“The Compound Effect” by Darren Hardy is a book that aims to “jump-start your income, your life, and your success.” Despite those bold claims, it does not make any attempts at providing a magic bullet, or any industry secrets. Instead, it focuses on providing solid, down-to-earth advice that can be applied on a daily basis to improve your life. This is one that’s been on my list for a while, having learned about it from fellow brand strategist Chris Do, founder of The Futur.
The book starts off with the story of the Magic Penny. In it, the reader is presented with a choice: $3,000,000 cash right now, or a single penny that doubles in value each day for 31 days. At day 20, if you chose the penny you would only have $5,243 but I’m sure you can see where this is going… By the end of the 31 days, the magic penny is worth $10,737,418.24, a sizeable difference compared to the $3,000,000 instant cash. This is the perfect example of the main concept that’s discussed in this book: making small changes and following through on them every single day.
“Small, smart choices + Consistency + Time = Radical difference”
– Darren Hardy, The Compound Effect
Other chapters in “The Compound Effect” go on to talk about similar topics in the “good habits” theme, such as surrounding yourself with positive people, taking responsibility for your life, and the power of momentum in your day to day activities. All of which are presented in a straight-forward no-nonsense writing style. Hardy avoids lofty vocabulary and high-brow business concepts in favor of relateable advice that anyone can understand and apply.
At this point you might be saying, “wow, positive habits are good, who knew?”, which is a fair point. Nothing in this book exceeds the realm of common sense. Of course cutting unhealthy food out of your life will make you healthier. Everyone knows that. What this book seeks to do is give you the motivation to actually start making those changes, instead of just putting them off infinitely.
I feel like a lot of parallels can be drawn between the concepts presented in “The Compound Effect” and branding. Branding is all about presenting a consistent image of your company to your audience for an extended period of time. And while re-brands can be effective jumping-off points for large scale changes to a brand, true re-branding necessitates that improvements be made and followed-up on day-in and day-out. Strong, consistent branding executed over an extended period of time is what changes customers into advocates.
One of the things that makes “The Compound Effect” so effective at motivating readers is the inclusion of real-world stories. Hardy includes a multitude of personal experiences in which he helped people make positive-life changing habits. Helping a co-worker lose excess weight and keep it off, getting a friend to the point of running a marathon after not being able to easily walk a half-mile, showing his assistant the path to owning her own successful business after being unhappy with her current wages. The stories are all relateable, and they show that this stuff isn’t just fluff. It really works.
So, while the topics in the book aren’t particularly groundbreaking, it’s helpful to have them hammered home by someone’s who’s experienced their positive effects first-hand. Hardy also provides some worksheets and templates that can help you document your process and get started. All in all, I’d definitely recommend giving “The Compound Effect” a read if you’re looking to ditch some bad habits and start making small improvements to your life. And really, aren’t we all?