What Atomic Habits leaves unsolved, and how to address it.

Photo by Drew Beamer on Unsplash

Welcome, defenders of Atomic Habits.

Allow me to preface my title. James Clear has written a fantastic book. I have listened to it multiple times, and it’s a rare mix of informative, entertaining, and actionable advice. Where Charles Duhigg laid the groundwork of research in The Power of Habit, James Clear built an impressive monument on those foundations with Atomic Habits. It rightly sits on various bestseller lists with over 3 million copies sold worldwide.

But with all the hype around habits and how to build them, it’s easy to overlook their two major drawbacks. This is that they are…

The ‘Founder’ Ray Kroc’s Lessons For Aspiring Entrepreneurs

The Golden Arches. Photo by Jurij Kenda on Unsplash

When Ray Kroc signed a deal in 1954 with the McDonald brothers, he was a 52 year old, milkshake multi-mixer salesman. The brothers had just 8 restaurants in operation.

When Ray Kroc died in 1984, McDonald’s had 7500 stores across the globe with a combined sales figure of over $8 billion. The brothers were out of the picture, and divested of their namesake company.

Yes, the story of McDonald’s is the microcosmic tale of American capitalism. It’s a story of blood, sweat, and tears; of lawyers, law-suits, and contracts; of finance, greed…

Analysing the Pulitzer Prize winner’s approach to his craft

Lyndon Baines Johnson signing the Civil Rights Act. 36th President, and subject of Caro’s magisterial multi-volume biography. Image by WikiImages from Pixabay

How do you win two Pulitzer prizes, two National Book awards, and a slew of other medals to your name? This is what Robert A. Caro has achieved in his life, and I believe he is the greatest biographer of his generation. Through the lives of his two subjects, Robert Moses and Lyndon Johnson, Caro surveys the age of America that produced such characters, while explaining the intricacies and intrigues of the political power they harnessed.

I am a passionate fan of Robert Caro’s books, clearly. Yet my purpose here is not to expound the joys of his writing, but…

Steve Jobs’ approach to work that turned an annual loss of $1.03b into profit.

Photo by AB on Unsplash

We can only do three.”

It was 2001, and Steve Jobs had just slashed the seven other ideas from his whiteboard. The list was marked ‘ten things we should be doing next’ — a list his top employees had been deliberating over. Better to do three things perfectly, he believed, than ten things well enough.

This was nothing new to those who worked with him. Drastic simplifications on a whiteboard were just part of Job’s method; it focused the mind and prioritised what was important. Nor…

Why these provocative eco-warriors are doing themselves no favours on the public stage.

Picture by Markus Spiske taken from Unsplash.com

We have all seen the activities of Extinction Rebellion.

Shutting down train stations. Blocking main city centre roads. Mass ‘Die-ins’.

Their methods are provocative, yes. That’s the point. But it is for a worthy cause.

Yet I feel the movement has faced more hostility and negativity from their actions than is warranted. There is not as much widespread support for this movement as there should be, even when most people do believe that more needs doing to handle climate change.

Could the group have done better to elicit greater support, if not at least greater sympathy, for their cause?


The Government Tells Us We’re at ‘War’. Here’s Why I Believe That’s Wrong.

Photo by Museums Victoria on Unsplash

“Cry ‘Havoc!,’ and let slip the dogs of war.”

Julius Caesar, William Shakespeare

I often think of this immortal line when the topic of war is brought up. Spoken by Marc Anthony in Julius Caesar, from the mind of our finest English playwright, it is a glorious way of describing the onset of war as the unleashing of vicious hounds.

It is the untethering of our civil restraints that gird society in times of peace. …

Assessing the reasons why so many people fail to pick up the paper.

Image by silviarita from Pixabay

A heuristic worth living by: the greatest investment you can ever make is in yourself.

It stands today that the cheapest, most accessible, and least painful method for self-investing is through books. I invest in myself daily through reading, and I know I am primed to see sizeable returns on the time and money employed.

Yet many people do not read. They choose to deal in externalities and react to what life throws at them. To continue the investing parlance, these people lack the foresight to plan…

Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

There are two quotes worth keeping in mind as you read this post:

“How long are you going to wait before you demand the best for yourself?”

Epictetus, The Enchiridion

“It is the duty of governments, and of individuals, to form the truest opinions they can; to form them carefully, and never impose them upon others unless they are quite sure of being right.”

John Stuart Mill, On Liberty

2019 was the year I started writing this blog. 2019 was also the year I failed to keep up to it. Not a great start, I’ll admit. Yet first attempts rarely…

Image by Andrew Martin from Pixabay

It seems old news to talk about the former Conservative MP Rory Stewart’s decision to step down from his decade-long representation of Penrith and The Border and run as an independent for the mayoralty of London. Old news indeed given our force-fed media diet of evermore breathless updates about Brexit from delighted political pundits being well compensated for their ‘insights’ day to day. For if they say that a week is a long time in politics, then a fortnight must be doubly so. …

Photo by Austin Distel on Unsplash // www.distel.co

I learned first-hand last week the best way for coping with a long journey. It’s totally free and we all have access to it. Perhaps the title of the post gives it away.

One word. Podcasts. A 5-hour trip down to Portsmouth, followed by a 6-hour ferry was surprisingly enjoyable thanks to some choice Bon Appetit episodes my friend put on for the drive (the Action Bronson interview is a great listen.) …

Oliver C. Marsden

Principles | Rhetoric | Trust | Self-Improvement

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store