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The 5 AM Club Book Summary, Review, Notes

The 5 AM Club by Robin Sharma is a book focused on helping its readers improve their productivity, health, and overall life quality by establishing a clear and well-defined morning routine. 


The 5 AM routine was introduced to the world over 20 years ago by Robin Sharma, and has since been implemented by many who seek to seize their day.


Book Title—  The 5 AM Club
Author—  Robin Sharma
Date of Reading—   December, 2022
Rating—   8/10

Table of Contents

What Is Being Said In Detail

The 5 AM Club is an interesting book that follows the journey of two individuals, the entrepreneur and the artist, as they meet a billionaire who manages to completely change their lives. 


Almost crushed by the weight of the modern world, the two people embark on a journey across the world, during which the billionaire and his advisor The Spellbinder help them to re-discover the true meaning of leadership, productivity, and health.


Throughout the chapters, the billionaire, also known as Stone Riley, introduces useful learning models for instilling habits into daily life, reaching peak creativity and productivity while also taking enough time to recharge. 


The base of these learning models and teachings lies in the very name of the book – The 5 AM Club. 


This means that for the person to be at their full potential, they should start getting up at 5 AM and use the first hour of wakefulness for self-improvement. 


In one of the chapters, the author goes into detail about how this hour should be spent.


The book is divided into 17 chapters and a brief epilogue. Chapters contain learning models which are usually followed by graphs and pictures for better understanding, along with ideas and suggestions for implementation into your daily life. 


Chapter One – The Dangerous Deed

Chapter 1 introduces the entrepreneur, a woman who is considering ending her life after facing difficulties in her company. She decides to go to a seminar which is the last attempt at saving her life.


Chapter Two – A Daily Philosophy on Becoming Legendary

Chapter 2 follows the inspirational seminar with The Spellbinder as the speaker, who became famous for motivating people and helping them realize their potential.


Chapter Three – An Unexpected Encounter With a Surprising Stranger

Chapter 3 describes the entrepreneur’s and her new acquaintance’s (the artist) encounter with a homeless man, who suddenly starts talking to them after The Spellbinder collapses on stage. 


Chapter Four – Letting Go of Mediocrity and All That’s Ordinary

In Chapter 4, while all three of them listen to the recording of The Spellbinder’s speech, the mysterious homeless man gives advice on elevating life beyond materialism with surprising experience and eloquence, touching upon leadership, overcoming obstacles in life, and living productively.


Chapter Five – A Bizzare Adventure into Morning Mastery

In Chapter 5 the homeless man invites the entrepreneur and the artist to his property, where he will teach them the 5 AM routine which will help them improve their performance in their respective fields.


Chapter Six – A Flight to Peak Productivity, Virtuosity and Undefeatability

Chapter 6 follows the journey to Mauritius, where Mr. Riley (previously known as the homeless man) awaits the two companions to join him. 


On their way to his villa, they are given tablets with five statements engraved on them, as a preparation for their stay in Mauritius. 


The statements were counted as rules and concerned taking one hour to prepare ourselves for the upcoming day, avoiding excuses, adapting to changes, doing what other people are unwilling to do, and being relentless. 


Chapter Seven – Preparation For a Transformation Begins in Paradise

Chapter 7 is focused on the conversation that the entrepreneur and the artists have at the beach with The Spellbinder, who is alive and well. 


As it turns out, he is Mr. Riley’s advisor, and he shares some more of his wisdom about focusing less on materialistic things and about getting enough rest to fuel productivity.


Chapter Eight – The 5 AM Method: The Morning Routine of World-Builders

Chapter 8 focuses on Mr. Riley explaining the importance of getting up early in the morning. 


He insists that getting up at 5 AM in the morning is science-backed, that it is essential to honing one’s skills, and that developing this habit leads to consistently fulfilling days.


Chapter Nine – A Framework for the Expression of Greatness

In Chapter 9 Stone Riley introduces the Three Step Success Formula and the importance of persistence and being precise and consistent. 


The entrepreneur and the artist note the lack of awareness in business and people’s everyday lives.


Chapter Ten – The 4 Focuses on History-Makers

Chapter 10 goes over a learning model called The 4 Focuses of History-Makers, with focuses being capitalization IQ, freedom from distraction, personal mastery practice, and day stacking.


Capitalization IQ suggests that rather than the amount of talent a person is born with, it is far more important how much of that talent the person will capitalize. 


Freedom from distraction proposes that we should focus on one task at a time while taking a break from everyday distractions such as technology. 


Personal mastery practice means that in order to improve in something, we need to put effort into it on a daily basis, while also being aware that the change that happens in the world around us comes within us. 


Day stacking advocates for continuous improvement; making a small effort each and every day goes a long way as weeks, months, and years accumulate.

Robin Sharma Quote

Mr. Riley also explains the importance of The 4 Interior Empires – Mindset, Heartset, Healthset, and Soulset. 


Mindset is the belief that you are in charge of your abilities and destiny. 


Heartset is the emotional part of us, directly concerning our feelings. 


Healthset concerns the physical health of the person. 


Lastly, Soulset refers to spirituality and achieving inner peace. 


Chapter Eleven – Navigating the Tides of Life

Chapter 11 shows a more relaxing side, as the three companions enjoy a picnic and a lavish dinner afterward. 


The next day the entrepreneur and the artist find out that Mr. Riley is taking them to Agra, India, where he will continue sharing his knowledge with them.


Chapter Twelve – The 5 AM Club Discovers The Habit Installation Protocol

Chapter 12 goes over the habit-forming model and explains how in four simple yet crucial steps one can permanently instill a habit in their life while going through The Habit Installation Protocol whose three stages last for 66 days until the habit is completely “installed”.


Chapter Thirteen – The 5 AM Club Learns the 20/20/20 Formula

Chapter 13 follows the companions on their trip to Rome, as Mr. Riley talks about the 20/20/20 formula which consists of moving, reflecting, and growing, all within the first hour of waking up – in this case between 5 and 6 AM. 


According to this practice, the first twenty minutes of this hour should be spent on intense exercising and hydrating, which will increase our focus, energy, and productivity. 


The next twenty minutes are meant for journaling, planning, praying, and meditating – actions that lead to higher creativity and boost our performance. 


We should round off this hour by spending twenty minutes studying, reading, or listening to podcasts in order to improve our craft and inspiration, as well as ultimately increase our impact and income. 


Chapter Fourteen – The 5 AM Club Learns the Essentialness of Sleep

Chapter 14 brings back The Spellbinder as he teaches the entrepreneur and the artist the importance of quality sleep. 


With the help of a framework, The Spellbinder explains to them the most fruitful pre-sleep ritual one should have before getting exactly seven and a half hours of sleep each night.


Chapter Fifteen – The 5 AM Club Is Mentored on The 10 Tactics of Lifelong Genius

Chapter 15 brings closer a learning model called The 10 Tactics of Lifelong Genius, which is to be used as an amplifier to the previously learned 20/20/20 Formula


This learning model presents ten habits, along with ideas for implementation, which should even further improve both work and private life of all individuals willing to implement it. 


These ten habits are:

  • The Tight Bubble of Total Focus, 
  • The 90/90/1 Rule, 
  • The 60/10 Method, 
  • The Daily 5 Concept, 
  • The Second Wind Workout, 
  • The 2 Massage Protocol, 
  • Traffic University, 
  • The Dream Team Technique, 
  • The Weekly Design System, and 
  • The 60 Minute Student. 


Chapter Sixteen – The 5 AM Club Embraces The Twin Cycles of Elite Performance

In Chapter 16 through The Twin Cycles of Elite Performance, Mr. Riley stresses that working harder to achieve more is not the ultimate formula to success. 

Rather than that, the best thing to pair with high performance is taking enough time to recharge by doing things, being with people, or being at places that bring us the most joy. 

Chapter Seventeen – The 5 AM Club Members Become Heroes of Their Lives

Chapter 17 rounds off all previous teachings and learning models by insisting on forgiveness for the sake of true leadership and peace, as the three companions and The Spellbinder visit Robben Island where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned for 18 years.

Epilogues – Five Years Later

Epilogue updates us about the whereabouts of the characters five years after their self-discovery journey.

Most Important Keywords, Sentences, Quotes

CHAPTER ONE – The Dangerous Deed

“A gun would be too violent. A noose would be too ancient. And a knife blade to the wrist would be too silent. 

So, the question became, How could a once glorious life be ended swiftly and precisely, with minimum mess yet maximum impact?”

“Either she’d go to the seminar—and experience some breakthrough that would save her life. Or she’d find her peace. Via a quick death.”

CHAPTER TWO – A Daily Philosophy on Becoming Legendary

“His messaging showed ordinary individuals how to succeed at the highest levels of the business realm yet reclaim the magic of a life richly lived.”

“You need to remember that your excuses are seducers, your fears are liars and your doubts are thieves. “

“Living the same week a few thousand times and calling it a life. I need to tell you that too many among us die at thirty and are buried at eighty.”

“No matter where you are on the pathway of your life, please don’t let the pain of an imperfect past hinder the glory of your fabulous future.”

“Nothing is wrong at this moment, even if it feels like everything’s falling apart. If you sense your life’s a mess right now, this is simply because your fears are just a little stronger than your faith.’”

“’Ideas are worth nothing unless backed by application. The smallest of implementations is always worth more than the grandest of intentions. 

And if being an amazing person and developing a legendary life was easy, everyone would be doing it. Know what I mean?”

CHAPTER THREE – An Unexpected Encounter With a Surprising Stranger

“Most people wish for phenomenal things to happen to them. He taught me that exceptional performers make phenomenal things happen to them.”

“The entrepreneur was still skeptical. But she sensed she was opening. And possibly growing. So, she promised herself she’d keep following this process instead of retreating. 

Her former way of existing no longer served her. It was time for a change. ”

CHAPTER FOUR – Letting Go of Mediocrity and All That’s Ordinary

“And I need to say that uplifting humankind is the master sport of business that The Top 5% play. 

The real purpose of commerce is not only to make your personal fortune. The true reason to be in the game is to be helpful to society.”

“‘We only hear what we’re ready to hear,’ observed the homeless man sagely. ‘All learning meets us exactly where we’re at. And as we grow greater, we understand better. ’”

Robin Sharma Quote 2

“The way you begin your day really does determine the extent of focus, energy, excitement and excellence you bring to it. 

Each early morning is a page in the story that becomes your legacy. 

Each new dawn is a fresh chance to unleash your brilliance, unprison your potency and play in the big leagues of iconic results. ”

CHAPTER FIVE – A Bizzare Adventure into Morning Mastery

“I’ll help you both become members of The 5 AM Club. 

You’ll learn to rise early, regularly—so you’ll get more done by noon than most people get done in a week, and so you’ll optimize your health, happiness and peacefulness.”

CHAPTER SIX – A Flight to Peak Productivity, Virtuosity and Undefeatability

“Voluntary discomfort, whether by dressing as I did or by fasting once a week or by sleeping on the floor once a month, keeps me strong, disciplined and focused on the central few priorities my life’s built around.”

CHAPTER SEVEN – Preparation For a Transformation Begins in Paradise

“I’m just saying: most people stay the same their entire lives. Too frightened to leave the way they operated yesterday. 

Married to the complacency of the ordinary and wedded to the shackles of conformity while resisting all opportunity for growth, evolution and personal elevation.”

“Elite production without quiet vacation causes lasting depletion. Rest and recovery isn’t a luxury for anyone committed to mastery—it’s a necessity.”

CHAPTER EIGHT – The 5 AM Method: The Morning Routine of World-Builders

“Starting your day luxuriating in the quietude only the early morning provides. Beginning your day feeling strong and centered and free. 

I found that my mind became dramatically more focused as the days progressed. 

Every great performer, whether we’re talking about a championship athlete, a top-tier executive, a celebrated architect or a revered cellist, has developed the ability to concentrate on optimizing their particular skill for long, uninterrupted periods of time.”

“Protection from distraction is precisely how you need to work if you’re serious about dominating your field and winning at your craft. 

Neuroscientists call this peak mental state we’re speaking of, where our perception becomes heightened and our availability to original ideas rises and we access an all-new level of processing power, ‘Flow.’”

CHAPTER NINE – A Framework for the Expression of Greatness

“The majority is stuck in vague, imprecise thinking. And vague, imprecise thinking yields vague, imprecise results. 

A quick example: ask the average person for directions and most of the time, you’ll discover, their instructions are unclear. That’s because the way they think is unclear.”

“Consistency really is the DNA of mastery. And small, daily, seemingly insignificant improvements when done consistently over time yield staggering results. 

Please remember that great companies and wonderful lives don’t happen by sudden revolution. Nope. 

They materialize via incremental evolution. Tiny, daily wins and iterations stack into outcomes of excellence, over the long-term.”

CHAPTER TEN – The 4 Focuses on History-Makers

“We become our associations. 

And you’ll never have a positive influence in your field and make a beautiful life if you hang with negative people.”

“Battles are won in the early light of intense training—when no one’s watching. Victories occur before warriors walk onto the field. Triumph belongs to the one who prepares the most.”

“‘I’m already noticing some significant improvements,’ the entrepreneur went on. 

‘By rising at five, I feel more focused, less stressed, more secure and way more energetic. I have a larger sense of perspective over all the aspects of my life. ’” 

CHAPTER ELEVEN – Navigating the Tides of Life

“For an instant, the entrepreneur reflected on the preciousness of the evening and recalled a quote her father had placed on the door of the family fridge. 

It was from Dale Carnegie, the self-help author, and it read: ‘One of the most tragic things I know about human nature is that all of us tend to put off living. 

We are all dreaming of some magical rose garden over the horizon instead of enjoying the roses that are blooming outside our windows today.’”

CHAPTER TWELVE – The 5 AM Club Discovers The Habit Installation Protocol

“It really is a ceaseless process that may take years of painstaking craftsmanship, practice, sacrifice and suffering before the finished project intensifies to a level that moves the world.”

“‘So, the key is rest and recovery of the self-control muscle,’ explained the billionaire. ‘Never allow it to get too tired. Your willpower really is weakest when you are most tired. Key awareness to build on here. 

We make our worst decisions and our lowest choices when we’re exhausted. So, don’t allow yourself to get exhausted. Period.’”

CHAPTER THIRTEEN – The 5 AM Club Learns the 20/20/20 Formula

“Obviously, the sweaty movement also transforms your psychology over time. 

Even if you’re usually a ‘non-morning person’ and grumpy at the beginning of your day, you’ll change—the whole ‘neurons that fire together, wire together’ thing. 

You’ll feel the confidence every leader without a title needs. You’ll have the focus to stay on task for hours and hours, so you get your most brilliant work done. And you’ll feel much calmer.”

“One of the traits all my billionaire friends and I have in common is we absolutely love to learn. We grow—and capitalize on—our gifts and talents relentlessly. 

We invest in expanding ourselves—and our pro games— constantly. We are all totally into reading, improving and feeding our limitless curiosity. Fun for us is going to a conference together. 

We go to one, at least one, every three months so we stay inspired, excellent and absolutely switched on.”

CHAPTER FOURTEEN – The 5 AM Club Learns the Essentialness of Sleep

“What makes genius-level performance is a delicate balance between the mastery of your morning routine and the optimization of your nightly ritual. 

You won’t be able to orchestrate The 20/20/20 Formula Stone walked you through this morning if you don’t sleep properly.”

“HGH, human growth hormone, is produced in the pituitary gland of the brain and is important for healthy tissues in your body, a strong functioning metabolism and a long lifespan. 

Increased levels of HGH raise your moods, cognition, energy levels and lean muscle mass, while reducing your cravings through the regulation of leptin and ghrelin. 

Here’s the main point:

while HGH is released through exercise, which is part of the reason pocket number one of The 20/20/20 Formula is such a game-changer, 75% of HGH production happens when you sleep!”

CHAPTER FIFTEEN – The 5 AM Club Is Mentored on The 10 Tactics of Lifelong Genius

“One of the great keys to terrific performance, then, is to train your attention on making consistent 1% wins and micro-achievements throughout each hour of your workday. 

Small daily achievements, when done consistently over time, definitely do lead to stunning results.”

“For at least sixty minutes a day, study. Do whatever it takes to fireproof your commitment to relentless growth. 

Learning daily will raise your acumen, deepen your wisdom and incite a blazing fire that stokes your grandeur.”

CHAPTER SIXTEEN – The 5 AM Club Embraces The Twin Cycles of Elite Performance

“Becoming legendary in your industry is all about sustainability. And making sure you show up at world-class not just for a month or even for an entire year. 

The real sport of the captains of commerce, the great masters of the arts, the visionaries of the sciences, the heroes of the humanities and the giants of athletics is preserving your A-game over a lifetime.”

“The time you least feel like doing something is the best time to do it.”

“To know ever-increasing amounts of happiness, trust what makes you feel happy. Your heart knows where you need to be. It’s so much wiser than your head. 

Instinct knows so much more than intellect and intuition is smarter than reason, that’s for sure. 

Our intelligence is made up of what those around us have taught us. It’s limited. It’s confined by logic—and what’s been done before.”

“Peak health really is true wealth. Those who lose their good health spend the rest of their lives trying to recover it. 

Uncommon vitality is also a marvelous method to grow your prosperity.”

“Yet, nothing is wrong. There has been no waste. All is unfolding as it should. At your end, you will realize that very little of what happened to you was an accident. 

Everything was for your growth. And all was for your good.”

CHAPTER SEVENTEEN – The 5 AM Club Members Become Heroes of Their Lives

“Everything we go through as we travel through a life is, in truth, a fantastic orchestration designed to introduce us to our truest talents, connect us with our most sovereign selves and deepen our intimacy with the glorious hero that lives inside each of us.”

Robin Sharma Quote 3

“And on the day of his release, he walked out of this residence, over to a long paved road with a guard post and a white gate at the end of it. 

Nelson Mandela was asked by prison personnel if he’d prefer to be driven down this road to freedom. He refused and indicated simply that he would rather walk. 

And so, this transformational leader and history-maker who has left a legacy that will inspire many generations took halting steps toward his long-awaited liberation.”


“She no longer cares much about fame, fortune and worldly power, even though she now has all these things.”

“The entrepreneur and the artist are still members of The 5 AM Club, running The 20/20/20 Formula every morning well before daybreak.”

Book Review (Personal Opinion):

This book was a journey. It starts off with presenting problems that many individuals face in today’s world – lack of motivation, focus, control, and the feeling that we lack control over our own lives. 

The author of the book did a great job of showing how people from completely different backgrounds with different goals managed to incorporate his philosophy and proposed learning models into their lives. 

This goes on to show that anyone can become a member of The 5 AM Club if they put their mind to it. 

My favorite thing about the book was that it contained a lot of practical advice, as well as real-life situations and inspiring quotes from famous leaders

It kept my attention up to the very last chapter which I found very touching and profound as it spoke about Nelson Mandela’s life and legacy and what we can take from it. 

Though every chapter has a focus on a different learning model, all of the advice and models amplify and build on each other, so in order to get the best experience out of this book, it would be best to read it as a whole.

My reason for this rating is that the characters’ quirky antics and dialogues felt unnecessary and unfitting to the story every now and then. Other things that I found unnecessary at times were new words and phrases introduced by the author.

Rating: 8/10

This Book Is For [Recommendation]:

  • People who struggle to balance their lifestyle
  • Individuals in need of a clear and scheduled routine
  • Anyone who enjoys self-help books with precise and detailed steps to implement

If You Want To Learn More

Robin Sharma discusses the topics of his book and his reasoning behind writing it in an interview with Marie Forleo.

How I’ve Implemented The Ideas From The Book

Even though the concept of getting up at 5 AM every day seemed almost ridiculous to me when starting this book, I’ve been getting up at 5 AM and tried the 20/20/20 formula for the past few days as an experiment. 

I must admit that is a challenge in the beginning, but I noticed that my concentration span is a lot better and I get a lot more things done just by noon!

One Small Actionable Step You Can Do

Look up Chapter 14, which touches upon the importance of sleep. Science suggests that getting enough sleep makes you live longer. 

What’s more, the human growth hormone responsible for a strong metabolism, long lifespan, and healthy tissues in our body is mainly produced when we sleep. Try getting seven and half hours of sleep each night, as it is suggested in this chapter.