Atomic Habits [James Clear]

Book source: National Library Board, Singapore (ebook)

Goodreads link.

Start Date: 25 July, 2019

Finish Date: 30 July, 2019


  • This was an odd read. I came to the book after having already learned about it’s ideas from other sources – lifehacker, Amulya Shruti’s blogpost on having a habit tracker, probably The Simple Dollar also summarised its ideas – or if not, discussed them independently. So there was very little new as far as either concepts or implementation were concerned, but I’m still glad that a book exists which puts them all together, and I’d recommend it to everybody.
  • I do miss out on one of his techniques, which is to have a paper tracker on me at all times so that I can a) cross out habits as I complete them, and b) use the crossing as the trigger to start the next habit. Instead I have a Google Form which I complete once a day – and that’s great for running analysis; but it does make building habits marginally slower, and does mean that the risk of forgetting to do a particular habit is slightly higher. Maybe it’s worth it. Maybe I could do printouts. Let’s see.
  • My dad tells the story of his 80s-era Swedish collabarator (or is it the 90s era Dutch consultant, whom we both admire and love) who used to say ‘Get it right the first time.’ This book has a different approach – it says to not angst about getting it right the first time, but to just get it done at all the first time, and that there’s the rest of your life to build on getting it right. So meditating for thirty seconds, or doing one pushup, or walking a hundred steps is fine as long as you tick it off for the day. This was very validating after I spent a lot of May or June angsting to myself that all the things I was ticking off in my habit tracker were the bare minimum. Clear says the bare minimum is good enough.
  • There were points of the book that talked about the psychology of anticipation and how we would eventually run out of satisfaction that were the neutral, judgement free version of all the stuff that Why Buddhism is True talks about with great alarm.
  • I suspect that everything in the book is there for free on Clear’s website or newsletter, but as I said, having it all in one place, and in a structured sequence rather than as strung apart blogposts is worth the money (and I didn’t even spend any, seeing as I read a library book).
  • Lage raho munnabhai it is.


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