July 9, 2022

The Magic of Thinking Big by David J. Schwartz: Review & 10 Quotes

Build Our Best Lives blog self-development book review: "The Magic of Thinking Big by David J. Schwartz: Review & 10 Quotes"

      The Magic of Thinking Big has been my favorite self-development book so far.  It teaches how your thoughts determine what you experience, and how you can shift your mindset to make the most of your life.  It explains what it means to think "big" and guides you to think bigger in different areas of your life.  This book also has great advice about letting go of excuses, overcoming fear, dealing with failure and more.

     The Magic of Thinking Big was enjoyable to read.  It gets to the point quickly.  There's no fluff - just wisdom and practical advice.  There are helpful, real-world examples of how both "big" and "small" thinking have impacted people's lives, and how some have had great outcomes using the tips provided.

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.
My Favorite Takeaways: 
     Here are some parts of The Magic of Thinking Big that were the most memorable to me personally.  Different parts might be more powerful for you.  We're all on our own unique journeys.  This book is full of gems.

1.   David J. Schwartz describes an experience he had at a training program he conducted.  Each trainee was asked to give a 10-minute talk.  One of them did terrible.  He was shaking, forgot what he was going to say, and gave up after a few minutes of fumbling.  Schwartz then spoke with this trainee and asked him to recall what was going on inside his head immediately before giving his speech.  The trainee admitted that all he could think about was how scared he was and how bad he was going to do.  Schwartz points out that this was that anwer to that man's problem - he convinced himself he was going to fail, so he did.

     The trainee was asked to give another talk at the following session.  This time, Schwartz directed him to give himself a "pep talk" prior to his speech - instead of thinking of how bad he was going to do, he was to spend a few minutes telling himself he was going to do great.  The trainee did, and then he gave an excellent speech the second time around.

2.   David J. Schwartz compares the brain to a "memory bank."  He explains that all your thoughts and experiences are "deposited" into this bank.  When you think things over, make choices, and form opinions, you ask the "teller" in your memory bank what it already knows about the subject at hand.  Schwartz explains that this teller is very reliable.  It will "withdraw" whatever type of information you ask it to.

     He uses this example: 

     If you approach him and say, "Mr. Teller, let me withdraw some thoughts I deposited in the past proving I'm inferior to just about everybody else," he'll say, "Certainly, sir.  Recall how you failed two times previously when you tried this?  Recall what your sixth-grade teacher told you about your inability to accomplish things . . . Recall what you overheard some fellow workers saying about you . . . Recall . . ."
     And on and on Mr. Teller goes, digging out of your brain thought after thought that proves you are inadequate.
     But suppose you visit your memory teller with this request: "Mr. Teller, I face a difficult decision.  Can you supply me with any thoughts which will give me reassurance?"
     And again Mr. Teller says, "Certainly, sir," but this time he delivers thoughts you deposited earlier that say you can succeed.  "Recall the excellent job you did in a similar situation before. . . . Recall how much confidence Mr. Smith placed in you. . . . Recall what your good friends said about you. . . .Recall. . ."

     Schwartz goes on to explain how we can effectively manage this "memory bank" in order to build confidence and find success.

3.   The author describes a man who decided he wanted to start a business.  For a variety of reasons, the time was never "just right" to do so.  Ten years later, he was still working the same job where he was dissatisfied and underpaid.  This book encourages you to take action.

     Some might say The Magic of Thinking Big is a bit repetitive.  The most important concepts are repeated a few times to ensure the reader understands and remembers them, which I found to be beneficial.  You'll only need to read this book once for it to change your life (though you'll probably want to read it again).

     The Magic of Thinking Big was written in 1959 so there are certain things that are outdated, but the lessons in this book are perfectly relevant today.

Who should read this?:
     I'd recommend The Magic of Thinking Big to anyone with a desire to make the most of their life.  This book would be especially helpful for anyone who's interested in starting their own business or who's hesitant to go after their dreams.

Quotes from The Magic of Thinking Big:
1.  "There is nothing magical or mystical about belief.  Belief works this way.  Belief, the 'I'm-positive-I-can' attitude, generates the power, skill, and energy needed to do.  When you believe I-can-do-it, the how-to-do-it develops."

2.  "The number one obstacle on the road to high-level success is the feeling that major accomplishment is beyond reach."

3.  "How big we think determines the size of our accomplishments."

4.  "The fellow who thinks he is inferior, regardless of what his real qualifications may be, is inferior."

5.  "Action cures fear."

6.  "Study the lives of successful people and you'll discover this: all the excuses made by the mediocre fellow could be but aren't made by the successful person.  I have never met nor heard of a highly successful business executive, military officer, salesman, professional person, or leader in any field who could not have found one or more major excuses to hide behind."

7.  "Believing it's impossible to climb high, they do not discover the steps that lead to great heights.  Their behavior remains that of the 'average' person.  But a small number of these young people really believe they will succeed.  They approach their work with the 'I'm-going-to-the-top' attitude.  And with substantial belief they reach the top."

8.  "Believe you can surpass.  Believe you can go beyond.  Those who harbor the second-best attitude are invariably second-best doers.
     Look at it this way.  Belief is the thermostat that regulates what we accomplish in life.  Study the fellow who is shuffling down there in mediocrity.  He believes he is worth little, so he receives little.  He believes he can't do big things, and he doesn't.  He believes he is unimportant, so everything he does has an unimportant mark."

9.  "Let the master thought 'I will succeed' dominate your thinking process.  Thinking success conditions your mind to create plans that produce success."

10.  "Think doubt and fail.
Think victory and succeed."