SMDS Book Review: The Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod

No convinced this is book worth buying. That said, you don’t have to believe me: if you’re feeling contrary, click on this picture to buy the book, and send a slice of that cheddar my way!  To read about my approach to affiliate marketing, scroll to the bottom of this post.

Not convinced this is book worth buying. That said, you don’t have to believe me: if you’re feeling contrary, click on this picture to buy the book, and send a slice of that cheddar my way!
To read about my approach to affiliate marketing, scroll to the bottom of this post.

I write this blog post while wearing a thick coat of shame, for I woke up almost three hours later than I intended this morning. Normally I’d laugh it off—no harm, no foul—but, today? The day I’m reviewing The Miracle Morning? That’s pretty embarrassing.

While my morning was, admittedly, something short of miraculous, I am making a concerted effort to wake up earlier and be more productive. My energy levels tend to be cyclical. At the beginning of the academic year I’m up, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, at the exact same time every morning (usually 8 AM); by the end of the year, not so much.

I don’t want to sound unappreciative, but being on a research fellowship can really mess up your biorhythms. I’m falling asleep way too late at night, waking up correspondingly late the next day, and, as a result, missing out on the uniquely happy dance I do when I accomplish a lot before noon. Desperate times call for desperate measures, so I bought myself a much-lauded book about developing a successful morning routine: Hal Elrod’s The Miracle Morning: The Not-So-Obvious Secret Guaranteed to Transform Your Life before 8 AM.

My quick n’ dirty synopsis of this book: Elrod does six very specific things every morning immediately upon waking up, and credits this routine with helping him turn his life around. You should do them too! That’s almost the whole story, minus a lot of personal branding. Seriously. As a freshman writing instructor, I wade through filler on a regular basis; this book is jam-packed with the stuff. Is there some worthwhile content hiding in there? Yes. Is it worth spending your money to find it? No. Elrod—who seems like a genuinely good person—makes a lot of this content available online. If I had it to do over again, I’d read the free stuff, try his method, and—if I started seeing results—buy the book as thanks for a job well done.

So what does Elrod do? He (1) meditates, (2) recites affirmations, (3) visualizes success and the path to said success, (4) exercises, (5) reads from a book that inspires him, and (6) writes in a journal. This process is supposed to take an hour, but can go longer or shorter based on your needs.

All of these activities make sense, and clumping them together into a morning routine does too. I tried it for a couple days, and yes, after an hour, I felt pretty good about myself. Then again, I also needed a nap later in the day, because waking up early (sadly) didn’t translate into falling asleep at a reasonable hour. I also found myself quickly lulled into a false sense of security: “look! I’ve already scratched six things off my to-do list and it isn’t even 8 AM! I’m so productive! I’ve definitely earned a break.”

I’m going to give the morning routine another try, starting tomorrow, because three days is hardly a fair shake. I will update you all if/when my life changes. Until then, here’s my analysis: if you’re the type of person who can convince yourself to wake up an hour early to do things like meditate and exercise, you have the motivation necessary to wake up and be successful without The Miracle Morning. So why bother buying the book? If you aren’t motivated enough to do the six things I listed above every morning, reading this book isn’t going to get you there. It’s not that inspirational.

In fact, if you’re like me, this book will inspire more frustration than productivity. Elrod seems like a decent guy with good intentions, and indeed, his personal story is pretty darned miraculous. That said, he really should have invested in a ghostwriter, and if he paid his copy editors, he should ask for his money back. I would call him a victim of the self-publishing boom, but my understanding is he’s made a very tidy profit off of this book… which doesn’t depress me at all. Nope. Not a bit.

There you have it: I think this book failed to live up to its potential. But then again, who the hell am I to throw stones? As I mentioned at the start of this post, I woke up three hours later than I planned to this morning. I am living in the thinnest of glass houses here, people. If that fact alone is not enough motivation to pull myself together tomorrow, I honestly don’t know what is.


“The Six Million Dollar Scholar” is the personal blog of Andrea Milne, a Ph.D. candidate in modern U.S. History at the University of California, Irvine. To get the story behind the blog’s name, click here.

To read about my philosophy re: affiliate marketing, click here.

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