Book Summaries

Sandra Aamodt: Why Diets Make Us Fat Book Summary


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We’re constantly bombarded with trendy new diets. But whether you decide to become a fruitarian, count calories obsessively or limit yourself to the spartan sustenance of our stone age forebears, you may become disappointed when you realize that few diets give you the results you were hoping for.

While diets can help you shave off a few pounds in the short term, they rarely deliver the goods in the long run. We now have a much better understanding of why this is, thanks to advances in neuroscience, genetics and psychology.

As this book summary will show you, if your goal is to live and eat healthier, then simply focusing on weight loss is not the way to go. So let’s dive into some of the popular myths about diets.

In this book summary, you’ll learn

  • how evolution made gaining weight easier than losing it;
  • why willpower isn’t that important to eating more healthily; and
  • how exercise might one day save your life.



If a woman of average height who weighs 110 pounds lost 30 pounds, most people would agree she was too skinny and possibly malnourished. Yet if a woman who weighs 230 pounds lost 30 pounds, many people would congratulate her for shedding the excess weight.

To society, there’s a big difference in experience between these two women on a diet. Yet to the human brain, these scenarios are interpreted as dangerous: in both cases, the body thinks it’s starving.

Your body has evolved to keep your weight within a defended range; that is, your average weight plus or minus 10 or 15 pounds.

It’s relatively easy to achieve weight changes within your defended range through modifications in diet and exercise. The range itself can also shift, but it’s important to keep in mind that it’s far easier to raise the range than it is to lower it.

So while you can lose weight, once you drop below your defended rangeyour body will work hard to get you back to that level.


Why is this the case? Your brain maintains a highly effective energy-balance system, which automatically keeps your weight in its defended range by keeping the calories you burn close or equal to the calories you consume.


This energy-balance system, however, can easily be upset by the body’s reward system. When you do something that helps you survive – for example, eat a calorie-rich hamburger – your body sends your brain a shot of the feel-good neurotransmitter dopamine.


Such a system was beneficial for our hunter-gatherer ancestors. When they found a stash of honeycomb or made a big kill, for instance, the body’s reward system compelled them to overeat, which made sense for survival, as the next meal might not come for a while.

Today, however, this system doesn’t work in our favor. With constant access to high-fat, sugary foods, we can too easily overeat, which pushes our bodies’ reward system into a feel-good loop.

As a reaction to our overeating, we often put ourselves on diets. Yet, research suggests that if we diet repeatedly, it can cause changes in the brain, making the reward response even stronger, and resulting in even more indulgence.


So is willpower the solution for keeping the body’s reward system at bay amid a world full of sugary temptation?

The idea that a dieter must have a will of steel is a common dieting myth. Yet willpower isn’t suited to battling the constant allure of tasty, calorie-rich treats.

Willpower is good when channeled to achieve short- or medium-term goals, but it’s ineffective at meeting long-term goals.

A short-term goal might span a few hours, days or months, and involve tasks such as cooking a complicated recipe or finishing a work assignment.

Long-term goals, on the other hand, involve repetitive actions over the span of years – so using willpower to fight cravings continually is ineffective, because your willpower will no doubt wane before your dieting goals have been met.

In short, willpower is a finite resource that’s needed to guide many human behaviors. Moreover, once you’ve depleted your store of willpower, it needs time to recharge.

Expending willpower to drag yourself to the gym, for instance, means you’re going to have less of it when you get home and come face-to-face with that leftover chocolate cake.

Willpower has different levels of efficacy for different activities, too. A wide-ranging review of studies found that willpower was the least effective when making decisions about food.

On the other hand, willpower is great at regulating automatic behaviors, otherwise known as habits.


As we’ll explore in the next book summarys, it’s far more effective to form good eating habits than to try and use willpower to fight food cravings.

Once you use up your willpower, you inevitably revert to old habits. Then it’s a matter of whether your habits include going for a jog or finding comfort in a pint of chocolate ice cream.


Has anyone ever made a comment on your weight, insinuating that it wouldn’t hurt if you lost a few pounds? If so, you’ve experienced a form of weight discrimination known as fat shaming.


Fat shaming hinders rather than helps – instead of encouraging people to lose weight, it more often leads to further weight gain and continued unhealthy eating habits.

That’s because people who feel bad about themselves are more likely to binge. They’re also less likely to exercise, since they don’t identify themselves as fit, active individuals.

Children and teenagers are especially vulnerable to fat shaming. A study of 2,500 American girls who were fat shamed found that these girls were twice as likely to gain weight within the next five years than those who weren’t criticized about their weight.

Another result of the pervasiveness of unrealistic body images in the media is mental health issues related to weight.

One study looking at the relationship between body image and media distortions was conducted in Fiji. In the 1970s, few women in this island nation suffered from an eating disorder or dieted; in fact, a full-figured Fijian woman was seen as ideal.

In 1995, researchers examined the impact of the introduction of satellite television to Fiji. They suspected that foreign commercials and TV shows depicting a Western ideal of beauty would somehow affect how local young women saw themselves.

Researchers organized focus groups in the province of Nadroga, first in 1995 with a group of 17-year-old girls, and again in 1998 with another group of girls.

While the girls’ average weight remained steady between the two groups, researchers found that their relationship to food and their bodies had changed dramatically.

In just three years, the number of girls who said they suffered from an eating disorder such as anorexia or bulimia jumped from 13 to 29 percent. The modern Western ideal of slimness had overtaken Fijian culture, with a whopping 74 percent of girls reporting feeling “too large.”


Have you ever noticed how it’s easy to put on weight but difficult to lose it? The reason for this can be traced back hundreds of thousands of years to the first modern humans.

Early humans evolved to cope with famine, which is why our bodies are much better at hanging on to weight than shedding it.

Over some 200,000 years of modern human anatomical development, it’s only in the last century that food has become something that is reliably and regularly available for the majority of people.

Before that, gathering food and evading predators required activities such as hunting and gathering, which made it difficult for early humans to overeat. The constant threat of starvation also meant that the genes that encourage weight loss were essentially undesirable and were gradually filtered out through evolution.

A person’s genetic makeup also plays a large part in their predisposition for obesity, and even the subtlest differences in gene expression can lead to huge variations in weight gain.

A study conducted by Claude Bouchard and Angelo Tremblay, for instance, took pairs of identical and non-identical twins and had them consume an extra 1,000 calories per day for three months.

While the non-identical twin pairs differed in weight gain by as much as 28 pounds and as little as eight, the identical twins gained the same amounts of weight.

In another study that explored weight loss rather than weight gain, a group of identical twins burned 1,000 more calories a day than they normally did for three months. Twin pairs aligned even more closely in weight loss than in weight gain shown in the previous study – again demonstrating the power of genetic makeup when it comes to body weight.

And in a further example of how resistant bodies can be to weight loss, some participants lost just two pounds at the end of three months.

So, if you want to find out how predisposed you are to gaining weight, you can either take a range of expensive genetic tests or look at the waistlines of family members at the next reunion!


Get ready to tune out all the dieticians and health gurus who claim to have found the perfect path to weight loss: the best guide to eating healthily is listening to yourself.

Mindfulness, the practice of staying present in the moment, can help you become a smarter eater.


When applied to food, mindful eating is about being fully aware of the dietary decisions you make and the actions you take concerning food consumption.

Instead of relying on diets and external cues, such as the temptation of junk food at the local convenience store, mindful eating will help you listen to your body’s internal hunger signals.

To know what your body needs, you’ll have to tune into the satiety signals from your energy-balance systemYou can trust it – this internal system has worked for us since the dawn of humanity, long before the emergence of trends such as the Atkins or South Beach diets.


Here are a few techniques to start eating mindfully, which is the natural path to becoming fitter, thinner and less susceptible to eating disorders.

First, sit down for a meal when you’re only moderately hungry. If you’re famished, you’re much more likely to eat too much too fast, and ignore signals from your body.

Second, eat at a slower pace. Put your utensil down between bites and savor the bite in your mouth instead of focusing on the next one.

Finally, eat only when you are completely free from distractions. Instead of checking your phone or sitting at your desk, engage fully with your food to enjoy it.


People often feel healthier after they’ve started dieting and exercising, and often attribute this to the weight loss alone. In truth, weight loss is often just a temporary side effect, because physical activity is what makes you feel truly good.

Regular exercise is a much better indicator of health than weight, because no matter how much people weigh, active people are simply healthier.

Time and time again, studies show that when it comes to predicting early deaths, exercise levels are ten times more indicative than measures of obesity.

The first study to analyze the importance of weight versus exercise was carried out on London transport employees in 1949. British doctor Jeremy Morris collected data from 31,000 men who were either bus drivers or bus conductors.

Predictably, drivers didn’t get much physical activity, as they sat in the driver’s seat most of the time. Conductors, on the other hand, climbed nearly 500 steps a day while collecting fares on London’s double-decker buses.

The studies found that conductors were 30 percent less likely to have a heart attack. Furthermore, the heart attacks they did suffer from were less life-threatening.


But what if being active simply made conductors slimmer and thus healthier? In a clever twist to the study, Morris also compared employees’ waistlines with the potential risk of heart attack.

Indeed, conductors were thinner, but Morris also discovered that even the heaviest conductors were still less likely to suffer a heart attack than were the sedentary drivers.

The fact that a healthy body does not necessarily equal a thin body is especially true for the elderly.

Once you pass the age of 60, it becomes more dangerous to weigh too little than to weigh too much. Older people are more prone to serious illnesses, and a certain level of fat can act as a buffer against debilitating weight loss that can stem from a prolonged illness.

Therefore, to be as healthy as possible, it’s better to focus on exercise over weight loss.


Doing something over and over will soon make that action become second nature. Such a habit is great when it comes to looking both ways before crossing a road, but bad if it means you beeline for the freezer and your favorite ice cream whenever you feel stressed.

So instead of straining your willpower, cultivate positive habits to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Over half the things you do on a regular basis are automatic habits. The more you do something, the harder it is not to do it again. If you build positive habits, you can use your limited willpower for other things.


How long does it take to establish a habit? People often cite 21 days, but this is a minimum. In fact, the time it takes to develop a habit varies from situation to situation, but on average, it takes around two months for an action to become ingrained.

There are steps you can take to ensure good habits are formed successfully.

First, make sure your goal is realistic. Setting unrealistic goals is a surefire way to disappoint yourself and fall off the wagon. Instead of setting a goal to jog five times a week, try resolving to take a walk three times a week.

Second, be consistent. Missing one day isn’t disastrous, but missing a week will throw you off course. One tip for maintaining a routine is to keep a record of the days you’ve completed.

Third, remember that it’s easier to break bad habits by replacing them with positive ones.

All habits involve doing something, so you can’t replace them by doing nothing instead. For example, if you like to snack on salty chips, it won’t be enough to not eat them – instead, try replacing the chips with fresh fruit or nuts.

Remember: when you change your habits, you change your life!


The key message in this book:

Your body is much better at regulating your weight than any diet. If you learn to be responsive to your body’s hunger cues and exercise regularly, you’ll be on the right path toward better health.

Actionable Advice

Select one healthy habit and cultivate it slowly.

Don’t change your diet, exercise regime and television schedule all at the same time; that’s too much of a shock to your limited stores of willpower. If there’s one habit that will improve your life today and for the rest of your days, it’s being physically active!


Sarah Knight: Get Your Sh*t Together Book Summary

DOWNLOAD THE PDF SUMMARY HERE: Get Your Shit Together by Sarah Knight

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How many times have you told yourself you’re going to do something and then just never followed through? Whether it’s cleaning the house, getting that promotion at work or making a loved one feel special, many of us are guilty of lacking the commitment to achieve the things we want in life. And it’s not just our big goals that we struggle to fulfill – sometimes just getting through our daily routine can feel like a struggle, with not enough time in the day for even basic tasks.

Luckily, there’s a solution to this cycle of ambitious goal-setting, failure and self-loathing. Read this book summary to discover how you can start following through on your promises to yourself. From achieving your weight-loss goals to furthering your career, let’s go on a journey to discover how, with a little strategizing and a dash of focus and commitment, you can achieve your goals.

A polite word of warning before you start, though: as you might have guessed from the title, this book summary contain obscenities.

Read on to discover

  • how to harness the power of negative thinking;
  • why doing nothing can be the best strategy in a crisis; and
  • what career-changing conversation you need to have with your boss.



What’s standing in the way of you achieving your goals and being happy? When we’re challenged to get our proverbial shit together, our response is often “I just don’t know where to begin.” If this sounds familiar, then the first step toward getting your shit together is to consider exactly what your goals are, and when you plan to achieve them.

It’s crucial to be realistic about what you hope to achieve, but many of us set the bar too high when it comes to our goals.

This is problematic because we can’t become winners if we’re constantly holding ourselves to unrealistic standards. Our body goals are a perfect example. If you’re a normal person whose goal is to get in shape and lose some weight, it’s a tad unrealistic to strive to look like gorgeous fitness model Kate Upton. Most likely, you simply don’t have her body type.

So setting a goal of looking like her would be akin to aiming for an unreachable finish line. How discouraging is that? So discouraging, in fact, that it might be enough to make you quit the gym altogether, sit on your couch and mainline cookies rather than working out.

Therefore, get your shit together by ditching your unrealistic goals. Get on track by aiming for realistic progress that will make a difference to your actual life, like losing a few pounds of weight. In other words, don’t set goals based on other people’s measurements – measurements you’re unlikely to match.

Another key step to getting your shit together is to establish a better relationship with time.

If you feel as if you don’t have enough time to meet your goals, you probably have bad time-management skills. Combat this problem by gaining a better understanding of how you actually spend your time. You can do this by timing how long it takes you to fulfill routine tasks, such as having a shower or working out at the gym. Then, use this knowledge to create a realistic weekly schedule that contains all the things you want to do but never seem to have time for, such as learning a new skill. It really is that simple to start getting your shit together.


A big part of getting your shit together is maintaining your valued relationships. To keep our social and family connections ticking over, we need to do things actively to maintain or improve them. One of the most central relationships in our lives is often the one we have with our romantic partner. But the best way to nurture this relationship isn’t necessarily to be as accommodating as possible. Actually, a better way to improve or maintain a great relationship with your significant other is to get competitive with them.

By getting competitive with your partner, we’re not talking about playing a doubles tennis match. Instead, being competitive in this context means competing to be the most loving and thoughtful person in the relationship.

For instance, make it your goal to be the most helpful or the nicest one. Have a competition to see who gives the best present on Valentine’s Day or makes the nicest surprising romantic gesture.

Injecting this loving rivalry into the mix is beneficial whether you’re in the initial throws of passion or have been together for decades already. Once you adopt this winning relationship mind-set, you’ll suddenly find that even the most mundane tasks become a labor of love for your partner. Even disposing of the garbage is now a way to score points in this competition, rather than a chore you find annoying.

And if you want to win big at this loving competition, get organized.

Set some time aside to make a list of all the things you could do for your partner that will bring you serious relationship points. These could be big things, such as romantic trips abroad, provided you have some significant cash at your disposal. But it’s important that your list also contains lots of small loving gestures that require much smaller expenditure too, such as keeping the freezer stocked with their favorite flavor of ice cream.

In fact, small affectionate gestures expressed on a regular basis are much more effective than huge romantic gestures made only occasionally. Why? Because little, daily kindnesses give your partner the impression they’re always on your mind. Conversely, the annual romantic blow-out can sometimes leave your loved one thinking you’re just overcompensating for ignoring them all year!


Getting your professional shit together means different things to different people. For the author, it meant taking the plunge, quitting her job as an editor and starting to work for herself as an author. For many of us, the equivalent might be gaining a promotion or a raise within our current position.

But whatever career path you find yourself on, there are some universally applicable tips for getting your shit together.

When it comes to the world of work, appearing confident – even if on the inside you’re anything but – is crucial if you’re going to win the trust and respect of others.

To project more confidence in the workplace, start by taking a look at your colleagues. Who appears to have their shit together and how do they give off that impression? Your colleagues are probably doing remarkably simple things to signal that they’re capable, confident adults – things like having a cheerful and steady demeanor and managing to wear clean shirts without yesterday’s lunch stains.

Ask yourself, would it be that difficult for you to emulate their confidence and togetherness? Probably not – you just need to keep a smile on your face and do your laundry!


Another important way to get your professional shit together is to ask your boss the right questions.

Namely, ask her what it is you need to do to reach your professional goals. For instance, if your dream is to become a director in your department, then explicitly ask your boss what you would need to do to be considered for such a position. Though this might seem like obvious advice, far too many of us keep quiet. Because we don’t ask the right questions, we end up guessing how to prove to our seniors that we’re ready for more responsibility.

But what do you have to lose by asking directly? Even if your boss replies that there’s nothing you can do and there’s no way for you to progress in the organization, you’ve still learned something valuable. Specifically, you’ve learned there is no future for you in your current job, and you need to find a new one – one where you can progress.



Millions of Americans are overweight and suffering from lifestyle-related illnesses such as type 2 diabetes. Given this, you might assume that this is a nation that cares little about its health and fitness. But you would be mistaken.

In fact, when the author conducted a survey asking people where they felt they most needed help, respondents overwhelmingly talked about their physical health.

So we really do care about our health, it’s just that we don’t know how to get our shit together. How can we change this?

If you need some help when it comes to your physical fitness goals, then try changing how you think about them.

Although everyone lauds the power of positive thinking to help you achieve your aims, the author believes that negativity can be just as powerful. For example, if you hate your body and your excess weight is getting you down, just weigh this negativity with how much you hate the idea of breaking a sweat in the gym. If your negative body image wins out, it’s time to hit the treadmill. After all, it’s better to face the short-term misery of lunges and squats than a lifetime of depression due to hatred of your appearance.

Your physical health goals also don’t need to be radical for them to count toward getting your shit together.

During her youth, the author forced herself to go on long weekend runs and watched countless exercise videos. She was convinced that she needed to be thin. But these days she couldn’t care less if she’s carrying a little extra weight, and has ditched the punishing exercise regimen. But that doesn’t mean she doesn’t have her fitness shit together in her late thirties.

Nowadays she fits a little light stretching into her daily lifestyle. This fits in with her more mature priorities, which include being limber without slavishly devoting herself to exercise.


If you aspire to have your shit truly together, you’ll need to deal with your emotional or mental health issues too. For many of us, that means learning how to cope with anxiety, a common mental health issue. Barring turning to a medical professional for help, there are two simple approaches that can help you deal with your anxiety.

Sometimes the best strategy when dealing with anxiety-inducing situations is to face the situation head-on and rip off that anxiety Band-Aid.

This strategy is helpful when dealing with situations from which it will be impossible to move on without being proactive. For instance, say you are desperate to move out of your current house-share and live on your own, but can’t face telling your housemate that you are moving out. The only way you can get on with your life is to take a deep breath and tell him or her.

You can’t just disappear in the dead of the night without telling them, but neither can you secretly move out and pay rent on two apartments to avoid an awkward conversation. Your anxiety will only go away, and likely be replaced with relief, once you’ve had the conversation you’ve been dreading and moved out.

The second strategy for coping with anxiety is precisely the opposite of the first. Instead of being proactive, consciously decide to do nothing.

In this strategy, you ignore the situation and hope that any problems resolve themselves on their own. This may sound irresponsible, but it’s just sensible hesitation. For instance, if your boss sends you an ambiguous email that spikes your anxiety levels, it’s probably not a good idea to reply immediately or to go charging into their office to ask if you’re going to be fired.

Instead, try sleeping on it. When you return to work after a good night’s sleep, there’s every chance that email will seem perfectly innocuous. And voilà – no panicky response was necessary after all.


What would it take for you to be able to keep your home clean? Although this aspiration might sound straightforward enough, for many of us, it’s only a matter of hours before the dishes start piling up in the kitchen sink, and dirty laundry litters the bedroom floor again. When it comes to being house proud, our best-laid plans quickly go awry.

So how can you get your housekeeping shit together and remain in a perfect state of tidiness?

The first step is to undertake a one-off decluttering session.

Don’t overdo it during this initial tidy-up. You don’t need to engage in a life-transforming purge of everything you own. Instead, you should aim to get your home into enough order so that you wouldn’t be embarrassed if your neighbors showed up unexpectedly.

Once you’re satisfied with your efforts, the next step is to make a plan for the long-term tidiness of your home. To do this, start by separating every cleaning chore you can think of into different categories. For instance, some of these categories could include putting your children’s toys away, folding and ironing laundry, taking the bins out, and vacuuming.

Now that you have divided all your chores into categories, it’s time to commit to getting your shit together by making a pledge to yourself.

Namely, you should commit to undertaking one to two of these categories every other day. By breaking your housework up into bite-size chunks, it will be more manageable, and you won’t feel overwhelmed. Schedule a small amount of time in your busy day to complete a category – when you think about it, you probably don’t need more than 20 or so minutes to get each one done.

Once you’ve integrated this cleaning time into your schedule, you have no excuse not to stick to it. Some tasks, such as vacuuming, may require a little more of your time. But remember that vacuuming every other week for one hour is still going to be easier than adding that hour to another nine hours of other chores you have to do one day, all because you didn’t divide them into daily 20-minute chunks.

So when it comes to getting your cleaning shit together, keep in mind that a little can go a long way.


The key message in this book summary:

So many of us set unrealistic goals for ourselves – goals we have no hope of ever achieving. Instead, take a look at what realistic changes would make a difference in your life. Once you have a realistic goal, break it into manageable tasks and make a small amount of progress every day toward making it happen. Getting your shit together doesn’t need to be difficult, you just need to be consistent.

Actionable advice:

Use your common sense to lose weight.

Losing weight isn’t rocket science. You shouldn’t continue eating whatever, and however much, you like, but neither do you need to eat just lettuce three times a day. To lose weight the sensible way, work out how many fewer calories you need to consume on a daily basis. Science tells us that 3,500 calories are needed to maintain around one pound of weight. Therefore, aim to lose one pound a week by cutting back your food intake by 500 calories a day. Simple – and no rabbit food required.


50 Words to Your Dreams Chapter 37 Failure by Michael George Knight



The definition of failure is not only the lack of success but the neglect or omission of expected or required action. Which in short failure is the lack of taking correct actions to achieve your goals and success you aim for. Remember your success is the definition YOU give it based on the outcomes and goals YOU want to achieve.


The word failure carries so much negative connotations that people fail to realize that success is built upon a path of failures. Let me explain. In course of living and life in general you will meet with so called failure. I name this, “so call” failure, because in life there is no such thing as failure, only results. If your goal was to lose 12kg’s in 12 months but you only lost 10kg’s, are you a failure or a success? I’ll let you answer that one, all I can say is that if you lose 10kg’s you would feel and look better than you did carrying around those extra kg’s. Get the idea out of your head that there is such a thing called failure. The only thing that exists is results. Jim Rohn says it best, “Results are the name of the game.” At the end of the week, the month, the year, you look back on the results you produced.


The only time you fail at something you are aiming for, is when you stop taking action towards its attainment. The way to success is simple math, keep moving forward taking small actions, continually, adjusting as you go, not stopping until you hit your goal.



Failure is a great school; you learn from failures, you evolve from failures, you readjust your actions, your timeframes, you’re thinking and your commitment. You don’t quit when failures happen you regroup and start again more intelligently. Not achieving your goals by your deadlines does not mean success is not within reach, it just means a) You incorrectly calculated the amount of work that would be required. b) You incorrectly calculated the amount of time would be required to achieve your goal. Two things you can control, your action and your time perspective. Live and Learn from failure, have patience, work hard, never give up and one day in the future you will achieve your goals and dreams.


Success takes time and effort and many times you will fail before you are successful. The difference between success and failure is your reaction to it. It is not always reaching the destination but the journey that is taken to get there. The biggest successes have gone through the biggest failures.



  • Thomas Edison failed thousands of times when trying to create the lightbulb. His famously said, “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”
  • Elvis Presley’s first recordings went nowhere. He was told he couldn’t sing and he was going nowhere.
  • Michael Jordan once didn’t make his high school varsity basketball team and famously quoted “I’ve missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed”
  • Vincent van Gogh sold only one painting while alive and died a failure.
  • Stephen King was rejected 30 times for his manuscript of Carrie before his wife pushed him to try one more time.
  • Abraham Lincoln failed forward by failing in business, having his sweetheart die, having a nervous breakdown, defeated as a speaker and deferred for nomination for Congress, Defeated for U.S Senate twice all before becoming the President.
  • JK Rowling was a divorced mother, living on welfare, overcome depression and lost while writing the first Harry Potter book.
  • Colonel Sanders was 65-years and rejected 1,009 times before his idea was accepted.
  • Seuss first manuscript was famously rejected 28 times prior to being accepted. By the time he died he has sold 600 million copies of his books, making him by far one of the most famous failures to have ever lived.



  • A failure is a man who has blundered, but is not able to cash in on the experience. (Elbert Hubbard)
  • A life spent making mistakes is not only more honorable, but more useful than a life spent doing nothing. (George Bernhard Shaw)
  • A negative mental attitude is one of the primary causes of failure. (W. Clement Stone)
  • A person who never makes mistakes usually makes hardly anything else. (Unknown)
  • A step in the wrong direction is better than staying ‘on the spot’ all your life. (Maxwell Maltz)
  • Act as though it were impossible to fail. (Earl Nightingale)
  • Action without thinking is the cause of every failure. (Peter Drucker)
  • And the trouble is, if you don’t risk anything, you risk even more. (Erica Jong)
  • Be willing to fail in public, and you have jumped the hurdle holding most people back. (Felix Dennis)
  • Be willing to risk failure in order to succeed. (W. Clement Stone)
  • Behind every successful person there’s a lot of unsuccessful years. (Unknown)
  • Cultivate your desire for success to be greater than the fear of failure; failure is merely a pit stop between where you stand and success. Failure allows you to learn the fastest; failure inspires winners and defeats losers. (Unknown)
  • Defeat is a state of mind; no one is ever defeated until defeat has been accepted as a reality. (Bruce Lee)
  • Defeat is not the worst of failures. Not to have tried is the true failure. (George Edward Woodberry)
  • Discouragement and failure are two of the surest stepping-stones to success. (Dale Carnegie)
  • Do not be embarrassed by your failures, learn from them and start again. (Richard Branson)
  • Don’t dwell on what went wrong. Instead, focus on what to do next. Spend your energies on moving forward toward finding the answer. (Denise Waitley)
  • Don’t let a mistake depress or discourage you. See a mistake as a road to a solution; realize that depression and discouragement are negatives that limit the future. Admit the mistake, admitting the mistake takes courage but the recognition of errors is a sign of maturity. (Peter Drucker)
  • Don’t let failure bully you. Seduce success because you’re so much closer than you think. (Patrick Bet-David)
  • Don’t worry about failure. One big victory will outweigh 1000’s of failures. (Patrick Bet-David)
  • Every failure will teach you a lesson that you need to learn if you will keep your eyes and ears open and be willing to be taught. Every adversity is usually a blessing in disguise. (Napoleon Hill)
  • Every strike brings me closer to the next home run. (Babe Ruth)
  • Every wrong attempt discarded is another step forward. (Thomas Edison)
  • Everyone faces defeat. It may be a stepping-stone or a stumbling block, depending on the mental attitude with which it is faced. (Napoleon Hill)
  • Excuses are the nails used to build a house of failure. (Jim Rohn)
  • Failing does not make us failures, and the only time we do become a failure is when we decide to stop trying anymore. (Unknown)
  • Failing is not failing, unless you fail to get up. (Mary Pickford)
  • Failing to try means you’re trying to fail. (Steve McKnight)
  • Failure consists not in failing to reach our goals, but rather in not setting one. Failure consists of not trying. (Earl Nightingale)
  • Failure doesn’t mean you are a failure it just means you haven’t succeeded yet. (Robert H. Schuller)
  • Failure is a great teacher if you’re open to it. (Oprah Winfrey)
  • Failure is a merely an indication that you missed the amount of effort necessary. (Grant Cardone)
  • Failure is a trickster with a keen sense of irony and cunning. It takes great delight in tripping one up when success is almost within reach. (Napoleon Hill)
  • Failure is an event, not person; that yesterday really did end last night; and that today is my brand-new day. (Zig Ziglar)
  • Failure is an option here. If things are not failing, you are not innovating enough. (Elon Musk)
  • Failure is experienced by those who, when they experience defeat, stop trying to find the something more. (W. Clement Stone)
  • Failure is just another opportunity to more intelligently begin again. (Henry Ford)
  • Failure is man’s inability to reach his goals in life, whatever they may be. (Og Mandino)
  • Failure is not a single, cataclysmic event. We do not fail overnight. Failure is the inevitable result of an accumulation of poor thinking and poor choices. To put it more simply, failure is nothing more than a few errors in judgment repeated every day. (Jim Rohn)
  • Failure is only an attitude. You only become a failure when you pronounce that judgement on yourself. (Jack Collis)
  • Failure is rarely the result of some isolated event. Rather, it is a consequence of a long list of accumulated little failures which happen as a result of too little discipline. (Jim Rohn)
  • Failure is simply feedback. It’s not that you are bad or not good enough or incapable. Failure (or feedback) gives you the opportunity to look at what’s not working and figure out how to make it work. (Lewis Howes)
  • Failure is simply someone else’s opinion of how a certain act should have been completed. (Wayne Dyer)
  • Failure is the condiment that gives success its flavor. (Truman Capote)
  • Failure is the key to success; each mistake teaches us something. (Morihei Ueshiba)
  • Failure isn’t final until you quit. (Steven Furtick)
  • Failure permits no alibis. (Napoleon Hill)
  • Failure should be our teacher, not our undertaker. Failure is delay, not defeat. It is a temporary detour, not a dead end. Failure is something we can avoid by saying nothing, doing nothing, and being nothing. (Denis Waitley)
  • Failure will never overtake you if your determination to succeed is strong enough. (Og Mandino)
  • Fall seven times, stand up eight. (Japanese Proverb)
  • Fear of failure is a conditional response learned in childhood. (Brian Tracy)
  • For every failure, there’s an alternative course of action. You just have to find it. When you come to a roadblock, take a detour. (Mary Kay Ash)
  • Great successes are almost always preceded by many failures. (Brian Tracy)
  • I can accept failure, everyone fails at something. But I can’t accept not trying. (Michael Jordan)
  • I don’t know what success is, but I know what failure is. Failure is trying to please everybody. (Og Mandino)
  • I have never known a successful man or woman whose success did not hinge on some failure or another. (Earl Nightingale)
  • I honestly think it is better to be a failure at something you love than to be a success at something you hate. (George Burns)
  • I’ve come to believe that all my past failure and frustrations were actually laying the fountain for the understandings that I now enjoy. (Anthony Robbins)
  • If you are not willing to fail, you will forever be bound in circumstances that involves little risk. (Felix Dennis)
  • If you get up one more time than you fall, you will make it through. (Chinese Proverb)
  • If you set your goals ridiculously high and it’s a failure, you will fail above everyone else’s success. (James Cameron)
  • In order to succeed you must fail, so that you know what not to do the next time. (Anthony J. D’Angelo)
  • Inability to cooperate stood at the head of the list of the causes of failure. (Napoleon Hill)
  • It also takes effort to learn to love ourselves above all others, especially when we are so consciously aware of our failures, doubts and tragedies. It does not, however, take effort to fail. It requires little else than a slowly deteriorating attitude about our present, our future, and about ourselves. (Jim Rohn)
  • It is hard to fail, but it is worse never to have tried to succeed. (Theodore Roosevelt)
  • It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all in which case, you fail by default. (J.K. Rowling)
  • It is the individual who is not interested in his fellow men, who has the greatest difficulties in life, and provides the greatest injury to others, it is from such individuals that all human failures spring. (Alfred Adler)
  • Lack of resources isn’t the reason you failed, it’s a lack of resourcefulness is why you failed. (Tony Robbins)
  • Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up. (Thomas Edison)
  • Mature, intelligent people realize that failure is just as much a part of success as success is a part of every failure. (Earl Nightingale)
  • Most people fail in life because they major in minor things. (Anthony Robbins)
  • Much of the difference between failure and success lies in what you believe you are entitled to, so you may as well think big. (David Schwartz)
  • My best successes came on the heels of failures. (Barara Corcoran)
  • My great concern is not whether you have failed, but whether you are content with your failure. (Abraham Lincoln)
  • Never let success get to your head and never let failure get to your heart. (Unknown)
  • Ninety-nine percent of all failures come from people who have a habit of making excuses. (George Washington Carver)
  • Nothing fails like success because you do not learn anything from it. The only thing we ever learn from is failure. Success only confirms our superstitions. (Kenneth Boulding)
  • One can go committing a certain error only if one remains unconscious of it. (Osho)
  • One’s best success comes after their greatest disappointments. (Henry Ward Beecher)
  • Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly. (Robert Francis Kennedy)
  • Our greatest glory is not in never falling but in rising every time we fall. (Confucius)
  • Our so-called failures serve us well when they teach us valuable lessons. Often, they’re better teachers than our successes. (Jim Rohn)
  • People fail in their lives because their focus is on another’s wealth rather than their own goals. (Unknown)
  • People usually fail when they are on the verge of success. So give as much care at the end as at the beginning, then there will be no failure. (Wayne Dyer)
  • So what is failure? Failure does not come to a person because he is not recognized by the multitudes during his lifetime or ever. Our success or failure has nothing to do with opinions of others. It has only to do with our own opinion of ourselves and what we’re doing. (Earl Nightingale)
  • Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm. (Winston Churchill)
  • The danger comes when we look at a day squandered and conclude that no harm has been done. After all, it was just one day. But add up these days to make a year and then add up these years to make a lifetime and perhaps you can now see how repeating today’s small failures can easily turn your life into a major disaster. (Jim Rohn)
  • The difference between a successful man and a failure is not one’s better abilities or ideas, but the courage that one has to bet on his ideas, to take a calculated risk and to act. (Maxwell Maltz)
  • The line between failure and success is so fine that we scarcely know when we pass it: so fine that we are often on the line and do not know it. (Elbert Hubbard)
  • The men who try to do something and fail are infinitely better than those who try nothing and succeed. (Llyod Jones)
  • The only real failure in life is not to be true to the best one knows. (Buddha)
  • The person who never made a mistake never tried anything new. (Albert Einstein)
  • The season of failure is the best time for sowing the seeds of success. (Paramahansa Yogananda)
  • Thoughts are things; they have tremendous power. Thoughts of doubt and fear are pathways to failure. When you conquer negative attitudes of doubt and fear you conquer failure. (Bryan Adams)
  • We may encounter many defeats, but we must not be defeated. (Maya Angelou)
  • We must remind ourselves that we will fail 100 percent of the time we don’t try. (Lewis Howes)
  • We need to run the risk of going too far in order to discover how far we really can go. (Jim Rohn)
  • What would you attempt if you knew you could not fail? (Robert Schuller)
  • Why is it, when we read about the great achievements of successful men in sports, or business, we are seldom told about their failures? For example: we now read of the amazing record of the immortal Babe Ruth, with 714 home runs; but another unapproached world’s record of his is carefully buried in the records, never to be mentioned striking no more times than any other people in history. He failed 1,330 times! One thousand three hundred and thirty times he suffered the humiliation of walking back to the bench amidst jeers and ridicule. But he never allowed fear of failure to slow him down or weaken his effort. When he struck out he didn’t count that failure that was effort! (Frank Bettger)
  • Would you like me to give you a formula for success? It’s quite simple, really. Double your rate of failure. You’re thinking of failure as the enemy of success. But it isn’t at all. You can be discouraged by failure or you can learn from it. So go ahead and make mistakes. Make all you can. Because, remember that’s where you’ll find success. On the far side. (Thomas J. Watson – Chairman of IBM)
  • You always pass failure on the way to success. (Mickey Rooney)
  • You can fail at what you don’t want, so you might as well take a chance at doing what you love. (Jim Carrey)
  • You never lose. You either win, or you learn. (Unknown)
  • You want to know the difference between a master and a beginner? The master has failed more times than the beginners has even tried. (Unknown)



That’s a wrap on

50 Words to Your Dreams

Chapter 37: Failure

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Sam Harris: Free Will Book Summary


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FREE WILL By Sam Harris



Are you really in control of your every action? Is the fact that you’re even skimming this text something that you consciously chose to do, out of your own so-called free will?

The answer is no. Free will is an illusion, and the following book summarys will explain why.

New insights from neuroscience research shows that how we think and what we do every day has very little to do with our “free will.” We’re not in control, and to better understand why we do what we do, it’s important to better understand exactly how our minds work.

After reading this book summary, you’ll learn

  • why it’s your brain that’s thirsty, not you;
  • why a seemingly bloodthirsty murderer doesn’t consciously choose to kill; and
  • why conservative political policy is based on a scientific fallacy.



Here’s a scenario: You realize that you’re thirsty, so you decide to grab a glass of lemonade.

Where did this decision come from?

Many people would say you chose to drink a glass of lemonade out of your own free will. Free will happens when you make a decision – that is, make up your own mind – without being forced or coerced.

So if you want lemonade, and no one’s threatening to kill you if you don’t, you’re exercising free will.

But really, you didn’t decide to get that glass of lemonade – at least not consciously. Perhaps you felt thirsty, but that’s a biological function that you can’t directly control.

And why lemonade, exactly? And why now?

Such decisions don’t originate from our conscious minds. We don’t know what we intend to do until we actually do it.


Researcher Benjamin Libet in his experiments found that he could detect activity in parts of peoples’ brains that signaled movement before they decided to move. While participants thought they controlled their own movements, their brains had already decided to move their bodies before they were even aware of it.


This means the underlying reasons behind our actions or decisions are hidden from us. The only way we could fully control our decisions would be if we had complete control over all our brain activity.

The feeling that we control our thoughts and behaviors is an illusion. Our thoughts are inspired by deep biological processes that we simply can’t control, like our genetic makeup.

Think of it this way. Do you control the millions of bacteria in your body? Not at all. So why, then, should we think we are responsible for an equally random set of processes that occur in our brains?


So if our thoughts and actions are inspired by brain processes we can’t control, shouldn’t we just go couch-potato and do nothing all day?

Not exactly. We do have awareness, and we can think deliberately.


If you realize your back hurts, you might unconsciously move in your seat to get more comfortable. You can’t, however, unconsciously plan a trip to the physical therapist.

This is a conscious decision you have to make yourself.

So if we’re aware of a sensation like pain, we can be motivated to do something about it.

This isn’t exactly free will, however. The mechanics of the process that triggers the realization that you are experiencing pain and then making the decision to see a doctor are still mysterious. You didn’t create the pain; you didn’t create the thoughts about seeking help. Those thoughts simply appeared in your mind.

But we do exercise some sort of control. Even though our actions are predetermined by biological mechanisms, our choices are still important. You can’t know why you wanted to choose lemonade instead of water, for example, but it still matters that you did.


We also have to remember that our choices have serious effects on the world, even if we don’t create them. Don’t start seeing every person on the street as a collection of atoms just going through a series of unconscious motions. Shattering the illusion of free will shouldn’t make you fatalistic!

Instead of thinking everything is outside your control, it’s better to realize what you can control and influence in your life.


Consider the idea of self-defense classes, for instance. It wouldn’t make sense to teach self-defense by emphasizing that an attacker is just a victim of his own subconscious mental processes. While this may be true to some extent, our decision to defend ourselves instead is the important part.


The idea that we have no free will holds major implications for society, especially regarding how we deal with crime as well as how we form public policy.

Our general understanding of morality depends on people having the ability to make decisions for themselves. If someone knows something is bad but chooses to do it anyway, we judge her actions as wrong. If a psychopath kills someone “for fun,” we think he should be punished.

But as we know the psychopath has no free will, shouldn’t this change our perception of appropriate punishment?

It’s still logical to incarcerate someone who may threaten the safety of individuals in society. Yet it’s immoral to incarcerate someone – even a bloodthirsty criminal – for being born unlucky.

We need to look at criminality and criminals differently. Imagine if a “normal” person had a brain tumor that was affecting her behavior, by making her more violent and impulsive.

Would you hold her responsible for her actions?

Criminals aren’t much different. The psychopath who kills for fun and the person with a cancerous tumor both lack free will. So instead of seeking justice through punishment or retribution, we as a society should focus on deterrence and rehabilitation.

What does the absence of free will mean for politics? This primarily affects politicians who refuse to accept that people lack conscious control over their own lives. In the United States at least, this mind-set is usually found with people who identify as politically conservative.

Such politicians believe that a person has full control over their actions and can determine any future they want. They don’t acknowledge the existence of simple luck inherent in anyone’s success.

Even those “self-made millionaires” that conservative pundits love to lionize are still born with a unique genetic makeup, had particular unique experiences and perhaps even privileges that helped them get where they are – a series of events that conservatives often refuse to acknowledge.

Politicians have to demand change when possible, yet chart another course to serve the public when change is impossible or ineffective. Crucially, they need to understand that we all lack free will and so need to try to help society accordingly.


The key message in this book:

Our thoughts and decisions are determined by subconscious mental processes we don’t control. This means simply that the concept of “free will” is a farce. We may feel like we’re in control, but we actually aren’t. Because of this, we need to adapt our society so we can live together and help each other in the most effective way possible.



Robert M. Pirsig: Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance Book Summary


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What does Zen, a holistic, meditative and spiritual practice, have to do with tinkering with the gears and shafts of a greasy motorcycle? A lot, it turns out, if you’re trying to live a balanced life.


If you are “classically” minded, you tend toward science, approaching problems rationally and working to create order in a chaotic world. If you are more of a “romantic,” you embrace the chaos, understanding the world through emotion and exploring the whole, not the details.


Yet few people can perfectly balance these two mind-sets within themselves; in fact, many of the world’s problems and conflicts stem from exactly this gap between the classical and the romantic modes of thought.

So how do we overcome this gap, and live a balanced and harmonious life? Well, we take a road trip, of course – one that can teach us how to travel that magic middle road.

In this book summary, you’ll learn


  • how exactly philosophy relates to motorcycle maintenance;
  • why a romantic thinker won’t fix a broken motor himself; and
  • why quality is the perfect balance of rational and spiritual.



The narrator’s journey begins at the start of a motorcycle road trip he’s planned with his son, Chris, and a married couple, John and Sylvia Sutherland.


On a philosophical level, the narrator represents the classical mode of thinking, while the Sutherlands represent the romantic.


Using the metaphor of motorcycle maintenance, the classical mode of thought finds its expression in the rational knowledge and expertise of an engineer or mechanic.

A classical thinker like a mechanic understands all the technical details that make a machine function, how they all fit together and, importantly, how to find what’s wrong and fix it if the machine malfunctions.


When presented with an engine, for example, a classical mind is fascinated by the rich underlying symbols and functions of form that make a machine work – the gears, the belts, the pistons and all the complicated interactions that make a machine what it is.

Looking beyond motorcycle maintenance, other examples of classical thinking include things such as the scientific method, logic and mathematics.


These fields are underpinned by highly systematic, reliable and rational systems. They abide by an established set of rules that have been tested and verified. Each new innovation within a system is built upon pre-existing norms, which are themselves built upon the same standards and rules – thus making the classical mode of thought predictable, straightforward and unemotional.


Ultimately, the classical mode aims to bring control and order to the chaos of the world.



In contrast to the narrator’s “classical” mind, his road trip partners, John and Sylvia Sutherland, represent the “romantic” mode of thinking.


The Sutherlands refuse to learn how to fix their motorcycle on their own, even though it would be much cheaper to do so – and could make them more self-reliant riders, knowing the basics of how the machine functions.


For example, when the couple’s motorcycle begins to have problems, the narrator suggests a rough, do-it-yourself solution – using a soda can to replace a malfunctioning part – an idea that horrifies John, as it would compromise the sleek, romantic aesthetic of his expensive BMW motorcycle. He refuses his friend’s advice and insists on taking the bike in for repairs.


As a classical thinker, the narrator doesn’t understand why John would rather pay, both in terms of money and time, for something that could be easily fixed.


The narrator soon realizes, however, that the reason why the Sutherlands refuse to learn or understand the workings of their bike is that they resent the creeping power of technology in their lives. Their refusal to engage with the technology is simply their way of fighting it.


In general, romantics are driven by the emotional, inspirational, creative, imaginative and intuitive modes of life. The strengths of the classical mode are seen as weaknesses by romantic-minded people. They see the human experience as neither predictable nor controllable; instead, life is full of chaos and emotion, the very forces that classical thinkers seem to ignore or attempt to control.


The narrator is baffled by his friends’ admiration of their motorcycle as a beautiful object, while rejecting its efficiency as a powerful machine. Yet romantics often value aesthetics over practical application. To the Sutherlands, understanding their machine would simply undermine its beauty!



During the road trip, the narrator begins to remember and reveal parts of his past identity, which he calls Phaedrus, a “madness” that was cured after undergoing electroshock therapy.


Phaedrus was a philosophy student and English professor who struggled with the tension between the classical and romantic modes of thought.


He had initially studied science, but quickly became disillusioned with its focus on rationality and its veneer of self-certainty.


Phaedrus realized that behind each explanation there can always be an infinite number of other possible explanations. Thus he began to search for other ways of understanding the world.


Yet as he started challenging and questioning existing systems of thought, he also began to exhibit increasingly antisocial behavior and even signs of mental illness.


Phaedrus was then placed in a mental health institution and prescribed electroshock therapy to “cure” him of his illness.


When he awoke many months later, the narrator remembered little of Phaedrus and his thoughts. He left his teaching position at the university, and he, his wife and son moved away.


According to the narrator, while some people might judge an experience such as Phaedrus’s mental “break” as an illness that needs to be cured, other cultures might see it differently, as a profound moment or period of enlightenment.


The narrator is torn between fighting Phaedrus’s re-emerging memories and embracing them. The contrast between his views on life and Phaedrus’s perspective creates a tension that builds until the end of the story.


While the narrator seems bound to his classical mind, it soon becomes clear that Phaedrus had the ability to combine both classical and romantic ways of thinking.



While studying philosophy, Phaedrus began to develop his own philosophy, which both caused and would ultimately cure his “madness.”


Phaedrus believed that the dichotomy of classical versus romantic, so central to Western thought, is responsible for the dissatisfaction, confusion and lack of wisdom in modern society.


When John Sutherland couldn’t get the engine on his motorcycle to start, it upset him profoundly as it was an intrusion on his reality. It reminded him of the ubiquitous presence of technology, a force from which his romantic mind had tried so hard to escape.


Phaedrus believed that if we are to live in a way that promotes well-being and wisdom, we must find a way to mollify the antagonism between the classic and the romantic with the concept of quality.


Quality is a philosophical approach that includes both the classical and romantic modes of thought, by integrating the romantic side into the canon of rationalism.


In his musings, Phaedrus describes the ways in which people consciously and unconsciously select from millions of possible stimuli the specific things upon which we focus attention.


Those classically minded tend to acknowledge their perceptions of the world and then classify and divide them based on individual characteristics – thus creating order out of chaos.


Romantics in contrast tend to admire and exalt the chaos and richness of life’s experiences.


Quality rejects neither approach outright but instead incorporates both by reflecting upon the vastness of the original pool of stimuli, from which we assemble our versions of “reality” and “truth.”



Although the philosophy of quality is intended to reconcile the classical and the romantic modes of thought, this was unquestionably a struggle for the narrator.


Despite Phaedrus’s criticisms of rationality, set definitions and blind fanaticism, he nonetheless employs all these elements in his criticisms of himself.

For instance, when the university where he was teaching came under the influence of right-wing state politics, Phaedrus felt that academic integrity and freedom were being compromised and pushed to have the university’s accreditation revoked in protest.


In justifying his actions, Phaedrus compares a university to a church. He says that the

people running an organization like a church must abide by the standards that have been established by the “state of mind” of that organization.


Essentially, a church, like a university, is not the property it sits on or the jobs it provides, but instead the spirit and energy of the ideas behind it.


In arriving at this epiphany, Phaedrus berates himself for having so long pursued only the rational, despite knowing that rational explanations cannot provide the only path to understanding. He realized then that he had been blind to the “romantic,” or the spiritual, side of life.


The attempt to reconcile classical and romantic thought – or striving for “quality” and balance in one’s life – led to personal strife and eventually “madness” for Phaedrus.


This collapse caused pain for his family as well. The narrator worries throughout the road trip that Chris too is showing signs of compromised mental health – complaining about psychosomatic stomach aches and exhibiting dramatic mood swings – and the narrator blames himself.


Although Phaedrus’s crisis forced the narrator to abandon teaching and move his family to another town, he explains that his son still misses Phaedrus and all that he represented.


Even though Phaedrus was the cause of both grief and happiness, at the end of the story, the narrator is able to embrace his old identity, and father and son ride away on their motorcycle, happy.



The key message in this book:

While the divide between science and the humanities may seem vast, that doesn’t mean the two aren’t reconcilable. In fact, bridging this divide is absolutely necessary if we want to better understand the complexities of the human condition.


Actionable advice:

Expand your horizons.

If you are a “humanities person” who doesn’t know the first thing about how basic things work – like your sink’s plumbing or your car’s motor – push yourself to learn about the mechanics behind everyday technologies. If you’re more scientifically minded, however, and less engaged with the humanities, consider reading a poem or two or keeping a journal of self-reflection.



Robert Kiyosaki: Why “A” Students Work For “C” Students Book Summary

DOWNLOAD THE PDF SUMMARY HERE: Why “A” Students Work For “C” Students by Robert Kiyosaki

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Why “A” Students Work For “C” Students

The Education System & The American Dream

School and education overall, sometimes fail to recognize the potential in some kids, case in point, Albert Einstein and Thomas Edison.

They were both labeled as insubordinate, headstrong, clumsy, and mixed up.

Nonetheless, they came out of the woodwork years later and revolutionized the world with their great inventions.

So the question is:

How come the “C” students overshadow the “A” students in real life? – They learn what “A” students regard as irrelevant.

In the 2012 Presidential Election, Obama vs. Mitt Romney, you can clearly see why finances taught at home matter so much. Obama revealed that he paid 20% on his $3million income, while Romney paid 14% on his $21 million.

Many were infuriated, but it clearly can be attributed to the dexterity in finance, and lessons taught at home.

The lesson is – give your kids a head start by teaching them how to manage their finance to prevent them from squandering the hard-earned dollar.

Upon the mortgage market collapse in 2007, many young adults with college degrees had literally zero chance to find the high-paying six-figure job of their dreams. Driven by fear, parents began to caution their children of what would happen, if they didn’t attend classes and enroll in a University.

Meanwhile, education became even more expensive, and thousands of students were swimming in debt upon graduation.

For the first time in history, American people questioned the education system and firmly believe that the next generation won’t do better.

Why do we keep pressuring our kids to get a degree, when jobs are moving to low-wage countries? Why would anyone hire an American accountant, when you can simply outsource the work and get a much lower price? – It’s pretty simple to understand why the American dream is shattered.

Also, why financial education is not taught at school?

Robert asserts that education is key, but he harbors suspicions about the learning curve which seems to decline with each generation.

The “stay in school” slogan is starting to make less sense than ever. When Robert was just a boy, he would occasionally skip the chores to play Monopoly for hours after school. His dad would then come along, and tell him to stop wasting his time.

Robert Kiyosaki’s dad was a socialist (or at least leaning toward socialism); the average paycheck guy should you prefer.

Between the age of 9-18, he would go to the Rich Dad house and learn the process of running a business firsthand. He understood the true meaning of capitalism, and how we all benefit from other people’s skills and talents.

The endless stream of knowledge he received from being involved in the real deal from an early age, gave him the edge in real life.

The Poor Dad (his father) wanted the safe path instigated through college, salary, security, pension, medical benefits, etc.

Now you understand why so many people are graduating from college. The standards are lowered to the degree that almost any young kid who has no clue about his future can just sign the papers without understanding the financial burden of such actions.

Brace yourself for the future

You cannot help but notice that parents, and people in general, try to protect their children from the harsh reality of today. As the world progresses, new expenses and liabilities will incur, leading to even greater uncertainty.

Hence, many kids straight out of college cannot seem to fit in this workforce.

This leads to a backlash and the rise of a phenomenon known as “boomerang kids.” These are the kids who cannot survive on their own and are reliant upon their aging parents to take care of them.

  • E for employee
  • S for small business or self-employed
  • B for big business (500 employees or more)
  • I for investor

Quadrant E – Employees represent the majority of the workforce, and are mainly those who strive for higher paychecks.

Quadrant S – A large chunk of the people here are the “A” students such as doctors, lawyers, etc.

Quadrant B – The innovators, the business creators such as Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, etc.

Quadrant I – Active investors such as Warren Buffett.

Your mom and dad want you to fall into “E” or “S” quadrants, because it’s much safer, while the Rich Dad prepares you to take over the “I” Or “B” quadrant.

Socialists live in “E & S” quadrants, while capitalists live in “I & B.” Whenever people shout “Tax the Rich” they don’t understand that the taxes are raised on high-earners, which means people from “E & S” quadrants.

Investors and smart entrepreneurs prefer to remain capitalists who create jobs and value effort. It’s not too sketchy for them to find legal ways to pay less taxes. It’s simply a matter of finances not a matter of policies.

If you are keen to prepare your child for the battle lying up ahead, you have to make sure that you’re teaching them how to spend wisely and avoid unnecessary costs.

In all honesty, it’s never too late to change quadrants and start thinking critically.

Address the problem and start learning

Rich dad would say: Money problems can make you smarter, while Poor Dad dreads the idea of having money problems. You have to understand that long gone are the days when a person would get a job and spend 40-45 years in a single company only to retire and accrue various benefits.

The main bridge between wealthiness and poorness is how we handle the money problems.

In addition, let’s take a look at the windows of learning that Robert holds in high regard!

  • Birth to Age 12: Quantum Learning
  • Ages 12 to 24: Rebellious Learning
  • Ages 24 to 36: Professional Learning

During this period, you’ll see whether the system comprised of both parents and schooling has taught you well.

Rich Dad places emphasis on assets, while Poor Dad on liabilities.

You have to know where you draw the line by singling out the things which put money into your pocket and eliminating the ones that squeeze every bit of money that you earn.

“Bs” & “Is” focus on asset acquisition, unlike “Es” and “Ss” who are not prone to think critically.

According to Albert Einstein Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.

It is insanity to say to your child, “Go to school and get a job,” when jobs are being shipped overseas or replaced by advances in technology.

It is insanity to say, “Work hard,” when the harder you work, to earn more money, the more taxes you pay.

It is insanity to say, “Save money,” when money is no longer money…but debt, an IOU from the taxpayers.

It is insanity to say, “Your house is an asset,” when it is really a liability.

Traditional education prioritizes content, not context. Context (person) holds the true meaning, and without it, content would not exist.

It’s about the traits and habits these people endorse, espouse and promote:

A Poor Person might say:

  • I will never be Rich
  • Poor people are good people

Middle-Class Person might say:

  • I want a college degree
  • Good education
  • Nice home and job security

Rich Person or “Rich in the making” might say:

  • Freedom is more important than anything
  • I want to find out more about life
  • I must be rich

Why the rich get richer, and the poor get poorer? – The solution is in the three income solution:

  1. Ordinary
  2. Portfolio
  3. Passive

Just utilizing the “ordinary” method will get you nowhere. As an example, take a look at successful athletes and lottery winners, who failed to transform their income and ended up broke. Giving money to a poor person is not a guarantee for success, it’s quite the opposite because they don’t know how to manage finances.

Why put “A” students in this category and, why do “A” students fail?

Well, mostly due to the fact that the school system only recognizes one intelligence.

In addition, let’s list a few to get an aerial view of the problem:

  • Verbal-linguistic
  • Logical-mathematical
  • Body-kinesthetic
  • Spatial
  • Musical
  • Interpersonal
  • Intrapersonal
  • Emotional Intelligence; also known as Success Intelligence

Last but not least, don’t make snap judgments and believe that geniuses are greedy. That’s probably the most misleading information about capitalists, who upon receiving strong financial education are more than willing to share their fortune in numerous ways.

Remember, the American Dream is not something you have the right to demand, but something you have the right to pursue.

Key Lessons from “Why “A” Students Work For “C” Students”

  1.      It’s never too late
    2.      Keep pushing, keep learning practically
    3.      Fill the shoes of a great leader

It’s never too late

You might be a person in your late 30s or 40s, but that doesn’t stand to reason as to why you wouldn’t be a good candidate to shift your mindset.

Many entrepreneurs unanimously argue that entrepreneurship embodied into capitalism is a mindset, not a profession.

So, don’t feel discouraged to seize the world!

Keep pushing, keep learning practically

Yes, reading is essential but not as important as participating in debates, doing actual things and experimenting.

Don’t be deceived by the notion that once you arrive at the office, you’ll have all the skills because you’ve been to the best schools.

It’s just nonsense! The real drama begins once you become part of the dynamic of 21st-century capitalism.

Fill the shoes of a great leader

Even if your prowess at something is not at a level that is required, the very determination to take the plunge is all that it takes to make a difference.

In doing so, you’ll finally shrug off all the meaningless and trivial concepts that have poisoned you.

Unleash your potential by throwing yourself into the fire, and accepting the leadership burden.



TOP 20 Sales Books


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  • Your prospects are more value-conscious and information-conscious than ever.
  • You must identify what is important to any given prospect, then learn how to appeal to those values.
  • Be a tactful educator and facilitator-not steamroller.
  • Treat all your sales work as a consulting assignment.
  • The best salespeople are professional problem solvers.
  • Listening is the first part of the secret, and identifying the mutually accepted solutions is the second part.
  • Referrals are the life blood of a successful career in sales. And yet salespeople are usually terrified to ask for them.
  • Enthusiasm builds bridges.
  • Realize how important attitude is in sales work.


  • The way of the world is meeting people through other people, and the referral is the warm way we get into people’s lives.
  • The chances of making the sale were almost four times greater with referrals.
  • Building your business from referrals is the best route to success.
  • Cold calling is God’s punishment for failure to get enough referrals.
  • Listening is the most important relationship skill you can practice.
  • A relationship that’s had a problem handled well is a stronger relationship than one that’s never had a problem.
  • The three keys to asking prospects for referrals are. 1) Serve them before you sell them. 2) Plant seeds that you are building your business from referrals. 3) When the rapport is good, ask them directly for referrals.
  • Be a serve person first, and a salesperson second.
  • If you don’t have an attitude of service, your ability to gain referrals will be severely limited.


  • The question in the world of sales is: How do you persuade? Answer. You don’t persuade by telling, you persuade by asking. A large portion of selling is devoted to asking questions, with emphasis on listening for the answers.
  • Selling with integrity is the only way you can build a long-term career with the same company selling the same product to the same people – which brings sales stability and financial security.
  • Attitude is always a player on your team.
  • All successful sales professionals utilize listening skills to their fullest.
  • Interestingly enough, the more salespeople know about their prospects needs, the better position they are in to meet those needs.
  • If we can give someone a reason for buying and an excuse for buying, the chances are rather dramatically improved that he will buy.
  • People buy what they want when they want it more than they want the money it costs.
  • Emotion makes the prospects take action now, and logic enables them to justify the purchase later.
  • Fear of loss is greater than the desire for gain.


  • The ability to see the situation from the other side is one of the most important skills a negotiator can possess.
  • Recognize and understand emotions, theirs and yours.
  • Listen actively and acknowledge what is being said.
  • Face the problem, not the people. Don’t view the other side as adversaries.
  • For a wise solution, reconcile interests, not positions.
  • Ask for principled justification of their stance to show them how ridiculous it is.
  • Don’t be a victim.


  • At any one time, for any product or service, 3% are buying now. 7% are open to the idea of buying. The remaining 90% are in 3 categories. The top 1/3rd are not against it, nor for it, just “thinking about it”.  The next 1/3rd “think they’re not interested”.  The final 1/3rd are “defiantly not interested”
  • The hardest thing we need to do today is grab the attention of potential buyers and keep their attention long enough to help them buy your product.
  • When you sell you break rapport, but when you educate, you build it.
  • 7 Steps in Selling. Establish rapport, Qualify the buyer, Build value, Overcome objections, Close the sale and follow up.
  • Be empathetic and care about them. Be more interested in them than anyone else has ever been. If you want to be fascinating, be fascinated.
  • Mirror body language and tonality.
  • Ask great questions to find common interests and get personal.
  • Have a sense of humour.


  • If you are completely fluent in closing and absolutely confident in your ability to ask for the order you will be more aggressive in prospecting in the first place and have higher self-esteem.
  • Personality constitute 80% of your success.
  • Top salespeople accept 100% responsibility for everything they do.
  • Top 3% of people in every organization look at themselves as self-employed.
  • Your customer can never believe in your product anymore than you do.
  • Top salespeople know what they’re going to say word for word and rehearse. Poor salespeople wing it and sweat as they say whatever comes to their mind and hope.
  • Prospecting, presenting and closing are the only 3 activities that pay you money. All the rest is waste.
  • Your goal is to make the closing as smooth as possible for the customer.
    It should be quick and your whole presentation should be structured with the close in mind.


  • When we are negotiating, we try to get the other person to agree with us.
  • You are not able to control the other’s behaviour, but you can control yours.
  • Having control of your behaviour is the first step in overcoming the other’s “no.”
  • Start by trying to see the other’s point of view. Even if something seems completely irrational to you, it may be that the person has a valid argument.
  • Communicate Persuasively and Optimistically.
  • Remove any obstacles in the way of the business, so you get a “yes” more quickly.


  • If the prospect has a problem, they want to solve it.
  • Sales process is a constant closing process.
  • Make it easy for prospect to buy and translate it into an affordable amount.
  • Asked lots of questions. Every professional or tax consultants / doctors / lawyers. Socratic method of leading people to decisions.
  • People don’t buy just what they really need.  We sell people what they want.
  • People buy what they want when they want the item MORE than the cost of that item.
  • Closing is an attitude. It’s everything that matters in sales.
  • Selling is a transference of feeling.
  • If you are convinced, you can be convincing.
  • Logic makes em think. Emotion makes em act. Logic + emotion together = want to own.
  • Persistence separates the best salespeople.


  • The SPIN sequence of questions
  • Situation Questions
  • Problem Questions. Explore problems, difficulties and dissatisfaction.
  • Implication Questions.
  • Need-payoff Questions.
  • Successful sellers concentrate on objection prevention, not on objection handling.
  • Your objective shouldn’t be to close the sale, but to open a relationship.
  • The idea is to take a problem that the buyer perceives to be small and build it up into a problem large enough to justify action and build up the value or usefulness of the solution.


  • The master salesman is a master of other because he is master of himself.
  • The master salesman becomes a master because of his or her ability to induce other people to act upon motives without resistance or friction.
  • You must sell yourself. You must sell your personality.
  • The master salesman paints a word picture of the thing he if offering for sale. The canvas on which he paints in the imagination of the prospective buyer.
  • Showmanship is one of the important factors in master salesmanship.
  • People buy personalities and ideas much more quickly than they buy merchandise.
  • Remember that people are motivated to buy, or not to buy, through their feelings. Remember also that much of what they believe to be, their own “feelings,” consist, in reality, of thought impulses which they have unconsciously picked up from vibrations of thought released by the salesman.


  • Successful selling is essentially a matter of being a first-class communicator.
  • Ask more people to buy what you sell.
  • Without prospects, a salesperson has no business. The quality of our prospects decide the level of our success.
  • The goal of the modern salesperson is to ‘reach agreement’ rather than ‘overcome objections.’
  • Don’t sell me products or services. Sell me ideas, a better self-image, freedom from fear and want, and a philosophy on life that will enable me to grow and reach my potential as a human being.
  • More than 70 per cent of all sales are made on emotional issues, and unless the prospect becomes emotionally involved with the product or service, they are unlikely to buy.
  • There are only two reasons why people buy: 1. To solve a problem. 2. To make themselves feel good.
  • Give a hard ‘no’ when an easy ‘yes’ might suffice.
  • Always be hard on the problem, but soft on the people.


  • Becoming a successful salesperson requires learning how to sell yourself first. This is because buyers “buy into” the seller initially before they do the product or service.
  • Recognize that you are your company’s number one product.
  • Successful salespeople believe in what they are selling. An excellent salesperson is one hundred percent convinced about the product or service he is carrying.
  • Believe that one can sell to every prospect. Remove any form of negative thinking.
  • Create a winning self-image. A positive self-image influences other people believe to believe in you.
  • Create an appearance of success. Look professional. A professional appearance goes beyond clothing.
  • Make the prospect feel important. Let the customer feel the salesperson’s sincerity.
  • Bring a sense of humor to the sales presentation. Nonetheless, use humor at the right time to relax and make the prospect feel comfortable.
  • Assume the sale.
  • Know how to read buying signals.
  • Appeal to prospect’s ego.
  • The salesperson must assume the role of authority in the process.
  • Give the customers so much service that they will feel guilty thinking about doing business with somebody else.


  • Advance and conquer while others contract and retreat.
  • Unreasonable amounts of activity, way beyond what’s considered normal. You should restructure your day to focus on the most important thing for every business – SALES.
  • Reactive your power base from the people you know and have done business with.
  • The people you know either have the money you want or know people who do.
  • Contacts turn into contracts, and the more contacts, the more contracts.
  • Be unreasonable. Quit being reasonable – don’t settle for just getting by.
  • Get uncomfortable and take unreasonable amounts of action. The discomforts you experience now will guarantee that you’ll be comfortable in the future.
  • Any attention is better than no attention.
  • Don’t forget add-on sales, second money is always easier than first money.
  • 80% of sales are made on the fifth to twelfth contact, but only 10% of salespeople call beyond three times.
  • Ask for referrals.
  • Deliver at WOW levels.
  • There is no shortage of money, but there is a shortage of action and follow-through.


  • Talk with a little enthusiasm and arouse yourself inside.
  • Force yourself to act enthusiastic, and you’ll become enthusiastic.
  • Selling is the easiest job in the world if you work it hard – but the hardest job in the world if you try to work it easy.
  • You can’t collect your commission until you make the sale; You can’t make the sale ‘til you write the order; You can’t write the order ‘til you have an interview; And you can’t have an interview ‘til you make the call!
  • The most important secret of salesmanship is to find out what the other fellow wants, then help find the best way to get it.
  • Be an assistant buyer, I assumed the role of assistant buyer in charge.
  • People don’t like to be sold. They like to buy.
  • Clothes don’t make the man, but they do make ninety percent of what you see of him.
  • Open your conversation with a big smile, and feel the difference.
  • A salesman cannot know too much but he can talk too much.
  • Find out about a prospect’s hobby, and then talk about that hobby.
  • It is all in the approach. A customer is either sold or missed by the approach.
  • The first, and probably the most important, step in selling anything: “Sell yourself first!”
  • The foundation of sales lies in getting interviews, sell the appointment and then sell your product.
  • New customers are the best source of new business. New customers!


  • One of the basic truisms of selling is that “slumps” will occur. You are going to hit those plateaus where nothing seems to work very well personally or professionally.
  • Selling can be and should be fun, so let’s make it clear from the beginning that a sense of humor combined with self-esteem that allows you to laugh at yourself will play a significant part in your success in your chosen profession.
  • Realize that the majority of highly paid veterans in sales (or in any field) are hard workers.
  • Work to stay current with the all-important, ever-changing areas of product knowledge and communication skills.
  • The one thing that customers have always rated highest in the sales world is trust.
  • Listen with your eyes.
  • You can have everything in life you want if you will just help enough other people get what they want!
  • Prospecting is the most important key to sales success! Without prospects you are disqualified as a sales professional.
  • Until you have a prospect, you have no chance of making a sale.
  • Winners sell benefits. Paint the picture so your prospect sees personal benefits.


  • Establish a buying motive by creating a need or want or strong desire in the prospect’s mind.
  • Remember our common human weakness: Not being able to say “no” to a gracious, persuasive, persistent, positive person.
  • Always try at least once more to close the sale.
  • Your Most Important Asset – Your Attitude.
  • Believe that you can close every prospect on whom you call. Expect success.
  • Be calm, serene, poised. Exert gentle positive persuasion based on factual knowledge and confidence. Avoid being too eager.
  • Respect your prospect’s time. Be persistent. Be enthusiastic. Don’t talk too much. Use as few words as possible, especially at the close.
  • To close, you must overcome the FEAR in the prospect’s MIND by REASSURING him. Instil confidence. Give him courage.
  • Adjust the speed and tempo of your sales presentation to the speed at which your prospect thinks.
  • Expect orders. Assume the prospect is going to buy. It’s just a matter of what kind, how many, and when.


  • Don’t try and blaze your own trail. Instead, learn from the success of others. Study the sales techniques which have worked for other people in other settings and with other products and services. Evaluate what worked for them, adapt these principles to suit your own specific product or service and move ahead.
  • In selling, everything counts, but 80-percent of your success will derive from the quality of your personality.
  • The key to sales success lies in doing everything you can to build your self-esteem. The higher your self-esteem, the more successful you’ll be in a sales role.
  • The very essence of sales success is to build and maintain high-quality relationships with customers. The only way to do that is with trust and credibility.
  • Selling professionally is quite simple — it’s the process of persuading someone the value they will receive from your product or service is greater than its cost.
  • Today’s prevailing sales model. 40% — Building trust. 30% — Identifying specific needs. 20% — Presenting solutions to needs. 10% — Confirming and closing.
  • You are in the business of developing professional selling friendships.
  • Top salespeople have clear, written goals.
  • Most sales are made or lost within the first 30-seconds of contact.
  • All top salespeople consciously and deliberately orchestrate every single element of their environments. This attention to detail is the mark of a true professional.


  • Plain and simple, if your prospect doesn’t trust you, there’s absolutely no way they are going to buy from you.
  • The prospect must trust the product, you and your company.
  • People don’t buy on logic; they buy on emotion, and then justify their decision with logic.
  • If you want to close at the highest level, then you’re going to have to create both types of certainty – logical and emotional.
  • Take immediate control of the sale, and then move the prospect from open to the close along the shortest distance between any two points: a straight line.
  • You must engage in massive intelligence gathering, while you simultaneously build massive rapport with your prospect.
  • Every word, every phrase, every question you ask, every tonality you use; every single one of them should have the same ultimate goal in mind, which is to increase the prospect’s level of certainty as much as humanly possible, so that by the time you get to the close, he’s feeling so incredibly certain that he almost has to say yes. That’s your goal.
  • You’re going to have to ask for the order at least two or three times before you have any chance of your prospect saying yes.
  • A prospect must cross over the “threshold of certainty” before he or she feels comfortable enough to buy.
  • Three things you absolutely must come across in the first four seconds. Be sharp as a tack, enthusiastic as hell and an expert in your field.
  • If you make a negative first impression, it takes eight subsequent positive impressions to erase that one negative first impression.
  • Tonality and body language comprise approximately 90 percent of our overall communications.
  • Your success is still going to be contingent on your ability to trigger a key emotional state within yourself as you’re about to enter the sales encounter, and then maintain that state to the very end.
  • Remember that getting into a rapport with someone is done primarily through tonality and body language, not your words.
  • You should always use a script, whether you’re selling in person or on the phone.


  • Selling wasn’t an innate ability. It was a set of identifiable skills that could be learned.
  • Surveys of customers consistently show that they put the highest value on salespeople who make them think, who bring new ideas, who find creative and innovative ways to help the customer’s business. Customers demand more depth and expertise. They expect salespeople to teach them things they don’t know.
  • The challenger rep is the rep who loves to debate. The one who uses his or her deep understanding of a customer’s business not simply to serve them, but to teach them: to push their thinking and provide them with new and different ways to think about their business and how to compete.
  • Six attributes that set Challenger rep’s apart. 1) Offers the customer unique perspectives 2) Has strong two-way communication skills 3) Knows the individual customer’s value drivers 4) Can identify economic drivers of the customer’s business 5) Is comfortable discussing money 6) Can pressure the customer.
  • The challenger is focused on pushing the customer out of their comfort zone.
  • The challenger rep wins by maintaining a certain amount of constructive tension across the sale.
  • Customers place a great deal of importance on a smooth, uncomplicated purchase.
  • Customers are saying rather emphatically, “Stop wasting my time. Challenge me. Teach me something new.”
  • Customer loyalty is a result not of whatyou sell, but how you sell.
  • Demonstrate a high level of professionalism.
  • Don’t make your customers work so hard to spend their money!
  • Teaching, tailoring, and taking control.


  • Selling is a prerequisite for life. Selling impacts every person on this planet. Your ability or inability to sell, persuade, negotiate, and convince others will affect every area of your life and will determine how well you survive.
  • The ability to communicate and convince others is an asset for you; the inability to communicate is a liability.
  • This inescapable truth is that to be truly great at anything, you must devote yourself, your energy, and your resources to a career in selling.
  • The ability to predict is the first thing that happens when you become a professional.
  • A salesman who can’t close deals won’t like selling.
  • Selling yourself. Only to the degree you are sold can you sell.
  • You have to be 100 percent certain that what you’re selling is better than all other options.
  • Being unreasonable means that you are sold on what you’re selling, and it is your conviction alone that will sell others on it.
  • Become so thoroughly sold on your product that your conviction is irresistible to others.
  • I assure you that the less hung-up you are on money, the easier money will come to you.
  • Most sales are lost over unspoken objections.
  • You have to get your buyer to want your product more than he wants his money.
  • Your prospect is never the problem – never! Salespeople, not the prospect, are the ultimate barriers to every sale.
  • Love your product, love your service, love your customer, and love yourself enough to learn how to “hard sell.”
  • It’s vital that salespeople know about people first and products second.
  • Selling is 80 percent people and 20 percent product.
  • Be more interested in the customer than you are in yourself, your sales process, your product, or your commission and you will make more sales.
  • Communication = Sales. If you don’t get into communication with the buyer, you have no chance of ever making the sale.
  • The human quality involved in selling can never be replaced.
  • People are senior to products.
  • Always, always, always agree with the customer.
  • Never negotiate with words. Write your negotiations down on paper.
  • Service is senior to selling and giving is senior to getting.
  • Human beings are much more valuable than money. Treat them like that and you’ll be rewarded.
  • The Hard Sell. It has been said that you have to ask someone five times before you get a yes.
  • Take Massive Action. Most people incorrectly estimate the amount of effort it takes to get the results they want.
  • Remember that a product can be shopped, but a great attitude cannot.
  • The best sales processes are shorter rather than longer.
  • Treat success as your duty, obligation, and responsibility, not as a choice or as a job!


Verne Harnish: Scaling Up: How a Few Companies Make It… and Why the Rest Don’t Book Summary


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By Verne Harnish


Every year a sea of new companies are born around the world. Most fail within a few years; some make it a bit longer. Only a small number of them grow to become big, successful game-changers. Why?

Even if you have a great product and your business is going well, scaling poses important, and often unexpected, challenges to any company that wants to grow. It’s a paradox. Getting bigger should make things easier, shouldn’t it? More brains, more cash, more momentum? Wrong.

As this book summary will show, even something as simple as leaving the old, pokey one-floor office for a new two-floor one might have unexpected consequences for your business. So how do you get it right?

This book summary break down everything you need to take into consideration into structured checklists and thought-provoking processes.

In this book summary, you’ll learn

  • why growth doesn’t inevitably lead to success;
  • why owning the right words will help you scale your business; and
  • why cash is still king.



Imagine you’re an executive manager at a 500-employee company. Your CEO has just informed you that by the end of next year, the company will comprise over 1,500 employees. What would you do first?

When your company is scaling up, there certainly is a lot to consider. If you don’t want to run out of cash or lose track of strategic decisions, your organizational structure and decision-making processes have to be brought to perfection. That’s why the Gazelles team – a global executive coaching company – developed a 4D framework to grow your business successfully. So what are the essential four D’s for successful scaling?


First, you and your team have to be drivers of personal and economic growth. Think of it this way: your managers are coaches! One-on-one coaching is essential for employees to stay focused and motivated. Consider offering additional training to enable constant learning.


Secondly, leaders also have to find the balance between the demands of your stakeholders and those of the actual processes of doing your work. Even though your company’s processes must be profitable, it’s also important to keep your reputation with your stakeholders in mind. Balance both by creating a custom-tailored strategy.


To execute your strategy successfully, you’ll need to implement routines to enable sufficient discipline – the third D. Your entire company must be aware of the number one priority for each quarter or year – the first element of discipline. With a defined target in mind, you’ll be able to prioritize effectively. Another aspect of discipline is a regular meeting routine, complemented with constant data review. This way, you’ll be able to detect problems immediately and tackle them as quickly as possible.


Finally, it’s essential that you know which questions are the most pressing ones and start making decisions. When scaling up, a company should start by tackling the biggest issues first, then working through other problems – in the same way you might fill out a sudoku puzzle. Start where you can and proceed carefully.


So the four D’s are driversdemandsdiscipline and decisions.


Growth is very complex and there are loads of things to keep in mind. But don’t despair! The following book summarys offer a framework for dealing with the four major problem areas that are also opportunities to grow the four D’s – PeopleStrategyExecution and Cash Flows.



Only two to three percent of all US companies will become high-impact firms that last for over 25 years and contribute substantially to overall economic growth. Why do so few make it to this stage? It’s all about People.


The truth is that growth doesn’t always lead to success in the long-term. If the team, the strategy and the organizational and physical infrastructure don’t grow alongside each other, success simply won’t last.

This is called the growth paradox. You’d think that the larger a company gets and the more soundly its routine is established, the easier things get. The reality is that the more employees you have, the more it takes to organize them effectively.


Consider a company that is expanding its team while also moving from a one-floor office into a two-floor office. If planners don’t create room for communication spaces, such as a common kitchen or break room, it will be much harder for information to flow between employees.

Communication is vital in any growing organization, so it’s essential that you structure your teams and sub-teams to keep information flowing. If teams are too big,

communication will be hindered. Instead, try breaking them up into sub-teams of seven to ten people.

So if you’re feeling stuck in your growth process, it’s likely that your team structure and size isn’t perfectly organized yet. But remember, growth doesn’t happen overnight! If you want your success to be long-term, you’ll have to view expansion as a long-term process too.

Ask yourself: What do you want your organization to achieve within the next 25 years? It took Apple 25 years to grow to 9,600 employees in 2001, whereas today, 14 years later, the company employs more than 150,000 people.


No executive team could ever declare that everyone was responsible for marketing without something going wrong. We need clear responsibilities, otherwise nobody can be held accountable. And a lack of accountability is a surefire way to drive a business to collapse.

In order to create accountability and make it visible, the author has developed the Function Accountability Chart (FACe) and Process Accountability Chart (PACe).


The FACe can be used to measure success and define who is responsible for what. To begin, you’ll need to find out about your company’s functions. Write them all down.

Then, let each of your executive team members fill in who is responsible for each function (one person) and what key performance indicators (KPIs), such as profit per project, for example, can be used to measure success.


After creating this chart, consider which team members are responsible for more than one function, but perhaps don’t have clear accountability. When the executive team of Perly Fullerton filled in the chart they recognized that they were six people in the room but only three on the chart. It was clear that founders needed to delegate tasks more specifically.

The processes that drive the business and the people who are responsible for them should also be specified. Enter the PACe.

To use a PACe, first identify the key processes of your firm, such as recruitment or product development. Give one person oversight for each process. Next, outline which KPIs – such as time, quality and cost – measure the process. Next, describe how you’d like to improve each process – perhaps by making it faster, or more cost-effective. Finally, map who is involved in each process at each of its critical steps.


It’s said that a single excellent employee can replace three good ones. So invest in all of your people to grow them!

Start by replacing the word “manager” with “coach.” The people analytics team at Google discovered that personal coaching was the most important factor in great management. This is because managing a team isn’t just about delegating tasks and supervising processes, it’s also about leading a team and inspiring its members to grow and improve.

One way you can encourage your team members to boost their strengths and learn from their weaknesses is through training. In fact, it’s worth spending an additional two to three percent of your payroll on training. Your team will reward you with higher productivity and loyalty: The Container Store pays salespeople 50 to 100 percent more than the industry average. Within the first year, salespeople also get 263 hours of training.


You should also strive to make your team’s job easier by listening to them. Regular meetings allow team members to discuss what motivates them, what doesn’t, what could make their job easier, and what resources they need. Even the smallest changes, like an additional break room or a different email provider, can make a significant difference.


Finally, be sure to set clear expectations. Tell your employees what their top priority should be, but let them find out how to achieve it on their own. Encouraging team members to think for themselves is challenging, but will strengthen their problem-solving abilities in the long run. You could even modify tasks and responsibilities from time to time to give employees the challenges you think they’ll need for personal growth.


You’d be hard-pressed to find a company with over 50 employees and a boss that can remember all their names. As your organization grows larger, it’s vital that you retain the sense of purpose that keeps smaller businesses so motivated. But how? It’s a matter of strategy.

By establishing core values, you give your organization comprehensible guidelines for every decision. These are the norms of a company’s culture, and should be stated in a succinct, realistic sentence. For example: “Practice what we preach.”


You should also make your company’s mission clear by formulating a core purpose. This can be as brief as one word, and should simply signify what you want to achieve. For Disney, the core purpose is simply “happiness.” So how can you get your organization to engage with core values and purpose with confidence?


Credit card transactions company VeriFone came up with a clever solution to keep their corporate culture strong. Its founder created a pocket-sized “blue book” that contained all of the organization’s core values illustrated with real case studies. This blue book was translated into eight languages and is a fixture in every meeting as a powerful and accessible summary of the company’s vision.

Your company’s vision summary should also include two other elements: your brand promises, and your Big Hairy Audacious Goal – BHAG for short.


Brand promises – the things you guarantee your customers – are strongest in threes, with one key promise at the forefront. For example, BuildDirect promises best price, then best customer service and product expertise. By referring to your three brand promises during decision-making, you can ensure your actions satisfy customers’ expectations.

Your BHAG should be reached within 20–25 years. To make it easier, set smaller goals every three to five years, as well as annual, monthly and weekly goals. In fact, you could even visualize your goals as a mountain climb, where you reach small plateaus before achieving that view from the top.

By collating your core values, purpose, brand promises and goals, you’ll have gained a helpful tool that you can always refer to when dealing with potential customers, suppliers, or tricky situations. By making copies of your vision summary available in common areas, your team will be able to make the most of this tool too.


Now that your vision summary is ready, you’ve got the bones of a clear strategy. But if you want to reach your goals even more quickly, you should understand exactly where your organization’s strengths lie.

First, you’ll need to look into your customers’ minds. What do they think when they hear your company’s name? Car manufacturer Volvo has used marketing to make the word “safety” one of the first associations with the brand. Even googling “safest car” will lead directly to Volvo.

87 percent of all customers search the internet to find options for purchasing. To find out which words you should own, use the Google Adword planner to see how often some words are being searched in relation to your brand.

The next place to look for your strengths is your X factor. This is a small strategic detail that differentiates you from your competitors. By recognizing it, you can turn it into a competitive advantage to multiply your revenue.


Take Outback Steakhouse. They recognized that most restaurant managers are constantly on the move to new jobs, so quality isn’t stable. So they decided to create their own X factor.

Outback Steakhouse created a new compensation for future managers, who first had to invest $25,000 of their own money. For three years they were trained to run a restaurant and got a competitive wage. Following this, managers could run their own restaurant and, if they met certain milestone criteria after two years, were rewarded with a $100,000 bonus.

By taking the time to create a calculated strategy, Outback Steakhouse created an X factor that made planning easier and boosted their product’s quality, to give their customer experience an edge over competitors.



The One-Page Strategic Plan (OPSP) is a framework that will help your company visualize and achieve your goals. More than 40,000 companies use OPSPs to know if everything is running smoothly or not – and then to respond rapidly to new challenges.


There are a number of questions you’ll need to answer when designing your own OPSP: Who is responsible for each step? What is your number one priority for the next year? Which metrics can you use to track your progress toward it?

Suppose your goal is to make HR more efficient. Actions could include “Hiring an additional HR manager” or “Improving the onboarding process.” Now what’s your critical number? Maybe “Reducing hiring and onboarding process time from six to three months”?

An execution checklist like the Rockefeller Habits Checklist is often extremely helpful. This list summarizes all important factors you’ll need to keep an eye on, from “The team is healthy and aligned” to “The company’s plans and performances are visible to everyone.” This way you’ll be able to recognize any missteps or potential issues a whole lot faster!


And your OPSP isn’t just about goals. Rewards need to be clearly stated too. Think about it: working hard only makes sense when you know what you’re working for. So why not make your annual, monthly or weekly goals a fun challenge?

You could dream up a theme to turn your goals into a game. For example, if your goal is to speed up processes, you could call the project the Fast & Furious. You could even design a scoreboard where the whole team can see their achievements and write down how they’re going to celebrate.



Great firms are like great jazz bands. Even without a strict plan, they’re able to work together with confidence. But, like members of a band, your team members should know their parts and practise together too. That’s why meetings are so important.

A steady meeting routine allows information to flow accurately and prevents communication barriers. To stay on top of current activities and issues, hold your team meetings daily or weekly. John D. Rockefeller met every day for lunch with his key people. Your executive managers should also participate in one day of learning every month, and a bigger strategic meeting offsite in every quarter.


Even spending just five minutes every day with your team could help solve small dilemmas much faster. In Managing Up: How to Forge an Effective Relationship With Those Above You, Rosanne Badowksi says that meetings needn’t take up more than ten percent of a standard work week for senior leaders and five to seven percent for middle managers.


However, the faster you’re growing, the denser your meeting rhythm should be. If you’re growing by between 20 and 100 percent a year, treat one quarter as if it were a year and organize meetings accordingly.

Another way to keep tabs consistently is by gathering data. Quantitative and qualitative data will strengthen your decision-making in every scenario.

Additionally, ensure everyone in your company knows her KPIs and the team’s critical number. Only then can they measure their daily performance. If data shows a gap between goals and performance, ask what the current barriers are and tackle them.

Customer feedback is just as important as financial feedback. So don’t forget to speak with your clients to see if they’re facing problems with your team. The more closely you observe your data, the faster you can respond to difficulties!


We’d all like to save up for something big, but this is often made tricky as we don’t know how much we need to spend each month. Financial statements are even neglected entirely by some firms, though funds are of course central to expansion.

It’s essential to understand how cash flows through your company and to have some cash reserves. In Great by Choice, Jim Collins and Morton T. Hansen revealed that outstanding companies have three to ten times more cash in reserve than their more mediocre competitors.


If you want to expand your cash reserves, take a look at your Cash Conversion Cycle (CCC). This figure shows how long it takes until a dollar you invest comes back as turnover. Remember, the shorter, the better.


Take Dell, who were going broke in the mid-1990s. It found out that its CCC was 63 days. That’s simply too long! So Tom Meredith, the new CFO, worked to reduce it. Within just ten years, the CCC had shrunk to 21 days. At this point, Dell finally grew faster and began producing cash instead of consuming. In 2013, founder Michael Dell finally had enough cash to privatize the company.

To shorten your CCC, first break it down into four components – sales, delivery, billing/payment and production/inventory – and work separately on them. In each of these components, you’ll find opportunities to shorten your cycle time, reduce typical mistakes or improve the business model.

For example, Benetton India found that they were spending too much on production costs, which in turn extended their CCC. To solve the problem, they improved their business model for finding cheaper suppliers by using software that allowed vendors and suppliers to bid on production contracts.


Perhaps you’ve looked at your CCC and seen that you need to improve your cash flow. Not to worry – it’s just a matter of tweaking here and there.

Examine your company’s sectors and you’ll find several financial levers that you can modify to boost your cash flow. It could be the price for your goods (could be increased), your inventory (you could reduce the stock) or accounts payable (slow down the payment of creditors). But how do you know which levers are worth changing?


With the Power of the One you can work out which factor can reduce costs in the most efficient way. In this method, you attempt to visualize how a one percent or one day change of each of your potential levers would affect your cash flow.


For example, you could calculate the effect of reducing your operating costs by one percent, or reducing stock days by one day. Then do the same for another lever, and so on. By comparing this information, you’ll find the most financially efficient lever.

Finally, present your plan for change in a formalized structure of KPIs and targets, and assign tasks and responsibilities clearly.


The key message in this book:

Growth is complex, but with the right tools, your company can scale powerfully. By tracking existing processes and examining your cash flow, you can target what needs to be tweaked. With succinct long term plans and clear vision summaries, you’ll make your goals achievable, while motivational management and regular communication will keep your team on track.


Actionable advice:

Keep communication flowing.

Your company is scaling up but you’re facing communication hurdles and misunderstandings over priorities? Start building your meeting rhythm, beginning with a daily session of no longer than 15 minutes to allow your executive team to focus on day-to-day topics. Next, let your executive team do the same with their respective teams, so that the meeting structure cascades through the company. This will help your employees grasp short-term and long-term targets, and how to work toward them.

Suggested further reading: Exponential Organizations by Salim Ismail, Michael S. Malone and Yuri van Geest

Exponential Organizations offers an expert look into this new, critical form of company organization that the authors contend will soon become an industry standard. You’ll learn exactly what an exponential organization, or ExO, is and how you can build your own. Companies like Uber and AirBnB are some top examples of ExOs; if your company wants to survive, you’ve got to adapt.


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