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The Achievement Habit: Stop Wishing, Start Doing, and Take Command of Your Life
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The Achievement Habit: Stop Wishing, Start Doing, and Take Command of Your Life

3.65  ·  Rating details ·  3,226 ratings  ·  362 reviews
The co-founder of the Stanford d.School introduces the power of design thinking to help you achieve goals you never thought possible.

Achievement can be learned. It’s a muscle, and once you learn how to flex it, you’ll be able to meet life’s challenges and fulfill your goals, Bernard Roth, Academic Director at the Stanford contends.

In The Achievement Habit, Roth ap
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published July 7th 2015 by Harper Business
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Average rating 3.65  · 
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 ·  3,226 ratings  ·  362 reviews

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Dec 14, 2015 rated it did not like it
Hmm. I'll start off by saying I've only gotten to page 63 and am debating whether it's worth my time to continue on. Most likely, I won't. Roth writes in a fluid, conversational tone that makes the reading smooth and easy to absorb. The problem however is that there is hardly any real substance to what he says. It's cotton candy. If you take to reading self-development books, a lot of his concepts--you'll realize--are hardly new. No problem there. Sometime, it take a new perspective on the conce ...more
Rachel Bayles
Aug 23, 2015 rated it liked it
I like this book but it's uneven. Starts off strong and ends strong. The middle is OK. Simply a review of leadership exercises that are really undergrad level and not what I would have imagined gets used at the Stanford Also, there is some overreach with the relativism. That being said, there are also many helpful anecdotes that cut right to the heart of the matter. ...more
Kara Lane
Jul 30, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed this book. Some books have a great message but are a chore to read. Some are easy reads but don't have great content. This book has both.

There were so many great messages, like reasons are often just excuses that keep us from doing the things we really want to do. There are also tips on how to get unstuck - the author explains that you have to change the way you think about a problem - and then he tells you how to do that using "design thinking." He also provides 22 creative st
Aug 02, 2016 rated it did not like it
If no stars were an option that's what I would give this book. I powered through only for the purpose of increasing my appreciation for something well written and so I could legitimately leave this scathing review. The author clearly has a high opinion of himself and wanted to write this book to let us know how wonderful he is, as well as to reiterate the many compliments he's been paid. I'd be curious to hear how much impact he has actually had in the lives of those whose anecdotes he shared, b ...more
Jul 15, 2020 rated it liked it
It's no fair to the book. This is an encapsulation of a Stanford year. A course taught, and no doubt loved, by countless students. A distillation of years, shaped by the experiences of hundreds of eager pupils. Designing one's life takes some thoughtful consideration and concerted effort and I just whipped through the book in a week.

And so being told your excuses are bullshit just don't seem to have the weight of revelation. I get swapping but with and: "I want to write a novel but I'm swamped
Sumeet Mahendra
Feb 24, 2017 rated it it was ok
Just Okay! Language was less interesting than the content. Most of the things are what I've already read in many other books. Yeah! I learned few new things as well, from it.

Short summary - To understand the difference between how you see yourself and how others perceive you, ask five friends to jot down five characteristics of your personality. Compare their responses to your own list: you’ll see some variety but also a lot of overlap. That overlap will include some characteristics you’ll want
Mukesh Emes
Jan 28, 2016 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 31, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nf-self-help
2.5 - mixed bag. Some good practical tips, but also some woo-woo and mediation crap, and overall opinions that seem to have been formed in a bubble. The author does at least admit he's led something of a charmed life. I don't think he realises how much it affects his outlook.

The book was also overly long.
Feb 17, 2016 rated it it was ok
this book starts by echoing Yoda-- "do or do not, there is no try" says the little green guy. so the first half of this very small book is focused on getting you to do whatever, rather than excusing, reasoning, delaying, planning etc etc. Gets a bit repetitive, and some of the examples have appeared elsewhere. The last half of the book meanders all over the place, and I'm not sure what the point was, exactly. I am disappointed because I have heard a lot about IDEO and the design school at Stanfo ...more
Mar 14, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Some of it I liked a lot and some I thought was just OK. In a few places he got a little New Agey/Liberal "Woo woo" for me, but he had many good things to say. This book is really about changing the way you think. ...more
Navaneethakrishnan Gopalakrishnan
The core of this book is all about how to make your achievement a habit and so habits in turn will lead us to practice them on the positive side and lead us to successful path. Author highlights that failures on our endeavors can be taken as step stone towards our goal in achievements and give a meaning to those failures which comes in the path. Anything can be achieved but it may not be always successful in the first attempt. At times, it may need several iterations to get the fruit out of it. ...more
Atikah Wahid
Jan 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
I used to think self-help books are cheesy with overly optimistic messages but you know what? I'm at the age where I need that good cheesy motivational stuff because ADULTING IS HARD. In fact, holding onto a carefree positive outlook is way harder than having a pessimistic cynical one. Actually being pessimistic was my default state. This book came into my life at the right time, late December in 2016 just before the new year. To say that I was stuck in a rut in 2016 is an understatement. I saw ...more
Dec 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Roth is one of the co-founders of the Stanford, one of the originators of design thinking, and a professor of mechanical engineering for 40 years. His book is indeed partly about achievement. More than that, it’s a collection of life wisdom from a very smart, accomplished doer, maker, and teacher who has figured out how to get results from himself and students.
Foremost in Roth’s teachings is bias towards action. Instead of waffling and ruminating, “don’t get caught up in how you’re goi
Apr 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A must-read book that is difficult to summarize in a few words. We are talking about the experience of an experienced man, Bernard Roth, in engineering and robotics who has had a rather atypical life course with very important life lessons that we all meet or will meet. But this life experience is used to give us relevant advice for progress that we find in some personal development books... but this is not a guru talking, it is relevant life advice that they give us to progress or when we find ...more
Sep 18, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2016, kindle
Decent enough. I entered the book expecting no more than a few useful nuggets. The nuggetses that I liked: (1) Work a problem backwards from solved in order to figure out the milestones between, this was a good reminder. (2) Be the cause in the matter even if you do not have all of the control over a situation, process or problem. (2) Adopt an attitude of willingness to do results despite every valid anti-reason that appears, if the results are what you want to get done. This last is easier said ...more
Bia Daga
Apr 27, 2019 rated it it was ok
Wow, this was really boring and not very helpful.

I liked the first few chapters.
It was interesting and made me think about myself and my work.

Then it went downhill.
It became just a bunch of personal stories that didn’t really bring anything relevant to the table.
I forced myself to finish listening to it in hopes it would get better, but honestly, wish I would’ve just left it unfinished.
Jun 01, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: business
This was my first intro to the Stanford D-School. I'm sure it's a great program, and highly coveted, but I honestly don't see what all the hype is about. I don't think there was anything new in this book that I haven't read or heard somewhere else. And maybe everyone else stole from the D-School, but either way, the methods in this book are all pretty old news. Basically, just a bunch of mental tricks and games to get people to stop making excuses for themselves.

My attempt at summarizing the au
Jan 27, 2020 rated it it was ok
2.5 stars.

This book had a strong beginning and an acceptable end, all the middle part was irrelevant to what the book promotes. I found the examples from Roth's life to be tedious and uninspiring. Would have loved to see more concrete steps instead of aspirational talk that you find in these kinds of books.

I don't think I could recommend this book to anyone.
Solid read (or listen) with lots of motivating advice about achievement -- intrinsically meaningful achievement, not gold stars and titles -- that I hope to have the guts to put into practice. Worth another read down the road.
Haley Arzt
Oct 23, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: standalone, 2017
I wasn’t a big fan of this. 2.5 Stars.
Marko Bezic
Oct 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Some powerful stuff in here!
Jhoson Shampws
Dec 17, 2017 rated it it was ok
It's a ok book, the message is good, the content delivered in a ok way but... it's just this, a ok book. ...more
Gustavo Peters
Mar 19, 2019 rated it it was ok
If you have to read this book, start at chapter 8 it's really one of the only chapters worth reading, I was looking forward to reading and I was disspointed. ...more
Kim Savage
Jan 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
If you are looking for a self help book, this is a good one to start with. Good, basic guidelines. It is somewhat autobiographical, but overall, I like his ideas.
May 20, 2020 rated it liked it
The first 50 pages have the most helpful information. I was inspired and then slowly lost interest. He shares more stories than is helpful, it feels like he is bragging. Also he really doesn't paint a great picture of his wife. Did I need to mention that? YES! It was so prevalent that it was distracting. ...more
Nov 02, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This book contains very practical and sound advice that can be put to use right away. It is not a book that contains quizzes to help you figure out if you are depressed or not; I once read a book like that and the quiz concluded that I was depressed and a pessimist; so it did not tell me anything I did not already know and it contained no helpful advice as to how to move forward and think differently. This book is different. Its messages are very concrete, straightforward, and easy to implement. ...more
Samson Sunny
May 02, 2016 rated it really liked it
In this book the author Bernard gives several ideas to cultivate achievement habit by doing several exercises. First he explains on design thinking that is if you faced any problem follow the 5 steps such as what is the issue, define the problem clearly, sketch the idea to overcome from that, create prototype and finally test and get feedback from others.

Then in each chapter he is explaining several steps to create achievement habit such as train your brain, don't give excuses and don't give rea
This was a deceptively good book, despite having a lame title, having a title that really wasn't indicative of the book's content, and going a biiiiiiit long in the middle.

This book is really a pseudo memoir slash monologue slash words of wisdom from a Stanford University design and engineering professor. He shares his philosophy, mental exercises, and experiences/parables from a long career in design, engineering, robotics, kinematics, and teaching with the goal of imparting some good habits a
Aravinth Raja
Apr 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing
It’s a really good book we can learn lot about how to develop achievement habits. This book really gave me some good idea and different perspective of my life. One of the best example i love about this book is “ A Person want to decided to watch a movie but the tickets at counter are over, he is being trying to buy extra ticket from other. And Check for any cancellation Ticket. Finally he'll watch that movie” This is called “Achievement”, you have to try hard until the end without giving up on t ...more
May 10, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I had some decent hopes for this book when it began. But it quickly started to feel condescending. The exercises felt contrived and he didn't make the argument for their real application ("Yes...and..." improvisation for problem solving in the real world? I'm sure he doesn't believe we should run with every idea thrown out in a group. So how does that actually apply?) He touched on some principles such as mindfulness that are taught far better in other books - and include studies and other evide ...more
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Bernie Roth is the Rodney H. Adams Professor of Engineering at Stanford University. A longtime veteran of the Stanford design scene, he first came to the Stanford Design Division faculty in 1962.

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