Skip to main content

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 free version of The Compound Effect summary, we’ll give a synopsis of how the Compound Effect works, and presents an action plan to harness it for truly exponential success.

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.


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? In our complete 13-page summary, we also breaks down Hardy’s 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.

Getting the Most from The Compound Effect

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 complete book summary bundle which includes an infographic, 13-page text summary, and a 24-minute audio summary!

The Compound effect summary - book summary bundle

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 purchase the book here for more details, download these resources at the The Compound Effect website. You can also access free mentoring tips at his website

About the Author of The Compound Effect

The Compound Effect: Multiplying your Success. One Simple Step at a Time. is written by Darren Hardy–an American author, keynote speaker, advisor, and former publisher of SUCCESS magazine, with more than 20 years of experience in the personal growth and success industry . He has led three success television networks producing over 1,000 TV shows with famous thought leaders. In December 2015, Hardy announced his decision to leave Success magazine as publisher to focus on new opportunities including speaking engagements, media appearances and private mentoring.

The Compound Effect Quotes

“Whatever I want in life, I’ve found that the best way to get it is to focus my energy on giving to others.”

“I want you to know in your bones that your only path to success is through a continuum of mundane, unsexy, unexciting, and sometimes difficult daily disciplines compounded over time.”

“Step by step, day by day, your choices will shape your actions until they become habits, where practice makes them permanent.”

“You cannot hang out with negative people and expect to live a positive life.”

“You will get in life what you accept and expect you are worthy of.”

Click here to download The Compound Effect book summary and infographic

One Comment

Leave a Reply

0 cart

My Cart

Cart is empty