EP 28: James Clear on how he wrote a bestseller, sold 9000000+ copies of Atomic Habits, how to pick up new habits for 2023 and more.

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“Every action you take is a vote for the type of person you wish to become”

We sit down with the one-and-only James Clear to uncover how he marketed and sold 9m+ copies of the #1 bestseller, Atomic Habits. His popular “3-2-1” email newsletter is sent out each week to 1M+ subscribers. 

We cover: how to create and launch a bestseller, James’ 3-pillar marketing strategy, power of a concentrated strike – how to make your product feel bigger than that it is, role of influencers in a product launch, how to land and ace TV interviews with sound bites, how to form identity-based habits, mimetic desire, making habits attractive, relationship between dissatisfaction and being driven, advice for getting started on a fitness journey, and much more!

Transcript/key moments: see bottom of this post.

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Notable Quotes from James Clear:

  1. “If you’re not genuinely interested in what you’re building, then even the obvious improvements are going to feel like a hassle.”

  2. “It’s really crucial to have a concentrated strike and you want all of the energy to be jammed into this really short window. Part of the reason is that it makes it feel bigger than it actually is.”

  3. “By the time the book came out, I had already recorded 75 podcast interviews and had asked all of them to release within the first two weeks of the book coming out. Then I had another 25 that I recorded the month the book launched. We had 100 podcast interviews come out within the first month of the book being out – but you need to reach out to 300 to get on 100”

  4. “I was asking myself going in [on national TV], if I can only say two or three sentences, what is the sentence I’m going to say? You try to come up with sound bites that stop people in the middle of their morning and get them to watch just for a minute.”

  5. “the better someone is at their job, the simpler it often looks the more effortless it seems, but it’s almost always the case that there’s a lot of iteration and refinement and effort going in ahead of time.”

  6. “I identify more as an entrepreneur than as an author”

  7. “Does there have to be some desire to get to a place that you are not at right now, for you to feel the urge to move at all?”

  8. “Everything I write is just a reminder to myself” 


  1. Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones

  2. Deliberate Practice: What It Is and How to Use It

  3. Seth Godin: How to be remarkable

  4. Ryan Holiday on Marcus Aurelius

  5. James Clear’s launch day segment on CBS Mornings

  6. The Physics of Productivity: Newton’s Laws of Getting Stuff Done

  7. James Clear on CBS Mornings: two-minute productivity rule

  8. Preparing for TV interviews in sound bites 

  9. New Yorker: Is Martin Short the Greatest Talk-Show Guest of All Time?

  10.  Tom Hanks on Armchair Expert Podcast with Dax Shepherd

  11.  Forget Goals, Focus on Systems Instead: Article by James Clear

  12.  Identity-Based Habits: Article by James Clear

  13.  James Clear On Daily Stoic Podcast: Getting 1% Better Every Day

  14.  What is a mimetic desire?

  15. Second law of behavior change: make it attractive

  16. The Beginner’s Guide to Strength Training by James Clear


James Clear Transcript
164KB ∙ PDF file