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Atomic Habits

A book by James Clear (Author, Narrator), Penguin Audio (Publisher), ISBN



Whatever your goals, Atomic Habits provides a proven framework for improvement every day. One of the world's leading habit-building experts, his James Clear teaches you exactly how to form good habits, break bad habits, and master the small actions that lead to amazing results. Reveal your strategy. What do atomic habits tell us?

πŸ“— See more Business books

Atomic Habits by James Clear (Author, Narrator), Penguin Audio (Publisher)

Pages
2018
Published in
$ 11.98
Average price
239
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Atomic Habits book PDF free download


Is Atomic Habits free PDF book worth reading?

“Atomic Habits are frustrated with their inability to quit that bad habit (or two dozen) and want to ultimately achieve health, fitness, financial freedom, great relationships, and a good life. It's a great book for anyone who is.".

"Excellent. Worth reading."

Atomic Habits by James Clear is a comprehensive, actionable guide to changing your habits for the better every day. Using a framework called "His Four Laws of Behavior Modification," Atomic Habits teaches readers a simple set of rules for creating good habits and breaking bad habits.

Will Atomic Habits help with ADHD?

I highly recommend reading this book. If you have ADHD as an adult, James Clear's Atomic Habits is also a must-read book. We used to think that setting big goals and doing what we call big actions was the key to success.

What is the Atomic Habits 1% Rule?

One of the things he learned from reading James Clear's book Atomic Habits is to try to improve by 1% every day. That means trying to be better than yesterday. The only person you are competing with is yourself. Is Atomic Habits about psychology?

Atomic Habits explores the psychology behind habit formation and shows the mechanisms within the human brain that form habits. 

Brain-exploding stories from the Atomic Habits PDF

For the third year the book has been discussed by English-speaking IT-people, and I decided to find out what's so great about it. Basically, "Atomic habbits" is a collection of Clear's publications on the subject of habits from his blog, but in a nice cover.

The coolest thing about the book were the life stories. You can take the tips from these stories without any of the 150 pages of theory and apply them to yourself/your children/your coworkers.

Here are 15 useful stories from the book "Atomic Habits".

Context of the book

Wikipedia defines the word "habit" as "a routine daily behavior, usually occurring subconsciously." "Usually" is about 43% of the time, according to the studies the wiki refers to.
 
The word "habit" is often used in a negative context. No wonder: when something happens "on its own," it is rarely something good. But in the context of the book, an atomic habit is any small, regular, automatic action.

"Good habit" = "effective habit" = "a habit that helps you become the person you want to be." For "bad habit" the wording is exactly the opposite.

The entire book is built around the "4 Laws of Behavior," which the author puts it like this:
The four laws of behavior change are a simple set of rules you can use to form better habits. These laws are as follows: (1) make it obvious, (2) add attractiveness, (3) simplify, (4) bring pleasure.

Do not confuse (2) and (4). Attractive (2) - to make you want to try it. Bring pleasure (4) - to make you want to do it again.

Atomic habits work like compound interest and accumulate effects, bad or good it doesn't matter.

If you repeat a small, regular, non-automatic action often, it will become automatic after a certain number of regular repetitions.

Atomic Habits: Cycling

How to make a "national team that's been losing everywhere for 100 years" into a "national team that's won 178 medals in 10 years" with small environmental improvements.

Coach Dave Brailsford's story from Atomic Habits

The fate of the British Cycling Federation changed in a single day in 2003. The organization that ran all professional cycling in Great Britain hired Dave Brailsford as head coach. At that time, British professional cycling had been performing mediocrely for about a hundred years. After 1908, British cyclists had won only one gold medal at the Olympics, and even worse at the biggest cycling race, the Tour de France. No British cyclist has won the event in 110 years.

In fact, the results of British cyclists were so disappointing that one of the largest bicycle manufacturers in Europe refused to sell its products to the British team because it feared a drop in sales: other professional cyclists might have thought that the British team's failures were due to the quality of the bikes.

Brailsford was tasked with taking British cycling to a new level. His main difference from previous coaches was his unwavering commitment to a strategy he called "maximizing results," a strategy based on the philosophy of seeking to make minimal improvements in everything you do. Brailsford said, "The whole principle was born out of the following idea: if you fell and all your worries about it help improve the quality of cycling by at least 1%, then adding together the effect of all the falls, you will achieve a very significant improvement.

Brailsford and his team started with small changes to help the team get closer to professional team status. They redesigned the bikes' saddles to make them more comfortable, and began rubbing alcohol into the tires to improve traction. They asked cyclists to wear electrically heated jackets to ensure ideal muscle temperatures while riding, and used biological sensors to track how each athlete responded to a particular load. The team examined different fabrics in a wind tunnel and concluded that outdoor racing suits made sense to replace indoor cycling track suits because they were lighter and had a more streamlined shape.

But they didn't stop there. Brailsford and his team continued to look for improvements of at least 1 percent in all areas that had previously been overlooked or didn't seem very promising in terms of improvements. They tested different types of massage gels to see which one would repair muscles faster. They hired a doctor to teach each athlete how to properly wash their hands to avoid respiratory viral illnesses. They chose the best type of mattress and pillow for each athlete to ensure proper rest at night. They even painted the inside of the team's truck with white paint; this allowed them to identify the smallest particles of dirt that would normally go unnoticed, but could adversely affect the perfectly tuned mechanism of the bike. When this and hundreds of other minor improvements were implemented, the results were not long in coming.

Just five years after Brailsford's appointment, the British team led the road and track at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, where the athletes, to everyone's surprise, won 60 percent of the gold medals. Four years later, at the London Olympics, the British did even better, setting nine Olympic and seven world records.

That same year, Bradley Wiggins became the first British cyclist to win the Tour de France. A year later, his teammate Chris Froome also won the race, and then cemented his success with a series of victories in 2015, 2016 and 2017: thanks to him, the team has won five Tour de France victories in six years!

In the 10 years from 2007 to 2017, British cyclists won 178 world championships, won sixty-six gold medals at the Olympic and Paralympic Games and won the Tour de France five times; this success is the most significant in cycling history.

While we have plenty of time and health ahead of us, we put in the small and simple actions that can improve our lives a year and 10 years from now.  

Atomic Habits: Basketball

How to turn a team that didn't even play in the NBA Finals into a team that won the NBA two years in a row with a reflection and personal evaluation system for players.

The story of basketball coach Pat Riley from the Atomic Habits PDF

In 1986, the Los Angeles Lakers assembled a very strong basketball team like never before. Nevertheless, it was not remembered as such. The team began the 1985-1986 season with a winning streak of 29 wins to 5 losses. "The experts said we might be the best team in the history of basketball," coach Pat Riley said at the end of the season. To everyone's surprise, they only made it to the Conference Finals in the playoffs, where they lost to the Rockets. "The best team in basketball history" didn't even play in the NBA Finals.

After that blowout, Riley had to listen constantly to how talented his players were and how much hope there was for the team. He didn't want to see rare flashes of great play amidst an overall deteriorating performance. He wanted the Lakers to play to the best of their ability night after night. In the summer of 1986, he devised a plan, or rather a system he called a career-best performance program. 

"When players move to the Lakers," Riley explains, "we track their basketball stats all the way through high school. I call it 'picking apart the bones.' We look for the exact criterion of what a player can do, then we build it into the team's game plan, assuming they're going to play at least as well as their average and gradually improve on it."

After determining a basketball player's average performance level, Riley added a key step. He asked each player to "improve by at least 1 percent per season. If the player succeeded, the result became "a career-best performance. Similar to the British cycling team we discussed in the first chapter, the Lakers achieved maximum achievement by getting better every day.

Riley emphasized that "career best" was not limited to points or statistics, but reflected "the application of all efforts: spiritual, mental, and physical.

Players were also credited when they "allowed an opponent to face them, knowing it was he who would receive the foul, rushed for loose balls, rushed to pick up the ball even if it was unclear whether they would succeed, helped a teammate who was being passed by another player, and performed other 'unsung heroic deeds.

As an example, take Magic Johnson, the star of the team at the time. Let's say he had 11 points, 8 rebounds, 12 assists, 2 rebounds and 5 turnovers per game. Magic also received a point for the "unsung heroic act" of diving for a loose ball (+1). Finally, he played 33 minutes in that imaginary game. 

Add the merits (11 + 8 + 12 + 2 + 1) and you get 34. Subtract the 5 losses (34 - 5) to get 29. Finally, divide 29 by the 33 minutes played: 
29 ÷ 33 = 0,879. 

Magic's "Best Career Score" (BCS) would be 879. This number was derived by taking into account all of the basketball player's games, and it is the number he would have to improve by 1% over the course of the season. Riley compared the player's actual NPC not only to his past results, but also to the results of other players in the league. As Riley himself explained, "We compare players to their opponents on other teams who are in the same position and have similar goals." 

Sports columnist Jackie McMullen wrote, "Each week Riley wrote the names of the league's best players on the board with a marker and compared the scores to his team's players. Reliable players got somewhere around 600 points, and elite players scored at least 800. Magic Johnson, who made 138 career triple-doubles, often scored over 1,000."

"The Lakers also recorded yearly progress, comparing NPCs. Riley said, "We compared November 1986 to November 1985 and showed the players whether they had gotten better or worse from the previous season. Then showed them the performance for December 1986 compared to November."

The next year, Pat Riley led the team to another title, and the Lakers became the first team in 20 years to win the Conference two years in a row. Afterward, he said: "Constantly putting in the effort is the most important thing for any endeavor. To be successful, you have to learn how to do things right and then act the same way every time." 

What is the difference between a boy and a man? A boy's favorite position is missionary, while a man's is reflective.

There is a danger of spending all your time on reflection and dailies instead of writing code, so be careful. But understanding whether you are building a dashboard or writing a game, and whether there is a suitable free library for this project, is good and great. 

Atomic Habits: Boredom

The difference between a professional and an amateur is that a professional doesn't need inspiration.

The story of an unnamed coach from Atomic Habits PDF book

When it became clear that I was done with my baseball career, I began to look at a new sport for myself. I started lifting weights, and one day a well-known trainer came to our gym. In his long career he had worked with thousands of athletes, among them several Olympic gold medalists. I introduced myself, and we struck up a conversation about improving the process.

"What separates the best athletes from everyone else? - I asked. - What do truly successful people do that the rest of us neglect?"

He listed the factors one would expect: genetics, luck, talent. But then he said something that sounded unexpected to me: "At some point, the attitude of boredom decides everything. The one who trains every day, doing the same approaches over and over again, wins."

His answer surprised me, because it's common to think differently about work ethic. People talk about "needing to energize yourself" to work toward goals. Whether it's business, or sports, or art, people say things like "it's all about passion" all the time. Or "you have to really want it." As a result, many of us get discouraged when we lose focus or motivation because we think successful people have an inexhaustible supply of that very passion. But that coach said that truly successful people suffer from a lack of motivation just as much as anyone else. The difference is that they keep working despite their boredom.

I used to think there was talent and non-talent. I liked being talented, it didn't commit me to anything. But now I find more evidence that there are the hardworking and the lazy. And talent is an aptitude that can be developed or ruined.

Atomic Habits: Food Behavior

How to improve the eating habits of an entire organization without talking to a single employee. 

Ann Thorndyke's physician story from Atomic Habits PDF

Ann Thorndyke, a primary care physician at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, was able to realize a seemingly crazy idea. She claimed that she could improve the eating habits of several thousand people - hospital staff and visitors - without influencing their will or motivation, in the easiest way possible. In fact, she didn't plan to talk to them at all. Thorndyke and her colleagues carried out a six-month study to change the "architecture of choice" in hospital cafeterias. They began by changing their approach to beverage placement. Initially, the refrigerators closest to the cafeteria's cash register were filled only with sodas. As an option, the researchers added plain water to each fridge. In addition, they placed baskets of bottled water next to the buffet counters where the food was located. The sodas still remained in the refrigerators, but water was now available wherever they could get drinks.

Over the next three months, the number of soda sales at the hospital dropped by 11.4 percent. At the same time, water sales increased by 25.8 percent. Researchers made similar changes to the location of the food in the cafeteria and saw similar results. No one ever talked to the people who ate in the cafeteria.

My former office had a refrigerator with unlimited Red Bull's and a coffee machine. I had never had so much caffeine in my life, not even before a session as a student. A can of energizer instead of lunch? Easy! And in the other office where I worked, there were always lunches ready in the refrigerator. In all the time I never missed lunch, simply because it was no more difficult to eat lunch than to make my own tea.

Atomic Habits: Regular workouts

A study-experiment that found out: if you name which gym you go to and what time you go to, you're more likely to get to your workout.

The story of British researchers from Atomic Habits book

In 2001, researchers from the U.K. began working with a group of 248 people to help them form better exercise habits as part of a two-week course. The participants were divided into three groups.

The first group was the control group. The task of the group participants was to record how often they exercised. 

The second group was the motivational group. Its participants were asked not only to record their results, but also to read some materials about the benefits of exercise. The researchers also explained to the participants that exercise reduces the risk of coronary heart disease and improves heart muscle health.

Finally, there was a third group. Its participants were given the same information as the second group, which provided a similar level of motivation. In addition, they were also asked to make a plan for when and where they would exercise during the next week. Thus, each group member had to complete the following sentence: "During the next week, I will devote 20 minutes to active exercise at [TIME, DAY] in [PLACE]." 

In groups one and two, 35% to 38% of participants exercised at least once a week. (Interestingly, the motivational presentation had no significant effect on the behavior of the second group.) As for the third group, 91% of participants exercised at least once a week, more than twice the average. 

The suggestion they completed is what researchers call an intention to carry out - a plan made in advance in which we specify when and where we will perform a certain action. It is a description of how we intend to implement a certain habit.

Getting in front of acquaintances sometimes helps in a completely magical way. When you tell yourself, you just add specificity to the plan. When you tell someone, the spell "don't be a blabbermouth" kicks in. 

Atomic Habits: Sleep disorder

If you don't want to sleep, don't torture your pillow. You can make the context work in your favor.

One study's story from the Atomic Habits PDF book

In one study, scientists instructed people with sleep disorders to go to bed only when they felt tired. If they failed to fall asleep, they were instructed to sit in another room until they began to feel drowsy. Over time, people began to associate the context of their bedroom specifically with sleep, and it became easier for them to fall asleep quickly after they went to bed. Their brains learned that sleeping, rather than sitting on the Internet from their phones, watching TV, or constantly looking at the clock, was the only action that could take place in the bedroom.

The brain is pleased that there is an appropriate set of stimuli for a certain behavior. For example, the office is for work and the living room is for relaxation. Well, or a work stool for work and a chill stool for relaxation. Who has what conditions, there is not much difference for the brain.

Atomic Habits: Exercising at home

What tricks an engineer can fall back on to turn watching TV shows into motivation to exercise.

The story of student Ronan Byrne from Atomic Habits PDF book

Ronan Byrne, an electrical engineering student from Dublin, Ireland, enjoyed watching Netflix, but he also knew he should exercise more often. Applying his engineering skills, Byrne hacked into his exercise bike and hooked it up to his laptop and TV. He then wrote a computer program that would allow Netflix to run only if he rode his bike at a certain speed. If he slowed down for too long, any show he was watching would stop until he started pedaling again. According to one fan, he was "getting rid of obesity one serving of Netflix at a time. 

When I don't feel like working at all or have something long / tedious to work on, I now set a timer for 25 minutes and alternate: 25 minutes playing Heroes of Might and Magic III, 25 minutes doing boring work.

Atomic Habits: Hygiene

The incidence of diarrhea and pneumonia was cut in half after Pakistanis were given delicious smelling soap with a pleasant foam. 

Stephen Luby's story from Atomic Habits

In the late 1990s, health worker Stephen Luby left his hometown of Omaha, Nebraska, to buy a one-way ticket to Karachi, Pakistan.

Karachi was one of the largest cities in the world in terms of population. By 1998, it was home to more than nine million people. It was the economic center of Pakistan and a major transportation hub with the busiest airports and seaports in the region. The business part of the city had all the necessary urban infrastructure along with business centers. However, Karachi was also one of the least livable cities. 

More than 60% of its population lived in squatter settlements and slums. In these densely populated areas, people lived in makeshift houses made from old boats, foam blocks, and other discarded materials. There was no garbage disposal system, no electricity, and no running water. In dry weather, people suffocated with dust. When it rained, muddy rivers of sewage ran down the streets. Mosquito colonies bred in puddles of standing water, and children played amidst mountains of waste.

Unsanitary conditions led to disease and epidemics. Contaminated water caused diarrhea, vomiting and stomach aches. Nearly one-third of all children living in the slums did not receive adequate nutrition. Because of the high population density, viruses and bacterial infections spread very quickly. Because of the emergency situation, Stephen Luby went to Pakistan.

Luby and his team realized that in an environment with poor sanitation, a simple habit of washing hands could play a critical role in the health of slum dwellers. However, the medics soon discovered that many of the people knew the importance of this simple ritual.

And yet, despite this, the residents washed their hands in an extremely careless and haphazard manner. Some dipped their hands into the water for only a moment. Others washed just one hand. Many forgot to wash their hands before cooking. They all said that washing hands was important, but only a few actually did it regularly. The problem was not a lack of information, but a lack of habit.

That's when Luby and his team partnered with Procter & Gamble, which supplied free Safequard soap to the slums. Washing hands with it was much more pleasant than than regular soap.

"In Pakistan, Safequard was considered premium soap," Luby told me. - "Everyone who was interviewed said how much they liked using it. It was easy to lather, and people enjoyed the soapy lather. It smelled great. Suddenly hand washing was a slightly more enjoyable process.

"I think the goal of handwashing promotion should not be to change behavior, but to instill a habit," Luby explained. - It's much easier for people to start using a product that has a strong and positive effect on the senses, like mint-flavored toothpaste, than it is to try to master a habit that doesn't involve a pleasant sensory experience, like just flossing. The marketers at Procter & Gamble wanted to create a positive handwashing experience."

Within a few months, there was a dramatic improvement in the health of slum children. The incidence of diarrhea was reduced by 52 percent, pneumonia by 48 percent, and impetigo, a bacterial skin infection, by 35 percent.

The long-term effect was even better. "Six years later, we visited some families in Karachi," Luby said. - "Over 95% of the families to whom we had once given soap for free and encouraged them to wash their hands were now regularly using a hand-wash basin that had soap and water ... We had not given this group soap for over five years, but during the experiment they got so used to washing their hands that they continued after we left.

Atomic Habits: Logistics and Transportation

Shisa kanko - how the Japanese reduced errors by 85% on their railroads. 

The history of Japanese machinists from the Atomic Habits PDF free book

The Japanese railroad system is considered one of the best in the world. If you ever find yourself on a train in Tokyo, you will notice that train drivers have a very strange habit. While driving the train, the driver performs a rather strange ritual: he points at various objects and voices his actions. When the train comes to a semaphore, he points to it and says, "Green signal!" As the train pulls in and out of the station, he points to the speedometer and calls out the exact speed. When it is time to depart, he points to the clock and calls out the time. Other employees on the platform do similar things. Before each train departs, they point to the edge of the platform and say, "Everyone step aside!" They take note of each situation, pay attention to it, and speak it out loud.

This process, known as "Point and Call," is a special safety system designed to reduce disruptions. It seems silly at first glance, but it works surprisingly well. This system reduces the number of errors by 85% and the number of accidents by 30%.

The New York City subway has implemented a modified version of this system called "Just Show," and "within two years of its operation, the number of stops in the wrong places has dropped by 57%."

Atomic Habits: Employee theft

If you can't encourage good behavior, make bad behavior impossible, or at least just difficult.

The story of entrepreneur Henry Patterson from Atomic Habits PDF

John Henry Patterson was born in 1844 in Dayton, Ohio. He spent his childhood helping his parents on the farm and working shifts in his father's sawmill. After graduating from Dartmouth College, Patterson returned to Ohio and opened a small store for coal miners.

Patterson seemed to have every chance of success. The store had almost no competitors, was popular with customers, but generated no income. Trying to figure out how this was possible, Patterson discovered that salesmen were stealing from him. 

In the mid-nineteenth century, shoplifting was a frequent problem. Checks were kept in an open drawer and could easily be tampered with or thrown away. Back then, there were no video cameras to keep track of clerks, and there was no software to keep track of sales. To prevent theft, the shopkeeper either had to keep his salespeople in sight all day or stand behind the counter himself.

While pondering a solution to this problem, Patterson came across an advertisement for a new invention called the Ritty's incorruptible cashier. It was the first cash register, the creator of which was also Dayton resident James Ritty. The machine automatically locked cash and checks inside after each sale. Patterson bought two cash registers for fifty dollars each.

The salesmen immediately stopped stealing. Over the next six months Patterson's business stopped making losses and began to make a profit of $5,000, the equivalent of $100,000 today.

Patterson was so thrilled with the cash register that he decided to completely overhaul the business. He bought the rights to the Ritty invention and opened the National Cash Register Company. Ten years later, it had more than a thousand employees and was on its way to becoming one of the most successful companies of its time.

Atomic Habits: Saving on production

Why waste time on analysis and optimization.

The story of Japanese managers from Atomic Habits

In an article in The New Yorker titled "Better All the Time," James Schurovieski writes: "Japanese firms have emphasized what has become known as 'lean manufacturing,' relentlessly seeking to eliminate all kinds of losses in the production process, even down to redesigning workspaces so that workers do not have to waste time navigating and turning to get to their machines. As a result, Japanese factories became more efficient and Japanese products more reliable than American ones. In 1974, there were five times as many calls for service on American-made color televisions as there were for similar Japanese-made televisions. By 1979, it took American workers three times as long to mount their components."

I like to call this strategy addition by subtraction. Japanese companies looked for every problem area in the manufacturing process and eliminated it. By subtracting wasted effort, they added customers and revenue. Similarly, when we eliminate problem areas that take up our time and energy, we can achieve more with less effort. (This is one of the reasons cleaning can be so enjoyable: we are both moving forward and easing the cognitive burden that the environment puts on us.)

Atomic Habits: Writer's Skill

How to beat procrastination and finish a masterpiece in time for a deadline.

Victor Hugo's story from the Atomic Habits PDF book

In the summer of 1830, Victor Hugo informed his publisher that he had failed to meet the deadline. Exactly one year earlier, the French writer had promised him a new book. But instead of writing, he spent the whole year engaged in other projects and entertaining guests, constantly postponing the writing of the novel. The disappointed publisher set a new deadline: the book had to be written by February 1831 - sooner than six months later.

Hugo devised an unusual plan to overcome his procrastination. He gathered all his clothes and had a servant lock them in a huge trunk, leaving himself only a large shawl. With no suitable clothes to go out, he stayed in his study and wrote with fervor throughout the fall and winter of 1830. As a result, Notre Dame de Paris was published two weeks early, on January 14, 1831.

The story above is an example of the use of the method of self-restraint. For example, a person might forbid himself to go to a casino. A more vital example is apps for blocking browsers and apps. Do not want to dive in every 5 minutes to check social networks during work - set yourself access restrictions on certain sites. This keeps you from having an unconscious impulse.

Atomic Habits: Photography

How to get quality from quantity. 

Professor Jerry Welsmann's story from the Atomic Habits free PDF

On the first day of class, photographer and University of Florida professor Jerry Welsmann divided students into two groups.

Everyone on the left side of the classroom, he explained, would be in the "quantity" group. They would be graded solely on the amount of work produced. On the last day of class, he counted the number of photographs submitted by each student. One hundred pictures were graded "excellent," ninety "good," eighty "satisfactory," and so on.

Meanwhile, everyone on the right side of the classroom would be in the "quality" group. They will only be graded on the quality of their work.

They only have to take one picture during the semester, but to get an "excellent," it has to be almost perfect.

At the end of the semester, he was surprised to find that all of the best pictures were taken by the "quantity" group. Students in this group were busy taking pictures, experimenting with composition and lighting, testing different techniques in the darkroom, and learning from their mistakes. They honed their skills as they created hundreds of photos. Meanwhile, the "quality" group sat and pondered perfection. In the end, they had little material to reflect their efforts other than untested theories and one mediocre photograph.

Drawing a masterpiece unequivocally the first time no artist has yet succeeded. "A master makes more mistakes than a novice attempts," as a collection of aphorisms puts it. I'm not sure if this tip of the hat can be applied to anything at all. 

Atomic Habits: Chess

How to raise child prodigies, even if you don't have children yet.

The story of educator Laszlo Polgar from Atomic Habits audiobook

In 1965, Hungarian László Polgar wrote a series of strange letters to a woman named Klara.

Laszlo was a staunch advocate of hard work. In fact, that was all he believed in: he completely rejected the idea of innate talent. Laszlo argued that with carefully considered exercise and the development of good habits, a child could become a genius in any field. His motto was: "Genius is not born, but becomes through education and training. 

Laszlo believed in this idea so strongly that he wanted to test it on his own children, and he wrote to Clara because he "needed a wife willing to conduct such an experiment." Clara was a teacher, and although she may not have been as adamant as Laszlo, she also believed that with proper instruction anyone could develop their skills.

Laszlo decided that chess would be a suitable field for experimentation, and devised a plan for raising his children to become chess prodigies. The children would remain home-schooled, which was rare in Hungary at the time. The house would be filled with books about chess and pictures of famous chess players. The children would have to play with each other all the time and participate in the best tournaments they could find. The family will have to carefully keep a file cabinet with the tournament history of each participant their child has played with. The children's lives would be dedicated to chess.

Laszlo successfully cared for Clara, and a few years later the Polgars became parents to three little girls, Susan, Sophia and Judith.

Susan, the oldest, began playing chess when she was four years old. Six months later, she was beating the adults.

Sophia, the middle child, did even better. By the time she was fourteen, she was world champion and a few years later a grandmaster. 

Judith, the youngest, surpassed her sisters. By the age of five she was already beating her father. At twelve she became the youngest player ever to be among the top one hundred chess players in the world. At fifteen years and four months, Judith became the youngest grandmaster of all time - younger than Bobby Fischer, the previous record holder. She remained world champion for twenty-seven years.

The Polgar sisters' childhood was atypical, to say the least. And yet, if you ask them about it, they would argue that their lifestyle was appealing, even enjoyable. In various interviews, the sisters speak of their childhood as an entertaining time, rather than a grueling one. They loved playing chess. They couldn't tear themselves away from them. They say that one day Laszlo caught Sofia playing chess in the bathroom in the middle of the night. Wanting to send her back to bed, he said: "Sofia, leave the pieces alone!" To which she replied, "Daddy, they won't leave me alone!"

The Polgar sisters grew up in an environment that put chess above all else - praising them for their successes in the game, rewarding them. In their world, an obsession with chess was the order of the day. And as we will soon see, any habits that are considered normal in your environment will be one of the most attractive types of behavior for you. 

"In order for your son not to look like Bart Simpson, you have to not be Homer Simpson," series creator Matt Greining once said in response to the haters, and he was damn right. The story above is an illustration of how our environment affects our views, our sense of what's "normal," what's "cool," and what's "totally lame."

The normal behavior of the tribe often overrides the desirable behavior of the individual. For example, one study showed that when a chimpanzee learns an effective way of cracking nuts as a member of one group and then is placed in a new group that uses a less effective strategy, it avoids the more effective method, just to assimilate with the rest of the chimpanzees.

We imitate the habits of three groups: 

the close environment, majority, authority figures.

Fortunately or unfortunately, we choose them ourselves.

Atomic Habits: The Diderot Effect 

The consumption spiral - when you buy a new iPhone, the headphones with jack are no longer valid.

The Story of Denis Diderot from Atomic Habits

The French philosopher Denis Diderot lived almost all his life in poverty, but his situation changed dramatically in 1765. 

Diderot's daughter was getting married, and he had no money to pay for the wedding. Despite his poverty, Diderot was widely known as the author and one of the founders of the Encyclopedia Project, one of the most exhaustive encyclopedias of all time. When Catherine II, the Russian empress, learned of Diderot's financial troubles, her heart was filled with compassion. She was a great lover of books and read the Encyclopedia with delight. Catherine offered to buy Diderot's personal library for a thousand pounds - nowadays it is more than 150 thousand dollars. Thus Diderot suddenly had money. Thanks to his new fortune, he not only paid for the wedding, but also bought himself a purple mantle.

Diderot's purple robe was very beautiful. So beautiful, in fact, that he immediately noticed how out of place it looked against his other clothes. He wrote that between his elegant mantle and the other things "there was no more combination, no more unity, no more beauty.

Soon after, Diderot felt the need to update his closet. Then he replaced the old rug with a rug made in Damascus. Decorated the house with expensive sculptures. He bought a mirror to hang over the fireplace and replaced the table in the kitchen. He threw out the old straw chair and bought a leather one. One purchase led to another, like a domino effect.

Diderot's behavior was not unusual. In fact, the tendency for one purchase to lead to another is called the "Diderot effect. The Diderot effect is that the purchase of a new thing often creates a spiral of consumption that leads to new purchases.

It works not only for purchases, but also for behavior. For example, when I gave up Friday night binges, I discovered Saturday. And also the need for a new circle of acquaintances to spend it with. Now I'm learning to wakeboard, and on Saturdays the wake park is full of people. 


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