Atomic Habits Book Summary

A summary of Atomic Habits with a focus on Businesses

I just got finished with Atomic Habits by James Clear yesterday ⚡

Although the book didn't add anything new to my knowledge-base, it did give clarity on how the process of forming new habits that I follow actually happens on a psychological level.

According to the book, the 4 laws of adopting a new habit are:

1. Cue: Make it obvious.
2. Craving: Make it attractive.
3. Response: Make it easy.
4. Reward: Make it satisfying

And conversely for dropping a bad habit:

1. Make it Invisible.
2. Make it unattractive
3. Make it difficult
4. Make it unsatisfying

The 1st law is to make it obvious.

A cue is anything that gets your attention and signifies what to do next. Cues that are more obvious will be more likely to get a person’s attention and, as a result, are more likely to be acted upon. This is why adverts are attention-seeking with loud sounds and use of primary colors.

The 2nd Law is to make it attractive.

The more attractive an opportunity, the more habit-forming it is. Social media gets you more likes than real life, junk food has more extreme taste than healthy food, etc.

The 3rd Law is to make it easy.

It's associated with the behavior or habit that you perform. Behaviors are more likely to be performed when they are easy—that is, when they can be accomplished with ease. Eg, apps keeping paid options a single tap away, e-commerce stores promise one-day delivery for instant gratification, etc.

The 4th Law is to make it satisfying.

If there is a reward associated with a behavior, then our brains are trained to repeat that behaviour in the future. Eg, let’s consider slot machines. Even a loss is framed as a win. Flashing lights go off, sound of coins clinking, all reinforcing the gambler to try again.

Those were the top points from the book for me. I have written more on how businesses try to get to you by taking advantage of the habit cycle. However, you can get a deeper understanding in a 19-page PDF by James Clear himself here.