Read: December 2023

Inspiration: Came across on Amazon’s bestseller list; had heard of the book through colleagues


Written with the help of ChatGPT, below is a brief summary to understand what is covered in the book.

“The Compound Effect”, published in 2010 by journalist and author Darren Hardy, is a self-help book that emphasizes the power of small, consistent actions in achieving long-term success. Hardy introduces the concept of the compound effect, illustrating how daily habits, whether positive or negative, can accumulate over time to create significant outcomes. The book explores the impact of making small changes in behavior, highlighting the compounding nature of effort and perseverance. Hardy provides practical advice on setting and achieving goals, emphasizing the importance of discipline, consistency, and patience. Through real-life examples and actionable insights, “The Compound Effect” serves as a guide for individuals seeking to make positive changes in their lives by understanding the cumulative effect of their choices over time.

Unedited Notes

Direct from my original book log, below are my unedited notes (abbreviations and misspellings included) to show how I take notes as I read.

The Compound Effect is the principle that huge rewards come from a series of small, smart choices, consistency at the center with results not immediately noticeable yet remain disciplined, important fact is requires time for small, consistent choices to bring on radical difference, small choices ripple across your life—ie eating slightly worse each days builds via weight gain and hurts mood which hurts relationships and work, etc, “wealth skips a generation” as those born to money often don’t understand work ethic required of parents, if you gave lottery losers 30 seconds on tv to announce lost it would take 9 years to go thru all the losers for avg draw, (1) focus on your choices—so often sleepwalk thru decision and derail progress for no reason, these unconscious/sleepwalking choices compound as well, embrace concept of 100% self responsibility—don’t deflect to others and instead actively consider what else you could have done, if it is simple to do then it is also simple not to do—don’t skip the small tasks and track actively, successful people are willing to do what unsuccessful people are not, use tracking for any goal—weight loss, save money, for 30 days write down every dollar out of pocket, awareness if key and tracking enables (olympians track every workout, calorie, etc), $1 today grown at 8% per year is $5 in 20 years so on purchases ask self if really is worth 5x price as that is what you are forgoing truly, knowing your why is critical—the ultimate motivator for any “how”, example: would you cross plank on the ground vs on top of building vs on top of building burn with your loved on inside, goal setting is important as focuses your attention explicitly, change habits by identifying your triggers—what/when/where certain bad habits take place, then get rid of triggers—throw out junk food, cancel netflix, etc, then swap for healthy habits, good test is find a vice and cut off for 30 days—see who is in control, if can’t cut for a month then know it is bad habit, useful in goal setting to think about not just what to do but also who you want to become and how a person gets there step by step, use who you want to become as guide, use the Add In principle: not cutting out sweets or tv, instead adding in healthy vegetables, etc or adding in reading hobby—think of what can bring in not deprive, be public with goals so accountable, a partner for progress checks is best, and celebrate progress, be patient—21 days for a habit, if it is hard, awkward or tedious then so be it, just do it, don’t overdo new habits—burnout, it is a marathon and consistency is key so build up steadily and sustainably, set out daily weekly and quarterly goals/plans—need to be explicit and not just in your head, overdoing is bad because when take a break you kill momentum and momentum is key to establishing life long habits, “be the tortoise”, truly valuable to think of your days bookends as most in your control to curate how wake and how go to sleep—leverage this intentionally (read, meditate, journal, etc), your mind will hold whatever you put into and the filters all else—put in positive/healthy to counteract evolutionary instinct to negative (listen to aspirational podcasts, happy news, etc), keep on a media diet—best example of negativity is consider how traffic on highway is often nothing except people slowing to stare at tragic accident yet no one ever slows to gawk at gorgeous sunset and cause traffic, relationships and who you spend time with does determine who you are—dissociate from those negative, and then distinguish b/w those can spend 3 mins vs hrs vs days with, then reach out to those of positive influence to spend more time with—don’t move unconsciously thru relationship, think about the characteristics of people you spend your time with, when you hit your “wall” this is when can separate as push thru and get extraordinary impact/results, do the unexpected/extra to see multiplied results—often requires no additional energy, lean towards being “too aggressive”, prepare a little longer/push further, don’t just unconsciously stop at some “goal”—think if can do more

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Welcome to JeffReads, where I share summaries of the best books I’ve read on business, politics, science, technology and more.




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