Short Book Summaries

The Magic of Thinking Big | David J Schwartz

The Magic of Thinking Big by David Schwartz

My mind triggers action. I tell myself, “I’m top-notch” before sales calls. I tell myself, “I feel great today!” When worry creeps in, I channel worry into good work. I don’t blame others and focus on improvement. I constantly ask myself, “How can I do better?” This is how I learn from my mistakes. I must resell my company and myself, and I must consistently think about doing better for ourselves and our customers. Schwartz channels the advice that we should think “get to do” not “have to do” by telling me to “life it up.” I provide more value than I am paid, and I leave every interaction having given more than I have received. I am mindful and purposeful about making friends. I introduce myself whenever possible, learn others’ names and preferred pronunciations, follow up with people I want to know better, and say pleasant things to strangers. I never miss an opportunity to compliment someone. As a leader, I master my mind. My primary job is to think.

Some quick thoughts about the book

I’m glad I read this enjoyable, easy read that various podcasts recommended. Although its advice feels cliched, remember Schwartz published this in 1959, predating virtually all self-help best sellers. A much quicker read than Dale Carnegie’s classic How to Win Friends and Influence People, the advice offered about winning friends comes directly from the classic.

Some key passages I highlighted from the book:

Do this today: Pick the one thing you like to do least. Then, without letting yourself deliberate on or dread the task, do it. That’s the most efficient way to handle chores.

Never underestimate your own intelligence, and never overestimate the intelligence of others.

Action cures fear.

“Then, every Monday evening, I set aside four hours to review the ideas I’ve jotted down and figure out how to put the solid ones to use in the business. “In this four-hour period I force myself to take a hard look at my operation. I don’t simply wish more customers would shop in my store. Instead I ask myself, ‘What can I do to attract more customers?’ ‘How can I develop regular, loyal customers?’”

The bigger the person, the more apt he is to encourage you to talk; the smaller the person, the more apt he is to preach to you.

In everything you do, life it up.

Just try this right now. Say out loud with force and vigor: “I feel great today!” Now, don’t you actually feel better than you did before you said it? Make yourself alive all over.

Whenever you leave a person, ask yourself, “Does that person honestly feel better because he has talked with me?”

Ask yourself every day, “What can I do today to make my wife and family happy?”

Always give people more than they expect to get. Each little extra something you do for others is a money seed.

how you think when you lose determines how long it will be until you win. Remember, the main job of the leader is thinking.

How to win friends:

  1. Introduce yourself to others at every opportunity. Everywhere!
  2. Be sure the other person gets your name straight.
  3. Be sure you can pronounce the other person’s name the way he does.
  4. Write down the other person’s name and spell it correctly!
  5. Drop a personal note or call new friends you want to know better.
  6. Say pleasant things to strangers.

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