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Zen Habits: Mastering the Art of Change

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A book about mastering the art of change — how to change habits & deal with life changes, frustrations with others, and more.


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A book about mastering the art of change — how to change habits & deal with life changes, frustrations with others, and more.

30 review for Zen Habits: Mastering the Art of Change

  1. 4 out of 5

    Sleepless Dreamer

    As I started uni and moved to the dorms, I've changed a lot of habits, just in order to incorporate that change. In the last week, I've gotten used to waking up naturally at 6am, spending like 10 minutes on my phone (can't possibly start the day without reading the news, of course), and showering. At this point, the time is around 6:20 and that's when I open up my computer, write a to-do list and start working, be it in for uni or for work. Now, on days that I start my classes at 8:30, this work As I started uni and moved to the dorms, I've changed a lot of habits, just in order to incorporate that change. In the last week, I've gotten used to waking up naturally at 6am, spending like 10 minutes on my phone (can't possibly start the day without reading the news, of course), and showering. At this point, the time is around 6:20 and that's when I open up my computer, write a to-do list and start working, be it in for uni or for work. Now, on days that I start my classes at 8:30, this works fine. However, when I start my classes at 10:30, around 9 is when I lost focus, open my phone and start procrastinating. I've been trying to break up my study times (for example, right now, I just finished my Econ homework, it's 7:00am, if things go well, I'll get back to studying in like 10 mins). However, the problem is that I would absolutely love to do yoga in the morning. Ideally, I would like to wake up, immediately start doing yoga, then start working and whenever I lose my focus, go shower so I'll be able to continue. I would like to look at my phone for the first time at around 10am. So I read this book with all of this in mind. Arpi Park (yes, I accidentally spent the other day binge watching all of his videos) talks about studying as a habit and really, my mornings are so productive and I don't ever stop to think about what I'm doing, it's a given that it's morning and mornings are study time. The thing is, even though it's literally my 6th day of uni, I'm finding it incredibly hard to get out of bed and go yoga. I try to accomplish the ideas of this book, try to lower my expectations and yeah, I realize that it's hard because I'm attempting to break a bad habit and create a new one at the same time but still, this is something I should be able to do. In any case, this is a short book. I didn't read it like the author had intended because, come on, if I was capable of reading a chapter a day, I would have been capable of doing Inktober and clearly, I am not (although, I used to be able to do NaNoWriMo). I found myself thinking about how this feels very personal. I feel like habits are created in many ways, differently for different people. My study time happens because I promised myself it would, because I know that from 7pm and forward, I'm unable to study properly (basically, I lie to myself because I definitely study after 7pm). I haven't missed a Friday night run in years because it's my way to get from one place to the other. I can't miss it. Ultimately, I'm all about creating habits that work because there's no other way. I'm already up and awake at 6am, why shouldn't I open my computer and start my Econ homework? I'm wearing pants I can run in and hoping that after my classes end today, I'll be able to get myself to go running as I'm already dressed for it, even if it'll be 7pm and dark outside. And if I do this enough times, I'll always do Monday runs (which could be perfect). I think a lot of habits work because there's a sense of commitment. I want to succeed in my studies and so, I'm studying. I want to be mentally stable and even happy and so, I'm running. I see myself as a person that runs and gets good grades, this is who I am (that's a terribly unhealthy view point, I'm myself even when I'll fail Econ/ quit running) and therefore I do what it takes to be there. Somehow, this book doesn't touch this enough. I think a habit should reflect you. Could I get myself into the habit of studying from 7pm to 10pm? Maybe, with the help of coffee, but if naturally I focus better in the mornings, why push? In the same vein, yesterday I did yoga at night and hey, maybe nighttime is better for me for yoga than the mornings (although, I've got to stop looking at my phone first thing in the morning, why do I want to read about Denmark's policies about "non-Western" immigration as the first thing I do). Moreover, a few years back, I found myself constantly rereading Harry Potter and Unwind. So I decided to try and read a bit more new books. Using Goodreads challenge and never counting rereads helped motivate me to read new things. When I wanted to read more poetry, I started reading only poetry while waiting for buses, instead of opening Facebook. It worked well as it was a solid 20 minutes a day of poetry. So really, habits have to have a framework, a place that hold you accountable. The author says this as well and I've got to remember it. My to-do lists make my mornings accountable. So I'm off to study again, and yeah, this review hardly talked about the book. I think we all forge our own paths. I'm glad this guy has managed to accomplish so much and hope he'll be helpful for others. What I'm Taking With Me - Ahh, it's late, my time management has failed me. - I'm not very Zen. - So much to do, so little time.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Taylor Tracy

    Great quotes for getting over the obstacles you might be facing when adding good habits into your routine or removing bad ones. Lots of analogies and short chapters with actionable steps make this a great way to get going on something you've been meaning to start. Starting a habit or cutting off from one can be a lot trickier than what's outlined in this book, but Leo Babauta does give you some "troubleshooting" tips that offer assistance. I personally can't apply his method to some of the habit Great quotes for getting over the obstacles you might be facing when adding good habits into your routine or removing bad ones. Lots of analogies and short chapters with actionable steps make this a great way to get going on something you've been meaning to start. Starting a habit or cutting off from one can be a lot trickier than what's outlined in this book, but Leo Babauta does give you some "troubleshooting" tips that offer assistance. I personally can't apply his method to some of the habits I wish to instill, but it's been very helpful. I'm also a sobriety coach and have shared his quotes/analogies with my clients as I feel they paint a strong picture of whatever it is I'm trying to say. I particularly like his analogy of water rolling down a hill, not being stopped when it hits a rock but bending around that rock and continuing down the hill (because, you know, gravity and all). It helps make it clear the importance of being fluid with our intentions rather than thinking we're on a set track. Interruptions in our plans happen, we need to adjust accordingly.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Monisha

    If you read and use this book as is suggested (one paragraph a day), then it's really good in helping you form a new habit. I have successful completed my new habit every day and am committed to it. Am going to keep at it for a few more weeks before tackling the harder challenge of removing bad habits. If you read and use this book as is suggested (one paragraph a day), then it's really good in helping you form a new habit. I have successful completed my new habit every day and am committed to it. Am going to keep at it for a few more weeks before tackling the harder challenge of removing bad habits.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Sir Readalot

    It's a pretty short and concise guide for anyone who wants to change their life. I found this book to be a shorter version of The Practicing Mind: Bringing Discipline and Focus into Your Life. It's a pretty short and concise guide for anyone who wants to change their life. I found this book to be a shorter version of The Practicing Mind: Bringing Discipline and Focus into Your Life.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Ifa Mujawar

    To me, this seemed just like an over-simplified how-to guide for people with excuses. Or maybe I'm an advanced reader who likes more depth to the subjects they read on. Who knows. I wouldn't call this a work of art in any way. Anyone (including myself) can come up with a thing like this. To me, this seemed just like an over-simplified how-to guide for people with excuses. Or maybe I'm an advanced reader who likes more depth to the subjects they read on. Who knows. I wouldn't call this a work of art in any way. Anyone (including myself) can come up with a thing like this.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Keshav Bhatt

    Solid & concise book that gives you the key bits of information you need on habits & learning to adapt with change. Some of the key things I learned were: - The problem and source of our struggle is not the world, but our mental movie of how life should be/people should be. When we suffer and experience loss (and loss can come in many different forms) it is because we are grieving and resisting the change to how we imagined things to be - Plan for imperfection. Given that things don't go accordin Solid & concise book that gives you the key bits of information you need on habits & learning to adapt with change. Some of the key things I learned were: - The problem and source of our struggle is not the world, but our mental movie of how life should be/people should be. When we suffer and experience loss (and loss can come in many different forms) it is because we are grieving and resisting the change to how we imagined things to be - Plan for imperfection. Given that things don't go according to a certain precise imagined plan (that we're attracted by) it is better to plan and expect imperfection. I'm going to use this with setting goals for example, assume that there will be stop starts, pauses, lapses, restarts etc. - Starting small and learning before replacing (on habits). I love the idea of starting small with a really small change and building it up gradually. Having one vegetable per mean rather than eliminating junk food and eating 100% well 24/7. We do underestimate the size and complexity of changing our habits. He also writes about learning to creating new habits first, starting small, then ingraining them before trying to "quit" on bad habits.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Matt B. Perkins

    Admittedly I did not read this as instructed, that is to read a chapter a day and do the exercises within. Instead I read once through, devouring the insights, of which this book has plenty. It's a great, reassuring read for anyone looking to develop new habits, stop old hindering habits or face and do away with procrastination. I personally am using this as a guidebook of sorts, but however you choose to use it, I recommend taking the tips and advice to heart. Great stuff. Admittedly I did not read this as instructed, that is to read a chapter a day and do the exercises within. Instead I read once through, devouring the insights, of which this book has plenty. It's a great, reassuring read for anyone looking to develop new habits, stop old hindering habits or face and do away with procrastination. I personally am using this as a guidebook of sorts, but however you choose to use it, I recommend taking the tips and advice to heart. Great stuff.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Jarkko Laine

    Practical, actionable, and beautiful, Zen Habits distills the core ideas of building lasting habits — and living a good life — into bite-size chunks you can apply every day. As I was reading the book, I started the habit of doing regular morning exercises, and now I've been doing it for a month and half, and going strong on my second habit (waking up earlier again). Thanks to Leo Babauta's writing, I now have the tools to make the change happen, and enjoy it. Practical, actionable, and beautiful, Zen Habits distills the core ideas of building lasting habits — and living a good life — into bite-size chunks you can apply every day. As I was reading the book, I started the habit of doing regular morning exercises, and now I've been doing it for a month and half, and going strong on my second habit (waking up earlier again). Thanks to Leo Babauta's writing, I now have the tools to make the change happen, and enjoy it.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Stefan

    The right book at the right time in life for me, this book helped me make my first habit change as I read the book. Much of the information in this book is quite helpful, as is the habit plan. I will be applying the habit plan from this book to many other habits I consider should be changed, implemented or gotten rid of.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Ulysses Maccaud

    A book to recommend for everyone struggling with changes... and for everyone else as well. Not only a lesson about changes, but about life itself! As always, Leo's advice is worth its weight in gold! A book to recommend for everyone struggling with changes... and for everyone else as well. Not only a lesson about changes, but about life itself! As always, Leo's advice is worth its weight in gold!

  11. 5 out of 5

    Ingrid

    UPDATE 2/20: A good refresher on some of the pains I’ve been having with my habits. By the end of today I’ll have taken detailed notes. I will say I appreciate the author a bit more for his wise philosophical approach to discussing habit change . Blogger and author Leo Babauta shares a lot of interesting tips on how to start and continue with habits. The most important highly stressed piece of wisdom by him is to let go of the Mind Movie in your head that gives you an oftentimes unrealistic ideal UPDATE 2/20: A good refresher on some of the pains I’ve been having with my habits. By the end of today I’ll have taken detailed notes. I will say I appreciate the author a bit more for his wise philosophical approach to discussing habit change . Blogger and author Leo Babauta shares a lot of interesting tips on how to start and continue with habits. The most important highly stressed piece of wisdom by him is to let go of the Mind Movie in your head that gives you an oftentimes unrealistic ideal of what a habit will be like, and to instead accept a habit into your life one step at a time, one change at a time. It is a very quick read if you've already implemented these principles already from reading his Blog or other popular habit books out there, but it doesn't add anything new. There are chapters that go into how to overcome certain feelings, changes, and tragedies in your life so that you have the mental headspace to continue with your habits. But I feel a layer of emptiness reading these chapters because much of this advice just barely skins the surface and doesn't really touch on the deeper issues. So overall, compared to other books like Atomic Habits or Transform your Habits , this book is average. Not bad but not great. Would be higher up there if the steps were more exercise based and if he'd just condensed these few hundred pages into two or three blog articles.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Danny An

    One of the best books I've read on personal development. Unlike other books that claims to "transform" your life within weeks or months, this book explores the realistic struggles that everyone goes through whether it's in developing a new habit, quitting a bad one, or coping with a radical life change such as a death of a loved one. Some of the valuable principles in the book are - to start with a small change, so small that you just can't make an excuse not to do it (e.g. 2 minutes of running or One of the best books I've read on personal development. Unlike other books that claims to "transform" your life within weeks or months, this book explores the realistic struggles that everyone goes through whether it's in developing a new habit, quitting a bad one, or coping with a radical life change such as a death of a loved one. Some of the valuable principles in the book are - to start with a small change, so small that you just can't make an excuse not to do it (e.g. 2 minutes of running or 2 minutes of meditation). - to let go of the ideals you have about yourself, others, and the world. - to embrace impermanence and accept life as it is. Leo goes into more details about the concepts and walk you through his personal stories to make his points. It's a nice, easy read that you can commit to reading while you're making one change. I can say that since I started the new habit with this book, I have been consistently doing it for the past 5 weeks now, and it's awesome! Overall, I love the concepts in the book because it's SO practical while introducing you to many spiritual concepts of Zen Buddhism.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Matthew

    This book not only provides insightful perspectives, examples, and practices on how to deal with major life changes, but you work the habit as you read the book and can read a chapter each day. Having a habit plan and implementing one habit at a time is the key to building a successful momentum. I wrote in my journal as I read as well, so I will be coming back to this as I master each habit and to remember the practices. Brilliant analogies.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Jef

    Leo has written a book that everyone can practice and follow here. By being open to change and accepting that our habits do take time to change he proposes that we can create meaningful and lost lasting change. There are parts where the concept of changing and habits becomes repetitive although this could arguably be included to demonstrate the point. Enjoyed the book and simple to read and implement

  15. 5 out of 5

    Ville Salmensuu

    The mindfulness version of building good habits and getting rid of old ones. A great book with plenty of practical advice. Small steps, learn the habit change process by starting very small, end up hopefully with life-changing results. Be mindful and let go of your "Mind movie" and "Childish mind", your ideals and expectations. Get support for your habit change. There is a newer, shorter version but I read this one that is freely available on internet. The mindfulness version of building good habits and getting rid of old ones. A great book with plenty of practical advice. Small steps, learn the habit change process by starting very small, end up hopefully with life-changing results. Be mindful and let go of your "Mind movie" and "Childish mind", your ideals and expectations. Get support for your habit change. There is a newer, shorter version but I read this one that is freely available on internet.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Kati

    I was expecting more 'habits related to Zen'; this was more 'habit formation with some mindfulness practice spackled on whether it makes sense or not'. It doesn't really do either habit formation or mindfulness well. My suggestion: if you want information on habit formation, go to one of the recent science-based books on it, like The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg. If you want a book on mindfulness or Zen, get a book on those things. I was expecting more 'habits related to Zen'; this was more 'habit formation with some mindfulness practice spackled on whether it makes sense or not'. It doesn't really do either habit formation or mindfulness well. My suggestion: if you want information on habit formation, go to one of the recent science-based books on it, like The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg. If you want a book on mindfulness or Zen, get a book on those things.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Laura

    Physically, the book is gorgeous. Layout, cover, fonts... it all shows an obsessive attention to detail and style. The words? Pretty good. Some fairly standard stuff if you've read material on habits, some passages that were enlightening. Physically, the book is gorgeous. Layout, cover, fonts... it all shows an obsessive attention to detail and style. The words? Pretty good. Some fairly standard stuff if you've read material on habits, some passages that were enlightening.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Fernando Fernandes

    The idea of applying some sort of a weekly "sprint review" to our habit plan is a really good one. "Drink your tea slowly and reverently, as if it is the axis on which the world earth revolves -- slowly, evenly, without rushing toward the future." - Thich Nhat Hanh A solid 4. Out of 5. The idea of applying some sort of a weekly "sprint review" to our habit plan is a really good one. "Drink your tea slowly and reverently, as if it is the axis on which the world earth revolves -- slowly, evenly, without rushing toward the future." - Thich Nhat Hanh A solid 4. Out of 5.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Bryan

    There is a lot of good advice in this book on forming lasting habits. Being a regular reader of Zen Habits, I recognized some of the tips, but there was also plenty of new information making this a worthwhile read.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Sayma Chowdhury

    Tried and tested to form 6 new habits. Great book. The most gentle guide to forming good habits. Initially it was challenging to start with my first habit but I began enjoying it so much that I looked forward to it everyday. Just carried on from there. Excellent guide.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Blaine McGaffigan

    “Zen Habits” is the perfect book to read in the morning before doing a habit. It provides tips for building ongoing habits in your life. It also teaches strategies for awareness so you can better understand feelings and triggers that surround habits.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Meg

    I've read through it once and now I'm going back and doing the day-by-day chapster missions, starting from today. Yikes. I've read through it once and now I'm going back and doing the day-by-day chapster missions, starting from today. Yikes.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth

    I liked the early parts of this book about creating habits, but I greatly enjoyed the later parts about dealing with change more generally. I will read this book again to digest the concepts further.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Dan Carp

    Good practical advice on building habits and dealing with the obstacles that may arise along the way. Recommended read for anyone looking to change something about themselves.

  25. 5 out of 5

    sprinkle.your.sparkle

    Do yourself a favor and read only the simple plans of creating/changing a habit at the end of the book.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Mary Staub

    Great read I enjoyed reading through this book! I found it to be to the point but filled with many valuable messages.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Adam McNamara

    I enjoyed this book much more than I thought I would. Zen Habits takes the science of habits (as presented by Duhigg) and layers in Zen philosophy. The result is short guide for building and breaking habits that recognizes that the person (eg: me) is complicated, flawed, and Ned’s emotional support to deal with change. It’s a helpful and compassionate read with the right mix of prescription and empathy.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Pía López Copetti

    It's a really good book. Goes on into explaining core concepts of essentialism rather than minimalism - mostly on the value of simplifying your life on the premises of doing the things that truly matter to you. Some passages might have been boring - as if taken from other sources, but overall, a good book. It's a really good book. Goes on into explaining core concepts of essentialism rather than minimalism - mostly on the value of simplifying your life on the premises of doing the things that truly matter to you. Some passages might have been boring - as if taken from other sources, but overall, a good book.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Justin

    This is a book about changing yourself (quitting smoking, starting to run) and not really that related to zen

  30. 4 out of 5

    Rumagoso

    Essential read for simplifying life in pursuit of meaningful life.

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