The Magic Of Thinking Big By David Schwartz - Book Summary | Key Points -Ebookworld

 The Magic of Thinking Big.

The main message of this book: In order to become a success, the most important tool is self-belief. Successful people aren't any more talented or deserving than other people – they're just more driven and more confident because of their self-belief.
1-Sentence-Summary: The Magic of Thinking Big gives you several starting points to develop and strengthen the most important trait of successful people: believing in yourself.


The first thing you need to know about The Magic of Thinking Big is that it was written in 1959. The author, David Joseph Schwartz, was born in 1927 and died in 1987. That’s why this book does not quote countless studies or the latest scientific research. This doesn’t harm its message at all though.

No matter whether your life goals are incredibly big and daunting or fairly small and achievable, chance are you’ve thought “Where do I even begin?” more than once.

The author suggests you start by creating a mindset in which you feel 100% capable of achieving whatever you set out to do.

Why does this work? Because once you start believing in yourself enough, your brain will spark the creativity required to achieve your goal.

Now David presents us with several strategies to improve your self-belief and confidence.

The first is to constantly work on your creative thinking skills. As opposed to just memorizing facts, which will only help you in certain situations, creative thinking will help you solve any kind of problem you will face.

Your brain can assess and adapt to any situation, because it stays flexible.

David suggests 3 things:

  1. Always be open to new ideas.
  2. Learn something new whenever you can.
  3. Ask yourself “How can I do a better job today?” every day.

5 Lifelong Lessons We Can Learn From This Book.

1. Be Human

The other day, I was at a farm picking up some apples and a pumpkin. When I went up to pay, I realized no one was behind me. I had no need to hurry; the farmer, who was acting as the cashier, was staring straight into my eyes and smiling. I woke up, bantered with him, and shared a laugh, instead of shoving money and hustling away (I blame New York for encouraging my tendency to slip past people interactions as quickly as possible).

It was a bit of sunshine in my day.

Now, I just have to bring that to everything I do.

Schwartz advises you to treat people as well as you can, whether you’re in a leadership position or all the way at the bottom of the totem pole.

I always try to remember the Pygmalion Effect: People will rise to your expectations (so set them high!).

Another tip is conversation generosity.

As Schwartz puts it:

“There is no surer way to get people to like you than to encourage them to talk to you.”

You should aim to let your chit-chat partner say more than you do. This works absolute wonders in interviews, coffee dates, romantic dating, and with family. People like you more the more they get to talk about themselves. So, ask questions, be curious, and as Schwartz says, be human.

2. Thinking It’s Possible Makes It So

Believing Allows You to See the Routes to Success

“Believe it can be done. When you believe something can be done, your mind will find the ways to do it. Believing a solution pays the way to solution.”

Schwartz uses a class example to illustrate this point. He had his students think of all the ways to end the prison system within a certain number of years. Within minutes, the class turned from nitpicking all the downsides to closing prisons, to thinking up creative, innovative solutions. The hardest part of the exercise, Schwartz writes, was calming his students down to end the thought experiment as people fed off each other’s creative energy of solving a hard problem.

Assuming a seemingly impossible objective is possible is used by many contemporary personal development authors. For example, Tim Ferriss uses it when he describes comfort challenges, where he asks his readers to try to make X amount of money in a certain time frame.

When you change from thinking, this might be possible, to how do I accomplish it? your mind immediately goes to work to find a way to accomplish your mission.

An example in my life was my goal of teaching yoga while still in the military. Once I changed from just wishing I was a yoga teacher, to realizing I wanted to teach before the end of the year, I found multiple routes to success.

I woke up at 4am and taught mobility yoga at a Crossfit gym before I had to head to post. I taught fellow service members one day a week at the on-post athletic facility, and on weekends I substituted for several local studios. I made it happen once I turned the thought into, I’m finding a way to make it happen.

3. Ignore the Haters

Super simple advice, but always smart to remind yourself: If someone is a downer, gossiper, naysayer, or just plain mean, ignore them.

Change the subject, walk away, or simply nod and say, “Oh, I see.” For people you can’t run away from at work, Ask a Manager has some good advice.

When it’s your family, remember, even the most advanced of us struggle with that. As Ram Dass said:

“If you think you are enlightened, go and spend a week with your family.”

At the end of the day, if you can spend 80% of your time with positive (or even neutral), supportive folks, you’re golden.

4. One Step At a Time

This story stuck with me.

Schwartz illustrates the point that every big endeavor requires a repetition of small, seemingly simple endeavors, with the following vignette.

From Chapter 12:

Eric Sevareid, an author and correspondent, reported in Reader’s Digest in 1957:

“During World War II, I and several others had to parachute from a crippled Army transport plane into the mountainous jungle on the Burma-India border. It was several weeks before an armed relief expedition could reach us, and then we began a painful, plodding, march ‘out’ to civilized Inida. We were faced by a 140-mile trek, over mountains, in August heat and monsoon rains.

In the first hour of the march I rammed a boot nail deep into one foot; by evening I had bleeding blisters the size of a 50-cent piece on both feet. Could I hobble 140 miles? Could the others, some in worse shape than I, complete such a distance? We were convinced we could not. But we could hobble to that ridge, we couldmake the next friendly village for the night. And that, of course, was all we had to do…

When I relinquished my job and income to undertake a book of a quarter of a million words, I could not bear to let my mind dwell on the whole scope of the project. I would surely have abandoned what has become my deepest source of professional pride. I tried to think only of the next paragraph, not the next page and certainly not the next chapter. Thus, for six solid months, I never did anything but set down one paragraph after another. The book ‘wrote itself.’”

Shwartz says, “progress is made one step at a time. A house is built one brick at a time. Football games are won a play at a time…Every big accomplishment is a series of little accomplishments.”

To make your dreams come true, you must take action, but that action shouldn’t be grand.

For me, it’s sitting my butt down and writing as often as I can; or, it’s signing up for a course that will make me better, and actually completing it and participating fully.

For you, it might mean securing a domain name, setting up your first website, and launching a first product.

Or, perhaps it’s going to the grocery store, buying healthy food for the week, and making one healthy meal. And then another, and another.

Whatever your goal, you can take one forward step toward it, probably right now (look away from the internet and go, go, go!).

5. Do More, Not Less (But Take Time to Think)

If you want something done, ask a busy person to do it

I see this play out everywhere: at work, it’s the person who already wears five hats who is asked to plan the holiday party, order business cards for everyone in the company, fix the landing page, and attend a last-minute conference as well as take care of day-to-day duties, while the person with one role, who works strictly 10–5pm, fails to accomplish the one thing on his plate.

In the military, it was the same thing. The person in the S-3 operations shop who worked the craziest hours, yet still found time to work out, see his family, and help mentor junior soldiers, was the go-to person to help you book your range, figure out a funding issue, and to arrange travel and school for me and my soldiers. Meanwhile, the senior sergeant who sat in the corner with a laptop and one duty, somehow failed to accomplish his one task on time or to standard.

With friends, I notice that I’m able to consistently coordinate time on our calendars to get dinner, drinks, or catch-up, with the people who have the most on their plate: multiple jobs, crazy work hours, blossoming side projects, a consistent exercise routine, and complex family situations.

Those who don’t work full-time, have any side jobs, any regular hobbies or practices, or any true deadlines, are the ones who cancel, fail to follow through, and who never seem to make progress on their personal goals.

The Magic Of Thinking Big Review

The Magic of Thinking Big asserts that creative thinking is the driving force behind success. This is an idea I’ve seen in many books now. I quite like how this one rounds it up with many other now popular notions into one purpose, especially considering how old the book is.

I could relate to the quotes and ideas, for example, I’m a fast walker and have indeed noticed it makes me feel more confident when I rush by all the slow people dragging their feet. Definitely a read worth recommending.

Reviews (Goodreads)

 rated it 5 Out Of 5 it was amazing.

An inspiring book that will teach you to think beyond the mundane, every day, status quo. The enemy we call "average" threatens to take away the hopes, dreams, and meaning in our lives. Strive for excellence in everything you do. If you want something you've never had, you'll have to do something you've never done.

 rated it 4 Out Of 5.

It's a really nice book well crafted for the persons of any age. Sometimes you get stuck in your life and you reach a conclusion that there is no way out now. That's where motivation comes to play you consider some phenomenal work that can inspire you and burn a light of hope deep inside your heart.
These books are not extraordnary, the ideas and opinion are the same what we use to talk everyday. But the way authore ahs persented us that is soemthing insirational and tremendous. It talks about almost everything. 

 rated it 2 Out Of 5 it was ok.

I came away from this self-help book with a few useful/helpful tidbits, namely in the "stay positive," "love what you do" and "work hard" categories. However, as helpful as the book was in the 1960s for millions of people, I don't think I represent its ideal audience. 

Because, in order to truly glean more than just a few tidbits of advice from this book, I imagine you would have to subscribe to the thinking that "success" and its cousin, "happiness," are defined the way Dr. Schwartz defines it: having lots (and lots) of respect, lots of control, and therefore gaining lots of money. (I don't).

This narrow concept was further muddled for me by the fact that this book was written 50 years ago-- dragging along its dated jargon (What on earth does "blow my stack" mean??) and stereotypical gender roles. Although I appreciate Dr. Schwartz' desire to keep the "wives" happy as well, as they are apparently all at home doing dishes in every anecdote Schwartz uses... (I wonder what THEIR definiton of success is?

Favorite Quote Of Writer's

" Do what you fear and fear disappears"
                              - David Schwartz
    " Winners don't do different things,they do things differently"
                              -Shiv Khera    
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