The Magic of Thinking Big by David J Schwartz Book Summary

The Magic Of Thinking Big is a personal development book written in 1965 by David J. Schwartz. The premise of the book is simple: Think big to live big.

David Schwartz tells us that we need to upgrade our thinking to upgrade our life. Before we can achieve big things, we have to think big things. In his eyes, success has little to do with intelligence, having rich parents, being lucky, or whatever.

The Magic of Thinking Big by David J Schwartz Book Summary

He claims that success is determined not so much by the size of one’s brain as it is by the size of one’s thinking. He offers countless strategies to help us upgrade our thinking and become more successful in everything we do (The Magic Of Thinking Big).

In this summary, we will look at 13 of his best ideas. These ideas have made a huge difference in my life, and I’m convinced they will help you transform your life for the better.

‘Case history after case history proved that the size of the bank account, the size of the happiness account, and the size of someone’s satisfaction account depend on the size of their thinking; there is magic in thinking big.

Believe you can succeed, and you will

Belief, the “I-am-positive-I-can” attitude, generates the power, skill, and energy needed to do. When you believe I can do it, the how-to-do-it develops. The how-to-do-it always comes to the person who thinks he can do it. Strong belief triggers the mind to figure out ways and means and how-to. Belief.

The “I-am-positive-I-can” attitude is powerful. He tells us that if we believe we can succeed, we will succeed.

If we believe that we can become professional football players, we will become professional football players (if we want to). If we think we can become a millionaire, then we will become a millionaire (if we’re going to). If we believe we can achieve big things in life, we will achieve big things (if we want to). No matter what we want to accomplish, we must first believe it’s possible.

Want to become a millionaire? You sure can, if you believe you can.

By the way, if you just said to yourself, “Just because someone else has a Porsche, doesn’t mean that I can do it. I am different. For me, it’s impossible because of…,” then you might suffer from Excusitis, which we’ll discuss in the next chapter (The Magic Of Thinking Big).

Disbelief is negative power. When the mind disbelieves or doubts, the mind attracts “reasons” to support the disbelief. Doubt, disbelief, the subconscious will fail, and not wanting to succeed are responsible for most losses. If you think you can’t, you will find reasons why you won’t. Disbelief = Negative power, doubts, excuses, reasons why you can’t.

Cure yourself of excusitis, the failure disease

You will find that the more successful the individual, the less inclined he is to make excuses.

But the fellow who has gone nowhere and has no plans for getting anywhere always has a bookful of reasons to explain why. Likewise, persons with mediocre accomplishments are quick to explain why they haven’t, why they don’t, why they can’t, and why they aren’t (The Magic Of Thinking Big).

Do you often say things like:

“I’m too tired to work out today; I’ll do it tomorrow.”

“I’m too young to…”     

“I’m too old to get started…”

“I’ve never done this before…” 

“I don’t feel like doing this today…”

“I’m just not smart enough…”

“I’m just never lucky…”

“This is hard…”

“I don’t have enough money for this…”

Schwartz says the more successful people are, the fewer excuses they make. It’s always the mediocre people who aren’t getting anywhere in life that has reasons for why they can’t, why they won’t and why they aren’t. There’s a funny quote about the difference between rich and poor people that matches perfectly:

“Accept the law of cause and effect. Take a second look at what appears to be someone’s “good luck.” You’ll find not luck but preparation, planning, and success-producing thinking preceded his good fortune. Take a second look at what appears to be someone’s “bad luck.” Look, and you’ll discover certain specific reasons. For example, Mr. Success receives a setback: he learns and profits. But when Mr. Mediocre loses, he fails to learn.”

For every action, there is a reaction. Whatever happens in our lives is the result of our accumulated efforts over time. Luck has very little to do with whether we will succeed. It’s all about the actions we take daily (The Magic Of Thinking Big).

That’s excellent news. It means that we are not at the mercy of our circumstances. We are the creators. We are the ones who decide our destiny. We can choose the actions we take daily. If we want to be successful, we can copy the work of successful people. If we want to be ripped, we copy the actions of other ripped people. If we want to be rich, we copy rich people’s actions. Life becomes simple once we accept the law of cause and effect (The Magic Of Thinking Big).

Don’t sell yourself short

Many people think they can’t do this and can’t do that. They see themselves as more minor than they are. As a result, they have too low self-esteem, or as Schwartz puts it: suffer from self-deprecation (The Magic Of Thinking Big).

I’m sure you know a few people who are more intelligent, qualified, or even better at the job. So why are they in a higher position? Simple- It’s because they think more highly of themselves. That’s all it is! They feel more highly of themselves.

They have more self-belief, self-esteem, a better self-image, whatever you want to call it. They think they can do the job. They believe they can do the job better than others (like you, for example). They don’t suffer from self-deprecation. They don’t see themselves as more minor than they are. They don’t think that others are better (The Magic Of Thinking Big).

No! The opposite is true. They believe they are great. In other words: They don’t underestimate themselves or overestimate everybody else. They have higher self-esteem (The Magic Of Thinking Big).

Use big, bright, cheerful, and positive words​

When you speak or write, you are, in a sense, a projector showing movies in the mind of others. And the pictures you create determine how you and others react.”

“Suppose you tell a group of people, “I’m sorry to report we’ve failed.” What do these people see? They see defeat and all the disappointment and grief the word “failed” conveys. Suppose you said, “Here’s a new approach that I think will work.” They would feel encouraged and ready to try again (The Magic Of Thinking Big).

Our mind doesn’t think in words; it thinks in pictures, images, and movies. The words we use are translated into images/movies by the mind. When we say “pink elephant,” our mind shows us a picture of a pink elephant. When we say “dolphins,” “pool,” or “tunnel,” our mind translates these words into images of dolphins, a pool, and a tunnel (The Magic Of Thinking Big).

Why is that important? Well, that means that we have to choose our words very carefully. Here’s a quick example: If you hear the word “Problem,” you create pictures of something difficult, unpleasant, and hard to solve.

If you use the word “challenge” instead, your mind creates pictures of fun, sport, and something exciting and pleasant. If you use the word “try,” then this tells your mind that it’s probably not so important. Of course, you’ll do your best, but ultimately it’s not a make-or-break situation. This sounds super weird, but there is a big difference between saying, “I’ll do it,” and saying, “I’ll try to do it.” 

The word “try” almost presupposes that we will fail. Think about it. Has anyone ever said, “I’ll try to be there at 5 pm?” Does that mean that they’ll be there at 5 pm? No, you have no clue when they are there. But, on the other hand, if they said, “I’ll be there at 5 pm, “you could completely count on them being there at 5 pm (The Magic Of Thinking Big).

We should use positive words to express our mood and feelings. If someone asks me how I’m doing, I don’t tell them I’m tired or not feeling well. This creates terrible pictures and emotions in my and my friend’s minds. Instead, I proudly say that I’m feeling terrific or great. These words will make much more pleasant images and emotions.

Third, I use positive words when talking with or about others. I create nice pictures of other people. I often use phrases like “He’s an absolute legend!” “Such a great lad!” “She’s super fun!”… and by the way, I also use these phrases if I speak about the person I’m talking with. “Man, you’re amazing at this!” “Wow, your … is great!” “I can learn a lot from how you do that!”

These positive words create positive emotions in my and my friend’s brains. In other words, I try to use emotionally packed words to create pleasant feelings in the other person. An added benefit is that the other person will start associating you with these good feelings. So whenever they see or think about you, this person recreates those positive feelings (The Magic Of Thinking Big). 

Words have a lot of power – Big, Bright, Cheerful – words create positive feelings.

Look important – it helps you think important

Rule: Remember your appearance “talks.” Be sure it says positive things about you. Never leave home without feeling certain you look like the person you want to be (The Magic Of Thinking Big).

The well-dressed person’s appearance says positive things. It tells people, “Here is an important person: intelligent, prosperous, and dependable. This man can be looked up to, admired, and trusted, and he respects himself (The Magic Of Thinking Big).

The shabby-looking fellow’s appearance says negative things. It says, “Here is a person who isn’t doing well. He’s careless, inefficient, and unimportant. He’s just an average person. He deserves no special consideration. He’s used to being pushed around.”

Think about it: If you look nice and make a genuine and friendly impression, chances are much better that others will approach you. And chances are much better that they will react positively if you approach them. So, that’s the first reason why looks are important – they are a big part of what other people think of you and how they act toward you.

Even if they’ve never seen you before. Even if you never even talk to them, your clothes will talk to them. The way you handle yourself talks to them. Your posture talks to them. Your entire body language talks to them. Your smile talks to them (The Magic Of Thinking Big).

Here comes the cool part: Your appearance doesn’t affect other people’s thinking. Oh no. It will also heavily affect your thinking.

Your physical exterior affects your mental interior. How you look on the outside affects how you think and feel on the inside (The Magic Of Thinking Big).

Build a sell-yourself-on-yourself commercial

One way to do it is through our self-talk and practicing uplifting self-praise. Don’t practice belittling self-punishment. So, how do YOU talk to yourself? Are you building yourself up? Making yourself stronger? And more confident? Telling yourself that you’re a badass? That you’ll achieve great things in life? That you’re destined for greatness?

Sadly, most of us negatively talk to ourselves. And we don’t believe that it’s our fault either (The Magic Of Thinking Big). We were never told how to do it any differently. But how to change it?  

So here is some advice on changing how you talk to yourself. First, build your own `sell yourself on yourself` commercial.

This is the tool that David Schwartz offers us to improve our self-talk. It’s just a short 100-200 word talk you give yourself several times a day. Whether you do it 2-3 times or ten times a day is totally up to you (The Magic Of Thinking Big). 

Here’s a quick version I just wrote: (Notice the big, bright, cheerful, mood-boosting words I’m using)

The point is: It’s all about making yourself bigger, making yourself feel better, and improving your self-esteem. I’m pretty sure that if you practice this kind of uplifting self-talk, your life will drastically improve (The Magic Of Thinking Big). 

Ask yourself: “Is this the way an important person thinks?”

Upgrade your thinking. Think as essential people think. Upgrading your review upgrades your actions, and this produces success. Ask yourself: “Is this the way an important person thinks?”

Make your environment work for you, not against You

Experts also agree that the person you will be one, five, ten, or twenty years from now almost entirely depends on your future environment. More importantly, the size of your thinking, goals, attitudes, and personality are formed by your environment. Your environment is the biggest factor that determines your future (The Magic Of Thinking Big).

How much money will you make? How happy will you be? How successful will you be? In what kind of house will you live? What type of car will you drive? How many children will you have? Will you get married? What political parties will you support? What books will you be reading? Will you read much at all? Will you travel a lot? Where will you travel? Everything depends on your environment or to say that in fact your whole future depends on your environment only. (The Magic Of Thinking Big).

So, what exactly makes up your environment? First, of course, it’s the people you surround yourself with, the books and news, articles and magazines you read, videos and movies, and TV series you watch (The Magic Of Thinking Big).

Ultimately, everything somehow impacts you in any way, shape, or form. The most significant portion of it is the people you surround yourself with. That would be your peer group, friends, family, school or workmates, sports team, and theatre group. So call the people that are around you (The Magic Of Thinking Big).

You will become the combined average of the five people you hang around the most. You will have the combined attitude, health, and income of the five people you hang around the most– “Jim Rohn.”

If you surround yourself with rich people, read books and watch videos on how to get rich, and change your environment similar to a rich person’s environment. You will take on the rich people’s attitudes, beliefs, personality traits, style of talking, etc. And if you do that, then you will become rich, too. You are also very spiritual if you surround yourself with very spiritual people. If you’re surrounded by criminals and are brought up in a criminal environment, chances are you’ll end up an illegal too (The Magic Of Thinking Big). 

The same happens with your brain. If you feed it a positive environment, you will also become positive. If you provide it with a hostile environment, then you will become a more negative person. As I wrote earlier: Your environment is the most significant factor determining your future. Therefore we must control our environment as well as possible (The Magic Of Thinking Big).

Before we look at a few ways to do that, we have to look at negative environmental influences, namely negators.

People who tell you it cannot be done almost always are unsuccessful and are strictly average or mediocre at best in terms of accomplishment. So opinions of these people can be poison.

Develop a defense against people who want to convince you that you cant do it. Accept harmful advice only as a challenge to prove that you can do it. We must fight off the suppressive influences of our environment.

Be extra cautious about this: don’t let negative thinking people – “negators” – destroy your plan to think yourself to success. Unfortunately, negators are everywhere, and they seem to delight in sabotaging the positive progress of others (The Magic Of Thinking Big).

Bam! That guy messes with your head! There you were, excited about your plan, ready to make something happen, but no! Instead of encouragement, you learn that your idea is lame, that you would be silly for trying, and that you should focus on your job. That guy is what David Schwartz calls a “negator.”

Negators are everywhere. Some negators are well-meaning folks. But others are jealous people who, not moving ahead themselves, want you to stumble too. They feel inadequate and want to make a mediocre person out of you (The Magic Of Thinking Big).

That’s ok. Just be aware of them, and don’t talk to them about your big dreams and aspirations. It won’t do either of you any good. Especially won’t do you any good because sometimes, even just one small negative comment can be enough to kill your motivation completely (The Magic Of Thinking Big).

How to make your environment work for you, not against you

Spend more time with upbeat, excited, ambitious, inspiring, and successful people. Read biographies of highly successful and inspiring people. Read books on positive psychology, wealth attraction, personal development, etc. Do whatever it takes to make your environment as positive, inspiring, and success-creating as possible.

Practice conversation generosity

Hundreds of my little experiments have revealed this: The person who does the most talking and the person who is the most successful are rarely the same. But, almost without exception, the more successful the person is, the more he practices conversation generosity; that is, he encourages the other person to talk about himself, his views, his accomplishments, his family, his job, and his problems (The Magic Of Thinking Big).

People love talking about themselves. They love telling you how great they are, how hard their life is, how unfairly their boss treats them, how hard they work, and how exhausted they are, or it’s human nature. We care about ourselves and want to talk about our life, problems, relationships, goals, ambitions, etc.

Next time you’re conversing with someone, ask: Who are most of the talking? You or your opposite? What are you talking about? Only about your life, your problems, your interests? Or mainly about the other person’s life, concerns, and interests? If you catch yourself talking too much, slow down, and let the other person talk (The Magic Of Thinking Big).

Be an activationist. Be someone who does things. Be a doer, not a don’t-er.

The successful are active; we’ll call them activations. On the other hand, the just average, the mediocre, and the unsuccessful are passive. We’ll call them passivationists (The Magic Of Thinking Big).

Mr. Activationist is a doer. He takes action, gets things done, and follows through on ideas and plans. On the other hand, Mr. Passivationist is a monster. He postpones doing something until he has proved he shouldn’t or can’t do them or until it’s too late (The Magic Of Thinking Big).

Most of us (me included) are Passivationists by nature. We like to wait for the perfect opportunity, time, and circumstances until we’re “perfectly prepared.” Unfortunately, that means we never get anything done.

Let’s accept that it will never be perfect. It will never be convenient, and we will probably never be 100% certain of success. To get ahead in life, we must learn to take imperfect action. We must start to make things happen and move forward whether we like it. We must become massive action takers. If we have some goals we want to achieve, it’s essential to take action and move toward accomplishing those goals. It won’t help us to overanalyze, make detailed plans, wait for a perfect opportunity, or prepare ourselves even better.

Whenever we try something new, we’re usually not very good at it. Yet if we never start, how could we ever get better? Answer: We can’t, We need feedback to course-correct and get ahead faster (The Magic Of Thinking Big).

I want to make another example to make this clear for you: Let’s say you want to lose weight. You could read hundreds of articles, every book on diet and nutrition that is out there, and you would still not lose a single pound unless you took action and started changing your diet and developed an exercise habit. We can’t read ourselves thin. We can’t think of ourselves as rich, and we can’t hope for ourselves to be successful. We must take action and actively do something (The Magic Of Thinking Big). 

Blend persistence with experimentation to guarantee success

Persisting in one way is not a guarantee of victory. But persistence blended with experimentation does guarantee success.

Many ambitious people go through life with admirable persistence and ambition but fail to succeed because they don’t experiment with new approaches. Stay with your goal. Don’t waver an inch from it. But don’t beat your head against a wall. If you aren’t getting results, try a new approach (The Magic Of Thinking Big).

“Persistence blended with experimentation guarantee success” The first person that came to mind when reading this was Thomas Edison, one of the most successful innovators in all of human history. He’s probably most famous for inventing the light bulb. Yet, he’s almost equally as renowned for failing over 10,000 times (!) before making the light bulb work successfully.

Ten-thousand -failures until he succeeded. 10,000 new experiments until he finally hit the jackpot. He stayed with his goal. He didn’t waver an inch from it. But he did NOT beat his head against the wall. Oh no, he tried new approaches, and guess what? It worked! Persistence blended with experimentation worked (The Magic Of Thinking Big).

If the first plan you adopt does not work successfully, replace it with a new project; if this new plan fails to work, replace it, in turn, with another until you find a plan that does work. Unfortunately, right here is the point at which most men meet with failure because of their lack of persistence in creating new plans to take the place of those who fail (The Magic Of Thinking Big).

– “Napoleon Hill”

Use goals to help you grow

Nothing happens; only forward steps are taken once a goal is established. Without goals, individuals wander through life. They stumble along, never knowing where they are going, so they never get anywhere (The Magic Of Thinking Big).

Goals are as important as air is necessary for life. No one can achieve success without a goal. Unless there is a goal, nothing will happen. No one ever stumbles into success without a plan. No one ever lives without air. So get a straightforward fix on where you want to go. Nothing happens until a goal is established. Without plans, you’re leaving your life to chance.

How can you get it if you don’t know what you want from life? If you don’t know where you’re going, how would you know if you’ve arrived?

Goals have magic powers—energy increases and multiplies when you set the desired destination and resolve to work toward that goal. Millions of people can find new energy by selecting a goal and giving all they’ve got to accomplish that goal. Goals cure boredom. Goals even cure many chronic ailments (The Magic Of Thinking Big).

Once you have a clear goal, you have a path to walk on every day. You know where you’re heading and can focus your time and effort on achieving your goals instead of being sidetracked by diversions and distractions (The Magic Of Thinking Big).

How to think like a leader

Trade minds with the people you want to influence. 

Think progress, believe in progress, and push for progress. 

Take time out to confer with yourself. 

Leadership Rule number 1: Trade minds with the people you want to influence. 

You must see things through their eyes to get others to do what you want them to do. When you trade minds, the secret of effectively influencing other people shows up. A very successful salesman friend told me he spends a lot of time anticipating how prospects will react to his presentation before he gives it (The Magic Of Thinking Big). 

On the other hand, his opponent thought about the voter’s interests. When he talked to the farmers, he used their language. When he spoke to factory workers, he used words they were easily familiar with. When he said this on TV, he addressed himself as Mr. Typical voter, not Dr. College Professor. Thinking of the interests of the people we want to influence is an excellent thought rule in every situation (The Magic Of Thinking Big). 

Leadership Rule number 2: Think: What is the human way to handle this?

People use different approaches to leadership situations.

First: To Assume the position of a dictator. The dictator makes all decisions without consulting those affected.

Second: A Second leadership technique is the cold, mechanical, I’m-a-rule-book operator approach.

The fellow using this approach handles everything precisely according to the book. He doesn’t recognize that every rule, policy, or plan is only a guide for the usual cases. This would be a leader who treats the human being as a machine. And of all things people don’t like, perhaps the most disliked is being treated like a machine (The Magic Of Thinking Big).

Persons who rise to tremendous leadership heights use a third approach called “Being Human.” 


I talk to them privately. 

I praise them for what they are doing well. 

I point out the one thing they could do better at the moment, and I help them find the way. 

I praise them again for their good points, and this step formula works. 

Here are two ways to use the “Be-human” approach to make you a better leader. First, each time you face a complex matter involving people, ask yourself, “What is the human way to handle this?” Remember Bob’s formula for helping others correct their mistakes. Avoid sarcasm. Avoid being cynical (The Magic Of Thinking Big). 

Treat everyone with dignity. As a general rule, the more interest you show in a person, the more he will produce for you. Praise your subordinate to your supervisor by putting in plugs for them at every opportunity.

Leadership Rule number 3: Think progress, believe progress in progress, and push for progress (The Magic Of Thinking Big).

There are two unique things you can do to develop your progressive outlook: 

1-Think Improvement in everything you do. 

2-Think high standards in everything you do. 

Think, talk, act, and live the way your subordinates want to think, speak, act, and live- and they will. Over some time, associates tend to become carbon copies of their chief. The simplest way to get high-level performance is to be sure the master copy is worth duplicating.

Leadership Rule number 4: 

Take time out to confer with yourself and tap your supreme thinking power –  

Early in the morning, before anyone else is stirring about the, would be best for you. Or late in the evening is a better time. The important thing is to select a time when your mind is fresh and when you can be free from distractions. You can use this time to do two types of thinking directed and undirected.

To do undirected thinking, let your mind select what it wishes to think about. In moments like these, your subconscious mind taps your memory bank, which feeds your conscious mind. Undirected thinking is constructive in doing self-evaluation. It helps you get down to essential matters like “How can I do better? What should be my next move?” Remember, the main job of the leader is to think. And the best preparation for leadership is thinking (The Magic Of Thinking Big).


The Magic of Thinking Big is all about upgrading your thinking. Think big to live big.

Think and believe you can succeed, and you will. Positive belief will get you all the energy, power, and skills needed to succeed. Think and feel you can’t grow and you won’t. Negative beliefs will give you negative power, doubts, excuses, and reasons you won’t succeed.

Whatever you believe to be true – it’s a self-fulfilling prophecy.

You could start by curing yourself of excusitis, the failure disease. Start using big, bright, cheerful, and positive words more often. Use them to talk about the positive events in your life instead of whining or complaining about being a little bitch. Stay away from negators and start deliberately making your environment more positive, uplifting, inspiring, and success-creating.

Take more action in your life. Become a doer. Become an activationist. Start setting goals for your future and achieve anything you want. And last but not least: you must start believing.

I'm grateful.

Hemant Singh

Hello friends, my name is Hemant Singh. I am the writer and founder of this blog, talking about education, I am a student of BBA. I love learning information related to technology and teaching it to others. Through this website, I share information about News, Educational Post.

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