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The Compound Effect

Book Review of: The Compound Effect

Jumpstart your income, your life, your success

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Review of The Compound Effect, by Author (Hardcover, 2011)

(You can print this review in landscape mode, if you want a hardcopy)


Hardy's advice works. I know, because I have been doing the same things for a long time. For example, I listen to nonfiction audiobooks instead of mindless music produced by some semi-literate drug addict. As I went through each point, I saw my own life philosophy kicked back at me.

But one difference that jumped out at me is I'm not filthy rich. And I can tell you why that is. Hardy actively applied the compounding effect to relationships with successful people. I did this for a while and got astounding results, then stopped doing it. And the results also stopped. So I can testify that his formula works and I can also testify that you get the lack of results he predicts when you just don't apply it to a given area.

An amazing area where this plays out in my life is that, despite a serious immune deficiency, I have not been sick since 1971. That isn't because of luck, it's because of discipline. I made a conscious decision to drop out of the American disease culture and instead practice health care. By consistently doing behaviors that promote health and consistently not doing behaviors that promote disease, I have stayed healthy.

In addition to personal experience, I have seen this habit thing play out time and time again for other people. When they tell me their problems, I ask them what habits they have that either contribute to this kind of problem or that prevent this kind of problem. These are problems ranging from frequently not being able to find the car keys to having a string of failed marriages.

If you haven't read success books and are wanting to turn your life around, this book can help you get started. But I would recommend reading other, meatier books so that you can develop and maintain the momentum Mr. Hardy talks about. The title of the book reflects its contents. It's about the compound effect. And it's about jumpstarting, especially from a dead stop. If you are already mostly doing the right things and doing them right, this book would serve more as a means of reviewing where you are with things.

There is a bit of a disconnect between what Mr. Hardy talks about (his own successes and millions of dollars of wealth) versus the idea of jumpstarting a person's stalled personal growth. I doubt most readers can relate to being anywhere near that wealthy, and I doubt most readers would consider it a practical personal goal. It would have been nice to see more "reachable" examples.

Just to illustrate what I mean, Bill Phillips is a fitness guru who held a contest for physical self-improvement. It was called Body For Life. There were 10 finalists, and Bill ended up changing the rules to call all of them winners. Now, you might think it would have been really inspiring to see 10 Mr. Universe types named as winners. But that wasn't what happened.

The winners were ordinary people who looked nothing like muscle magazine models after completing the contest. What was inspiring was their grit in applying the compounding effect for 90 days. Because ordinary people could see the results and relate to them, they also wanted to do the Body For Life program even though the contest was over.

I read some of the other reviews on this book, and found the criticisms largely valid. The content doesn't contain original ideas or a new breakthrough. Does that mean the book is junk? Maybe. Warren Buffet says his investing style isn't something he thought of, but he is instead using the ideas of Benjamin Graham. Suppose Buffet wanted something new and original, so he rejected Benjamin Graham's ideas as not being original or breakthrough.

OK, so the book is not ground-breaking. But if you apply its core principle to a stressful life, it will be rut-breaking.

Good information is good information, whether it's original or not. Going back to the Bill Phillips thing, the core idea is one I first came across while watching Jack LaLanne on a black and white television. That same core idea, of developing and maintaining good habits, was around before Jack LaLanne (Ben Franklin is famous for espousing this idea). I like the way Mr. Hardy presents his spin on it from his own experiences. Seeing this idea presented in many different ways helps me keep applying it regularly.

This book consists of six chapters, a conclusion, and a resource guide in 172 pages.




About these reviews

You may be wondering why the reviews here are any different from the hundreds of "reviews" posted online. Notice the quotation marks?

I've been reviewing books for sites like Amazon for many years now, and it dismays me that Amazon found it necessary to post a minimum word count for reviews. It further dismays me that it's only 20 words. If that's all you have to say about a book, why bother?

And why waste everyone else's time with such drivel? As a reader of such reviews, I feel like I am being told that I do not matter. The flippancy of people who write these terse "reviews" is insulting to the authors also, I would suspect.

This sound bite blathering taking the place of any actual communication is increasingly a problem in our mindless, blog-posting Webosphere. Sadly, Google rewards such pointlessness as "content" so we just get more if this inanity.

My reviews, contrary to current (non) standards, actually tell you about the book. I always got an "A" on a book review I did as a kid (that's how I remember it anyhow, and it's my story so I'm sticking to it). A book review contains certain elements and has a logical structure. It informs the reader about the book.

A book review may also tell the reader whether the reviewer liked it, but revealing a reviewer's personal taste is not necessary for an informative book review.

About your reviewer

  • Books are a passion of mine. I read dozens of them each year, plus I listen to audio books.
  • Most of my "reading diet" consists of nonfiction. I think life is too short to use your limited reading time on material that has little or no substance. That leads into my next point...
  • In 1990, I stopped watching television. I have not missed it. At all.
  • I was first published as a preteen. I wrote an essay, and my teacher submitted it to the local paper.
  • For six years, I worked as an editor for a trade publication. I left that job in 2002, and still do freelance editing and authoring for that publication (and for other publications).
  • No book has emerged from my mind onto the best-seller list. So maybe I'm presumptuous in judging the work of others. Then again, I do more describing than judging in my reviews. And I have so many articles now published that I stopped counting them at 6,000. When did I stop? Probably 20,000 articles ago! (It's been a while).
  • I have an engineering degree and an MBA, among other "quant" degrees. That helps explain my methodical approach toward reviews.
  • You probably don't know anybody who has made a perfect or near perfect score on a test of Standard Written English. I have. So, a credential for whatever it's worth.

About reading style

No, I do not "speed read" through these. That said, I do read at a fast rate. But, in contrast to speed reading, I read everything when I read a book for review.

Speed reading is a specialized type of reading that requires skipping text as you go. Using this technique, I've been able to consistently "max out" a speed reading machine at 2080 words per minute with 80% comprehension. This method is great if you are out to show how fast you can read. But I didn't use it in graduate school and I don't use it now. I think it takes the joy out of reading, and that pleasure is a big part of why I read.

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