Book Lesson 04- Atomic Habits

On Amazon- Atomic Habits by James Clear

“Habits are the compound interest of self improvement”

Why Should you read this? AH

  • To learn practical techniques of how to foster a good habit and get rid of bad habits.
  • To understand the power of a small habit that can give you compounded positive or negative return in the long run.
  • Why habits matter a lot, but are one of the most overlook aspects of life?
  • To understand the process and stages involved in building a good habit and breaking a bad habit.

Key  Takeaways!

  • Habit Math: Well you might have seen this before but it’s magical to see how compounding effects of habits work:

(1.01)^365 = 37.78   Vs.   (0.99)^365 = 0.03

So, if we improve ourselves by 1% every day for one year we are better off by 37.78% at the end of the year. On the other hand, if we get worse off by 1% every day for one year, we decline down to nearly zero. So, this explains the power of good and bad habits.

  • It’s System Driven: Fostering a good habit needs strong systems, processes or rituals because we do not rise to the level of our goals but we fall to the level of our systems. So, rather than just focusing on goals we want to achieve, we should also focus on the systems we want to build to achieve the goal.
  • Change your Identity: Changing habits need changing your identity. So, we should not focus on what we want to achieve but on what we wish to become through our new habits. Our identity is the result of our habits, so we should see habits as the part of our identity.  Image result for habit loop james clear
  • The Habit Loop: We can understand habits has a four step process, where each of the step leads to other and finally work as a loop which becomes stronger as the number of loops increases. The cue and craving are part of the problem phase of the habit whereas response and reward are the part of solution phase of the habit. You can read here how this whole system works.
  • Dopamine the Driver: Our cravings are dopamine driven. Our brain has far more neural circuitry allocated for wanting (anticipation of reward/ pleasure) than liking (actually feeling the pleasure). So, our desire drives our behavior. So, we need to make our habits desirable and attractive.
  • Excellence needs more: To achieve excellence in any field we need more than just habits. That additional ingredient is deliberate practice where we are aware what we are doing unlike auto-pilot mode for the habits:

Habits + Deliberate practice = Mastery

  • Your Cheat Sheet: Finally, to get a quick look on the different steps suggested for fostering good habits and breaking bad habits, A Habit Cheat Sheet is available on the book’s website.

Book Lesson 03- Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products

Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products by Nir Eyal

Why Should you read this?41CLybict0L._SX322_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg

  • To understand why we keep on checking our social media feeds throughout the day and sometimes without even realizing that.
  • What behavioral design tools and cues tech companies use to hook us to their products.
  • To understand the hook cycle i.e. the four-phase process companies use to form habits.
  • To learn how to build a habit-forming product in the era of 24*7 high-speed internet access and the Dos and Don’ts such product design.

Key Takeaways!

  • According to Cognitive psychologists, “Habits are automatic behaviors triggered by situational cues, things we do with little or no conscious thought.” Habit-forming products change user behavior and create unprompted user engagement. Businesses that create customer habits gain a significant competitive advantage.
  • The four steps of hook model are- Trigger (can be external or internal), Action, Variable Reward, and Investment.


  1. A trigger can be a new notification on your Facebook App after let’s say uploading a picture
    External trigger tells the user what to do next by placing information in the user’s environment whereas Internal triggers tell the user what to do next through the associations stored in the user’s memory.
  2. When you click on Facebook App in anticipation of likes or comments, this is the Action. As per the Fogg model, Action or Behavior occurs when motivation, ability, and trigger are present at the same time in sufficient degrees.
  3. The likes/comments you see on your pic is the variable reward as it changes every time you open the App and it builds an anticipation of something new every time. This variable reward gives a dopamine surge in our brain which keeps us hooked.
    There are three types of variable rewards:

    1. Rewards of the Tribe– Search for social rewards through connectedness (Facebook)
    2. Rewards of the Hunt– Search for material resources and information (Flipboard)
    3. Rewards of the Self– Search for intrinsic rewards of mastery, competence (Video games)
  4. Investment occurs when the user puts something into the product or service i.e. time, data, efforts, social capital etc. So, it increases the likelihood of user returning again.
  • Behaviors are LIFO- “Last in, first out.” In other words, habits you have recently acquired are also the ones most likely to go soonest. So, once a habit is formed over a long period of time, it’s very unlikely that someone will leave that habit soon. That’s why habits keep users/customers loyal.
  • The product’s habit-forming potential is determined by two factors: frequency of use and the perceived utility of the product. The higher the value on both the parameters, higher is the habit-forming potential. So, the more a product is used because of induced habit, the more data it gathers and more intelligent and advanced the algorithm becomes over time.