Review: Atomic Habits Audiobook by James Clear

Atomic Habits James Clear Audiobook Review

If you’re looking for a self-development book, immediately bump the Atomic Habits audiobook by James Clear to the top of your list. I’ve spent the last year listening to a wide range of books on personal improvement and this bestselling title has had a really positive impact on my life.

I was a little bit dubious at first, despite the incredible reviews. The subject is hardly a new area. How could James Clear possibly offer new insights into an overdone subject? The answer is that he doesn’t in many ways. Much of the information is common sense. Where Clear excels is the way in which he sets out these techniques. Clear by name, clear by nature. I didn’t have just one lightbulb moment, but many and started to make sustainable changes to my life as soon as I finished the book.

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There’s never been a better time to make a few tiny changes that will revolutionise your life.

A revolutionary system to get one per cent better every day.

People think when you want to change your life, you need to think big. But world-renowned habits expert James Clear has discovered another way. He knows that real change comes from the compound effect of hundreds of small decisions – doing two push-ups a day, waking up five minutes early, or holding a single short phone call.

He calls them atomic habits.

In this ground-breaking book, Clear reveals exactly how these minuscule changes can grow into such life-altering outcomes. He uncovers a handful of simple life hacks (the forgotten art of Habit Stacking, the unexpected power of the Two Minute Rule, or the trick to entering the Goldilocks Zone) and delves into cutting-edge psychology and neuroscience to explain why they matter. Along the way, he tells inspiring stories of Olympic gold medalists, leading CEOs and distinguished scientists who have used the science of tiny habits to stay productive, motivated, and happy. 

These small changes will have a revolutionary effect on your career, your relationships, and your life.

How Long is the Atomic Habits Audiobook?

This is a relatively short audiobook so can be digested quickly. The normal running time is 5 hours 35 minutes.

At 1.25x speed, it’s 4 hours 27 minutes and at 1.5x speed, the book lasts 3 hours 43 minutes.

“Success is the product of daily habits—not once-in-a-lifetime transformations.”

Who Narrates Atomic Habits?

Atomic Habits is narrated by the author, James Clear. In the introduction, James shares his own story, which brings a personal slant to the content. He has an honest and open approach, In his own words ‘This book is not meant to be an academic research paper; it’s an operating manual.’

What is the structure of Atomic Habits?

The audiobook has 9 main sections:

  • Introduction
  • The Fundamentials: Why Tiny Changes Make a Big Difference
  • The 1st Law: Make It Obvious
  • The 2nd Law: Make It Attractive
  • The 3rd Law: Make It Easy
  • The 4th Law: Make It Satisfying
  • Advanced Tactics: How to Go from Being Merely Good to Being Truly Great
  • Conclusion: The Secrets to Results that Last
  • Appendix

When I first looked at the contents listing of Atomic Habits on the Audible app, the structure seemed fairly random, but after looking at this here, the flow makes perfect sense. James Clear uses real world examples to illustrate his points and introduces the reader to the various methods of habit-forming. I love that there are lots of different models in the audiobook for readers to choose from and test out.

The beauty of this audiobook is that you can listen to each section in pretty much any order because the laws aren’t reliant on each other. I found the Appendix the least useful as the advice was extremely brief.

“You do not rise to the level of your goals. You fall to the level of your systems.”

What are the main takeouts from Atomic Habits?

Everyone will have a slightly different viewpoint on this book. Here are the key points that I took from Atomic Habits:

  1. You can shape your life incrementally using habits. This takes time and dedication.
  2. Robust systems are more important than goals.
  3. Routine is everything. You will have to push through boredom to create really powerful habits.

There are plenty of psychological tips alongside the overarching themes. The author describes these with clarity and connects them to real-life case studies in a meaningful way.

Is Atomic Habit Worth Reading?

With personal development books, you can really only see the impact after several months, but I’ve already modified my habits. I’ve stretched my daily exercise routines from 30 minutes to 50 minutes by lengthening walking routes and building in short workouts throughout the day.

There has also been a win on the reading front. I’ve increased the amount of time spent listening to audiobooks, and have gone to bed earlier rather than be distracted by TV or social media.

I started out well with writing every day, but this faltered after the second month. This happened because family commitments changed several times during this period and my routine went out of the window. No routine, no habits. This was a system failure rather than a content failure so I changed my habits again.

I’m now feeling a lot more confident about what I can achieve. I realise that my habits have to be visible so I make regular lists, move objects such a books into view and diarise major hikes. Everyones different, but this is really working for me.

“If you want better results, then forget about setting goals. Focus on your system instead.”

Atomic Habits – Audiobook or Physical Book?

I chose the Atomic Habits audiobook because I had credits to use on Audible and am trying to cut down (unsuccessfully) on buying physical books. On a personal level, I also prefer to listen to non-fiction rather than read the printed word as I find it easier to absorb, especially if narrated by the author.

However, the one major drawback with audio is the lack of diagrams and exercise sheets. You can find printable versions at but be aware that you have to share your email address first. If you’re a highly visual person who likes to work through self development books methodically then the printed copy is probably better for you. I’m certainly thinking of buying both – the advice really is that useful!

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