The Magic of Thinking Big by David J. Schwartz | Book Summary, Analysis and Criticism | Free Audiobook


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About David J Schwartz

David J. Schwartz (1927-1987) was a professor of marketing and chairman of the department at Georgia State University, Atlanta. He was considered a leading American authority on motivation. Starting from a one-room house in rural Indiana, David J. Schwartz became the president of his own company, Creative Educational Services, a consulting firm specializing in leadership development. On top of this, he became a lecturer to more than three thousand trade associations and sales groups.


The Magic of Thinking Big is a powerful, practical, and uplifting book to help get you out of a rut. Building from this, this book can invigorate your goals and empower you towards success. Most people go through life with small ambitions, small goals, and small thoughts, and they only rise to the size of their dreams. That said, by thinking big, you can start achieving larger goals.

Chapter 1: Believe you can succeed, and you will

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

The size of your success is limited by the size of your thinking. If you do not believe you can achieve, this will further decrease your chances of success. Small thinking is characterized by searching for reasons for failure rather than ways you can succeed. You want to reconstruct your mind to have an expanded capacity so you can think bigger. It is within this expanded capacity that you can figure out the best actions to take.

Schwartz provides a question that readers should ask themselves to determine the level of belief they have.

“Do you believe you will have positive relationships, partners, and friendships?”

If you do not believe you will have positive relationships, partners, and friendships, then you are wrong. You are letting your belief system limit your potential success. To start challenging these beliefs and acquire the power of belief, you should follow these three tips:

Think Success, Don’t Think Failure

When you face a difficult situation, replace your automatic negative thinking with positive thoughts. Let success dominate your thought processes. Adopting these thoughts will allow you to create plans that produce success. Conversely, maintaining negative thoughts will encourage plans that produce failure.

Remind Yourself Regularly that You Are Better than You Think You Are

Successful people are not superhuman. On top of that, success isn’t based on luck. Successful people are just ordinary people who have developed a belief in themselves and what they do. So, never sell yourself short.

Believe Big

The size of your success is determined by the size of your belief. If you want to think of great ideas or ways of doing things, you first have to believe it’s possible. If you don’t believe that you can be successful, it is unlikely you will think of all the ways to achieve success.

Think little goals and expect little achievements. Think big goals and hope for big success. Crucially, big ideas and big plans are often easier than little ideas.

Chapter 2: Cure Yourself of Excusitis, the Failure Disease

Highly effective people make fewer excuses because they’re continually searching for ways to achieve their goals. Schwartz describes excusitis as the failure disease. It appears in various forms, but the worst types are health excusitis, intelligence excusitis, age excusitis, and luck excusitis.

Let’s go through them one by one:

Health Excusitis

The more you talk about an ailment, even the common cold, the worse it seems to get. Talking about bad health is like putting fertilizer on weeds. On top of that, we don’t get respect and loyalty by being a chronic complainer.

Instead, be genuinely grateful that your health is as good as it is. Life is yours to enjoy. Don’t waste it. Don’t pass up on living by thinking yourself into a hospital bed.

Intelligence Excusitis

Never underestimate your own intelligence. Similarly, never overestimate the intelligence of others. Do not sell yourself short. Concentrate on your assets and discover your talents. Remember, it’s not how big your brain is that matters. Instead, it’s how you use your brain that counts.

Remind yourself several times daily, “My attitudes are more important than my intelligence.” At work and home, practice positive attitudes. Put your intelligence to positive use by finding ways to win.

Remember that the ability to think is of much greater value than the ability to memorize facts. Use your mind to create and develop ideas, and find new and better ways to do things. Ask yourself, “Am I using my mental ability to make history, or am I using it merely to record history made by others?”

Age Excusitis

Look at your present age positively. Think, “I’m still young,” not “I’m already old.” Practice looking forward to new horizons and gain enthusiasm and a sense of youth.

Calculate how much productive time you have left. Remember, a thirty-year-old still has 80 percent of their productive life ahead of them. Even a fifty-year-old still has 40 percent of their opportunity years left. This does not mean you should waste your time. Instead, invest future time into doing what you really want to do.

Luck Excusitis

Accept the law of cause and effect. Take a second look at what appears to be someone’s “good luck.” You will notice that their success actually stems from preparation, planning, and successful thinking. Similarly, you will notice that those with good luck learn and profit from setbacks. Those with bad luck fail to learn from their setbacks.

Chapter 3: Build Confidence and Destroy Fear

Destroy fearful thoughts associated with actions that can move you towards your goals. You have to make peace with that fear. If you want your fear to go away, simply take action and do something. Action cures fear. Isolate your fear and then take constructive action.

Make a supreme effort to only put positive thoughts in your memory bank. On top of this, refuse to recall unpleasant events or situations. If you can utilize these two approaches, you’ll start to build confidence.


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