The Compound Effect

The Compound Effect

The Compound Effect

THE COMPOUND EFFECT is a book written by the publisher of Success Magazine, Darren Hardy. He describes how small incremental changes, gradually improved over time, can lead to profound differences in abilities and outcomes. Hardy uses real-world examples to demonstrate the effects of the methods he suggests, and they’re all things that anyone could apply to their lives immediately.

There are countless parallels between THE COMPOUND EFFECT
and Goodwin Davis. Goodwin Davis exists to help kids begin making small incremental changes to their habits during their teen years so that their lives can take off like a rocket during their 20’s. These kinds of changes are exactly what this book proposes, and in many ways, it’s the blueprint for how Goodwin Davis can help your kids excel in life. It won’t be fast. It won’t be easy. If they invest the time, the results will follow.

This is a great read for anyone of any age. There are so many actionable pieces of advice that will improve your long-term happiness and success. No matter where you are in life, this book will give you several new perspectives on how to view your goals and the barriers that stand in the way. The formula for success has long been the same, and this is a detailed explanation of using the slow-and-steady approach in our instant-gratification world.

Check out these other resources to learn more about why these ideas are important to the members of Goodwin Davis.

Notable Quotes:

Small, Smart Choices + Consistency + Time = RADICAL DIFFERENCE.

It’s not the big things that add up in the end; it’s the hundreds, thousands, or millions of little things that separate the ordinary from the extraordinary.

Forget about willpower. It’s time for why-power. Your choices are only meaningful when you connect them to your desires and dreams. The wisest and most motivating choices are the ones aligned with that which you identify as your purpose, your core self, and your highest values. You’ve got to want something, and know why you want it, or you’ll end up giving up too easily.

No matter what has happened to you, take complete responsibility for it—good or bad, victory or defeat. Own it. My mentor Jim Rohn said, “The day you graduate from childhood to adulthood is the day you take full responsibility for your life.




PEAK is a book about how expert performers reached the top. It’s author, K. Anders Ericcson, has been studying these performers for decades and this book is the culmination of that research. He explains how we get better at skills, namely with purposeful deliberate practice repeated religiously over time. More importantly, he debunks the theory of the “child prodigy”. He demonstrates how all of the most skilled performers throughout history consistently engaged in extended periods of deliberate practice prior to achieving greatness.

At its core, Goodwin Davis exists to help kids gain extensive experience with deliberate practice. Our aim is that it becomes their default method for developing any skill, especially the ones they are most passionate about. Deliberate practice is the most effective path to developing world-class talent, yet it is seldom used in our daily lives. With guidance from Ericcson, we will change that for our members.

PEAK is a terrific book from Ericcson, the premier expert in this field. For years, his work has been cited in countless books on performance and self-development, including being the source of Gladwell’s famous 10,000 hours rule. In this book, Ericcson addresses the data from the rule and explains why the conclusion is a nice soundbite, but ultimately incorrect. It’s worth reading to gain a deeper understanding of what deliberate practice is and how far it can take us.

Check out these other resources to learn more about why these ideas are important to the members of Goodwin Davis.

Notable Quotes:

This is a fundamental truth about any sort of practice: If you never push yourself beyond your comfort zone, you will never improve.

The best way to get past any barrier is to come at it from a different direction, which is one reason it is useful to work with a teacher or coach.

A world in which deliberate practice is a normal part of life would be one in which people had more volition and satisfaction.”

“So here we have purposeful practice in a nutshell: Get outside your comfort zone but do it in a focused way, with clear goals, a plan for reaching those goals, and a way to monitor your progress. Oh, and figure out a way to maintain your motivation.”




MINDSET is a book by renowned psychologist, Dr. Carol Dweck. She is the originator of Mindset Theory, which states that there are two distinct mindsets in the world: fixed and growth.

A fixed mindset individual believes that our basic talents and abilities (i.e. intelligence, athleticism, creativity) are fixed traits set from birth.

A growth mindset individual believes that these same talents can be developed to a high level by anyone. It requires the right type of practice performed consistently over time.

Goodwin Davis is a growth mindset organization. Our experience has shown that anyone can develop their abilities if they are interested and committed to doing so. It’s our mission to help our members discover why they want to learn a skill, and then stay on an efficient path to mastery. It doesn’t matter where they’re starting from. We take it one level at a time. Adopting a growth mindset is a core fundamental of our program, and it’s proven to be a fun challenge for our members.

MINDSET is an engaging read, not just for the hope it offers us all, but because there are so many concrete examples of the benefits of adopting a growth mindset. It also demonstrates that a person can have a growth mindset about certain topics and a fixed mindset on others. This book will help you understand how you see challenges, and hopefully open your mind to a more productive way of moving through life.

Check out these other resources to learn more about why these ideas are important to the members of Goodwin Davis.

Notable Quotes:

Mindset change is not about picking up a few pointers here and there. It’s about seeing things in a new way. When people…change to a growth mindset, they change from a judge-and-be-judged framework to a learn-and-help-learn framework. Their commitment is to growth, and growth takes plenty of time, effort, and mutual support.

John Wooden, the legendary basketball coach, says you aren’t a failure until you start to blame. What he means is that you can still be in the process of learning from your mistakes until you deny them.

We like to think of our champions and idols as superheroes who were born different from us. We don’t like to think of them as relatively ordinary people who made themselves extraordinary.

The Defining Decade

The Defining Decade

The Defining Decade

In THE DEFINING DECADE, Dr. Meg Jay illustrates why the 20’s are the most critical period of adulthood. This is the easiest and best time to set the roots for the life we want, yet so many are throwing it away with misguided notions like “30 is the new 20”. Jay connects tales from her clinical experience to hard science and shows what we have to gain from being intentional about life and love in our early adult years.

Dr. Jay’s ideas perfectly align with Goodwin Davis. We believe that actions taken in the 20’s are so critical to an optimal life that we’re preparing our kids for these decisions years in advance. Her book provides strong reinforcement that the work we’re doing is important and can have an endless impact on the lives of our members.

This book is a valuable resource for parents and teens alike. It will help you understand that it’s normal to endure more stress, doubt, and anxiety during early adulthood. There are also proven ways to face these challenges and come out ahead. We highly recommend this text to better understand the benefits you can look forward to when you’re equipped to face anything that life throws your way.

Check out these other resources to learn more about why these ideas are important to the members of Goodwin Davis.

Notable Quotes:

“These are the years when it will be easiest to start the lives we want. And no matter what we do, the twenties are an inflection point— the great reorganization— a time when the experiences we have disproportionately influence the adult lives we will lead.”

“No matter how smoothly this goes, late bloomers will likely never close the gap between themselves and those who got started earlier. This leaves many thirty- and fortysomethings feeling as if they have ultimately paid a surprisingly high price for a string of random twentysomething jobs. Midlife is when we may realize that our twentysomething choices cannot be undone. Drinking and depression can enter from stage left.”

As a twentysomething, life is still more about potential than proof. Those who can tell a good story about who they are and what they want leap over those who can’t.”

Hitchcock Did It

Hitchcock Did It

Hitchcock Did It

Goodwin Davis was born 20 years ago, in the aftermath of a simple question:


“Why did Miss Lonelyhearts wear a green dress?”

Care to offer a guess? No? Would it help if I asked in a thick Australian accent?

That’s how I heard it. I was taking a course called Language of Film, and the TA for my recitation came from Down Under. On this particular day we were discussing Hitchcock’s Rear Window (“Ree-uh WINN-doww” to our beloved TA), and we were asked to look for a deeper meaning in the wardrobe of one of its characters. What was the green telling us?

A transfer student, who bore a striking resemblance to a young Ellen Barkin, ventured the first guess. This girl had an elite boarding school background and I was always fascinated to hear her ideas. On this occasion she really took us for a ride, invoking Vietnam and the casually tossing out the phrase “post-modern pastiche”. Once I heard that, my mind went to a totally different place.

Gold Star, Blue Ribbon

I can’t recall hearing the word pastiche prior to that moment. And what did it have to do with Vietnam, Walter?

Then I had an epiphany. Despite attending a “nationally recognized Gold Star and Blue Ribbon school”, my American History class never made it to Vietnam. We barely made it past World War II. Could her boarding school really offer that much more value? What else was I missing out on (besides colorful words like pastiche)?

My history class was an experiment called American Studies. It paired American Literature with American History for a two-hour super class jammed with 60 students. The first hour we might study The Great Depression. The second we’d read and workshop a relevant book, like The Grapes of Wrath.



On paper, it was a cool ideal to give us an immersive experience into the period being studied, but the model was easily broken with a such large class size.

The real lesson we learned is that we can only move at the pace of the weakest students. With double the kids, double the time, and two distinct subjects, it was never going to work.

Like most, I was bored in that class. I understood the material and was ready to move on. Many of us could have coasted right past Vietnam and into the 80’s. Instead, we graduated high school without a single lesson on John F. Kennedy.


[pa-steesh, pah-]


  1. a literary, musical, or artistic piece consisting wholly or chiefly of motifs or techniques borrowed from one or more sources.
  2. an incongruous combination of materials, forms, motifs, etc., taken from different sources; hodgepodge.

Unrealized Potential

The tragedy here is that we had at least two dozen kids that did not have a chance to reach their full potential. If we circle back to the sports correlation on which the premise of Goodwin Davis is founded, it should put things in perspective.

Imagine your son is a star baseball player. You have him signed up for a fun, non-competitive team coached by a dad with little more than general understanding of the game. When it becomes apparent that your boy could be something special, maybe even a pro, what would you do next?

If you’re like many parents, you’d look for an elite baseball program complete with tryouts, individual instruction, year round practice, and games against the best of the best. If you placed importance on athletic achievement, you would not keep him in the rec league. You’d send him to the top of the mountain, with the best instructors and best athletes, and push him to be the best he can be.


If your son was a star baseball player, what would you do to help him?

Ellen Barkin
Answer to the Green Dress Question

The TA insisted the green dress signaled Envy. NOT SO, according to John Fawell’s famous book on the film. Edith Head, Hitchcock’s costume designer, said it was just a way to subtly link Miss Lonelyhearts to Lisa, another character who was wearing green. So much for Film Theory!

Have you had a similar a-ha moment?

Leave a comment below and tell us about it.

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