The Compound Effect by Darren Hardy Summary, Review, and Notes

By Garrett Mickley •  Updated: 07/12/21 •  5 min read

2022 update: I’ve changed some priorities so I need to re-assess my notes.

The Compound Effect is one of the best books for turning every day into a victory.

Darren Hardy, author and Editor-in-Chief of Success Magazine, has helped entrepreneurs like John Paul DeJoria (founder of Patrón Spirits Company), Tony Hsieh (CEO Zappos), and Dave Thomas (founder Wendy’s) lead their companies to success.

He knows what it takes to build something great in business and life.

In this book, he reveals his time tested principles that will help you set reachable goals, break them down into manageable daily actions, nurture your relationships with family and friends who support you on this journey, “sell” yourself so that others want to buy from you; all while staying true to your own principles.

The Compound Effect is a revolutionary new way to help you take control of your life and stop making excuses.

Learn how to make every day count, build momentum and achieve extraordinary results in all areas of your life!

The Compound Effect Review

I give the Compound Effect a 10 our of 10.

I’ve read it three times now and will definitely read it again, probably once a year.

If I had to pick one book everyone should read, it’s this.

The Compound Effect Notes

Chapter 1 – The Compound Effect in Action

The main premise of The Compound Effect is that small, consistent actions build up over time.

This can be good or bad, but knowing that will help us make better decisions in our life.

Hardy gives various examples of this.

They’re all fictitious, but they do drive the point home.

I don’t particularly care for the Magic Penny example because I don’t understand where these magical pennies are coming from.

But I love the one about the three friends because it’s extremely realistic.

The Three Friends

You should read it in the book, but the nutshell is that one friend does nothing, and his life just stays the same as it is.

Another friend starts adding small positive changes, like cutting a soda from his diet and reading 10 pages of a self-help book each day.

His life gets better over several…I mean several months.

The third friend adds small negative changes, like watching more TV and eating more fattening foods.

Over the same many months, his life gets pretty bad.

The Ripple Effect

Then there’s the Ripple Effect, where one small change has huge consequences.

Such as friend 3 who does the bad stuff and ends up with a failing marriage.

It’s a long chain of events, but the nutshell is: unhealthy food makes him sluggish, sluggish makes him bad at his job, which makes him not like his job, which makes him sad, which makes his wife sad, which makes their marriage not great.

My Struggle

My struggle with all this that it takes so long.

Even in the examples, it’s taking almost 1000 days, which is almost 3 years.

I was born in the late 80’s which means everything in my life has come pretty quickly.

I am from the internet generation.

I don’t remember not having a microwave because my parents probably had one before I was born.

I’m okay with looking 12 months ahead and feeling comfortable, but looking 2 years ahead makes me feel…defeated.

I get the feeling that I’m not the only one who struggles with that.

We just have to sit down and do the thing.

Luckily, Hardy gives us some action items.

Action Items!


First he says to list our our excuses for why we aren’t achieving what we want.

I don’t think I have any excuses.

I know exactly what I’m doing wrong and how I’m struggling with it.

And I have no excuse for that.

I know that the only thing standing in my way, is me.

Start Doing

Next we need a list of things we should start doing.

Stop Doing

Then we are to make a list of things we need to stop doing.

Chapter 2

Coming soon.

Garrett Mickley

I've been working in digital marketing for a decade and a half, and I'm ready for a career change. This blog is my journal.

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