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The 5 AM Club - Book summary

In this book, Robin Sharma invites you to join the 5AM Club and the ranks of the top 5% of performers. Using a parable, he explains various productivity principles and tactics built on research and brain sciences, to help you transform your results, health, and happiness. In this free version of The 5 AM Club summary, we’ll outline some of the main ideas from the book.

The 5 AM Club: Parable Summary

The parable is about 2 people who managed to transform their lives with the help of a guru and a tycoon. The story began with an Entrepreneur whose life was falling apart, and an Artist who wanted to unlock his creativity and potential. They met at a seminar by the Spellbinder, a famous guru known for his teachings on peak performance, neurobiology and human potential.

At the seminar, the Entrepreneur and Artist ran into an eccentric multi-billionaire who’d been personally mentored by the Spellbinder. The Billionaire invited them to his private island, where he imparted the principles and insights that had transformed his life (and would now transform theirs).

The 5AM Club is the cornerstone of achieving world-class performance and living a splendid life. It involves the habit of waking up at 5am daily, starting your day on a right note, and adopting a range of positive habits to multiply your results.

Throughout the story, the Billionaire and Spellbinder share quotes from famous people, findings from scientific research, frameworks, principles and tactics for achieving peak performance, inner peace and joy.

In our full version of The 5 AM Club summary, we’ve distilled and organized the key insights into 2 parts: (i) The ingredients for top performance, and (ii) how to become a member of the 5AM Club.

The Ingredients for Top Performance

The 3-Step Success Formula

To be in the top 5% and gain a “Gargantuan Competitive Advantage”, you must be willing to do what 95% of people don’t or won’t do. This starts with choosing how to lead your life. Specifically, there are 3 steps to achieving phenomenal success: Be aware of your values, why you do what you do, and how you want to be remembered. Use this consciousness to guide your daily choices, so that every action you take contributes to your goal. Applied rigorously and consistently, the 3 steps will dramatically improve your results and impact.  Here’s a visual summary:

The 5 AM Club summary - The 3 steps to successThe most outstanding people commit to becoming the best version of themselves and living an original life. They demand high standards in all aspects of their attitude, actions, and output. By contrast, 95% of people only achieve mediocre results because they lack the clarity, focus and discipline of the top performers.

In our complete version of The 5 AM Club summary, we’ll elaborate more on the concepts of:

  • Self-leadership and living a unique life; and
  • Mastery, rigor and persistence, including an eye for detail.


Top performers focus on 4 things: leveraging their talents, working without distractions, gaining personal mastery, and consistently stacking small wins. Robin Sharma calls these the four focuses of history makers:

  • Build “capitalization IQ” to actualize your inborn talents. Believe in your own abilities/potential, and keep persisting until you succeed.
  • Eliminate distractions. Don’t dilute your attention over too many things. Simplify your life by focusing on a few high-value projects, relationships etc. Beware of technology-addiction and self-sabotage (i.e. the urge to switch tasks whenever you’re on a challenging task).
  • Multiply your results by improving your personal mastery/abilities. Build 4 interior empires: Mindset (psychology), Heartset (emotionality), Healthset (physicality), and Soulset (spirituality).
  • Stack your daily successes. If you consistently improve by 1% a day, you’ll minimally elevate yourself by 365% each year.

Feel free to get the full version of our summary for more details about each of these 4 areas of focus and the 4 interior empires.

Joining the 5 AM Club

The 5AM Club (waking up at 5am and using the 20/20/20 Formula below) gives you a headstart in cultivating the clarity, discipline, rigor, and habits required for top performance.


The 5 AM Club is built on various scientific truths about the brain, willpower and habits. Throughout the parable, Robin Sharma inserts scientific insights about the human brain, willpower, habits formation, transient hypofrontality, flow, etc. to help us understand why the peace and quiet of the morning helps us to enter a peak performance state. In the full version of The 5 AM Club summary, we’ll explain each of these concepts in more detail.

Top producers outperform others because they’ve built the habit of performing high-value activities. Initially, they had to force themselves to persist each time they felt like quitting. Over time, they strengthen their willpower, self-mastery and discipline, until it’s habitual to operate at a higher level.

You need to exert willpower to build a new habit (i.e. wake up at 5am). However, once you’ve installed the habit, it becomes automatic and effortless. There are 4 steps involved in habits formation: a trigger => a ritual => a reward => repetition. It takes about 66 days to form a new habit over 3 phases: Destruction (22 days) => Installation (22 Days) => Integration (22 Days) => Automaticity Point.  Do check out the full 13-page version of our summary for more insights about habits formation and tips to form your new winning habits!

THE 20/20/20 FORMULA

Your willpower is strongest at the start of your day, and weakens as you get tired. So, the first hour of your day (5-6am) is crucial. Robin Sharma calls this your Victory Hour. He recommends splitting this hour into 3 x 20-minute blocks where you focus on building your 4 empires, i.e. your Mindset, Heartset, Healthset and Soulset.  Here’s a quick breakdown:

The 5 AM Club summary - Victory Hour and 20/20/20 Formula

  • Move (0500-0520): Start your day with intense exercise that makes you sweat. This triggers a host of biochemical reactions in your brain and body to put you in an optimal cognitive state.
  • Reflect (0520-0540): Use the next 20 minutes for quiet reflection, meditation, prayer, journaling or planning. This provides focus and “residual wisdom” to guide your day.
  • Grow (0540-0600): Use the final 20 minutes to learn and grow. Consider how you can increase your capacity/impact and become more valuable to your industry and society. Use the time to read a book, listen to podcasts, watch an educational video, or study the lives of successful people.


The 20/20/20 formula is a keystone habit, i.e. a set of behaviors that multiplies other helpful behaviors. You can adjust or tailor it to suit your needs and preferences. Robin Sharma also shares numerous other strategies, tactics and insights to amplify your productivity for the rest of the day.

In our complete version of The 5 AM Club summary, we’ll dive into more details about the 20/20/20 formula as well as other strategies/concepts like the 90/90/1 Rule, 60/10 Cycles, evening routines, the “Tight Bubble of Total Focus”, the “Second Wind Workout”, your personal GPS, and more

Getting the Most from The 5 AM Club

In this article, we’ve briefly outlined some of the key insights and strategies you can use to achieve desired change. For more examples, details, and actionable tips to apply these strategies, do get our full book summary bundle which includes an infographic, 13-page text summary, and a 26-minute audio summary.

The 5 AM Club summary - book summary bundleThe book presents many overlapping ideas and success frameworks without specifying how they’re interlinked. Examples include: “The 5-3-1 Creed of The Willpower Warrior”, “Twin Cycles of Elite Performance”, “10 tactics of lifelong genius”, “legendary performance equation”, etc. In our summary of The 5AM Club, we’ve distilled and organized the core insights into the 2 sections above. In the book, Robin Sharma also includes sample schedules for the Victory Hour, pre-sleep routine, and the rest of the day. You can purchase the book here for these additional details, or check out more resources at

You may also like The Miracle Morning summary which recommends a slightly different morning routine.

You may also want to check out these great summaries about breaking bad habits and building good ones: The Power of Habits summary and Atomic Habits summary.

About the Author of The 5 AM Club

The 5 AM Club: Own Your Morning. Elevate Your Life is written by Robin Sharma— a Canadian author, best known for his book series “The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari”. He worked as a litigation lawyer until the age of 25, before publishing his first books. He also founded training company Sharma Leadership International, and The Robin Sharma Foundation for Children (RSFC).

The 5 AM Club Quotes

“Every professional was once an amateur, and every master started as a beginner. Ordinary people can accomplish extraordinary feats, once they’ve routinized the right habits.”

“Leadership is a lot less about having a formal title, a large office and money in the bank. And a lot more about committing to mastery over all you do—and in who you are.”

“Consistency is the key to mastery.”

“Geniuses understand that it’s smarter to create one masterwork than one thousand ordinary pieces.”

“World-class is a process, not an event.”

“You can fit in. Or you can change the world. You don’t get to do both.”

“Stop managing your time and start managing your focus.”

“You don’t have the brain you want, you have the brain you’ve earned.”

“All change is hard at first, messy in the middle and gorgeous at the end.”

“To find your best self you must lose your weak self.”

Click here to download The 5AM Club summary & infographic


  • Jonathan Anyagri says:

    I want to have a better understanding of all the stories in the book

    • TP Admin says:

      Hi Jonathan,

      Thank you for your interest in gaining a better understanding of the stories in the book.

      For a more detailed explanation, we recommend checking out the full book summary available on our website. Our summaries provide comprehensive insights helping you grasp the essence of the book more effectively.


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