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I’ve read Atomic Habits before. But it’s the perfect book to launch this project. You see, this project isn’t about reviewing books. It’s about building the habit of keeping notes on the books I read.
And I read a lot of books. But I struggle connecting them and remembering which ideas came from which books. I have a great story about that when I cover How to Win Friends and Influence People. Why read books if you’re going to let the information disappear?
The book’s introduction is short and sweet. It covers a traumatic event that put him on the path to finding the power of habits. It touches on the idea that habits lead to minor improvements that compound. Control and confidence can grow in that environment.
Here is where James gives his definition of a habit:
A habit is a routine or behavior that is performed regularly — and, in many cases, automatically.
James is upfront that he isn’t a researcher. His advice is based on 2 things: his study of research done by others and his years of using this methodology. And, because it’s based on experience, the book is going to be much more practical than academic. His goal is to create “an operating manual”.
James describes his habit model (“cue, craving, response, and reward”) as an improvement on the work of BF Skinner (“stimulus, response, reward”) and Charles Duhigg’s The Power of Habit (“cue, routine, reward”). His model seeks to do a better job of including internal cues.
Am I jumping the gun to say that I don’t completely agree with any of them? I’ve found that there are multiple models. They are all correct that their framework exists. They are all wrong that it’s “the framework”.
I’m looking forward to rereading Atomic Habits and I hope to use it to create a daily habit of reading, writing, and reflecting that will be the anchor for my morning habits.