The Magic of Thinking Big by David J. Schwartz

Published: 1959; 302 Pages

Quick Takeaway: The Magic of Thinking Big is a great book for anyone wanting to change their way of thinking and acting in order to reach very large goals. It explains how, with Big Thinking, anything is possible.  Schwartz explains how the Thinking Big concept works, and he highlights practical steps on how to do it.

Why I read this book: It was suggested in The 4-Hour Work Week by Tim Ferriss


Notable Quote: “Success is determined not so much by the size of one’s brain as it is by the size of one’s thinking.” – David J. Schwartz

Book Report: Schwartz’ 1959 book The Magic of Thinking Big still inspires both thought and action with a contemporary feel.  With a popular trend starting with Simon Sinek’s 2009 TED Talk and book, Start With Why, Schwarz begins his book by asking, “Why this big book?”, and he points out the goal isn’t to teach business techniques on how to make money, rather he reminds us that the WHY for the reader is ultimately to reach success, fulfill desires, enjoy a fine standard of living and that happiness, accomplishment, income, friends, and respect are outcomes of Big Thinking.

Schwartz clearly exhorts his reader to “Start now, right now…”  Schwartz explains, in his book, that waiting for everything to be perfect before taking action is a good excuse not to work toward your goals and that “Tomorrow, next week, later are synonyms with the failure word Never.”  The Magic of Thinking Big is really an elaborate checklist on mental behaviors that if followed, practiced, and acted upon will lead to immense rewards, larger than imaginable without the Big Thinking attitude of “I can do better” which, according to Schwartz, switches on magical creative power.

There are way too many gems of wisdom, advice, suggestions, and tactics shown in The Magic of Thinking Big to list here, but the end of each chapter includes a very concise summary highlighting the main points of the chapter which I found very helpful and which act as easy reference when I want to refer to certain points.  Just a few of the many “gems” I gleaned from The Magic of Thinking Big include ideas like:

-We underestimate our own brainpower, and we overestimate the other fellow’s brainpower.

-Action cures fear.

-Make everything about you say, “I’m confident”, even if you might not feel confident inside.

-Whenever you are in a difficult situation, ask, “How would an important person handle this?”

-Remember, ideas alone won’t bring success.

-Think progressively toward, Work, Family, and Yourself.

-Ask, “Are you a better person in all three of these areas than you were a month ago?”

-Whenever setback, negativity, or fear creep into your mind, THINK BIG, and in his book, Schwartz tells us how.

The Magic of Thinking Big isn’t an esoteric explanation of success strategy, but rather it is an objective HOW TO book with very practical steps people can take to create positive changes through Big Thinking.  Many of the chapter titles are unashamedly titled, “How toThink Big, How to Think and Dream Creatively, How to Turn Defeat into Victory, How to Think like a Leader …” and Schwartz backs this up with clear explanations and practical examples.  Overall, I found The Magic of Thinking Big to be a wonderful book that really allowed me to analyze how I think, to reorder my thought process putting Big Ideas ahead of smaller ideas as well as negative thoughts, and very importantly, it inspired me not to think of these concepts as fun to know, but rather as action items that must be started immediately to quickly begin making steps toward extremely big goals.

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