The Magic of Thinking Big: Acquire the secrets of success

Summary and book review of “The magic of thinking big – Acquire the secrets of success…  Achieve everything you’ve always wanted”: This book reveals the positive attitudes that can lead to success, help people to overcome difficulties and achieve your dreams. Whatever the context, whatever your personal limitations, this book is for anyone who wants to accomplish extraordinary things.

By David Schwartz, 1959, 363 pages

Note: This is a guest chronicle written by Mariana Zanetti, author of the book “The MBA Bubble: why getting an MBA degree is a bad idea”, in which she reveals the results of her research into the world of “business schools.”

Book review and summary of “The magic of thinking big”: 

If you are reading The magic of thinking big or this article, it is proof that you expect big things from your life. It also proves that you are intelligent enough to look for tools that will enable you to achieve these objectives. Think deeply, think big and your life will be extraordinary.

In order to succeed, all you have to do is believe. Faith in your capacity is essential. To achieve your objectives, you have to believe in yourself. Believe that it is possible.

It’s as simple as that.

Believing in yourself and in your goals will give you the motivation, the method, and the enthusiasm to achieve what you aspire to. The simple fact of doubting will lead you away from your plans. Do not let doubt take over. If you hear your inner voice criticizing you, telling you that you will not succeed, tell yourself that it is not true and think about all the challenges that you have overcome in life. Create an ad for yourself in which you are the “product”. Read it every morning. Believe in it. Go out every day and get the best product you can buy: yourself. In general, happy people who get what they want are not superheroes. They are ordinary people who have decided to adopt the right attitude: a positive one.

In order to have confidence in yourself, always think in terms of success: “I can do this”, “I am going to succeed.” You have to believe that you are worth more than you can imagine. “Think big”! That is why if you have poor goals, you will have poor results.


One of the major brakes preventing you from getting what you want in life is a sickness that affects many people: “excusitis”. In general, people who have not completed their projects suffer from a certain degree of excusitis. In contrast, those who have achieved their aspirations, sometimes great things, never hide behind excusitis. Roosevelt never hid behind his disability, nor did Kennedy hide behind his young age. But some people use excusitis for everything: their health, their education, their background, their race, their gender, their age, their “intelligence”, their luck, etc.

Excusitis can be treated and cured like most common diseases. Avoid talking about your personal limitations, for example, a health issue or your age. If you express yourself in terms of limits, then you will be limited. On the other hand, if you don’t talk about them, then you have no limits.

There is nothing more useless than worrying about things. It is like chewing gum when you need to solve a mathematical equation.  Similarly, you must not let problems like your health or any other thing get you down. As for intelligence, it is pretty easy to see that we generally overestimate other people’s intelligence while underestimating our own. The result is that we gradually devalue ourselves and we lose confidence in what we can really achieve.


Remember: Self-confidence is the key! Most people who get what they want are ordinary people who have confidence in themselves. Passion, enthusiasm, and positive thinking will motivate you to invest in everything that you want to undertake. Investing in what you do represents 95% of the talent that you can develop. Your attitude is a thousand times more important than your intelligence: never imagine that your degree of intelligence will be an obstacle when it comes to getting what you want.

When it comes to the age excuse, consider this question. How long have you been on the job market and how much time do you have left before you reach retirement age? Begin building your future as early as possible, the next 20, 30, or 40 years. You are the right age to start doing it as soon as you can!


Once people have big dreams, a threat appears – paralyzing fear. Fear is a powerful force that can destroy confidence and prevent people from getting what they really want from life. To counter it, you need to develop self-confidence. Imagine a baby learning to walk. She has tremendous self-confidence, but then she falls over, laughs, and gets up again. She is always happy and never stops trying. When it comes to adults, it is incredible to see how we lose our self-confidence over the years, allowing fear to take up the space. We stop getting up again. We stop trying.

Like any other illness, fear can be treated and cured. The cure for fear is action. Take action and fear will disappear. If you are afraid about the presentation that you have to make to your clients, then prepare and rehearse it. In the same way, if you are afraid that you will not have enough money to pay your bills, start saving today. Sometimes, our fears can be amplified by our erroneous perception of reality.

We are afraid of the consequences. Drivers would never get into a car if all they thought about was the fear of getting injured in an accident. And yet, you drive every day because you have confidence in yourself. You know how to react if something goes wrong. All you have to do is think about positive situations. Fill your mind with positive memories. Act according to your conscience. If you don’t do this, you will be afraid. You will lose all confidence in yourself. And yet, confidence is the basis of everything that you want to undertake.

How to think big

When people wonder about their weaknesses, many would be surprised to discover that they suffer from the ultimate weakness of human nature: self-depreciation. So, you think that your product may appeal to Mr. Perez, but you never call him because you think he won’t give you the time of day. You believe that your product or service has value and is interesting, but you undersell yourself because you think other people will not appreciate it. This is self-depreciation.

Of course, you should be aware of your limits, but this is not a good reason to forget about your strengths. On the contrary, celebrate them! To discover your strengths, ask people around you and make a list of your 5 best assets. The book Strengths Finder 2.0 will help you to discover your strengths and rely on them instead of trying to improve your weaknesses. You will find that many other people have achieved what you aspire to on the basis of these same assets, sometimes even to a lesser extent. You will see that you have more going for you than you think.

Try to use vocabulary that demonstrates the hope, motivation and confidence that fires you up. Remove negative words that are synonymous with failure from your daily life. Think about things in terms of what they could be rather than what they are.

Daily life is complicated. We all face little problems, but there is a reward for those who can rise above all these difficulties. That is why you must keep a straight course towards an important goal. Never stop asking yourself if you are devoting your energy to the things that are truly important. Do not allow yourself to be distracted by trifles.

How to think and dream creatively

Having a creative mind allows you to discover the best ways to do things. An empty plot of ground can become a garden, an average person can become the hero of a best-seller, the children of a poor family can get a good education… all thanks to a creative mind.

The first condition to developing a creative mind is to have faith in your chances of getting what you want. In general, one good way to increase faith in your chances of success is to see how other people did it. If others have succeeded and they had similar strengths to you, then, of course, you can succeed too. An old saying goes: “If you think you can succeed or if you think that you cannot succeed, you will be right both times”. When you think that something is impossible, your mind focuses on looking for the causes of this belief. But when you think that something is possible, your mind will come to your rescue to find the means to achieve it. Faith in yourself releases all your creative energy.

Banish the word “impossible” from your vocabulary. Very often, we give up on our dreams because we only think about the reasons for giving up. In reality, the only thing that is worth the effort is finding reasons to keep trying, to keep believing, and to succeed! Be open to new ideas. Read, read, read! Live new experiences, break out of your routine. Ask yourself how you can act differently to move forward. Turn towards the future and not the past. Listen to other people’s ideas and ask them the right questions. Remember that people who are a good example know how to listen. Only small people monopolize the conversation.

You are the image of your thoughts

It is as simple as that: other people will see in you what you see in yourself. You are worth whatever you think you are worth. Our actions are guided by what we are thinking.

Gaining other people’s respect is very simple. We first have to believe that we deserve their respect. The more you respect yourself, the more other people will respect you. So, if you want to represent success, then think about the image of someone who has achieved success. See, speak, think, and act by putting yourself inside the mind of the person you want to be. Write an ad to promote yourself and read it several times a day.

Control your environment

Your environment feeds your mind. Surround yourself with small people and you will think in a negative way. On the other hand, if you surround yourself with people who have good ideas, you will end up thinking big. You will see that the world is divided into three categories. There are people who have completely given up on their dreams: they are the majority. There are people who have partly given up on their dreams, and then there are people who have not given up on their dreams. According to the author, David Schwartz, the second category is made up of people who are scared. This prevents them from moving forward. These people are unhappy; some of them even feel defeated. As for the people in the third group, they believe that life deserves to be lived well.

To become a member of this group, we have to overcome the handicapping forces in our environment. It is easy to classify people into each of these three groups. Do not share your projects with envious, pessimistic, mediocre people, and conformists. They will do everything they can to discourage you. In contrast, talk to people who have succeeded in achieving their projects. If you are surrounded by people who suffer from excusitis, do not let them convince you with their arguments. Runaway! These people never got what they wanted and they feel the need to justify their failures.

Adopt the attitudes that suit you best

We can transmit messages without using words. “I like you”, “I don’t like you”, “I’m bored”… We can transmit all this without using words, through gestures, vocal sounds or a glance. What really counts is our attitude. People with a good attitude get big things from their relationships with others, in their professional life and in everything they do.

There is a whole set of winning attitudes that you must cultivate and use in your favor.

  1. Enthusiasm.
  2. Respect for others.
  3. Devotion to service.

Enthusiasm is one thing that will make all the difference in everything you undertake. It is as simple as that: enthusiasm is something out of the ordinary! It’s awesome!

Even if something doesn’t make you feel particularly motivated, you can still develop your enthusiasm using a few simple strategies.

  • Be curious. You probably know next to nothing about things that do not interest you. Well, the opposite is also true. You will end up taking an interest in the things you do know and understand. All you have to do is find out more about what does not seem interesting to you at first. You will soon discover enthusiasm creeping over you. When you are enthusiastic, you cannot be unhappy.
  • Put life into everything you do. When you shake someone’s hand, do it energetically. Think of the idea that you are happy to greet the other person. Smile and transmit joy. Do it sincerely. Nobody likes a fake smile. Put energy into it every time you say “Thank you”, and say it from the heart. In a general way, put life into everything you say.
  • Be someone who brings good news. Good news brings good results. Say that you feel very well. Tell other people what a positive perception you have of them. Encourage them. If the people around you feel good, you will feel good too.

Be positive about other people. Human beings, whatever their status or their origin, wants to feel important. Many people ignore the importance of this maxim. It is as if they are saying “You don’t matter to me”, because they do not believe that the other person can offer them anything. This attitude is wrong. If someone feels that they are important in your eyes, they will do favors for you. And when you help someone to feel important, then you will feel important. If you are not important, everything that you undertake in life will be mediocre. Try and you will see.

Appreciate other people sincerely. Congratulate them on their successes, big or small. Call them or leave them thank you messages.  Call people by their first name or full name and don’t get it wrong! Say and write names correctly. People have an emotional connection to their name. Share credit not just with your team, but with your family too.

Adopt positive attitudes towards other people.

This is a golden rule to remember. Success resides in supporting others. You will not get anything if other people do not make it easier for you, for example, the customers who buy your products, the employees who carry out the work, the bosses who support initiatives, investors, teachers, your family, etc. We always rely on others for our achievements. To count on their support, you have to adopt a good attitude towards them.

Attitude is more important than your diplomas. If people respect you and have consideration for you, you will gain credibility in their eyes. This is worth much more than any diploma.

People who get what they want are “trained” to like other people, following a few basic rules:

  • Don’t make a mistake when you write or say another person’s name! We react towards the use of our name with a lot of emotion.
  • Feel good about yourself. Do not give off a stressful vibe, but a tranquil one. Make other people feel good in your company.
  • Remain calm, don’t worry about small things.
  • Do not focus on yourself, as though you know every there is to know in this world.
  • Become someone interesting so that other people will become winners in your company. Smooth any sharp angles in your personality.
  • Train yourself to like other people until it becomes something completely natural.
  • Congratulate other people for the things they do.
  • Spread spiritual energy to those around you so that all the love will come back to you and multiply.

If you give somebody a gift, it must be offered sincerely, because you cannot buy friendship. On the contrary, you risk losing your money and the respect of other people.

Introduce yourself to other people

Take the initiative to introduce yourself to other people. You will always recognize the most important person. It is the person who introduces himself or herself to other people.

Accept imperfections and differences in others (and your own too)! If there were no imperfections, we would not be human and the world would be a very boring place. Give up on trying to change the world.  Practice the art of positive thinking on other people. You will be a winner, because, in the long term, the hardest thing in the world is not to say what you think, it is to not say what you are really thinking. So, if you think badly of someone, “say” it one way or another and you will turn that person against you.

Listen to what other people have to say. Do not try to monopolize the conversation.

Get into the habit of acting.

If you have good ideas, but you never put them into practice, they serve no purpose.  Only the ones that you put into action will come to fruition. When you become passive and stop putting your projects and dreams into action, you will lose confidence in yourself.  Active people act and they enter into the good cycle of confidence with a sense of security and success.

If you are waiting for 100% of the conditions to come together in order to take action, then you will never get started. If you are waiting for the perfect moment, you will get a life sentence of never acting, because it is never the perfect moment. And, if you lack the motivation to do something, take action and you will see how motivation and inspiration will come automatically.  Acting is also a way to combat fear, as David Schwartz already mentioned previously. “Tomorrow” or “Later” are often synonymous with “Never”.

How to turn a failure into a win

If we establish a parallel between certain groups, the disadvantaged, poor people or people who have what they want in life, what each group has in common is not where they come from, or luck, or their nationality. It is their attitude towards failure. Failure is nothing more than a lesson. You can learn the lesson or you can become disheartened. Failure is simply a state of mind.

Study the reasons for your failure without blaming other people. There is no sense in that. That kind of attitude is a waste of energy. The only reaction that can add something positive to your success is to find out what you can do differently to not fail again in the same way. Be brave enough to constructively criticize your actions. Learn from your failures and your experience. Find new ways to reach your goals. Everyone who succeeds in life has come across unexpected results on the long road to success, often over a long period!

Your thoughts have the power to attract what you want, so never stop telling yourself that there has to be a way to succeed. If on the contrary, you tell yourself that you are lost, that there is no way out, that it is impossible, then you will be right. A problem is only impossible to resolve if you believe it to be the case. Do not spend a lot of time analyzing problems. Get some perspective and start again. Take a step back and the solution will come easily to your mind. Above all, do not forget that there is a positive side to every situation – look at it.

Set yourself goals to move forward

No progress can be made if we do not set goals in advance. Remember that what is important is not where you come from but where you are going.

How do you see yourself in 10 years? Do not give a vague answer. Be specific. On a professional level, what do you see yourself earning? In your family life, what relations do you want to have with your family? What education do you want your children to have? Where do you want to live? What kind of friends do you want to have in your social life? What kind of activities would you like to do with them? Which kind of experiences are you looking for in life? What kind of person do you want to become?

Why so many questions?

Nobody will do much in life until they are transformed by an important cause.

Your energy will be doubled if you devote yourself to achieving a goal that comes from the heart. It will be branded into your unconscious and will automatically guide you towards achieving it.

All progress is the sum of small daily progress. If your objective is very ambitious, it will consume you and you will excel. Focus on your small victories and the big success will come of its own accord. However, if something does not happen the way you expect, and you have to take a detour, then accept this and move on to something else. Sometimes, we reach our destination by taking a short cut. Invest in yourself, increase your capacity to achieve what you want and you will have extraordinary results.

Take the time to meditate every day to communicate with your mental strength and release your creative energy. Reflect a little every day and you will see your life transform.

The 10 principles of the book “The magic of thinking big”

  1. Believe that you can succeed and this will be your reality
  2. Stop making excuses
  3. Build self-confidence and crush your fears
  4. Think and dream creatively
  5. You are what you think you are
  6. Control your environment
  7. Make your attitudes your allies
  8. Have a good attitude towards other people
  9. Turn defeats into victories
  10. Think like a leader

Book critique of The magic of thinking big”

The magic of thinking big is a classic book about the attitude to have towards success. It has inspired thousands of people. It gave me the motivation to undertake personal and professional projects that seemed almost impossible to achieve. The magic of thinking big is a book that you should read over from time to time, whenever you feel motivation waning. It was written for people who want to achieve big things in life. The definition of “big things” is not the same for everyone. But all these ideas are resolutely powerful and extraordinary. Anyone who needs to find energy should return to The magic of thinking big from time to time. I have done this many times.

Strong Points:

  • The author David Schwartz uses simple and direct language. The magic of thinking big is very easy to read.
  • The magic of thinking big contains universal wisdom that you can apply to any kind of personal situation.
  • Book The magic of thinking big is a major source of inspiration and becomes a source of energy.

Weak Points:

  • The magic of thinking big is already quite a few years old. It was written in 1959 and the images of success in its pages are very traditional, even though success can be defined in a very different way from one person to another.
  • The magic of thinking big can seem a little out of date, with a certain number of “macho” references. They shock us now, but they were undoubtedly not very surprising at the time.

A Short Practical Guide to The Magic of Thinking Big by David Schwartz

What are the 10 principles of the book The Magic of Thinking Big?

David Schwartz proposes the following principles in his book:

  1. Believe that you can succeed and that will be your reality
  2. Stop making excuses
  3. Develop your self-confidence and destroy your fears
  4. Think and dream creatively
  5. You are what you think
  6. Control your environment
  7. Make your attitudes your allies
  8. Have a good attitude towards others
  9. Turn defeats into victories
  10. Think like a leader

FAQ of the Book The Magic of Thinking Big

  1. Why was the book The Magic of Thinking Big so successful when it was launched?

The most ardent wish of most men on this earth is to succeed, but this coveted success cannot be improvised. Thus, the book The Magic of Thinking Big by David Schwartz with its simple, straightforward and very easy to read language has come at the right time as one of the best personal development books. It is a great source of inspiration and becomes a source of energy for the common man and woman from all walks of life.

  1. Who is the book “The Magic of Thinking Big” for?

This book is for anyone who dreams big, for anyone who believes that they can do extraordinary things in life. It is a source of inspiration and energy for the average person. This book is a true resource for all personal development coaches.

  1. What is the real key to success revealed by David Schwartz in his book?

David Schwartz believes that it is very important to remember that the key is self-confidence! For him, most people who have achieved what they wanted are ordinary people who have confidence in themselves. Passion, enthusiasm and a positive attitude will motivate you to put yourself into whatever you want to do.

  1. How to think and dream creatively according to David Schwartz?

According to David Schwartz, creative thinking allows you to discover the best ways to do things. For him, the first condition to develop a creative mind is to have faith in your chances to get what you want. In general, a good way to increase faith in your chances of success is to see how others have done it and not to look down on yourself. If others have succeeded with strengths similar to yours, of course you can too.

Positive attitudes versus negative attitudes

Self-confidence Discouragement
Never make excuses Making excuses for yourself
Having a good attitude towards others Having a bad attitude towards others
Turning defeats into victories Turning victories into defeats
Being grateful Believing that everything is due to us
Think like a leader Think like a follower

Who is David Schwartz?

David Joseph Schwartz was born on March 23, 1927 in the United States. He was an author, speaker, coach and professor at Georgia State University in Atlanta. He published The Magic of Thinking Big in 1959, in which he shared his vision of success, which is not the prerogative of intellectuals, nor of a particular socio-professional stratum, but the fact of learning to think differently and to change old habits.

We cannot talk about David Schwartz without mentioning his many other books, namely:

  • Magic of Thinking Success
  • Magic of Self-Direction

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