After Charles Duhhig’s The Power of Habit, there has been a habit-book-boom. People started to notice that habits are NO JOKE, they’re dictating your life. Improve your habits, improve your life.
The reason why I like this book so much, compared to Duhhig’s, is how practical this book is. It’s like The Power of Habit on steroids. After reading this book:
- You will have a systems oriented approach for improving your habits.
- You will have a list of tools for creating good habits or removing bad ones
- You can stop bad habits from developing
Something Specific I really like
I really like how James focuses on the compound effect, especially piling up bad habits. Most habit-authors are talking about adding good habits, like “if you want a better life, start creating better habits”. But, it’s important to break the bad ones first, rather than start adding good ones. Nassim Taleb calls it negative asymmetry. An example would be a healthy diet. Let’s say your doctor orders you to eat more salad. If your overall eating habits stay the same, nothing will change: now you’re eating pizzas and burgers…with salad.
Not only should you break bad habits, you should catch new ones from creeping in. Compounding small bad habits can turn into something really sticky (facebook, porn, alcohol, netflix, etc.). It’s easy to think about habits that will improve your life, it’s far harder to think about habits that are slowly destroying you.
Another thing I really like
This book has many perspective-changers. Another one I really like, is thinking about new habits as changing your identity, rather than your behavior. Some example might be: not to read a book, but become a better reader; not to run a marathon, but become a runner; not to learn an instrument, but become a musician.
If you look at your actions as identity-habits, you might catch potential bad habits. Let’s say say you drink every night (2-3 beers), you can become an alcoholic. Or you scroll through your social media all day and watch netflix all night, you can become a loser.