I have been watching the replay of fireworks all over the world today as we wait for the New Year to arrive here on the west coast of the United States.
I decided to sneak out a post before the clock strikes midnight.
Here is a list of book things that still have my attention from this year:
- Atomic Habits has dominated the business book bestseller list like no other in the last twenty years. StrengthsFinder 2.0 owned the number #1 spot for years and it sold a third as many copies each week as what Atomic Habits does now.
- The best selling book that was released in 2021 was Twelve and A Half by Gary Vaynerchuk and his million copy pre-order campaign. Think Again by Adam Grant and Empire of Pain: The Secret History of the Sackler Dynasty by Patrick Radden Keefe took the second and third places.
- Each year I look at the Best-of Lists from business media and book retailers. This year, there was one book that appeared on multiple lists – The Conversation: How Seeking and Speaking Truth About Racism Can Radically Change Individuals and Organizations by Robert Livingston. You can read my full essay on the Marker channel on Medium.
- I keep seeing more ways that my backlist research from this year applies to authors and publishers. Read the full Magic Number report on the Bard Press blog.
- I’ve been wondering about goals and how people related to them. My conversations and polling showed people liked reading books about how to achieve their goals, but for forming goals, they preferred interactive environments like workshops or coaching.
- I also did some preliminary research on the tools people use to track their progress. One third of people actively use a planner. Another third use a journal. The final third uses both.
- I read fifty books this year. Michael Lewis’s Premonition and Teresa Amaible’s The Progress Principle are the two that most stuck with me. High recommendations on both.
- Earlier this year, I shared a list of five wonderful documentaries about books, booksellers, and why we love books.
- As we enter 2022, my biggest recommendation is to skip resolutions and focus on habits. The best book for building a new habit is Tiny Habits by BJ Fogg. Here is my review of the book I wrote earlier this year:
Book Review: Tiny Habits: The Small Changes That Change Everything by BJ Fogg
Fogg’s research and his writings isolate the particular components of what make up habits and show people how to best utilize each to create new habits. Think of Fogg like a trainer you might hire if you really wanted better habits. He makes it simple to learn. He discerns the particular techniques that work best. And he’s also creative in how to engage them.
Only a few pages into the book, Fogg starts talking about a universal model for behavior. He says the model applies to everything, good and bad. Every behavior has three components: motivation, ability, and prompt (BMAP, for short) Simple, right? When you are trying to change a behavior, start with the prompt and ask if there was a reliable trigger for the behavior. Next, ask if how able you were to do the new behavior? Ability could affect everything from having what you need to knowing what needs to be done. The final factor to check is motivation. High motivation makes creating a new behavior easy but motivation fluctuates and can interact with other competing motivations.
Notice I changed the sequence a little from Fogg’s original acronym friendly order above. Fogg specifically recommended the altered order for diagnosing behavior change and getting the change you desire. It’s another example of the level of process and utility built into the book. You are really getting a 300 page workshop when you read Tiny Habits.
Now, imagine you wanted to start a 30 minute a day meditation practice. Fogg would say take that behavior and make it as small as you can. What if you started with three long breaths seated on the floor in front of your couch? Tiny is the positive lever we have to work with the ability component. Researcher Wendy Wood also stresses this factor with a slightly different term saying, “If you leave [my] book with one word and one idea, I hope it’s friction.” Make it easy. Or if you are trying to break a habit, make the behavior hard to do.
And there is a whole chapter with ideas on how to break habits. And a chapter on working with others on habits. And appendices with scripts, flowcharts, and lists to help you brainstorm habits for common challenges. As I keep saying, this book is packed with tips and lessons to learn how to change your behavior and teach others to do the same.
The Anatomy of Tiny Habits:
- Anchor Moment – An existing routine or event that reminds you to do the new Tiny Behavior.
- New Tiny Behavior – A simple version of the new habit you want, performed right after the Anchor Moment.
- Instant Celebration – Do something to create positive emotions immediately after the new Tiny Habit
After I [the trigger], I will [your action], and then [your celebration].
Happy New Year, everyone!