Book Review: The Compound Effect

By Melissa Brown, MD

Personal Growth Book Reviews

I’m starting a new category called ‘Personal Growth Book Reviews.’ I love to read books in the personal growth and development genre. I’ve hosted in-person book clubs in the past to encourage others (and myself!) to read more non-fiction self-help books. I enjoy leading a group discussion around the teachings from the selection of the month.

My Secret When I Read Personal Growth Books

First, I’m going to let you in on one of my secrets about reading personal growth books. I learned this tip from the author-speaker, John C. Maxwell. When I read books in the personal growth non-fiction genre, I go ‘old-school.’ I only read this type of book if I can hold it in my hands. A real book. Physical, page-turning, paper-type books I can write on, dog-ear, mark up with a highlighter or sticky note. These are the books I keep on my bookshelf for future reference.

As I read the book, when I find a meaningful quote or concept I want to remember, I no longer just highlight it in the book where it’s printed. On one of the flyleaf (blank) or nearly blank pages in the book, I also create a list where I mark down the page number alongside what I want to remember from that page. This makes it easy to open the book and find those passages when I want to recall them.

You can see an example from one of my books in the photo at the left.

This technique has come in handy for creating social media quote images, writing book reviews, and just refreshing my memory about what’s inside a book. It saved me time writing this blog post, for instance.

I started this habit years ago and can’t imagine reading a personal growth book without doing this now. Even when I re-read a book, I find new things to add to my page reminder list each time I read it. There are usually enough blank or semi-blank pages, that I’ve never run out of space for my notes!

Now that I’ve spilled my secret, let’s take a look at one of my favorite books in the personal growth category.

The Compound Effect By Darren Hardy

One book I aim to re-read at the start of every new year is The Compound Effect by Darren Hardy. This book is packed with the most life-changing strategy I’ve ever read. Here are some of my golden nuggets from this book.

Who Is Darren Hardy?

Darren Hardy has been a leader in the personal development industry for decades. He is a product of the principles he writes about in this book. It’s insightful to read about the lessons he learned from his father and mentors and how he’s applied them to his life. This is not just ‘do as I say’–Darren has actually walked the talk. 

The Compound Effect Summary

If I were to sum up this book’s over-all lesson it would be this:

“What’s simple to do is also simple not to do.” Jim Rohn

Choices are at the root of every one of your results. Every decision, no matter how big or small, changes the trajectory of your life. Each choice to do or not to do something has a result, a consequence. That choice either brings you closer to your overall goal or it brings you further away from it. When you repeatedly make the same choices, the behavior that follows becomes a habit. You’re no longer making a choice when habits have become established–they just happen. Look critically at your habits and make your own choices. Consciously. Not in a sleepwalking trance.

Every choice you make helps bring you closer to your goal or it takes you further from it. Make a conscious, smart choice every time. Share on X

Your life comes down to this formula from The Compound Effect:

The Compound Effect: (decision) + (action) + (repeated action) + (time)  = (Your life)

More To Like About The Compound Effect.

The book has graphs and charts to help illustrate the principles taught. This makes everything easy and clear to understand. At the end of each chapter, there are summary action steps to put The Compound Effect to work for you so you can establish the best habits to get the results you want. The author has also included resource pages in the back of the book. These worksheets are also available with a secret website link inside the book, so you can download and print them out in full size. Some of these worksheets help you determine your core values, set goals, and track habits.

My Recommendation

Check out The Compound Effect by Darren Hardy. This book has become a guiding light to me from the lessons I learned here. I give myself a refresher in those lessons yearly. Choices are either bringing me closer to where I want to be or they’re taking me further away. Each. Damn. Choice. I never want to forget that lesson. And I don’t think you want to either.

Your Turn

Have you read this book? Let me know in the comments if you’ve read The Compound Effect. What were your golden nuggets from this book? If you’ve not yet read it, what in this review has piqued your interest to maybe add this book to your must-read list? And if you have suggestions for great personal growth books you would recommend reviewing next, please let me know in the comments below.

Short on time? Pin this picture to come back later and read.

This blog post may contain recommendations for products, services, and events. In some cases, the links provided are affiliate links. That means that if you click on the link and then buy a product at the site recommended, you won't pay a penny more and the author may earn compensation as a thank you. You can be assured that any of the promoted products have personally been used by or researched by the author for you and found to be high quality before being recommended. 

About the author

Dr. Melissa Brown's career journey has always had an element of teaching. After retirement from clinical pediatric practice, Dr. Brown has taught and mentored as a healthy lifestyle coach, author, and speaker. She currently teaches solopreneurs and coaches how to stop being the world's best-kept secret. Her mission is to help you: Create great content. Impact people. Change the world.

  • I have not read this book, but I am reading Atomic Habits by James Clear which is really interesting. All the graphs and charts are helpful also. Really good stuff. The name Darren Hardy rings a bell, but I don’t know from where. I definitely see how the day-to-day choices we make – including to be conscious instead of sleep walking through life make a huge difference!

    • Thank you, Julie! Maybe you know Darren Hardy as the former publisher of Success Magazine? He’s been around a while.

      I have that book, Atomic Habits, and it’s on my list to read, too. So many books, so little time.

      Thank you for leaving a comment! 😉

  • Melissa, it’s nice to learn more about you from your author box! Our missions are related: I’m out to uplift as many as I can and relieve as much pain as I can (with energy healing mainly) until the hour I leave. Darren Hardy is definitely the Real Thing! I know people who pay thousands a year to be in his various programs. Thanks for bringing this book to my attention; I will look for it!

    • Thank you, Kebba! I appreciate you for your thoughtful comment. It’s been so great to connect with so many great bloggers in the Ultimate Blog Challenge this month. That’s awesome that we have an aligned mission–we have to be sure to connect on social media and get to know each other better, too! I will send a friend request!

  • I was intrigued by your note taking secret. It has some great nuggets in there! As to the Darren Hardy book, I think I’ll be adding it to my read list after your review. Thanks for sharing.

    • Thank you so much, Barb! I am so glad I learned that little note-taking secret and decided to adopt it myself. Now I can pull any of my old favorites off the shelf and skim down through my notes for the important nuggets and it just refreshes my learning so quickly. I hope you’ll try it. And do get the book–it’s one of my all-time favorites, if not #1 on the list.

      It’s a pleasure connecting with you through the Ultimate Blog Challenge. I hope we can get to know each other better over this month.

  • Very interesting. I have not read the book, but after reading your post…it is on my list. Thank you!

    I am a hands on person too when it comes to reading and crafting. I’ve tried the digital world, it’s just not the same.

    The quote you dropped is spot on.

    Until next time, I am off to order my copy of The Compound Effect.

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