Review: “The 5-Second Rule” by Mel Robbins

Quick review for a progressive read. I think I liked the idea behind and concept of this book more than the actual execution of it, so I struggled for several days to know where I sat for rating it in retrospect. My final thoughts were that I really liked the read, but I wasn’t really sold on how it was expanded upon. So a solid 3-star read (I was leaning 3.5 or 4 to start.) I’m keeping it as a proud feature on my shelf to refer back to, but there’s a part of me that wishes that there was more here to dig through.

Mel Robbins is great when it comes to her productivity talks and I’ve enjoyed seeing her TED Talk and some of her videos on social media. This book is intended to expand upon an idea she touched base on in her TED talk – the 5 Second Rule. It’s a fantastic rule – simple to understand, easy to utilize and implement, and the science\psychological terms behind it makes sense. The narrative trades between personal story, showcases of stories told from other people who’ve used the rule, and diving into bits of research behind why it works. Heck, I even loved Mel’s expansion on her morning routine.

I think where this narrative dropped the ball for me comes across in a few ways. First is that it does a bit too much to oversell the concept, not always in ways that sit well with me because this method may not be a “one size fits all” depending on the root of someone’s lack of motivation. I can believe that this method can help someone with anxiety or depression or someone with low motivations to get going towards the life they want to live. I can believe that starting with this simple concept can be inspirational as well, if even for something as simple as not hitting the snooze button when you get out of bed in the morning (I’ve used the 5 Second Rule in my life to get up at 5AM and have more “me” time to carve out in the mornings as of late). But the idea as expounded in this book comes across as repetitious and in a pop psychology way that kind of skirt the complexities of how our minds work against us. Some part of me wanted a little more “meat” to this narrative because the simplicity of its implementation is sound and the concept is solid, but I didn’t feel like I could really dive into this as much as I would’ve wanted to for the larger research of why it works as well as it does.

In short, I wanted more from the narrative than I got for the cost and time I put into reading it, but I see myself using the rule and find it a useful method. I respect Mel Robbins’s ease of explanation and enthusiasm for this, though.

Overall score: 3/5 stars.

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