You Already Know This - Your Habits Make The Difference.

Good daily habits give us a sense of control, provide a schedule, help us get things accomplished, allow us to be good to others, make us feel good about ourselves to name just a few of the positives.

There are thousands of words on the web to help us acquire better habits.  Millions of dollars are spent annually for books and courses that promise to reveal the secret sauce and the habits of successful people. We’ve read the great stories and nod energetically at the useful tips and suggestions.

So why don’t we stick to good daily habits?

Perhaps we need to have a different conversation about habits. To start. let’s understand that habits come in two buckets:

Habits that help control the day so you don’t go completely off the rails.

Examples: Daily Schedule Review, Early Rise, Diet, Exercise

Habits that put more space in your world so you can explore and be more creative with your work and in your world.

Examples: Meditation, Journaling, Daily Reading

Knowing the difference has helped me clarify which habits I want to cultivate more mindfully and which habits I can ease up on.  Don’t get me wrong, I think all my habits are important.  But, learning to prioritize my habits — especially when I’m in the middle of a challenging period of life — is important to achieving success.

If you’re on the same path, below are a few books and other resources that might help you improve your habits — or at least impress your neighbors with your discipline. 😉

Questions to Consider:

  • What are you regular habits?
  • How do they serve you?
  • What habits will expand you emotionally, physically, mentally?
  • Are there new habits you’d like to explore?
  • Can you be more creative with your current habit


4 Hr Workweek Published 2013
Tools of Titans Published 2016
Image:  Olivier Ezratty
Book Published 2011


In recent years Tim Ferriss has become the poster child for better habits.  His many books, The Four Hour Work Week, The Four Hour Body, The Four Hour Chef and most recently Tools of Titans and Tribe of Mentors have made him millions of dollars and turned him into a one-man franchise.

Some people dismiss Ferriss, but that is a disservice to his work as well as your own personal growth.   Personally, I love his work and his podcast, The Tim Ferriss Show.  It’s full of great information, unique guests and useful tips.  Not to mention, he’s a terrific interviewer — there’s a lot to learn from Tim about listening and asking great questions.


Tom Rachman, a former journalist with the International Herald Tribune, has written a string of chapters about the professional and personal lives of the men and women working at an unnamed English language newspaper in Rome.  The newspaper is teetering on extinction and the men and women responsible for its existence are riddled with bad habits.  There’s likely not a happy ending.

Not surprisingly, Rachman’s debut novel was optioned for the screen by Brad Pitt’s production company in 2010 but was later dropped.  The latest buzz I saw was that it was slated for the small screen by the BBC.

Here’s a short interview with Rachman from Shaw TV’s Urban Rush in Vancouver.


Book Published 2013
Image: Thomas Hawk
Book Published 2003
Image: Nigel Barkli


Whenever I wonder if books *really* have any power, I remind myself of characters from fiction who we speak of as if they were real people.  Characters like Sherlock Holmes — who we study to find out how they lived and thought.  A meme if there ever was one!

[Here’s a bit:  Richard Dawkins, the evolutionary biologist coined the word meme in his book, The Selfish Gene.]

As Nina Bai writes in her Scientific American review of Konnikova’s books,

Long before science revealed that synapses fire in patterns, literature endeavored to map the cognitive landscape. From Odysseus restraining himself against the Sirens’ song to Tom Sawyer conning his way out of painting fences, fictional characters have captured many nuances of human psychology. Perhaps no character has articulated the science of thinking as directly as Sherlock Holmes, the great consulting detective created by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

Using the characters of Sherlock Holmes & his faithful sidekick Dr. Watson, Konnikova explores scientific research and practical methods to improve our patterns/habits of observations, thinking and mindfulness.

Here’s a terrific interview with Maria Konnikova that touches upon the many reasons to read Sherlock Holmes especially if you’d like to improve your daily habits and move to a new chapter!


When Mark Haddon’s award winning book, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nightime first appeared, it was variously claimed to be a book about Asberger’s Syndrome, high functioning autism or savant syndrome.  Haddon refuted these claims writing on his blog, “…if anything it’s a novel about difference, about being an outsider, about seeing the world in a surprising and revealing way.”

So what does all this have to do with habits?

Christopher John Francis Boone, the 15 year old protagonist,  has a habit of thinking that is different from everyone around him.  He can’t always explain it (as Sherlock Holmes is able to explain his habit of thinking to Watson) and those around him certainly don’t understand his habit of thinking.  But, his habit of thinking is no less valid.

How often do we dismiss people because their habits of processing the world are different from our own?  How often might we grow — reach a new chapter — if we got into an uncomfortable spot in our brains and explored a new habit of thinking?

Additional Resources

At the risk of encouraging the bad habit of getting swallowed up in You Tube Videos, below are three talks plus their bestselling books from these authors and researchers on habits, their formation, and how to succeed.

TED Talk:  The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg.   

His bestselling book – The Power of Habit. 

TED Talk:  Forget Big Change, Start with a Tiny Habit by BJ Fogg.

His bestselling book – Tiny Habits 

TED Talk:  The Surprising Habits of Original Thinkers by Adam Grant. 

His bestselling book – Originals