Earl Nightingale: The Strangest Secret Book Summary

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  • The Definition of Success
  • Out of the 100, only 5 make the grade. When we say about 5% achieved success, we have to define success. And here’s the definition: Success is the progressive realization of a worthy ideal.
  • The opposite of courage in our society is not cowardice…it is conformity. (Rollo May)
  • Conformity – people acting like everyone else, without knowing why, without knowing where they’re going.
  • A success is anyone who is doing deliberately a pre-determined job, because that’s what he decided to do – deliberately.
  • Instead of competing all we have to do is create.


  • Goals
  • Selling is the world’s highest paid profession – if we’re good at it, and if we know where we’re going.
  • We become what we think about.
  • A man’s life is what his thoughts make of it. (Marcus Aurelius)
  • Everything comes if a man will only wait. I have brought myself by long mediation to the conviction that a human being with a settled purpose must accomplish it, and that nothing can resist a will that will stake even existence for its fulfilment. (Disraeli)
  • A man is what he thinks about all day long. (Ralph Waldo Emerson)
  • The greatest discovery of my generation is that human begins can alter their lives by altering their attitudes of mind (William James)
  • Our doubts are traitors and make us lose the good we often might win by fearing to attempt (William Shakespeare)
  • Now it stands to reason that a person who is thinking about a concrete and worthwhile goal is going to reach it, because, that’s what he thinking about; and, we become what we think about. Conversely, the man who has no goal, who doesn’t know where he’s going and whose thoughts of confusion and anxiety and fear and worry, becomes what he thinks about. His life becomes one of frustration, fear, anxiety and worry; and if he thinks about nothing, he becomes nothing.


  • As ye sow – so shall ye reap
  • Because the mind, like the land, doesn’t care what you plant, but it doesn’t care what you plant.
  • You see the human mind is the last, great, unexplored continent on the earth. It contains riches beyond our wildest dreams.
  • Familiarity breeds contempt. It can do any kind of job we assign to it but generally speaking, we use it for little jobs instead of big, important ones.
  • We are operating on about 10% of our ability.
  • You want to be an outstanding salesman, a better worker at your particular job, you want to go places in your company, in your community? All you’ve got to do is plant that seed in your mind; care for it, work steadily toward your goal – and it will become a reality. It not only will…There’s no way that it cannot.
  • Think about your goal in a relaxed, positive way. Picture yourself in your mind’s eye as having already achieved this goal. See yourself doing the things you will be doing when you’ve reached your goal.
  • Every one of us is the sum total of his own thoughts. He is where he is, because that is exactly where he really wants to be, whether he’ll admit that, or not.
  • Each of must live off the fruit of his thoughts and the future, because what you think today and tomorrow, next month and next year, will mold your life and determine your future. You’re guided by your mind.
  • Are you going to keep both hands firmly on the wheel and control and direct its power to a specific, worthwhile purpose? It’s up to you: You’re in the driver’s seat.
  • We must control our thinking. The same rule that can lead a man to a life of success, wealth, happiness and all the things he’s ever dreamed of for himself and his family – that very same law can lead him into the gutter. It’s all in how he uses it: for good, or for bad.


  • We Become What We Think About
  • People are basically good, and that we came from some place and we’re going someplace – so we should make our time here an exciting adventure. The architect of the universe didn’t build a stairway leading nowhere.


  • 30-Day Action Ideas for Putting the Strangest Secret to Work for You
  • That we literally become what we think about, that we must control our thoughts if we’re to control our lives. It’s understanding fully that: “As you sow, so shall you reap.”
  • Secondly, it’s cutting away all the fetters from the mind and permitting it to soar, as it was divinely designed to do. It’s the realization that your limitations are self-imposed and that the opportunities for you today are enormous beyond belief. It’s rising above narrow-minded pettiness and prejudice.
  • Thirdly, to use all your courage to force yourself to think positively on your own problem; to set a definite, and clearly-defined goal for yourself; to let your marvellous mind think about your goal from all possible angles; to let your imagination speculate freely upon many different, possible solutions; to refuse to believe there are any circumstances sufficiently strong to defeat you in the accomplishment of your purpose. To act promptly and decisively when your course is clear, and to keep constantly aware of the fact that you are, at this moment, standing in the middle of your own acre of diamonds.
  • Ideas are worthless unless we act on them.
  • It’s easier for a human being to think negatively than positively – that’s why only 5% is successful.
  • Positive outlook, give of yourself more than you’ve ever done before.
  • Ask and it shall be given you, Seek and ye shall be find. Knock, and it shall be opened unto you. For everyone that asketh, receiveth; And he that seeketh, findeth; And to him that knocketh, it shall be opened.
  • Act as though it were impossible to fail.
  • Persistence is simply another word for faith. If you didn’t have faith, you would never persist.
  • The only way to earn money is by providing people with services or products which are needed and useful.
  • If he wants more, he must be of more service to those from whom he receives and returns; if he wants less, he has only to reduce this service. This is the price you must pay for what you want.
  • An outstanding medical doctor recently pointed out six steps that will help you realize success: 1) Set yourself a definite goal. 2) Quit running yourself down. 3) Stop thinking of all the reasons why you cannot be successful, and instead think of all the reasons why you can. 4) Trace your attitudes back through your childhood and try to discover where you first got the idea you couldn’t be successful. 5) Change the image you have of yourself by writing out a description of the person you would like to be. 6) Act the part of the successful person you have decided to become.


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