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Book Summary – The Compound Effect: Multiplying your Success. One Simple Step at a Time.

The Compound Effect - Book summary

We’re constantly surrounded by media and marketing messages that tell us we can buy secret formulas and shortcuts to overnight success. In “The Compound Effect”, Darren Hardy debunks those myths, and focuses on a simple but profound truth – Success comes from the small things that we do consistently, everyday, compounded over time. In this summary, we’ll give a synopsis of how the Compound Effect works, and presents an action plan to harness it for truly exponential success.

Do check out our complete book summary bundle for more details, or read the book to start putting the Compound Effect to work!

The Compound effect summary - book summary bundle

By the time he was 27 years old, Hardy’s company was already worth more than $50 million. As the ex-publisher of SUCCESS magazine, he interviewed many thought leaders, business magnates and leaders, and reviewed huge amounts of success material.  As a speaker and trainer, he personally trained thousands of entrepreneurs and saw their real-life case studies. With so much experience with and exposure to success, he reached a simple conclusion – the Compound Effect is the true magic behind massive success in any field.

The Compound Effect summary_introduction

Most of us are constantly bombarded by sensational stories and promises of secret formulas that deliver overnight riches, health, youth etc…so much so that we’ve lost sight of the simple fundamentals of success.

Success comes through boring, seemingly-inconsequential and sometimes-difficult daily disciplines, compounded over time. It’s time to rid ourselves of the insta-results mentality, and go back to what really works – the old-school work ethics that our grandparents valued and lived.

Understanding The Compound Effect

Hardy presents 2 simple but powerful stories to illustrate the compound effect at work.


The Compound Effect summary_The Magic Penny

Which is better – taking $3 million in cash now, or a single magic penny that will double in value every day, for 31 days? Most people will choose the $3m cash immediately. Indeed, if you took the penny, you’ll have only about $5,000 in 20 days. But, in the remaining 31 days, this amount will compound to $10,737,418.24, way more than the $3m cash.


Let’s meet Larry, Scott and Brad, and assume they share similar circumstances.
Larry keeps doing what he has always done.
Scott makes some small, positive changes daily e.g. reading 10 pages, cutting 125 calories by replacing soda with water, walking an extra 1,000 steps.
Brad makes a few poor choices e.g. buying a big TV (to enjoy his favourite shows), eating more dessert and adding 1 drink per week to his new bar.

At month 10, there are no perceivable differences. By month 25, measurable differences can be seen and by month 31, the differences quickly become stark. Scott loses 33.5lbs, gets a promotion and raise, and his marriage is thriving. Larry is exactly in the same space and feeling bitter about it. Brad, on the other hand, puts on 33.5lbs (weighing 67lbs more than Scott). He has been feeling sluggish and less confident about himself, became less productive at work and more withdrawn from his marriage, leading to unhappiness both at work and at home.


Choices, Behaviors and Action

Every choice generates a behaviour, which eventually forms habits that reinforce our future choices. Hence, every decision affects your life path (e.g. deciding to eat that cookie, marrying your spouse).  Here’s the compound effect in a nutshell:

The Compound Effect summary_Overview


Our small, regular choices and actions may seem insignificant, but they compound over time:

Small steps, big outcomes

When we decide to watch an extra hour of mindless TV, or eat that extra packet of potato chips, we’re actually starting the Compound Effect, in the negative direction. Your small actions are practically invisible in the early stages, and no one will notice or celebrate them. But eventually, there’ll be a huge payoff that’s out of proportion relative to the small individual actions.

Ripple effects & Future-value

Every $1 you spend today is probably equivalent to $5 or more in the future, because that same dollar could’ve been invested for compounded returns. Each decision also has ripple effects, like how an extra dessert or soda can affect your energy level, which ripples through to your self-esteem, work and marriage.  So, the next time you see a $50 bargain item, ask yourself if it is worth $250.  Use this future-value perspective for all areas of your life.

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100% ownership

Once you take full responsibility for everything that happens to you (including your responses, actions or inactions), you’ll be free from victimhood and regain total control of your life.

Get “lucky”

Being lucky or unlucky is merely a matter of perspective. Luck is really the combination of these 4 ingredients: Luck = Preparation + Attitude + Opportunity + Action

Gratitude & Positives

When you notice and recognize the positives, you respond differently and trigger more positive responses.


Our conditioned responses from childhood form habits and routines which we do automatically without thinking. Habits are like saplings that grow into trees – the older they get, the harder they are to uproot. However, they can be conditioned, and you can compensate for a lack of innate ability by cultivating the right habits.

Putting The Compound Effect to Work

So, how can we put the Compound Effect in action, to work for us? Get the full mojo from our complete 13-page summary, or grab a copy of the book where Hardy breaks down the actionable steps, including:

How to start tracking for success
 How to find your “why-power”
 How to build routines and rhythms
 How to leverage the “Big Mo”
 How to manage the 3 key Sources of Influence; and
 How to accelerate toward breakthroughs
 How to get started immediately.

Other Details in “The Compound Effect”

This is a compact, easy-to-read book that’s full of interesting examples to help you understand the Compound Effect, as well as inspiring stories of people who delivered exceptional results using the principles in the book (e.g. Steve Jobs, Lance ArmStrong, Oprah etc.).

Hardy urges you to take immediate action, and the book comes with a range of resources and tips for that purpose:

 Each chapter ends with “Action Summary Steps” that you could apply; and

 A set of useful tools are appended in the “Resource Guide”, including worksheets for gratitude assessment, core values assessment, goals assessment, habits assessment, weekly rhythm planning, self-improvement, influence assessment etc.

You can also download these resources at the The Compound Effect website.

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Start putting the Compound Effect to work today!

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