The Not Worth Your Time Series: The 5 AM Club, by Robin Sharma

by: Adam Jason

I created Sabio Books to make sure that you only spend your valuable time consuming the best books available for entrepreneurs, business owners and investors. That means, unfortunately, and without trying to disrespect any author who worked hard and dedicated themself to writing a great book, that I also have to tell you about the books that I think you can leave off your reading list in addition to the good ones. In our “Not Worth Your Time” series, I do just that. I will let you know about the books that I have read that I think just do not stack up.

The Book

The 5 AM Club is a book I think you can leave out of your library. The message of the book, don´t get me wrong, is a good one. The 5 AM Club preaches discipline. Getting out of bed at 5 am each morning and using your first hour to prime your body, mind and spirit for an effective day through exercise, reading and spiritual exercises like meditation. The message is one I cannot disagree with. The knock on this one is, instead, the redundancy and what I believe to be gaps in the practical application of the Book´s lessons.

The Story

The book centers around the story of several folks from various backgrounds who embark on a common trip and on that trip come to realize the power of rising early through the lessons of their mentor, a tycoon “successful” in all areas of life. Written as a conversational narrative, we see their transformations to disciplined people capable of great things as their mentor reveals to them the secrets of the why, when, how and what of great well-rounded achievement.

A Couple Critiques

I don´t think the message justified the number of pages of this book. I agree with the author that getting up early and shaping your day before inevitable distractions come up is critical. In fact, my own alarm goes off everyday at 5 am as well. Achievers know this principle, which I think can be conveyed in one brief sentence: Use your distraction-free early morning hours to complete the activities necessary to prime your body and mind for achievement throughout the day.

Another issue that I had with the book was its strictness to 5 am as the critical hour. Let’s be honest. As much as we may want to, if we need seven to eight hours of sleep a night to be at our very best well, then, getting up at 5 am is not always going to be conducive to that and, if we hold to rigidly too that, it could actually result in us not getting enough sleep, resulting instead in poor performance. I think the book fails to emphasize this realistic point that going to bed at 9 pm or 10 pm at the latest every night in order to get enough rest and still get up at 5 am is often infeasible. What I think people should learn instead is that sleep is critical and it should be prioritized, even if you cannot get to bed until later in the evening. Emphasize sleep and then when you wake up after your seven to eight hours of good rest, then use that early time to be your most productive.

I understand. It is tough to have the catchy moniker of “5 AM Club” but then tell people it is OK if they sleep until 7 am. But I do think it is a bit unrealistic at the expense of making sure that a theory matches a book title.

My Alternative Book Recommendation

Installing habits in your life that lead to greater productivity is critical. I want to recommend an alternative book to the The 5 AM Club. If you want a countdown of the habits that you need to build into your life, then definitely get a copy of The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, by Steven Covey. Do you really want to know what is going to make you the best version of yourself whether you get out of bed at 5 am or 7:30 am? The Seven Habits teaches us to:

  • Improve our character
  • Have a paradigm of optimism and integrity
  • Be proactive with our circumstances
  • Control how we react to our circumstances
  • Begin with the end in mind
  • Put the first things first

That’s an overview. I encourage you to dig into the details of what I consider to be one of the most powerful books ever written on self-improvement and achievement. As entrepreneurs, business owners and investors, it simply has to be in your library!

One more tip: I am now reading the books that I write about at Sabio Books on the new Kindle Paperwhite. It works great for reading at night. It has a mellow backlight so that you are not blasting yourself with the blue cell phone light right before you are trying to sleep or having to leave house lights on to read paperbacks. Support the site and grab yours here if you are looking for a better, more relaxing way to consume more great books!


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