Career Skills Reviews

Book Review: The Compound Effect by Darren Hardy

Learn how to put your life back on track by reaping the rewards from compounded consistent action

The Fortune Book Club Book Review: The Compound Effect


Title: The Compound Effect
Author: Darren Hardy
Publisher: Carroll & Graf
Publication date: 2 Oct. 2012
Pages: 192
ISBN-10: 159315724X
Rating: 4/5


There is no magic bullet. There is no shortcut to success. There is only hard work, dedication and consistent action. Darren Hardy explains how consistency is at the core of both success and failure. Learn how to put your life back on track by reaping the rewards from compounded consistent action. Start using The Compound Effect to achieve your goals and become successful.


As one of the best selling Audible business books, Darren Hardy’s The Compound Effect is a widely known and popular read. The book is essentially a short and sweet dedication to the power of consistent hard work and the effect of positive habits, which Hardy ultimately deems to be pivotal to his own personal success.

It doesn’t matter how smart you are or aren’t you need to make up in hard work what you lack in experience, skill, intelligence or innate ability.

Unlike Craig Burgess’ anti self-help book on consistency Extreme Production, The Compound Effect is an exuberant fully-fledged personal development book and it’s clear that Hardy is a passionate advocate for personal development. Full of motivational stories, inspirational quotes and a can-do attitude, the book is a great pick-me-up for those looking for a psychological push to get started.

The book starts by outlining the power of the compound effect and explains how it is continuously working either for you or against you in one form or another. This is supported with a clear anecdote, involving three friends of similar age, health and income:

One day, friend A starts to eat better, work out more and read in the evenings. In contrast, friend B does nothing and friend C, feeling the stress from work, starts to eat and drink more. After three years, friend A found success in their career and was of slimer build, friend B stayed the same and saw no improvement or decline in their life and finally friend C had put on weight and lost his job.    

This is perhaps an extreme scenario, but it does do a good job in demonstrating how consistent actions can alter our lives on a large scale and usually without us even knowing. The book then goes on to cover the importance of choices, habits, momentum and influences and how we can accelerate the compound effect in our favour.

Many people throw their hands up in defeat and quit, but wise people persist further.

However, advertised as a means to “Jumpstart your income, your life and your success”, it’s hard to determine whether or not the book meets its promise. Afterall, the main principle of The Compound Effect is that results are unnoticed and long term, so being able to determine the certainty of their root cause is unlikely.

That said, that doesn’t mean the book won’t have an impact on your mindset and simply adopting positive habits is bound to have a beneficial impact on your life in one way or another. Exercising more repeatedly is probably going to make you healthier for example and writing more often will likely make you a better author. But does it mean you’ll become an olympic athlete or a Pulitzer Prize winning author? Probably not.

To conclude then, The Compound Effect is a great read on the importance of hard work. It clearly explains and demonstrates how consistent dedication to our goals can lead to some form of success or achievement. The book also does a good job at highlighting how negative habits and influences could be holding us back and preventing us from reaching our true potential. However, it is perhaps a bit too idealistic and fails to recognise the significance of random probability. Nonetheless, if you’re looking for a book to kickstart your motivation and inspire you to change, then The Compound Effect is a good choice – 4/5.

Take Action

Don’t wish it were easier, wish you were better.

The Compound Effect is all about how small repeated actions compound over time, either for your benefit or for your detriment. Start taking advantage of the power of consistency by putting these actionable steps into practice:

  • Write out a list of seemingly inconsequential actions you can stop doing that could be negatively impacting you and put an end to them.
    • e.g. buying a daily coffee amounts to $50,000+ over 20 years.
  • Start changing your life with small smart choices. Carbonated water over fizzy drinks, sugar free over additives etc.
    • Write out a list of seemingly inconsequential actions you can start doing that could change your life and put them into practice.
    • Small, Smart Choices + Consistency + Time = Radical Difference
  • Find your why-power. What’s the real reason that you want to change?
  • Complacency kills success. Don’t settle for what you have, always seek to improve.
  • Once you reach your goals push yourself further, extend the finish line incrementally each time.
  • Start getting into the habit of setting and tracking both short term and long term goals.
  • Cut out negative influences in your life and replace them by positive substitutes.
    • e.g. don’t listen to the news in the car, listen to audiobooks / podcasts instead.

Mentioned Reading

  • The Slight Edge by Jeff Olson
  • Stumbling on Happiness by Daniel Gilbert
  • Focal Point by Brian Tracy
  • Living Your Best Year Ever – by Darren Hardy
  • It’s Not About The Bike by Lance Armstrong

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By Jake Doran

Masters in Advanced Computer Science student at Keele University, interested in all things tech and business, with aspirations to undertake an MBA in the future.

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