Quick Lit: June 2019

Quick Lit is a collection of short reviews of some of the books I’ve read recently. Modern Mrs. Darcy always has great reviews and a monthly link-up of similar posts, so be sure you go there next.

One Small Step Can Change Your Life: the Kaizen Way by Robert Maurer

One Small Step Can Change Your Life: The Kaizen Way

Kaizen is a Japanese word meaning “using very small steps to improve a habit, a process or a product” or “using very small moments to inspire new products and inventions.”

Maurer spends time at the beginning of his book talking about how we think change has to come through innovation, or the largest possible change in the smallest amount of time. We put all our eggs into radical transformation, which is a really hard way to change. He proposes instead making the smallest possible incremental change- something too small to fail- and letting the momentum of that success carry us forward.

Many of his examples come from his work as a psychologist in a family medicine practice. (You can see why this is appealing to me). Instead of telling someone to stop eating McDonald’s fries, he recommends throwing away the first French fry from each box. For a person who is too busy to exercise, he recommends marching in place in front of the TV for one minute each day. The book includes the brain science on why this method is effective, which I found really interesting.

Maurer’s work is going to be really helpful in my medical practice, and my life. People come to me wanting to make changes, and this book has changed how I’m going to help them do it.  Highly recommended.

Atomic Habits by James Clear

Looking at the jacket copy on Atomic Habits, you might think that it resembles Maurer’s book.  It, too, promises to help you eliminate bad habits and create new good habits. It does give an overview of the habit formation cycle and how to mold that to your advantage.

However, this book leans heavily on Charles Duhigg’s fantastic book The Power of Habit, which I found much more compelling.  Other than the author’s personal story, I didn’t appreciate new research or much improvement on Duhigg’s work.  I would recommend The Power of Habit over Atomic Habits.

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