I have learned or found interesting:

Forget About Goals, Focus on Systems Instead


  1. Winners and losers have the same goals
  2. Achieving a goal is only a momentary change
  3. Goals restrict your happiness
  • You are constantly putting off happiness until the goal has been achieved.
  1. Goals are at odds with long-term progress.

Ultimately, it is your commitment to the process that determines your progress.

Become Yourself

  • Your identity emerges out of your habits. You are not born with preset beliefs.

  • The process of building your habits is actually the process of becoming yourself.

The process:

  1. Decide the type of person you want to be
  2. Prove it to yourself with small wins

Ultimately, habits matter because they help you become the type of person you want to be.

The Role Of Our Peers Into Forming Us

  • Whatever habits are the most normal in your culture are amongst the most attractive behaviors you'll find.

We imitate 3 groups of people:

  1. The Close
  2. The Many
  3. The Powerful
  • Nothing sustains motivation better than belonging to a tribe.

  • Whenever we are unsure how to act, we look to the group to guide us.

  • When changing your habits means fitting in with a crowd, change is very attractive.

  • Humans everywhere pursue power, prestige, and status.

The culture we live in determines which behaviors are attractive to us.

Choose The Right Field of Competition

  • The secret to maximizing your odds of success is to choose the right field of competition.

  • Our habits are not solely determined by our personalities, but there is no doubt that our genes nudge us in certain directions.

In theory, you can enjoy almost anything. In practice, we enjoy things that come easy to us.

List of questions that can narrow in on what is satisfying to you:

  • What feels like fun to me, but work to others?
  • What makes me lose track of time?
  • Where do I get greater returns than the average person?
  • What comes naturally to me?

The genes do not eliminate the hard work. They clarify it.

Don't cling onto an identity

  • The harder we cling to identity the harder it is to grow beyond it.

  • The more you let a single belief define you, the less capable you are of adapting when new challenges arise.

Although I had thought a lot about these concepts, reading Atomic Habits was still quite eye-opening and reaffirming in multiple ways.

I definitely recommend the book.

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