Mini book review: Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones by James Clear

Systems & Operations

I recently found myself making an unexpected road trip. Little did I know, the 6+ hours of driving would reward me so richly.

As always, my road trips are spent in automobile university—learning through podcasts or audio books. This trip had me tuned into Atomic Habits by James Clear.

The book provides simple, actionable steps to break bad habits by building small habits (like atoms), that create massive positive change over time. The material is uncomplicated, yet incredibly powerful.

Habits stages framework

  1. Cue – something that informs you that there’s a reward to be found
  2. Craving – the motivation to get the reward
  3. Response – what you do to get the reward
  4. Reward – the good stuff! Generally, the satisfying feeling you get

Clear encourages use of the framework to create new habits quickly and easily.

How to: create new habits

  1. Make it obvious
  2. Make it attractive
  3. Make it easy
  4. Make it satisfying

To break bad habits, do the opposite. Make the unwelcome habits difficult, unsatisfying and so on.

Personal connection

I really enjoyed the book for many reasons, but mostly because Clear’s belief about goals strongly aligns with my own.

“Problem #1: Winners and losers have the same goals.”

“You do not rise to the level of your goals. You fall to the level of your systems.”

Yes! Having the right systems in place helps you achieve your goals. Without strong systems, failure’s the destination.

Too lazy to read? There’s a summary for that

  • Habits are the systems that help you achieve your goals
  • Environment has a strong impact on human behaviour
  • Put in the time and frequency to banish bad habits and cultivate good ones

In reading this book, it’s clear how it applies to every part of life. Building great habits, the systems that drive performance, is something we should all be working at. It’s a must read.

Still curious? Let’s chat.

Mike Knapp

Mike Knapp


Mike Knapp is a strategy & execution superhero with incrementa (un)consulting. He is passionate about helping the leaders become the heroes of their own stories by developing their vision into clear goals and an execution plan do drive their business forward.

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