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The Magic of Thinking Big Book Summary, Review, Notes

What makes a successful person, a question we frequently ask ourselves, is answered by the author, Dr. David Schwartz, through anecdotes and time-tested wisdom. 


The Magic of Thinking Big is a broad book since it attempts to explain everything that leads to success. 


Through its pages, we learn that we hold the secret to success and that we are innately capable of realizing our ambitions and achieving the goals we have set for ourselves.


Dr. Schwartz leads us on the path of reforming our brains so that our lives are transformed via an understanding of psychology, ambition, social behavior, goal setting, and leadership using the experience that his work as a teacher and leadership advisor has given him as well as his performance in various domains of human activity.


Book Title—  The Magic of Thinking Big
David J. Schwartz
Date of Reading—   February 2023

Table of Contents

What Is Being Said in Detail


The book starts with a preface and a brief summary of what the book will do for us. 

He begins by describing a specific experience he had at a sales meeting that forever altered his perspective on tenacity and the value of the power of thinking big. 

Through this book, the author will disclose practical ideas, techniques and principles that will enable the reader to master the power of thinking in order to gain success, happiness and satisfaction.

CHAPTER 1. Believe You Can Succeed and You Will

Your beliefs are like lightning rods for your life, says Schwartz. They draw what you expect them to draw, but not in a way that follows the “Law of Attraction.” 

Instead, it’s about adopting a strategy that is consistent with a particular point of view and viewing the world through that perspective.

When you really believe that you can accomplish a task, you may anticipate that your mind will provide instructions on how to do it. It also helps to get knowledge from other people’s methods.  

Disbelief, however, is a negative power because when you have doubts, your unconscious draws evidence to support your doubts. Doubt inevitably results in failure.

This is why having the right belief system is crucial. When you do this, fear begins to recede, and you start to notice chances that you had never noticed before and that your fear would have prevented you from taking advantage of. 

It is beneficial to learn from your successful role models but avoid placing yourself in their shadow.

Develop the power of belief by:

  • Focusing on success rather than defeat.
  • Realizing that you are more capable than you believe.
  • Increasing the standard.

CHAPTER 2. Cure Yourself of Excusitis, the Failure Disease

Schwartz claims that giving up the habit of making excuses is one of the most crucial aspects of thinking big. 

Excuses are justifications we make for our behavior in order to justify it, delay taking action, or make ourselves feel better about being careless or irresponsible.

These are some of the frequent excuses:

  • Health (The more you think about or talk about a situation you think of as a disease, the more of a problem it seems to you. Instead, genuinely express your gratitude for your current state of health),
  • Intellect (You typically overrate other people’s intellect while underrating your own. Don’t fall into the trap of undervaluing your abilities; instead, concentrate on them),
  • Age (There is no ideal time to begin constructing the life you want. Consider all the opportunities you still have),
  • Luck (Accepting the law of cause and effect is crucial. Success doesn’t come from luck, but from taking steps that lead to it).

So how can we stop using them? Dealing with the fear that drives our justifications is the first step. 

Fear confines us to our familiar surroundings, which is a very restricting place to be. Lack of knowledge, comprehension, resources, perspective, or experience are the usual causes of fear. 

We just aren’t in a position to take the courageous steps required to advance in our goals when we lack the confidence that comes with fear.

We rationalize our lack of activity and forward progress because we feel the anguish of not making progress toward our goals. Yet excuses won’t make our grief go away. 

They merely cover up the pain temporarily and will continue to bother us unless we deal with it head-on, face our anxieties, stop creating justifications, and take steps to achieve the life we want.

CHAPTER 3. Build Confidence and Destroy Fear

To overcome your fear, you must face it. Success is significantly hampered by anxiety. It will prevent you from taking advantage of opportunities, it may make you ill, and it may even shorten your life. 

Even while they generally don’t take up a significant portion of our conscious thoughts, fears like those of failure, rejection, and embarrassment in front of others may prevent us from taking advantage of opportunities on a daily basis.

What is the best approach to prevent fear from limiting us? Schwartz claims that the answer is to stop fear from developing in the first place. 

We may transform our fears into something that inspires us rather than paralyzes us if we can alter the way our minds process them. By reducing the detrimental effects, we achieve this. 

We start by imagining ourselves performing bravely while confronting our worries. Then, we see ourselves getting the outcomes we want and overcoming our concerns.

David J. Schwartz Quote

By controlling the voices in our heads, primarily by our own actions, we may boost our self-confidence. 

Even when we don’t feel confident, we can start by just acting more so. presenting ourselves with assurance. The best ways to influence our psyches are by acting and speaking with confidence.

Recognize that in order to resolve your fear of other people, you must first place them in the proper context. 

So as not to diminish your self-worth, maintain an objective perspective of both yourself and other people. 

Be accepting but also keep in mind that when people differ from one another, it makes them more similar.

CHAPTER 4. How to Think Big

The magnitude of your accomplishments depends on how you think. Big-thinkers have the ability to envision what is possible.

Practice the following to start speaking with a big-picture mindset:

  1. Express your feelings by using uplifting language.
  2. Do the same when referring to other people.
  3. Encourage others by complimenting them.
  4. Use optimistic language to describe plans.

To avoid being petty, which limits your capacity for visionary thinking:

  1. Think of big objectives and big rewards.
  2. Make a judgment on whether what you are doing is worthy.
  3. Focus on what is important and don’t worry about the little things.

CHAPTER 5. How to Think and Dream Creatively

To fully utilize the potential of big thinking, Schwartz contends that you must possess the capacity for original thought. The best possibilities in life are typically found by creative people.

The act of being creative involves enhancing or developing new processes. Starting with the belief that you can accomplish your goals is the first step toward producing creative work. 

This entails letting go of archaic habits and becoming receptive to novel concepts.

To displace conventional thinking:

  • With your ideas, go forward rather than backward.
  • Accept novel concepts.

Moreover, be aware that asking questions and paying attention to others can help you learn more than telling or talking. 

You can use the new knowledge you gather to increase your productivity. In order to develop your creative ability, you must:

Encourage others to share their stories.

  • Asking questions to get feedback on your positions will help you evaluate your thoughts. Your ideas will be polished as a result.
  • Be a good listener by paying close attention to everything the other person is saying.
  • Surround yourself with people who can help you think and see things differently.

These two actions will encourage your imaginative thinking.

CHAPTER 6. You Are What You Think You Are

You portray a certain image of yourself to the public in order to attract the attention you believe you deserve. Recognize that your behavior is influenced by the way you think.

Your body generates a neuropeptide molecule each time you have a thought, feeling, or emotion. Neuropeptides travel throughout your body and bind to cells and neuronal receptor sites. 

The rest of your body is then informed by your brain, which analyses the information and converts it into chemicals, if there is difficulty on the horizon or pleasant feelings to anticipate. 

These chemicals and molecules have a direct impact on how the body physically works.

David J. Schwartz Quote 2

In other words, your head is where everything in your life starts. 

Even though so many of us take our thoughts for granted or think they have no actual significance or impact, they are the most powerful thing we possess.

To improve your perception of yourself:

  • Show that you are important, and you will feel important, too.
  • Be the person you want to be by going out into the world. People around you form impressions based on how you appear.
  • Have faith in the significance of your work. Your attitude about your work sends a signal to your supervisors, coworkers, and anybody else you come into contact with.
  • By telling yourself repeatedly throughout the day that you are an important person, psychologically condition yourself for success.
  • Adopt the mindset of achievers to elevate your style of thinking.
  • Big, impactful ideas that will advance your life and career should be your focus.

CHAPTER 7. Manage Your Environment: Go First Class

According to Schwartz, the belief that real success is beyond the reach of the majority of people is their biggest barrier to achieving it. 

Your thoughts and feelings are the building blocks of your conduct, emotions, and overall personality. 

Also, you are shaped by your environment, which should make it clear that your circumstances have an impact on your thoughts and objectives.

Your interactions with average people will influence your thinking and behavior. Conversely, interacting with top performers will result in uplifting vibrations and outstanding outcomes.

Schwartz advises his readers to “go first class” because of this. That doesn’t imply you should disregard or belittle anyone you consider unsuccessful. 

It does, however, imply that you should base your goals, habits, and way of life on those of large thinkers who have succeeded in leading the kind of life you desire.

Here are some tips for improving your environment:

  • Recognize the surroundings.
  • Create a space that will support you rather than harm you.
  • Do not let weak thinking impede your development.
  • Take notes from top performers.
  • Welcome new colleagues, fresh thoughts, and new encounters.
  • Adapt your viewpoint. Associate with others who have opinions that are different from yours yet who are superior to the average.
  • Avoid having unfavorable talks.
  • Do everything you can to achieve your goals.

CHAPTER 8. Make Your Attitudes Your Allies

Your inner voice, which represents your worldview and attitude, will be the loudest and most convincing voice you ever encounter. 

Your management style is greatly influenced by how you feel about yourself and your job.

Your mind can be programmed, just like a computer. Your attitude serves as the programming for the computer that houses your existence. 

You can either adopt a self-motivating or self-encouraging attitude, or you can adopt a self-pitying or self-defeating attitude. So, according to Schwarz, cultivating and keeping a positive attitude is necessary for success. 

You should focus on the following three attitudes: activation, importance, and service.

Everyone has a craving for recognition. You’ll succeed if you satisfy this urge for others. 

If people believe they matter and that what they do matters, they will achieve more. 

In order to give others the impression that they are important:

  • Show gratitude.
  • Use the first name of the person.
  • Delegate your task to others and give them the opportunity to succeed.

Become more service oriented. Despite the fact that you need money, you must first earn it. Giving your work or job priority therefore comes before you may achieve financial success.

CHAPTER 9. Think Right Toward People

You need the assistance of others since you cannot succeed yourself alone. Make yourself lighter to lift. Be likeable. 

Develop a personality that others will like. This gains their support and fuels your success-building strategy.

Your objective should be to acquire character attributes that will make you someone people want to spend time with:

  • Be the one to start establishing relationships.
  • Acknowledge the limitations and diversity of others. No one is perfect, so don’t demand it.
  • Avoid taking over talks. Let others the opportunity to speak and be heard. Encourage others to share their perspectives, beliefs, and achievements.
  • Always be courteous to others. It improves both other people’s moods and your own mood.

CHAPTER 10. Get the Action Habit

Be an active person. Don’t be one of the many people who throw away good ideas by doing nothing with them. You gain confidence and overcome paralyzing fear via action. 

Don’t wait for the ideal moment to take action. It might never happen. Consider the here and now. Whenever you use phrases like “tomorrow,” “next week,” or “later,” you’re setting yourself up for failure. 

In other words, be prepared to encounter challenges throughout every activity.

David J. Schwartz Quote 3

To anticipate these challenges is a preferable course of action. Start the mechanical part of your mind. 

Don’t hold off till the spirit touches you. Move the spirit by taking initiative and persevering. 

Spend no time preparing before acting. Switch to taking action. Donate your time. Demonstrate your desire and aptitude for the task at hand.

CHAPTER 11. How to Turn Defeat into Victory

The way one reacts to failures is what determines whether one succeeds or fails. 

Your efforts may temporarily fail, but you must develop the resourcefulness to turn these setbacks into opportunities.

These are five tips for bouncing back from setbacks:

  1. Failures can teach you valuable lessons that can help you succeed later. Having healthy self-criticism involves being aware of your own weaknesses.
  2. Put forth the effort to be your own toughest critic. Determine your areas of improvement and work on them.
  3. Leave luck out of it. Understand that placing blame on external factors (such as luck) is useless.
  4. Consistently try new things while remaining persistent. Those that succeed consistently apply the same tried-and-true formula: they combine tenacity with innovation.
  5. Keep in mind that there is always a silver lining.

CHAPTER 12. Use Goals to Help You Grow

Having well-defined goals will help you succeed more quickly. Putting your professional, personal, and social goals on paper can help you attain them. 

See yourself as you will be ten years from now, set personal goals and create deadlines to ensure you will succeed.

As soon as you decide what you want to accomplish, you’ll find the motivation to get started. 

As you fully immerse yourself in your aim, you’ll naturally begin to make the choices that will lead you closer to your objective.

To achieve success takes time and effort. Take baby steps toward your objective. Look at everything you do, no matter how insignificant it may appear, as a step closer to your objective.

Understand that setbacks are fleeting and move forward. 

Most essential, continue to invest money in ways to improve your own intelligence and productivity. Invest in education. Invest in idea generators.

CHAPTER 13. How to Think Like a Leader

Your future as a leader will be bright if you achieve your goals. The author outlines four leadership concepts that will help you succeed:

  1. Talk to the people you want to persuade. If you can put yourself in the shoes of those you’re trying to influence, you’ll find it much easier to achieve your goals.
  2. Don’t be rude, condescending, or stubborn. Simply treat others how you would like to be treated.
  3. Have a forward focus by constantly seeking methods to enhance your performance. Be a progressive mind.
  4. Good leaders spend a lot of time reflecting on their own performance. Successfully navigating time alone yields positive results. Put your imagination to use. Put it to work for you in solving issues at home and at work.

Most Important Keywords, Sentences, Quotes

CHAPTER 1. Believe You Can Succeed and You Will

“Belief in great results is the driving force, the power behind all great books, plays, scientific discoveries. 

Belief in success is behind every successful business, church, and political organization. Belief in success is the one basic, absolutely essential ingredient of successful people.”

“Believe, really believe, you can succeed, and you will.”

“Belief is the thermostat that regulates what we accomplish in life.”

CHAPTER 2. Cure Yourself of Excusitis, the Failure Disease

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

“Life is yours to enjoy. Don’t waste it.”

“What really matters is not how much intelligence you have but how you use what you do have.”

“Thoughts, positive or negative, grow stronger when fertilized with constant repetition.”

CHAPTER 3. Build Confidence and Destroy Fear

“Fear is success enemy number one.”

“Hope is a start. But hope needs action to win victories.”

“And remember, hesitation only enlarges, magnifies the fear. Take action promptly. Be decisive.”

“To think confidently, act confidently.”

CHAPTER 4. How to Think Big

“Probably the greatest human weakness is self-deprecation. That is, selling oneself short.”

“You’re bigger than you think.”

“To think big, we must use words and phrases that produce big, positive mental images.”

“Stretch your vision: See what can be, not just what is.”

CHAPTER 5. How to Think and Dream Creatively

“Creative thinking is simply finding new, improved ways to do anything.”

“Believing something can be done paves the way for creative solutions. Believing something can’t be done is destructive thinking.”

“Capacity is a state of mind. How much we can do depends on how much we think we can do.”

CHAPTER 6. You Are What You Think You Are

“Others see in us what we see in ourselves. We receive the kind of treatment we think we deserve.”

“The key to winning what you want lies in thinking positively toward yourself.”

“You are what you think you are. Think more of yourself and there is more of you.”

CHAPTER 7. Manage Your Environment: Go First Class

“The mind reflects what its environment feeds it just as surely as the body reflects the food you feed it.”

“People who tell you it cannot be done almost always are unsuccessful people, are strictly average or mediocre at best in terms of accomplishment.”

“Be sure you’re in the flock that thinks right.”

“Go first class in everything you do. You can’t afford to go any other way.”

CHAPTER 8. Make Your Attitudes Your Allies

“Attitudes are mirrors of the mind.”

“To activate others, to get them to be enthusiastic, you must first be enthusiastic yourself.”

“Mix with the people. Make yourself feel and think like a community citizen from the very first day. Do this and you’ll be enthusiastic about your new environment.”

CHAPTER 9. Think Right Toward People

“The rule is: Success depends on the support of other people.”

“But don’t try to buy friendship; it’s not for sale.”

“The person who does the most talking and the person who is the most successful are rarely the same person.”

CHAPTER 10. Get the Action Habit

“Everything we have in this world, from satellites to skyscrapers to baby food, is just an idea acted upon.”

“The test of a successful person is not an ability to eliminate all problems before they arise, but to meet and work out difficulties when they do arise.”

“Success shuns the man who lacks ideas.”

CHAPTER 11. How to Turn Defeat into Victory

“It is not possible to win high-level success without meeting opposition, hardship, and setback. 

But it is possible to use setbacks to propel you forward.”

“Defeat is only a state of mind, and nothing more.”

“Being licked is valuable if we learn from it.”

“If you lose, learn.”

CHAPTER 12. Use Goals to Help You Grow

“A goal is more than a dream; it’s a dream being acted upon.”

“The important thing is not where you were or where you are but where you want to get.”

“No one accomplishes more than he sets out to accomplish. So visualize a big future.”

“Desire, when harnessed, is power. Failure to follow desire, to do what you want to do most, paves the way to mediocrity.”

CHAPTER 13. How to Think Like a Leader

“The point is this: To get others to do what you want them to do, you must see things through their eyes.”

“A little modesty goes a long way.”

“Believe in –and push for— progress; and you’ll be a leader!


Book Review (Personal Opinion):

Mini-stories describing how other people have dealt with both positive and negative events in their lives are used throughout The Magic of Thinking Big to provide a tutorial on how to respond positively to life’s challenges. 

I felt compelled to write on the topic because I believe we can all succeed if we put our minds to it. 

Fear can be overcome by taking the first step toward a goal, and this realization can be liberating. 

Fighting our fears head-on increases our chances of developing the self-assurance we need to deal with them in the future.

In my opinion, the author has a rather myopic view of success, focusing almost exclusively on financial and professional outcomes. 

Success is more relative than we’d like it to be, and we need to teach ourselves that just showing up counts. 

This will strengthen our conviction that we have the right mindset to improve ourselves and the world.

It’s a great book that anyone of any age can enjoy. You may feel like there is no way out of your current situation, that’s when it helps to think about a piece of advice that can light a fire of hope within you. 

The ideas and opinions expressed in this book are not new or particularly ground-breaking; however, the author’s presentation of these ideas is tremendously inspiring, as he provides numerous real-life examples of people who overcame significant obstacles to achieve extraordinary results.

Rating: 8/10

This Book Is For:

  • People who seek success and to become leaders
  • People who want to change their defeat mindset into thinking big
  • People who want to learn strategies in order to achieve their goals

If You Want to Learn More

Here is a magazine article about Dr. David J. Schwartz’s The Magic of Thinking Big. Dr. David J Schwartz’s “The Magic of Thinking Big” by Profit Magazine.

How I’ve Implemented The Ideas From The Book

Reading this book opened my eyes to the potential of the human mind. You may skip this one because it’s filled with information you already know; after all, all you really want is some inspiration. 

Because when things aren’t going as smoothly as you’d like, there’s nothing like a little extra motivation.  

After reading this book, I was able to gain insight into my own character flaws, identify when I was adopting a defeatist attitude, and alter my behavior accordingly by recalling the techniques outlined by Dr. Schwartz.

One Small Actionable Step You Can Do

An insatiable hunger for success is the single most important factor in achieving it. Put an end to doubt and procrastination and replace them with hope and self-assurance. 

To begin, try to see the big picture and aim high. The next stage is to make a plan for putting that vision into action by establishing a schedule and a series of manageable objectives. 

You may learn a lot from the people around you, both in terms of their triumphs and mistakes, so it’s essential to take a look at your surroundings and the people you associate with. 

Don’t allow setbacks derail your progress; instead, learn from them and use them to propel you toward eventual success.

The Magic of Thinking Big David -Schwartz Summary Infographic