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North Star Podcast

Nov 5, 2018

Listen Here: iTunes | Overcast

My guest today is James Clear, a writer focused on how we can create better habits, make better decisions, and live better lives. He recently published a new book called Atomic Habits and after reading it, I just had to interview him.

In this episode, we explore the nooks and crannies of habit formation. We discuss habits through a series of conversations about James’ favorite activities: baseball, travel, weightlifting, marketing, and writing. A former ESPN academic All-American college baseball player, James has an uncanny knack for taking important ideas and making them simple and easy to implement. There’s so much actionable wisdom in this episode, so find a pen, grab a piece of paper, and press play. I hope you enjoy this episode.


James Clear’s Website

James Clear’s Twitter

Atomic Habits by James Clear

Show Topics

1:45 David shares his thoughts on “The Power Broker” and what makes it such an informative and impressive book.

5:50 James describes his reading habits and reading structure; specifically diving into where and what mediums he finds to be the most information rich and accessible. 

9:20 – James discusses the dilemma of prioritizing “classic” books that have stood the test of time, compared to the new ideas that are innovative and have built on previous knowledge; but have not yet been tested by time.

10:35- David and James begin to delve into habits, specifically in regards to fitness and the personal responsibility that’s required.

13:45 – Sports habits; how the lessons of sports ,when applied well, can have major impacts on our habits and success in life. 

18:00 - David and James continue to examine various sports and the habits and lessons they have learned from them. 

27:59 - All behaviors produce multiple outcomes across time.” – James goes in depth explaining this fascinating insight about the broad influence our actions can have on our immediate and distant futures.    

34:30 David descries how he structures some of the rules he has set for himself in order to make a positive effect on his goals. 35:30 – James expands on how David’s habits and structure help develop freedom and spontaneity.

38:50 – Examples from Lebron James and Brett Favre serve as case studies that explore some of the incredible feats of awareness and “one step ahead” kind of thinking that result from years of habit development.

41:44  - James shares his thoughts on compounding habits and the potential long-term gratification. 

44:55 - The importance of starting small when it comes to habit forming, rather than becoming fed up with failure when overreaching. 

45:55 – David questions James on  “How do habits effect or influence ones identity.”

50:53 – Tips and advice on building habits by starting small and working your way up.

53:46 – “A habit must be established before it can be improved.” James explains the importance of establishing a habit and building on it.  

56:15 – How our environment and surrounding influence us and open up new opportunities. 

1:00:30 – James shares his thoughts and advice on keeping up habits when on the road or traveling. 

1:04:00 – James shares how his love for photography was kindled and developed.

1:07:10 – David and James continue to discuss the art and unique interpretations of photography

1:11:45 – James shares some of his writing habits and strategies used as he built up his website and articles.  

1:22:10 – James goes down the rabbit hole with a question that has been on his mind: “Does conscious arise from language” 


1:45 – The Power Broker by Robert A. Caro

8:30 - The Lessons of History

9:18 - Origin of Species by Charles Darwin

21:20 - The Art of Learning by Josh Waitszkin

38:07 - Cleaning the Glass

Hey again, it’s David here one more time. 

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