This is a preview of the Shortform book summary ofguide to
The Magic of Thinking Big by David J. Schwartz.
Read Full SummaryRead Complete Guide

1-Page Summary1-Page Book Summary of The Magic of Thinking BigFast Summary of Shortform's Guide to The Magic of Thinking Big

The Magic of Thinking Big covers a wide range of ideas on what contributes to success. At a high level, the ideas split into two categories: 1) mindset, 2) behavior.

The Mindset of Thinking Big

Success Requires Believing in Yourself

Success means something different for all of us because we all have different goals. But regardless of the goal, successful people have one thing in common: they believe in themselves. Disbelief in your own abilities makes failure a self-fulfilling prophecy. In contrast, believing in yourself generates the energy to achieve your goal and overcome obstacles.

What Does Thinking Big Mean?

“Thinking big” means not limiting your possibilities — knowing you are capable of reaching lofty goals and achieving success. There are four key strategies to thinking big:

  1. Don’t sell yourself short. Realize how capable you really are.
  2. Develop a “big thinker’s vocabulary” of positive words. Talk about yourself and others using positive, favorable words. Don’t bring yourself down with negative words.
  3. See the possibilities in a situation, not just what’s in front of you. Imagine what can be, not just what is.
  4. Don’t sweat the small stuff. Don’t let petty arguments and perceived insults derail you from your course.

Stop Making Excuses

Unsuccessful people make excuses about why things haven’t worked out. They blame their health, or say their age is holding them back. They blame their lack of intelligence or luck.

Big thinkers don’t fall back on these common excuses. Instead, they focus on what they can do, not what they can’t. They don’t let circumstances hold them back, and use setbacks to propel themselves forward.

Build the Confidence Habit and Kill Fear

Everyone faces fear at some point. Fear in all its forms — worry, tension, embarrassment, anxiety and panic — can be crippling, blocking you from reaching your goals.

Successful people know that confidence is the antidote to fear, and confidence is a habit anyone can develop. Big thinkers first isolate their specific fear and pinpoint what exactly is making them afraid. Then they take some form of action to conquer that fear.

Other techniques for conquering fear include thinking positively, gaining an understanding of people, making moral choices, and showing confidence even if you don’t feel it.

Think Creatively

Big thinkers don’t just amass knowledge. They think creatively. Creative thinking is about finding innovative solutions to problems. There are six steps to develop creative thinking:

  1. Believe it can be done. You have to believe something is possible for it to be achieved.
  2. Know that there’s more than one way to do something.
  3. Always think, “I can do better.” Find something you can improve every day.
  4. Understand you can do more; you have a greater capacity than you think.
  5. Talk less, listen more. Be curious and absorb...

Want to learn the rest of The Magic of Thinking Big in 21 minutes? Want to learn the ideas of The Magic of Thinking Big better than ever?

Unlock the full book summary of The Magic of Thinking Big by Unlock the full Shortform guide to The Magic of Thinking Big by signing up for Shortform.

Shortform summaries help you learn 10x faster by: Shortform guides make you smarter by:

  • Being 100% comprehensive: you learn the most important points in the book Being 100% crystal-clear: you learn important ideas written simply and clearly
  • Expanding beyond the book: we add smart analysis and teach ideas the book didn't cover.
  • Cutting out the fluff: you don't spend your time wondering what the author's point is. Respecting your time: we don't waste your time and we make every word count.
  • Interactive exercises: apply the book's ideas to your own life with our educators' guidance.

READ FULL SUMMARY OF THE MAGIC OF THINKING BIG READ COMPLETE GUIDE TO THE MAGIC OF THINKING BIG

Here's a preview of the rest of Shortform's The Magic of Thinking Big summary:guide:

The Magic of Thinking Big Summary The Magic of Thinking Big Guide Chapter 1: Success Requires Believing in Yourself

What is success? It means something different for all of us because we all have different goals. But if you look at people you view as successful, regardless of their goals, you’ll see they all have one thing in common: They believe in themselves. They believe in their abilities. They believe they can accomplish their goals, no matter what obstacles arise.

Believing in yourself isn’t about wishful thinking, though many people confuse the two. You can’t simply wish yourself into a promotion or a bigger home. You can, however, fuel yourself with an “I know I can do it” attitude, which creates the energy needed to propel you forward. With the right attitude, you’ll observe how other people succeed, and you’ll see all the opportunities for yourself to succeed. The “how” comes naturally if you believe you can do it.

Why Thinking You’ll Fail Is Harmful

When you’re talking with someone who has failed, you may often hear, “I had a feeling it wouldn’t work out,” or, “I wasn’t really surprised it failed.” From the very beginning, these ventures were seeded with failure.

When you start out with a mindset of, “I’ll give it a try but it probably won’t work,” you’ve already...

Try Shortform for free

Read full summary of The Magic of Thinking Big Read full guide to The Magic of Thinking Big

Sign up for free

Shortform Exercise: Building Mr. Triumph and Destroying Mr. Defeat

Use this exercise to replace a “defeat” mindset with a “triumph” mindset.


Think of an area of your life where Mr. Defeat tends to run your thought process. What does Mr. Defeat say in your head?

What Our Readers Say

This is the best summary of How to Win Friends and Influence People I've ever read. I learned all the main points in just 20 minutes. This is the best guide to How to Win Friends and Influence People I've ever read. I learned the ideas better and got new insights than when I first read the book.
Learn more about our summaries →Learn more about our content →

The Magic of Thinking Big Summary The Magic of Thinking Big Guide Chapter 2: Stop Making Excuses

Unsuccessful people have a tendency to make excuses about why things haven’t worked out. But if you look at successful people, you find they may have experienced those same roadblocks, but they don’t dwell on them. They don’t make excuses. The roadblocks weren’t even a factor.

The author calls the tendency to make excuses the “disease of excusitis.” Like a physical disease, excusitis can get progressively worse. At first, the person might know the excuse is just a convenient lie - but the more she repeats it, the more she believes it. Soon, she uses that excuse to justify every problem in her life, instead of taking responsibility and solving the problem.

People tend to make excuses centered around four areas: health, intelligence, age, and luck.

We’ll look at each area in detail, but the pattern is this: people use personal traits they can’t change as excuses for not trying. To overcome this, invert your attitude: don’t waste time regretting what you don’t have; instead, make the most of what you do have.

A disadvantage with the right attitude will beat an advantage with the wrong attitude.

Health Excusitis

What it is: You surrender to your health...

Try Shortform for free

Read full summary of The Magic of Thinking Big Read full guide to The Magic of Thinking Big

Sign up for free

Shortform Exercise: Cure Your Excusitis

Stop using excuses to limit yourself. Use this exercise to vaccinate yourself against excusitis.


What excuse do you use often to justify your own lack of success? Describe what goal you want, and what excuse you use to explain why you haven’t succeeded.

Why people love using Shortform

"I LOVE Shortform as these are the BEST summaries I’ve ever seen...and I’ve looked at lots of similar sites. The 1-page summary and then the longer, complete version are so useful. I read Shortform nearly every day." "I LOVE Shortform as these are the BEST book guides I’ve ever seen...and I’ve looked at lots of similar sites. The 1-page overview and then the longer guide are so useful. I read Shortform nearly every day."
Jerry McPhee
Sign up for free

The Magic of Thinking Big Summary The Magic of Thinking Big Guide Chapter 3: Build the Confidence Habit and Kill Fear

Fear in all its forms — worry, tension, embarrassment, anxiety and panic — is crippling, paralyzing you from taking action and blocking your success. Fear is real, and no amount of advice such as, “Don’t worry,” or “There’s nothing to be afraid of” will cure us of fear.

Why is fear so self-defeating? Think of an infection in your body. If left untreated, it spreads unabated, causing more physical harm and pain and damaging more and more areas of your body. Fear is an infection of the mind, and when it spreads it stops you from taking chances and jumping on opportunities. It blocks your chances at success. Fear stops you from speaking up when you have something to say, and its incarnations such as anxiety and stress can actually make you physically sick.

So how do we treat this mental infection of fear and stop its spread? Confidence is the antidote to fear, and the good news is that confidence is a skill you can develop. No one is born totally confident. Confident people acquire that confidence over time — and you can too.

There are five steps to take to build the confidence habit:

  1. Isolate your fear and take action.
  2. Think positively.
  3. Gain a better...

Try Shortform for free

Read full summary of The Magic of Thinking Big Read full guide to The Magic of Thinking Big

Sign up for free

Shortform Exercise: Building the Confidence Habit

Use this exercise to pinpoint a fear and begin to replace that fear with confidence.


Think of a specific fear you carry. Pinpoint it. What exactly is making you afraid? What are you worried about?

What Our Readers Say

This is the best summary of How to Win Friends and Influence People I've ever read. I learned all the main points in just 20 minutes. This is the best guide to How to Win Friends and Influence People I've ever read. I learned the ideas better and got new insights than when I first read the book.
Learn more about our summaries →Learn more about our content →

The Magic of Thinking Big Summary The Magic of Thinking Big Guide Chapter 4: What Does Thinking Big Really Mean?

You are bigger, more important, more capable and worthier than you think. Where success is concerned, being “big” isn’t measured in inches or degrees or family background. Rather, it’s measured by the size of your thinking. How big do your ambitions get? How confident are you in your abilities?

Unfortunately, many people can’t see themselves as the boss, or in that big house, or in that career. They settle for less and sell themselves short.

What’s wrong with thinking small? When you think small, you miss out on opportunities.

  • You see an advertisement for a job and think, “I’d love that! It’s perfect.” But you don’t apply because you automatically think you’re not good enough. Why bother?
  • You know a certain sales prospect would be a great fit with your company, but you don’t bother to go for the account. They’re probably too big for you.
  • You meet someone you really like, but you don’t follow up or make plans. They’re way out of your league.

When you think too small, you become focused on your inabilities, and you don’t seem to recognize your abilities. (Being aware of your inabilities is healthy, it’s fixating on them that’s problematic.)

**When you...

Try Shortform for free

Read full summary of The Magic of Thinking Big Read full guide to The Magic of Thinking Big

Sign up for free

Shortform Exercise: Think Bigger

Learn how to think bigger about yourself.


Write down your five best “assets.” Pick things that your trusted friends and colleagues would agree with.

Want to read the rest of this
Book Summary Shortform Guide ?

With Shortform, you can:

Access 1000+ non-fiction book summaries. Access 1000+ non-fiction book guides.

Highlight what
you want to remember.

Access 1000+ premium article summaries. Access 1000+ topic and news guides.

Take notes on your
favorite ideas.

Read on the go with our iOS and Android App.

Download PDF Summaries. Download PDF Versions.

Sign up for free

The Magic of Thinking Big Summary The Magic of Thinking Big Guide Chapter 5: Think Creatively

Creative thinking is about finding innovative solutions to problems, employing new and improved ways to do something.

Too often people associate creative thinking with something major, such as writing a novel or inventing some new world-changing device. But give yourself more credit. Anytime you figure out a way to make something better, you are creatively thinking. Stopping an argument before it starts, finding a new way to save money, or streamlining a business task are all examples of creative thinking.

Here are six ways to develop creative thinking.

  1. Believe it’s possible. Never think something is “impossible.”
  2. Stop traditional thinking. Be experimental.
  3. Ask yourself, what can I improve today? Keep getting better.
  4. Ask yourself, how can I do more? Increase your capacity.
  5. Ask and listen. Don’t talk too much.
  6. Stretch your mind. Get stimulated.

Believe It’s Possible

If you think something can’t be done — liking a person, solving a work problem, creating world peace — your mind goes to work for you, bolstering your arguments and beliefs that this problem is impossible. Your brain shuts down thoughts of a possible solution.

If you truly believe...

Try Shortform for free

Read full summary of The Magic of Thinking Big Read full guide to The Magic of Thinking Big

Sign up for free

Shortform Exercise: Thinking Creatively

Use this exercise to stimulate your creativity.


What is something you want to do, but think it’s impossible? Describe it. Then write down a list of reasons it could be possible (even improbable wishes are fine). Reflect: does it now seem more possible?

What Our Readers Say

This is the best summary of How to Win Friends and Influence People I've ever read. I learned all the main points in just 20 minutes. This is the best guide to How to Win Friends and Influence People I've ever read. I learned the ideas better and got new insights than when I first read the book.
Learn more about our summaries →Learn more about our content →

The Magic of Thinking Big Summary The Magic of Thinking Big Guide Chapter 6: Think Yourself Into Importance

Have you ever noticed that some people seem to walk around commanding respect from others? Doors are opened, salespeople hover, and coworkers listen to every word. Other people, however, don’t get the same treatment. They can walk around virtually ignored or simply tolerated. What’s the difference?

The author proposes a simple answer: thinking. If you believe, deep down, that you’re not worthy, you’ll act like an unworthy person. This basic feeling of inferiority and lack of confidence will shine through no matter how you to hide it, and others will react to you without a high level of respect.

If, however, you truly believe you are an important and valuable person, you’ll act with importance, carrying yourself with confidence — and others will react to you with respect and deference.

To gain the respect of others, we must first show a high level of self-respect and self-confidence. There are four specific ways we can increase our self-respect so that others can see us as a self-confident and important individual.

  1. Look important.
  2. Believe your work is important.
  3. Create and deliver your own pep talk.
  4. Think like an important person.

Look...

Try Shortform for free

Read full summary of The Magic of Thinking Big Read full guide to The Magic of Thinking Big

Sign up for free

Shortform Exercise: Create Your Own Pep Talk

Create your own commercial to market yourself to you.


What are your greatest assets? What sets you apart from other people? List up to five.

What Our Readers Say

This is the best summary of How to Win Friends and Influence People I've ever read. I learned all the main points in just 20 minutes. This is the best guide to How to Win Friends and Influence People I've ever read. I learned the ideas better and got new insights than when I first read the book.
Learn more about our summaries →Learn more about our content →

The Magic of Thinking Big Summary The Magic of Thinking Big Guide Chapter 7: Make Sure Your Environment Is “First Class”

We’ve all heard the old expression, “you are what you eat.” This means that our well-being is tied directly to the food we use to fuel our bodies.

The author proposes that your mind is also a product of what it is fed, and what feeds your mind is your environment. The people you surround yourself with, the clothes you wear, the neighborhood you live in, and the food you eat all shape you into the person you are.

Most importantly, the size of your thinking, your attitude, and your goals all are the products of your environment, particularly the people around you. If you are surrounded by petty, negative people, you will likely pick up the habits of negative, petty thinking. If you are surrounded by positive, ambitious people, you will begin to reflect those traits, as well.

Your environment changes how you think. Improve your environment to improve how you think.

There are three aspects of your environment to change: your internal environment, your social environment, and your physical environment.

Recondition Yourself for Success

The biggest obstacle to success is thinking you’re just not cut out for any major accomplishment. “Big things are just not in the...

Try Shortform for free

Read full summary of The Magic of Thinking Big Read full guide to The Magic of Thinking Big

Sign up for free

Shortform Exercise: Revamp the People in Your Environment

Is there a negator in your life? It’s time to lose that negative influence.


Think of a person in your life who is often negative. What kinds of things this person say or do?

What Our Readers Say

This is the best summary of How to Win Friends and Influence People I've ever read. I learned all the main points in just 20 minutes. This is the best guide to How to Win Friends and Influence People I've ever read. I learned the ideas better and got new insights than when I first read the book.
Learn more about our summaries →Learn more about our content →

Shortform Exercise: Going First Class

It’s time to up your success game by going first class with your buying decisions.


Think about something low-quality and cheap that you own, and something high-quality that you own. How does each make you feel when you use it?

Try Shortform for free

Read full summary of The Magic of Thinking Big Read full guide to The Magic of Thinking Big

Sign up for free

The Magic of Thinking Big Summary The Magic of Thinking Big Guide Chapter 8: Create a Magnetic Attitude

Our facial expressions, body language, and tone of voice betray our thoughts and attitudes. A co-worker sitting slumped at his desk sighing radiates boredom and unhappiness. Another co-worker sitting up, alert, engaged in a discussion conveys energy and interest in what she’s doing.

The second a customer service agent picks up the phone, his tone of voice can convey sincere interest in helping you, or pure disinterest and annoyance.

Our attitudes speak for us, broadcasting disinterest and boredom, or energy and success.

Successful people hone three specific attitudes to help them lead people effectively:

  1. “I’m activated.”
  2. “You are important.”
  3. “Service first.”

The “I’m Activated” Attitude

Being activated means being enthusiastic. You have to be enthusiastic if you want anyone else to get excited about your cause. Students will tune out a monotone, unengaged teacher, but an enthusiastic, activated teacher will capture their interest. A fundraiser who is truly passionate about his cause will generate more donations than someone going through the motions.

You want other people to look at you favorably as someone who’s alive, purposeful, and...

What Our Readers Say

This is the best summary of How to Win Friends and Influence People I've ever read. I learned all the main points in just 20 minutes. This is the best guide to How to Win Friends and Influence People I've ever read. I learned the ideas better and got new insights than when I first read the book.
Learn more about our summaries →Learn more about our content →

Shortform Exercise: Convey the “I’m Activated” Attitude

Boost your enthusiasm toward an aspect of your life you’re lukewarm about.


Is there something in your work or personal life you’re just not that enthusiastic about — but there’s no avoiding it? What is it?

Try Shortform for free

Read full summary of The Magic of Thinking Big Read full guide to The Magic of Thinking Big

Sign up for free

The Magic of Thinking Big Summary The Magic of Thinking Big Guide Chapter 9: Be Likeable and Others Will Help You Succeed

Your success in any endeavor depends on the support and acceptance of other people; you’re not going to achieve your goals alone.

  • In sales, you need people to buy your product.
  • If you’re running a big project, you need team members doing their jobs well.
  • If you’re writing a book, you’ll an editor, marketing team, and readers.

To gain this support, you have to be likeable. Likeability is a factor in all aspects of your life, particularly your career. If have the technical skills for a new job but you’re deemed unlikeable, you won't get the position. You have to fit in with other people to achieve success.

Likeable people like other people. They show genuine friendship and kindness to others. You can’t fake likeability or bribe your way into others’ good graces; you’ll end up just creating contempt in the people whose support you’re trying to gain.

To cultivate likeability, successful people:

  1. Take the initiative to build new friendships.
  2. Don’t expect perfection in other people.
  3. Tune in to “Channel P” and not “Channel N.”
  4. Don’t monopolize the conversation. Let others talk.
  5. Don’t blame others when there’s a setback.

Take the...

What Our Readers Say

This is the best summary of How to Win Friends and Influence People I've ever read. I learned all the main points in just 20 minutes. This is the best guide to How to Win Friends and Influence People I've ever read. I learned the ideas better and got new insights than when I first read the book.
Learn more about our summaries →Learn more about our content →

Shortform Exercise: Tuning Into Channel P

Learn to tune into “Channel Positive” instead of “Channel Negative.”


Think of a common situation in your life, whether work or personal, where you tend to tune into Channel N, getting your feelings hurt or becoming angry. Why do you think you react this way?

Try Shortform for free

Read full summary of The Magic of Thinking Big Read full guide to The Magic of Thinking Big

Sign up for free

The Magic of Thinking Big Summary The Magic of Thinking Big Guide Chapter 10: By Default, Take Action

There are two types of people: Mr. Activationist and Mr. Passivationist. Mr Activationsist is a “doer” who accomplishes big things. Mr. Passivationist is a “don’ter.” He postpones things until they are no longer a viable option.

Mr. Activationist plans a vacation and then takes a vacation. Mr. Passivationist plans a vacation but ends up postponing it indefinitely because the timing isn’t right. Mr. Activationist wants to start a new business venture, so he does. Mr. Passivationist also wants to start a new venture, but talks himself out of it before he ever gives it a shot.

Successful people are Activationists; they have developed the habit of taking action. Mr. Activationist adopts these action-oriented mindsets:

  • Nothing is ever going to be perfect, so don’t wait for perfection to act.
  • Action cures fear, and fear is what is stopping you from taking action.
  • Don’t wait for inspiration. Just start acting, and inspiration will come.
  • Think “now,” not “later.”
  • Take initiative. Other people will respect this.

Nothing Is Ever Going to Be Perfect

Many Passivationists want to wait for everything to be perfect before they take action. But conditions,...

What Our Readers Say

This is the best summary of How to Win Friends and Influence People I've ever read. I learned all the main points in just 20 minutes. This is the best guide to How to Win Friends and Influence People I've ever read. I learned the ideas better and got new insights than when I first read the book.
Learn more about our summaries →Learn more about our content →

Shortform Exercise: The Action Habit

Build the habit of taking immediate, decisive action.


Think of something you’ve been putting off. What is it?

Try Shortform for free

Read full summary of The Magic of Thinking Big Read full guide to The Magic of Thinking Big

Sign up for free

The Magic of Thinking Big Summary The Magic of Thinking Big Guide Chapter 11: Find a Victory in Every Setback

Everyone meets with opposition and setbacks. Unsuccessful people allow these setbacks to defeat them. They use opposition as an excuse to throw in the towel and say it just can’t be done, whether it’s buying a house, starting a business, or getting a promotion.

Successful people, in contrast, use setbacks as motivation to move forward, more determined than ever to reach their goals.

There are three keys to handling setbacks constructively:

  1. Salvage something from every failure.
  2. Don’t blame others or bad luck for a setback. Don’t beat yourself up, either.
  3. Boldly experiment with new approaches to overcome setbacks.

Salvage Something From Every “Failure”

Setbacks can be upsetting. Our first impulse is often to quit or react with anger. But reacting emotionally robs us of a chance to learn from that setback.

Successful people pull a small victory out of every defeat. They find the lesson and apply it, learning what went wrong.

  • After a plane crash, the FAA examines the data to figure out what went wrong so it never has to happen again. This is a small victory pulled from a tragic setback.
  • A student fails a course. She could be angry at the...

What Our Readers Say

This is the best summary of How to Win Friends and Influence People I've ever read. I learned all the main points in just 20 minutes. This is the best guide to How to Win Friends and Influence People I've ever read. I learned the ideas better and got new insights than when I first read the book.
Learn more about our summaries →Learn more about our content →

Shortform Exercise: Learning from a Setback

Salvage something from a recent failure.


What’s a recent setback that you’ve had? Describe it.

Try Shortform for free

Read full summary of The Magic of Thinking Big Read full guide to The Magic of Thinking Big

Sign up for free

Shortform Exercise: Experiment with New Approaches

Switch up your approach to an old problem.


Think of a goal, whether work or personal, that you are dedicated to and persistent about, but that is not working out as successfully as you’d hoped. What is your current process?

What Our Readers Say

This is the best summary of How to Win Friends and Influence People I've ever read. I learned all the main points in just 20 minutes. This is the best guide to How to Win Friends and Influence People I've ever read. I learned the ideas better and got new insights than when I first read the book.
Learn more about our summaries →Learn more about our content →

The Magic of Thinking Big Summary The Magic of Thinking Big Guide Chapter 12: Set Specific Goals for a Motivating Target

Without goals, we stumble around, surviving day to day but never truly knowing where we are going. Goals set a specific target for you to aim toward. You know where to direct your effort, and you aim for concrete results.

If you walked up to an airline ticket counter and said, “Give me a ticket,” the agent wouldn’t know how to help you. You can’t buy the ticket until you know your destination. It’s the same with your life goals. You can’t get started until you know where you want to go.

Think of yourself like a business. Businesses plan ahead, researching and developing new products and services, keeping an eye on changing trends. They have a plan for how to respond to new conditions, and they set goals to target.

Successful people are like businesses, with talents and skills as the products. Success depends on developing yourself, producing product, and marketing yourself. Like a business, you need a long-term plan to do this effectively.

When you set goals, don’t be afraid to be ambitious. Don’t be intimidated by your past or where you are today. Don’t think small thoughts like, “look at where I am now - there’s no way I can reach my goal.” **Your current situation don’t...

Try Shortform for free

Read full summary of The Magic of Thinking Big Read full guide to The Magic of Thinking Big

Sign up for free

Shortform Exercise: Visualize Your 10-Year Future

Think big picture about what you want 10 years from now. Picture your most successful possible self.


Work: What kind of work am I doing? How much money do I want to make? How much responsibility do I want? How much public recognition do I want?

What Our Readers Say

This is the best summary of How to Win Friends and Influence People I've ever read. I learned all the main points in just 20 minutes. This is the best guide to How to Win Friends and Influence People I've ever read. I learned the ideas better and got new insights than when I first read the book.
Learn more about our summaries →Learn more about our content →

Shortform Exercise: 30-Day Self-Improvement Plan

To meet your big goals, start by setting smaller goals. Create a 30-day self-improvement plan to gain positive new habits and break old, negative habits. After you set these, commit to doing them for the next 30 days.


What negative habits do you want to break? Write down two to four.

Try Shortform for free

Read full summary of The Magic of Thinking Big Read full guide to The Magic of Thinking Big

Sign up for free

The Magic of Thinking Big Summary The Magic of Thinking Big Guide Chapter 13: Think Like a Successful Leader

Success and the ability to lead others go hand in hand. You don’t find success alone; rather, the support of others helps lift you to success.

There are four important principles of leadership. When you master these tools, others will respond to you as a leader and support your ideas.

  1. Put yourself in the minds of the people you’re leading.
  2. Think about the “human way” to handle a situation.
  3. Set an example of making progress.
  4. Take time for yourself to think.

Put Yourself in the Minds of the People You’re Leading

If you want to gather the support of others, you must look at the world through their eyes. Ask yourself, “What would I think of this situation if I were the other person?” Consider what other people care about. This will give you the key to convincing them.

  • Example: An advertising executive is creating a children’s shoe commercial. He includes his favorite type of music and upscale imagery. But parents are unimpressed. These commercials don’t appeal to their kids or to them. Had Ted put himself in the minds of his target audience, he would have created a clearer, catchier commercial that showcased the shoes.
  • Example: Politicians often...

What Our Readers Say

This is the best summary of How to Win Friends and Influence People I've ever read. I learned all the main points in just 20 minutes. This is the best guide to How to Win Friends and Influence People I've ever read. I learned the ideas better and got new insights than when I first read the book.
Learn more about our summaries →Learn more about our content →

Shortform Exercise: Act Like a Leader

Become a better leader and set a good example for those you lead.


Think about something you have to convince another person of. Put yourself in that person’s mind. What do they care about? How would they react to what you’re saying? How can you change what you say to be more convincing?

Try Shortform for free

Read full summary of The Magic of Thinking Big Read full guide to The Magic of Thinking Big

Sign up for free

The Magic of Thinking Big Summary The Magic of Thinking Big Guide Troubleshooting by Thinking Big

We’ve covered a lot of concepts and suggestions. They’re not easy to remember in the moment when you need them most. Here are a few specific situations that might require you to think big.

When other people try to bring you down:

  • Stay big. Don’t engage with small people. You won’t win when you fight, but you win when you refuse to fight.
  • People who try to bring you down have other personal issues. They’re insecure or jealous, and it has nothing to do with you. Pity them. Don’t...

What Our Readers Say

This is the best summary of How to Win Friends and Influence People I've ever read. I learned all the main points in just 20 minutes. This is the best guide to How to Win Friends and Influence People I've ever read. I learned the ideas better and got new insights than when I first read the book.
Learn more about our summaries →Learn more about our content →

Table of Contents

  • 1-Page Summary
  • Chapter 1: Success Requires Believing in Yourself
  • Exercise: Building Mr. Triumph and Destroying Mr. Defeat
  • Chapter 2: Stop Making Excuses
  • Exercise: Cure Your Excusitis
  • Chapter 3: Build the Confidence Habit and Kill Fear
  • Exercise: Building the Confidence Habit
  • Chapter 4: What Does Thinking Big Really Mean?
  • Exercise: Think Bigger
  • Chapter 5: Think Creatively
  • Exercise: Thinking Creatively
  • Chapter 6: Think Yourself Into Importance
  • Exercise: Create Your Own Pep Talk
  • Chapter 7: Make Sure Your Environment Is “First Class”
  • Exercise: Revamp the People in Your Environment
  • Exercise: Going First Class
  • Chapter 8: Create a Magnetic Attitude
  • Exercise: Convey the “I’m Activated” Attitude
  • Chapter 9: Be Likeable and Others Will Help You Succeed
  • Exercise: Tuning Into Channel P
  • Chapter 10: By Default, Take Action
  • Exercise: The Action Habit
  • Chapter 11: Find a Victory in Every Setback
  • Exercise: Learning from a Setback
  • Exercise: Experiment with New Approaches
  • Chapter 12: Set Specific Goals for a Motivating Target
  • Exercise: Visualize Your 10-Year Future
  • Exercise: 30-Day Self-Improvement Plan
  • Chapter 13: Think Like a Successful Leader
  • Exercise: Act Like a Leader
  • Troubleshooting by Thinking Big