The Compound Effect Summary: Use These Strategies to Increase Your Success

This summary of The Compound Effect, a book written by Darren Hardy, discusses the key elements that will expand your success through small change.

Mike Keesee, FAIBD, turned us on to Darren Hardy. Steve and Garrett listen to him every day.

A successful businessman himself, Mr. Hardy has managed to compile incredible insights that we can apply in our everyday lives and business ventures alike.

He built his career as the publisher of Success Magazine, interviewing successful people such as James Clear and Tony Robbins.

He also studied under Jim Rohn.

The compound effect is the reality of success — huge rewards from hard work and daily routine.

Personal growth builds on itself through small actions as we maintain the daily basis consistency required for it to grow into something meaningful and substantial.

This blog post will summarize some of the most important concepts from this book, including how you can start implementing these strategies today with small choices.

The Compound Effect in Action

Elegant businessman with touchpad explaining chart on the wall.
It just grows and grows and grows.

The compound effect is the idea that small, seemingly insignificant actions can lead to huge results over time.

You don’t need to do anything dramatic or drastic to achieve your goals- make a few small changes every day and see the radical difference.

If you want more money, start by spending less of it each day; if you want better relationships, start with being nicer to people; if you want a healthier body, eat less junk food.

It’s all about making little changes and small steps regularly so that they add up over time.


Confused cute young woman choosing between healthy and unhealthy food over white background.
The choices we make dictate the majority of our life.

Choices are the first component of the compound effect.

They can be the simplest of choices, such as picking a different type of cereal for breakfast or just writing one sentence of your novel per day.

These little actions may not seem like anything special, but the truth is that they represent positive changes.

More importantly, it’s consistent change over time.


Photograph of business journal.

Habits are the second component of the compound effect.

Habits are the actions that you do without thinking.

They can be simple, such as flossing your teeth every night or choosing to always have high-fiber cereal for breakfast.

Habits also include more difficult tasks like going on a run after work or getting up earlier in the morning.

You can have good habits and bad habits.

Habits don’t necessarily require conscious effort.

Instead, they’re done automatically because of repetition and practice over time.

The best part is that when those daily habits become ingrained in who you are, change becomes easy!

Creating new behaviors takes months or even years before becoming habituated enough to make it through the day unscathed by things like cravings from junk food or other distractions.

Chaining habits is one way to be successful in creating new habits with less effort.

Chaining habits is when you pair the new habit with something that you already do.

For example, if you wanted to create a morning routine consisting of brushing your teeth and taking vitamins, it’s best to replace the previously existing activity in your agenda: watching television.


Young beautiful woman jogging in morning at park.
Momentum keeps you going.

Momentum is the third component of the compound effect.

Momentum represents a ripple effect of energy and drives you to keep going.

It’s what helps you plow through difficult or frustrating areas of your life.

Not giving up — even in the face of adversity.

Achieving momentum is all about creating that sense of “I can do anything!”

The best way to create this feeling is by celebrating success.

Achieving small goals will make it more likely for bigger ones to follow suit.

You get many small goals organized by taking one big goal and breaking it down into pieces.

That way, you can feel accomplished and on the right track.

Heard the saying, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with one step”?

Well, momentum is like that too.

It starts slow before it picks up steam.

Once you have some momentum going for yourself, you’ll feel motivated to keep going.


Group of friends toasting each other over dinner.

Influences are the fourth component of the compound effect.

Influences are the people in your life that you spend time with regularly,

and the messages they offer.

It’s not just what influences us.

It is also how we influence others and how those who have influenced us affect our lives.

There are two types of influencers: personal influencers and organizational influencers.

Personal Influencers

Personal influencers are the people you are in close contact with and play an important role in shaping your thoughts and actions.

There are three things to know about personal influencers:

  1. Really know who they are. If you don’t know the people whom you spend time with or those whose messages have been influential in your life, it isn’t easy to understand the impact of their influence on you.
  2. Respect them for what they offer positively. Personal influencers can be anyone from a spouse, friend, co-worker, parent, etc. But we need to remember that not everyone has good intentions all the time. It’s important to respect whatever positive contributions they make while being cautious about negativity.
  3. Be mindful when making decisions based on advice from others. It’s easy for us all too often to take other peoples’ opinions at face value.

Organizational Influencers

Organizational influencers are the companies and organizations we interact with regularly and their messaging.

There are two major ways in which the organization can wield its influence over a customer:

  1. The company’s own messaging and branding.
  2. Through other third parties that they partner with to deliver their message.

The first way is easy to notice, but the second might not be as obvious at first glance.

However, when we think about how many companies partner with big brands like Amazon Prime for delivery services or Snapchat for marketing outreach, it becomes clear just how much power these organizations have.

After all, if you’re ordering from Amazon instead of going to the store yourself or watching an ad on Snapchat rather than switching channels during commercial breaks, then those organizations are dictating what our purchasing habits look like.

They also dictate the types of things we see, the kinds of people, and products that come across our screens.


Vintage green and yellow steam powered railway train.

Acceleration is the fifth and final component of the compound effect.

It is the result of having mastered the first four components.

You can see how we can achieve acceleration by comparing two people, one who’s been working out for a few months and another who has just started their workout routine.

The person with an ongoing workout regimen will have much better results than someone who only began exercising in January because they’ve had more time to accelerate their fitness level and build momentum around that goal through repetition.

They will also experience less resistance from the law of inertia which would naturally slow down progress without consistent action on behalf of the individual.

Acceleration allows you to unlock your full potential.

How to apply the Compound Effect to your life right now:

The first step is to start tracking your progress the first day you start working out, or whatever the thing is you are going to accomplish.

At the end of every week or month, take a look at what went well and what didn’t go so great to help make adjustments in subsequent weeks/months.

Track the progress of others and use those successes as inspiration for your own work.

Example: If you want to be an author, look at successful authors in the same genre or industry you are in and read their blogs and books.

This will help give you ideas on how to improve your book’s writing process.

This is how we can achieve exponential growth with consistency over time.

The Compound Effect Summary in one sentence:

The compound effect says that even small improvements will yield remarkable results when applied consistently over time.

That is the power of the compound effect.

Stock images purchased via Techsmith / Storyblocks.

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