When compounded, the smallest things can make such a big difference

“The Compound Effect: Jumpstart Your Income, Your Life, Your Success” by Darren Hardy

This book is brilliant and awful at the same time. It’s very inspirational at some parts, but cringy at many others.

At first impression, the book is one of those cliche books that tries to stand out from the rest of the cliches. It promises to go back to the basics, to clear the clutter of unnecessary information and instead becoming laser sharp focus on the core fundamental principles that truly matter: how to become successful through step by step guide that are measurable and sustainable. The author’s guide, of course.

In fact, Darren Hardy has “the only process you need for ultimate success”, which he obviously learned himself personally through trial and error, which made him rise from nothing to becoming the CEO of his own goddamn company at the age of 24. Yes, he has this principles that have since been perfected and codified so that he can share it with us in this book, the same lessons he teaches entrepreneurs and executives in his coaching class!

To put the cherry on top, if you listen to the audiobook version it is read by none other than himself, in a pump up voice that could probably make you hyped up. Probably. Because, his role model and mentor just happens to be Tony Robbin’s role model as well: Jim Rohn (Of course, who else?). In fact, you will stumble upon a lot of Jim Rohn references in this book – like the way Robert Kiyosaki keeps referring to Napoleon Hill – as well as quotes from his aptly named (and with all capital letters) SUCCESS Magazine. This, ladies and gentlemen, is peak self-help.

But then, without further ado he proceeded right to the main points of his theory, the compounding effect. And it was actually pretty good. Good enough that the book was mentioned in the “must read” list in one of the many book review articles that I’ve read. Which sucked me into this.

The key thesis of his theory is this: Small things if done consistently over the long run will generate something good. Or bad. Indeed, the ripple effects from doing small things consistently over time can either be a virtuous cycle or vicious cycle. It can add small calories into our body or subtract less calories. The little money we didn’t spend on meaningless things become the big savings we have for the future, or dwindling our savings with us not realising what had happened. It can mean one small progress in our work overtime, or small leaks that will lead us down hill. Or small progress in our stamina or fitness ability overtime, or the deterioration of them.

That’s it, that’s chapter one, “the compound effect in action.” The rest of the book is some form of supporting arguments or elaborations for his main premise, which is fine but they are filled with humble-brags and name droppings that suspiciously look as if he’s trying a little bit too hard to boost his credibility (which is unnecessary).

But ignore the ego and you might learn one or two more things, like his take on habits, triggers, his friend the “big mo” (momentum), clean environment, sticking to our core values, identifying our “why”, proper goal-setting, getting rid of the inefficient habit (such as reading news a little too much), “vice test”, or how the attitude that the path to ultimate success is not through winning a lottery or a jackpot but through a continuation of mundane, unexciting, and unsexy daily disciplines that compounded over time. Like I said, supporting arguments or elaborations, which at this stage are nothing new but nevertheless good for reminder.

Having said all of that, this book will definitely be one of the first self-help books that I slowly introduce to my young kids, as it neatly compiled (or copied?) all the wisdom I’m familiar with from the work of Charles Duhigg, Simon Sinek, Tim Ferriss, Marshall Goldsmith, and of course Tony Robbins. Yes it has an abundance of cliches, but for any newbie at self-help? It’s a good starting point.