• Elizabeth Wells

Review for "Tiny Habits" by BJ Fogg


Intro to the Review

We have all had that experience of enthusiastically starting a new book only to realize partway through that it's not what we were expecting. The purpose of the following review is not to judge whether the book is "good" or "bad." The goal is to help you decide whether or not it is a good book for you.

Start by asking yourself:

  • Does it seem like the content covered in this book aligns with what I was expecting to find?

  • Is the main problem addressed in this book similar to my own goal of what I would like to learn from it?

  • Is the style and format written in a way that will not hinder my ability to get the most value from this book?

  • Am I the intended audience for this book?

If after reading the review you can answer yes to all these questions, this book is the right fit for you. If not, well, there are plenty more books out there just waiting for you to read them.


Tiny Habits

The Small Changes That Change Everything

BJ Fogg, Ph.D.

320 pages - Harvest Ⓒ 2019


“There are only three things we can do that will create lasting change: Have an epiphany, change our environment, or change our habits in tiny ways.”



Author Background

BJ Fogg is a behavior scientist with a focus in behavioral change. He founded the Behavior Design Lab at Stanford University. He teaches courses at Stanford in addition to his research. He also works in industry teaching & innovation and helps with any aspect of behavioral change. His other book Persuasive Technology (2003) can be found here. His website can be found here. You can find him on Twitter at @bjfogg He has a free 5-day course that is an introduction to implementing Tiny Habits.


What Problem Does This Book Attempt To Address?

The introduction states it best: “There is painful gap between what people want and what they actually do.” The goal of this book is to bridge that gap. By using the Tiny Habits methodology, readers will be able to understand the components to creating a successful change plan, learn how to make a change plan, learn how to adjust the plan as necessary, and ultimately discover how to create the habits they want and quit the habits that are no longer serving them.


Content

· Concept explanation: Clear

· Related stories: Many

· Data references and studies: Many

· Charts and graphics: Many

· Practical application: Strong


While the book is called Tiny Habits, and it certainly talks about the importance of creating tiny habits, there are also other aspects of habit building and breaking in the book that aren’t specific to tiny habits, but to any behavioral change. This includes factors that influence habits, how to manipulate these factors, how to “hack” bad habits, and how to influence the habits of others. It could be argued that making a habit tiny is only one component of the framework laid out in the book and not the sole focus. Considering that it that is very unique to his approach, and that it makes for a catchy title, I can see why he (or his publisher) decided to use it for the title, even if it misses the full essence of the content. If you look at it from the perspective specifically of creating tiny habits the content can feel off-topic at times. If you look at it from the perspective of creating the foundation and principles for behavioral change, it makes sense.


There is a lot of original terminology in this book and a number of processes with multiple steps. Unless you have a phenomenal memory, taking notes while you read will be necessary in order to remember all these terms and the order of steps in the various cycles, and chains, and frameworks. It should be mentioned that he uses quite a few real-life examples to demonstrate the principles, which definitely makes them far easier to understand.


Another unique aspect of this book is how he develops a story from one of his main examples throughout the entire book. Without giving away too much, the book starts with this story and ends with this story. It was unexpected for a nonfiction self-help book. I really appreciated it and I think most readers will too.


Lastly, you can tell the exercises in this book were clearly designed by someone who does this for a living. The exercises ask you do to very specific tasks, most of which can be completed immediately, which is convenient and makes readers more likely to actually do them. You don’t have to hunt down someone to help you, find a tranquil location, or come up with what you’re supposed to do from a vague set of ideas. Most of them just require a piece of paper and a couple minutes of time. They don’t just help you apply the principles taught in that chapter, but they help you apply them in a specific way, designed based on the very principles being taught. Using behavioral design to teach you behavioral design – it’s pretty cool.


Writing Style & Presentation

· Tone: Conversational

· Organization: Excellent

· Flow: Good


As mentioned previously there are a lot of original terms, flow charts, steps, phases, and other processes in this book. That can be a lot of information to digest. For example, if a process has five steps, there will be a visual aid that is repeated with each new step added until at the end you have a completed diagram or flowchart at the end of the chapter. The repetition is a key part of the organizational structure of the book. The terms introduced in earlier chapters are integrated into new concepts later on, and everything builds on each other. Given the amount new concepts and terminology, I believe the organization is the best it could be for this type of book. I wouldn’t say the flow is exceptional, but it is just fine, and you won’t notice it getting in the way while you read.


Bringing It all Together

One thing done really well: Visual aids are plentiful throughout the book and help the reader learn and remember the various concepts and process steps much more easily than if they had not been included.


One thing that could be better: A short review of the information at the end of each chapter would have been nice to include, although there is reference to all the material at the end of the book.


One main thing I took away from this book was: Our intuition on how to change habits is wrong, and that’s why most people fail when trying to change them. This book addresses these false underlying beliefs about our habits and corrects them so we can be successful.


Overall Recommendation

Who I would recommend this book for: Anyone who wants to change a habit and has been unsuccessful thus far.

Who I would not recommend this book for: Anyone already familiar with Fogg's method and approach to behavioral change.



 


Enhance Your Reading by Using a Workbook


If you have decided this book is a good fit for you, I have created a workbook to help you get the most value from reading it. Here is a small sample of the material contained in the workbook.


Your workbook includes:

  • Pre-reading questions

  • Chapter discussion questions with space for writing answers

  • Space to write your own summary for each chapter

  • Vocabulary words with space to write definitions and add words

  • Key terms with space to write definitions and add words

  • Chapter reflection questions

  • Final reflection questions

  • A condensed list of all discussion questions and vocabulary for reference

  • Reflection pages for writing thoughts and ideas


Discussion Question Preview

Below you will find a small sample of the discussion questions. In the workbook, questions are provided for every chapter of this book.




Key Terms Preview

  • ABC of Tiny Habits

  • Ability

  • Action Line

  • Action Prompt

Vocabulary Preview

Behest: (n.) An urgent prompting

Berate: (v.) To scold or condemn vehemently

Dubious: (adj.) Questionable or suspect as to true nature or quality

Forebode: (v.) To foretell


... download the workbook to see the full lists!


Where to Find the Workbook

All available workbooks can be found on Amazon in hardcopy and ebook formats. They are free to access for Kindle Unlimited members.


You can find this particular workbook by clicking here.


Your Feedback is Appreciated!

Are you a student? A teacher? A manager? A parent? Why did you decide to use a workbook and did it help you get more from the book you were reading? Please share your experience so I can continue to make these workbooks a valuable resource to you and others.



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