The Essential Motivation Handbook By Leo Babauta and Eric Hamm – Ebook Review

The Essential Motivation Handbook
By Leo Babauta and Eric Hamm
Motivation, Inspiration, Purpose
112 Pages

“If you can stick with a goal for long enough, you’ll almost always get there eventually. It just takes patience, and motivation.” 
– Leo Babauta, The Essential Motivation Handbook, page 27

Summary of The Essential Motivation Handbook

The Essential Motivation Handbook is broken up into 25 chapters (chapter listing below).  Each chapter consists of an article touching on motivation, ideas for getting motivated, and practical advice for how to do the things you desire. Leo Babauta describes it as “a way to help those who are trying to be more productive and to reach their goals, but are having problems finding the motivation to stay on track.”

The Essential Motivation Handbook opens with a chapter discussing the purpose of the ebook, and how it is intended to be read – in short sittings, and immediately applied to life. The Essential Motivation Handbook closes with a call to action, while everything in between consists of howtos paired with inspirational ideas.

Meet The Authors – Eric Hamm and Leo Babauta

Eric Hamm is a motivational blogger and author who previously authored a free ebook, Enduring The Road To Success. Eric Hamm discusses motivation at his blog, Motivate Thyself, and has been featured as a guest author on a number of inspirational, motivational and personal development blogs.

Leo Babauta is perhaps the most well known productivity expert, ebook author and blogger.  You may already be familiar with his work: he has previously authored two ebooks and released a fourth shortly after this one.

In addition, Leo Babauta is a published author – in 2009 he published his first physical book, The Power Of Less.   Leo Babauta released his fourth book in September, The Simple Guide to a Minimalist Life.

Leo Babauta and Eric Hamm are both well respected bloggers, recognized as experts in inspiration, motivation and goal achievement.

Favorite Quotes From The Essential Motivation Handbook

The whole book is written in a steady, storytelling conversational tone.  Leo and Eric are two of my favorite authors and I enjoyed Here are some of my favorite lines from the book.

“The best motivation,[…] is a way for you to really want something, to get excited about it, to be passionate about it.”

“[T]he key is to get started, and you do that not by trying to go from 0 to 60 in 5 seconds, but by tryingto go from 0 to 5mph in a day or two. That’s doable. It’s all about baby steps. Once you get going, you’re golden.”

“[R]eading helps motivate and focus you on whatever you’re reading about. So read about your goalevery day, if you can, especially when you’re not feeling motivated.”

“Think about the benefits, not the difficulties. One common problem is that we think about how hard something is.  Exercise sounds so hard!  Just thinking about it makes you tired.  But instead of thinking about how hard something is,think about what you will get out of it. For example, instead of thinking about how tiring exercise can be, focus on how good you’ll feel when you’re done, and how you’ll be healthier and slimmer over the long run. “

“Your focus determines your reality.”

“[W]e will always have naysayers, we will always have negative people, and if we listen to them, we will never pursue our dreams.”

“Doubts, like insects, will continue to come back, even after you’ve killed the first wave or two.  You can’t let them thrive and overcome you.”

Favorite Thoughts

My favorite part of the book were some of the discussions on why we are not motivated to do things that we initially set as goals and dreams. Leo and Eric break down the whole process of what happens, from initial excitement of the dream to reasons we lose our focus and passion for it.  These discussions were my favorite portion of The Essential Motivation Handbook, because they gave me a lot of food for thought and Leo and Eric really do a thorough job of examining the problem from different angles.


The Essential Motivation Handbook is not a productivity book – for that, Leo recommends Zen To Done (you can see further information about Zen To Done in my article about the best personal development books).  I recommend this ebook if you’re having trouble finding ways to get motivated, and could use some inspiration – or a kick in the butt.  For that specific need, this book delivers on exactly what is promised – tips, tricks and validated strategies for motivating yourself towards your goals, backed up by what has actually worked for Leo and Eric.  It has chapters devoted to persisting through tough times, and strategies for getting yourself motivated to work on your to-do list.

Chapter Listing

  • How To Motivate Yourself
  • The Only Two Secrets to Motivating Yourself You’ll Ever Need
  • A Guide to Beating the Fears That Are Holding You Back
  • Task Ninja: Form the Action Habit
  • Top 20 Motivation Hacks
  • The Ultimate Guide to Motivation – How to Achieve Any Goal
  • Progress, Progress, Progress! 5 Tips To Keep You Moving Forward
  • 7 Steps to Turn Your Self-Improvement Desires Into Reality
  • 25 Killer Actions to Boost Your Self-Confidence
  • 6 Small Things You Can Do When You Lack Discipline
  • 16 Ways to Motivate Yourself When You’re in a Slump
  • 5 Tips For Motivational Recovery
  • The Magical Power of Focus
  • 10 Ways to Beat the “Can’t Get No Satisfaction” Syndrome
  • 30 Incredible Places to Turn When You Need Inspiration
  • How To Deal With Negative Feedback
  • How to Doggedly Pursue Your Dreams in the Face of Naysayers
  • Achieve Your Dreams Despite Pressures of Work and Family
  • Why You Should Celebrate Your Mistakes
  • How to Actually Execute Your To-do List
  • The Yin And Yang Of Persistence
  • Enduring the Valley to Get to Success
  • How To Relax And Why It’s So Important
  • The Simple Guide To Single-Tasking Success
  • Stop Reading About It and Do It

The Essential Motivation Handbook
By Leo Babauta and Eric Hamm
112 Pages