The Compound Effect (10th Anniversary Edition)

Jumpstart Your Income, Your Life, Your Success


By Darren Hardy

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Do you want success?
More success than you have now?
And even more success than you ever imagined possible?
That is what this book is about. Achieving it.
No gimmicks. No hyperbole. Finally, just the truth on what it takes to earn success
As the central curator of the success media industry for over 25 years, author Darren Hardy has heard it all, seen it all, and tried most of it. This book reveals the core principles that drive success. The Compound Effect contains the essence of what every superachiever needs to know, practice, and master to obtain extraordinary success. Inside you will find strategies on:
  • How to win—every time! The No. 1 strategy to achieve any goal and triumph over any competitor, even if they're smarter, more talented or more experienced.
  • Eradicating your bad habits (some you might be unaware of!) that are derailing your progress.
  • Painlessly installing the few key disciplines required for major breakthroughs.
  • The real, lasting keys to motivation—how to get yourself to do things you don't feel like doing.
  • Capturing the elusive, awesome force of momentum. Catch this, and you'll be unstoppable.
  • The acceleration secrets of superachievers. Do they have an unfair advantage? Yes, they do, and now you can too!
If you're serious about living an extraordinary life, use the power of The Compound Effect to create the success you desire. Begin your journey today!


WARNING! These chapter headings look simple. Success strategies are no longer a secret, but most people ignore them. You think you already know the secret to success? So does everyone else. But the six strategies within this book, when applied in sequence, will launch your income, your life—your success—like nothing before.

After 25+ years as the central curator of the success media industry, I’ve seen it all. Nothing works like the power of the Compound Effect of simple actions done right over time.

This is it. The real deal on what it takes to achieve massive success in your life. Whatever your dream, desire, or goal in life, the plan to achieve it all is found in the book you’re holding. Read on and let it rock your world.

The Compound Effect Support Resources

Life Assessment

Core Values Assessment

Habits Assessment

Gratitude Assessment

Input Influences Assessment

Associations Evaluator

Weekly Rhythm Register

Plus, these gifts from Darren:

The complete 6+ hour audiobook of The Compound Effect

Darren’s personal morning routine blueprint

Darren’s favorite interviews with his mentors

And much more.

Access (for free) at:

No matter what you learn, what strategy or tactic you employ, success comes as the result of the Compound Effect.


Are you satisfied with your life the way it is right now? Or are you flipping through this book because you’re looking for some sort of transformation? My guess is you picked up The Compound Effect because there’s at least one area in your life you’re dissatisfied with right now. And believe it or not, that dissatisfaction is a good thing. It means you’re looking for answers… that you’re ready to grow.

Most people think change and personal growth is difficult. But I believe achieving your dreams and goals doesn’t have to be complicated or stressful. Success is simple. This book, The Compound Effect, is based on a principle I’ve used in my own life and training: Your decisions shape your destiny. Little, everyday decisions will either take you to the life you desire or to disaster by default. In fact, it’s the littlest decisions that shape our lives. From what to eat and where to work, to the people you spend your time with, to how you spend your day, every choice shapes how you live today, but more importantly, how you live the rest of your life.

You see, success isn’t about doing five thousand different things well. Success is doing the right things well five thousand times over. That’s what Darren Hardy distills for you here—the key principles necessary for success and how to make them part of your everyday life. That’s how you create long-term success.

When you’re choosing someone to help guide you through a period of transformation—to help you achieve the life you want—don’t just listen to what that person says; watch what they do. Because what people say is one thing, but what they do reveals the truth about them. That’s something I respect about Darren; he walks his talk. What he shares here is based on what has worked in his life—and in mine.

Darren and I both made the decision to take control of our lives at an early age. We sought out answers from people who were living the kind of life we wanted. Then we applied what we learned. It’s not really all that surprising that we each claim Jim Rohn as a mentor. Jim was a master at helping people understand the truths, the laws that lead to real success. Jim taught us that achievement is a science. Sure, everyone is different, but the laws of success always apply. You reap what you sow; you can’t get out of life what you’re not willing to put into it. If you want more love, give more love. If you want greater success, help others achieve more. And when you study and master the science of achievement, you will find the success you desire.

Darren Hardy is living proof of this philosophy. He walks the talk. What he shares in his book is based on what has worked in his life—and mine as well. This is a guy who took simple but profound fundamentals of what it takes to be successful and used them to earn more than a million dollars a year by age twenty-four and build a company to more than $50 million by age twenty-seven.

Darren’s life has been a personal laboratory of study and research on the topic of success. He’s used himself as a guinea pig, testing thousands of different ideas, resources, and tools, and through his failings and his triumphs, he’s figured out which ideas and strategies have merit, and which ones are just plain B.S.

For more than twenty-five years, I have crossed paths with Darren, who as a leader in the personal-development industry has worked closely with hundreds of top writers, speakers, and thought leaders. He has trained tens of thousands of entrepreneurs, advised many large companies, and personally mentored thousands of top CEOs and high-performance achievers, extracting from them what really matters and really works, and what doesn’t.

In his role as television executive producer and publisher of SUCCESS magazine, Darren has sat at the center of the personal-development industry. He’s interviewed top leaders, from Richard Branson to General Colin Powell to Serena Williams, on a multitude of success topics, and drilled down to their best ideas, compiling them all—even a few of mine. He is an all-consuming, sorting, filtering, digesting, analyzing, summarizing, categorizing, itemizing, personal-achievement encyclopedia of information. He has culled the clutter and focused on the core fundamentals that matter—fundamentals that you can immediately implement in your life to produce measurable and sustainable results.

The Compound Effect is the operator’s manual that teaches you how to own the system, how to control it, master it, and shape it to your needs and desires. Once you do, there is nothing you can’t obtain or achieve.

As I said earlier, in my own life and training, I’ve employed a key concept at the heart of The Compound Effect: your own decisions shape your destiny. The future is what you make of it. The choices you make—even small, everyday decisions—will take you to the life you long for or to regrettable results. It’s those little decisions that set your life’s course. Stray off course by just two millimeters, and your trajectory changes; what seemed like a tiny, inconsequential decision then can become a mammoth miscalculation now. From what to eat and where to work, to the people you spend your time with, to how you spend your afternoon, every choice shapes how you live today, but more important, how you live the rest of your life. But the good news is, change is within you. In the same way a two-millimeter miscalculation can send you veering wildly off your life’s course, a mere two-millimeter readjustment can also bring you right back home. The trick is finding the plan, the guide, the map that shows you where that home is. How you get there. How you stay on the path.

My challenge to you is to stop living in reactive mode—choose today to take control of your life and make decisions that shape the destiny you desire. If you want to grow (and I hope you do!), take advantage of tools like this book. Use it as a guide to create the life and the success you want. Remember, success is simple. Do the right things—and keep doing them day in and day out—and I know you will experience the best life has to offer.

This book is that detailed, tangible plan of action. Let it shake up your expectations, eliminate your assumptions, ignite your curiosity, and bring value to your life—starting right now. Take advantage of this tool. Use it as a guide to create the life and the success you want. If you do this, and if you do all the other right things—and keep doing them day in and day out—I know you will experience the best life has to offer.

Live with passion!

Tony Robbins

Entrepreneur, author, and peak-performance strategist


One decade ago, I put a book into the world called The Compound Effect. I was the publisher of SUCCESS magazine at the time, and this book was my editorial positioning statement. The truth about success needed to be restored and the process of earning it needed to be told to you straight.

Little did I know then, this book would go on to become so much more than just another title inside the self-help section of bookstores and libraries. The Compound Effect would become the manifesto of a worldwide movement uniting high-achievers in their fierce commitment to become #BetterEveryDay.

More meaningful than landing on the New York Times bestseller list and selling more than a million copies globally has been learning about the thousands of people who purchased a copy of the book (or many copies) to pass on to someone who could benefit from its message. That created a viral effect I could never have imagined or planned for.

I have often wondered what it is about The Compound Effect that has inspired people to spread its message to others. I believe it’s because the principles are timeless and speak directly, simply, and clearly to anyone—regardless of current status, industry, race, or politics—who desires to become their best self.

Whether ten years ago or fifty years from now, the ideas inside this book will resonate with those who, as we call it, “choose to be the exception.” No matter how much the world around us changes each year, the human condition and our inner growth journey remain very much the same.

I believe The Compound Effect, including the new and improved updates you’ll find in this edition, is needed even more today than it was ten years ago. We are becoming ever more bombarded by manipulations of sensational news media, deluged by social media distractions, and bamboozled by self-appointed gurus and their “quick-fix” gimmicks. But the fundamentals of success never change. As my mentor, Jim Rohn, would say, “Be suspicious of the guy who says he is manufacturing antiques.”

If you are new to The Compound Effect, my hope is that this becomes the definitive turning point in your life. As it has been for so many—an event you look back on later and say, “After I read The Compound Effect, my life has never been the same. Just look at my income, my success, and my life now!”

You will have earned the proud grin you wear as you say it, because you will have done the hard work of igniting The Compound Effect in your life. The ignition lies in the pages ahead.

I want you to know that you are no longer alone in your journey for greater success. You now have me by your side. As well as a like-minded community of global achievers supporting each other in their never-ending commitment to becoming #BetterEveryDay.

With love and respect,


P.S. You can join the #BetterEveryDay movement at Each workday you will receive a specially created video packed with one BIG idea, delivered in under five minutes, to give you a success advantage that day. Then, day by day, 260 days a year, these small improvements compound into massive transformations and significant success.

Enroll for free at



You know that expression, “Slow and steady wins the race”? Ever heard the story of the tortoise and the hare? Ladies and gentlemen, I’m the tortoise. Give me enough time, and I will beat virtually anybody, anytime, in any competition. Why? Not because I’m the best or the smartest or the fastest. I’ll win because of the positive habits I’ve developed, along with the consistency I use in applying those habits. I’m the world’s biggest believer in consistency. I’m living proof that it’s the ultimate key to success, yet it’s one of the biggest pitfalls for people struggling to achieve. Most people don’t know how to sustain it. I do. I have my father to thank for that. In essence, he was my first coach for igniting the power of the Compound Effect.

My parents divorced when I was eighteen months old, and my dad raised me as a single father. He wasn’t exactly the soft, nurturing type. He was a former university football coach and he hardwired me for achievement.

Thanks to Dad, wake-up calls were at six o’clock every morning. Not by a loving tap on the shoulder or even the sound of a radio alarm. No, I was awakened each morning by the repetitious pile-driving sound of iron pounding on the concrete floor of our garage, situated next to my bedroom. It was like waking up twelve feet from a construction zone. He’d painted a huge “No pain, no gain” sign on the wall of the garage, which he stared at while doing countless old-school strongman dead lifts, power cleans, lunges, and squats. Rain, sleet, or shine, Dad was out there in his shorts and tattered sweatshirt. He never missed a day. You could set your watch by his routine.

I had more chores than a housekeeper and gardener put together. Upon returning from school, there was always a list of instructions to greet me: pull weeds, rake leaves, sweep the garage, dust, vacuum, do the dishes—you name it. And getting behind in school wasn’t tolerated. That’s just the way it was.

Dad was the original “no excuses” guy. We weren’t ever allowed to stay home from school sick, unless we were actually puking, bleeding, or “showing bone.” The term “showing bone” came from his coaching days. His players knew they weren’t allowed to come out of the game unless they were seriously injured. One time his quarterback asked to be pulled out of the game. Dad said, “Not unless you’re showing bone.” The quarterback pulled back his shoulder pads, and sure enough, his collarbone was showing. Only then was he allowed to come off the field.

One of Dad’s core philosophies was, “It doesn’t matter how smart you are or aren’t, you need to make up in hard work what you lack in experience, skill, intelligence, or innate ability. If your competitor is smarter, more talented, or experienced, you simply need to work three or four times as hard. You can still beat them!” No matter what the challenge, he taught me to make up in hard work wherever I might be disadvantaged. Miss free throws at the game? Do one thousand free throws every day for a month. Not good at dribbling with your left hand? Tie your right hand behind your back and dribble three hours a day. Behind in your math? Hunker down, hire a tutor, and work like hell all summer until you get it. No excuses. If you aren’t good at something, work harder, work smarter. He walked his talk, too. Dad went from being a football coach to a top salesperson. From there, he became the boss, and ultimately went on to own his own company.

But I wasn’t given loads of instruction. From the beginning, Dad let us figure it out. He was all about taking personal responsibility. He didn’t hammer on us every night about homework. We just had to show up with the results. And, when you did, you were celebrated. If we earned good grades, Dad took us to Prings, an ice cream parlor where you could get these king banana splits—six scoops of ice cream and all the fixings! Many times my siblings didn’t fare as well in school, so they didn’t get to go. Getting to go was a big deal, so you worked your butt off to win the trip.

Dad’s discipline served as an example for me. Dad was my idol and I wanted him to be proud of me. I also lived in fear of disappointing him. One of his philosophies was, “Be the guy who says ‘no.’ It’s no great achievement to go along with the crowd. Be the unusual guy, ‘Be The Exception’” (the inspiration for my company’s tagline today). That’s why I never did drugs—he never harped on me about it, but I didn’t want to be that guy who just went along because everyone else was doing it. And I didn’t want to let Dad down.

Thanks to Dad, by age 12, I’d mastered a schedule worthy of the most efficient CEO. Sometimes I griped and moaned (I was a kid!), but even then, I secretly liked knowing that I had an edge over my classmates. Dad gave me a serious head start on the discipline and mentality it takes to be dedicated and responsible, to achieve whatever I set out to achieve.

Dad and I joked about what an addictive overachiever he trained me to be. At eighteen, I was making a six-figure income in my own business. By age twenty, I owned my own home in an upscale neighborhood. By age twenty-four, my income grew to more than $1 million a year, and by age twenty-seven, I was officially a self-made millionaire with a business that brought in more than $50 million in revenue. Today, I have enough money and assets to last my family the rest of my life.

“There are lots of ways to screw up a kid,” Dad would say. “At least my way was a pretty good one! You seem to have done pretty well.”

So, while I admit I’ve had to practice sitting on my hands and being present in the moment, or chilling out peacefully in a beach chair from time to time (without taking a pile of business books or self-improvement audios with me), I’m grateful for the success skills I learned from my dad, and my other mentors along the way.

The Compound Effect reveals the “secret” behind my success. I’m a true believer in the Compound Effect because Dad made sure that I lived it, each and every day, until I couldn’t live any other way if I tried.

But if you’re like most people, you’re not a true believer. There are lots of perfectly understandable reasons why. You haven’t had the same coaching and example showing you what to do. You haven’t experienced the payoff of the Compound Effect. As a society, we have been deceived. We’ve been hypnotized by commercial marketing, which convinces you of problems you don’t have and sells you on the idea of insta-fixes to “cure” them. We’ve been socialized to believe in the fairy-tale endings found in movies and novels. We’ve lost sight of the good, old-fashioned value of hard and consistent work.

Let’s examine these hurdles one by one.

You Haven’t Experienced the Payoff of the Compound Effect

The Compound Effect is the principle of reaping huge rewards from a series of small, smart choices. What’s most interesting about this process to me is that, even though the results are massive, the steps, in the moment, don’t feel significant. Whether you’re using this strategy for improving your health, relationships, finances, or anything else for that matter, the changes are so subtle, they’re almost imperceptible. These small changes offer little or no immediate result, no big win, no obvious I-told-you-so payoff. So why bother?

Most people get tripped up by the simplicity of the Compound Effect. For instance, they quit after the eighth day of running because they’re still overweight. Or, they stop practicing the piano after six months because they haven’t mastered anything other than “Chopsticks.” Or, they stop making contributions to their IRA after a few years because they could use the cash—and it doesn’t seem to be adding up to much anyway.

What they don’t realize is that these small, seemingly insignificant steps completed consistently over time will create a radical difference. Let me give you a few detailed examples.

Small, Smart Choices + Consistency + Time = RADICAL DIFFERENCE

The Magic Penny

If you were given a choice between taking $3 million in cash this very instant and a single penny that doubles in value every day for 31 days, which would you choose? If you’ve heard this before, you know the penny gambit is the choice you should make—you know it’s the course that will lead to greater wealth. Yet why is it so hard to believe choosing the penny will result in more money in the end? Because it takes so much longer to see the payoff. Let’s take a closer look.

Let’s say you take the cold, hard cash and your friend goes the penny route. On Day Five, your friend has sixteen cents. You, however, have $3 million. On Day Ten, it’s $5.12 versus your big bucks. How do you think your friend is feeling about her decision? You’re spending your millions, enjoying the heck out of it, and loving your choice.

After 20 full days, with only 11 days left, Penny Lane has only $5,243. How is she feeling about herself at this point? For all her sacrifice and positive behavior, she has barely more than $5,000. You, however, have $3 million. Then the invisible magic of the Compound Effect starts to become visible. The same small mathematical growth improvement each day makes the compounded penny worth $10,737,418.24 on Day Thirty-one, more than three times your $3 million.

In this example, we see why consistency over time is so important. On Day Twenty-nine, you’ve got your $3 million; Penny Lane has around $2.7 million. It isn’t until Day Thirty of this 31-day race that she pulls ahead, with $5.3 million. And it isn’t until the very last day


  • "Simple, direct, and to the point--these are the principles that have guided my life and every top business leader I know. This book will show you the way to your own greater success, happiness, and fulfillment."—Donny Deutsch, TV host and former chairman of Deutsch, Inc.
  • "Use my friend Darren Hardy's brilliance to realize all your dreams, hopes, and desires."—Mark Victor Hansen, co-creator of the #1 New York Times bestselling series Chicken Soup for the Soul
  • "The Compound Effect will help you beat the competition, rise above your challenges, and create the life you deserve!"—T. Harv Eker, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Secrets of the Millionaire Mind
  • "This is a must-read book for success seekers. You want to know what it takes? You want to know what to do? It's all here. This is your operation manual for success."—Keith Ferrazzi, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Who's Got Your Back and Never Eat Alone
  • "A terrific distillation of the essential fundamentals needed to achieve the life you've always imagined. Master these basics, and you will be the master of your future!"—Don Hutson, co-author of the #1 New York Times bestseller The One Minute Entrepreneur

On Sale
Sep 15, 2020
Page Count
208 pages
Hachette Go

Darren Hardy

About the Author

Darren Hardy has been the central business leader of the success media industry for over 25 years. More than anyone alive today, Darren has met, interviewed and uncovered the methods used by the most successful people in the world. He now teaches these unique success strategies exclusively to those who choose to…Be The Exception.

Learn more about this author