The Magic of Thinking Big

Rating: 3/5

The Magic of Thinking Big promises “…the secrets of success…Achieve everything you’ve always wanted.” I’m usually not a fan of books that make those types of bold claims. This one came recommended through the Tim Ferriss podcast so I gave it a try. I wasn’t blown away. First, the book was written in a different time so many of the examples feel a bit dated and cheesy. While the overall points still make sense in today’s society, the writing felt dated. Schwartz tried to use storytelling to illustrate points, but the writing didn’t hold a candle to more modern masters of this style (Dan Pink, Malcolm Gladwell, etc). I would say it’s worth a read, but it wouldn’t be the first thing I would recommend to a friend.

I actually left with very few highlights from this book. Here are a quotes and lessons I took away.

On the topic “What does it take to deliver a good speech?”

“…knowledge of what he’s going to talk about and an intense desire to tell other people.”

On the topic “How to think creatively”

“…capacity is a state of mind.”

On two suggestions for getting others to do more for you:

  1. Always show positive attitudes toward your job so that your subordinates will “pick up” the right thinking.
  2. As you approach your job each day, ask yourself, ‘Am I worthy in every respect of being imitated? Are all my habits such that I would be glad to see them in my subordinates?’

Lyndon Johnson’s 10 step plan for success:

  1. Learn to remember names. Inefficiency at this point my indicate that your interest is not sufficiently outgoing.
  2. Be a comfortable person so there is no strain in being with you. Be an old-shoe, old-hat kind of individual.
  3. Acquire the quality of relaxed easy-going so that things do not ruffle you.
  4. Don’t be egotistical. Guard against the impression that you know it all.
  5. Cultivate the quality of being interesting so people will get something of value from their association with you.
  6. Study to get the “scratch” elements out of your personality, even those of which you may be unconscious.
  7. Sincerely attempt to heal, on an honest Christian basis, every misunderstanding you have had or now have. Drain off your grievances.
  8. Practice liking people until you learn to do so genuinely.
  9. Never miss an opportunity to say a word of congratulation upon anyone’s achievement, or express sympathy in sorrow or disappointment.
  10. Give spiritual strength to people, and they will give genuine affection to you.

On “Thinking right toward people”:

“…how you think when you lose determines how long it will be until you win.”

Four leadership rules or principles:

  1. Trade minds with the people you want to influence.
  2. Think: What is the human way to handle this?
  3. Think progress, believe in progress, push for progress.
  4. Take time out to confer with yourself.