Rework Book Summary

I recently finished the excellent book Rework by the guys at 37 Signals. If you’ve read Getting Real, most of this is old hat. However, if you are interested to see how their product development principals are applied to running a business. Check it out.

Here’s my outline.

Chapter 1 – First

The New Reality

  • Ignore the real-world
    • people will continue to tell you why you can’t do something. 37signals shows you that’s a bad assumption
  • Learning from mistakes is over rated
    • Harvard report showed that success breeds success, failures have same rate of failure as first time entrepreneurs
  • planning is guessing
  • Why grow?
    • you don’t need a giant company
    • ramping up shouldn’t be goal.
    • build the right size company for your business
  • Workaholism
    • don’t kill yourself working. You are less effective.
    • “Workaholics aren’t heroes. They don’t save the day, they just use it up. The real hero is already home because she figured out a faster way to get things done.”

Chapter 2 – Takedowns

Ignore the real world

  • people in the “real world” are full of pessimism and despair
  • assume society isn’t ready for change
  • don’t believe it
  • The real world isn’t a place, it’s an excuse. It’s a justification for not trying. It has nothing to do with you.

Learning from mistakes is overrated

  • other people’s failures are there own
  • their failure has nothing to do with you
  • instead, learn from your successes.
    • it’s your ammo
  • failure isn’t a prerequiste for success
    • people who fail have the same follow-up success as first timers
  • success is what counts

Planning is guessing

  • Writing a plan makes you feel in control of things you don’t control
  • THey are really just guesses
  • Plans let the past drive the future and can put blinders on you
  • They don’t let you improvise
  • If you write a big plan you’ll never look at it anyway.
  • Make decisions right before you do something
  • Working without a plan may seem scary. But blindly following a plan that has no relationship with reality is even scarier.

Why grow?

  • Maybe the right size for your company is 5 or 40 people
  • grow slow
  • see what feels right
  • small businesses wish they were bigger but …
  • big businesses wish they were more agile
  • once you get big it’s hard to shrink without damaging morale
  • Don’t be insecure about aiming to be a small business. Anyone who runs a business that’s sustainable and profitable, whether it’s big or small, should be proud.


*Burning the midnight oil is stupid
*workaholics can create more problems then they solve
* they aren’t herods. They don’t save the day. The real hero is home early because she figured out a faster way to get things done.

Enough with “entrepreneurs”

  • Everyone should be encouraged to start his own business.
  • replace entrepreneur with “starter”
  • all you need is an idea, selfconfidence and a push

Chapter 3 – Go

Make a dent in the universe

  • To do great work, you need to feel that you’re making a difference.’
  • Don’t sit around and wait for someone else to make the change you want to see.
  • If you’re going to do something, do something that matters.

Scratch your own itch

  • The easiest, most straightforward way to create a great product or service is to make something you want to use.
  • If you’re solving someone else’s problem, you’re constantly stabbing in the dark.
  • When you build what you need, you can also assess the quality of what you make quickly and directly, instead of by proxy.

Start making something

  • What you do is what matters, not what you think or say or plan.
  • Until you actually start making something, your brilliant idea is just that, an idea. And everyone’s got one of those.
  • the most important thing is to begin
  • Ideas are cheap and plentiful
    • the original pitch is tiny.
    • real question is in execution

No time is on excuse

  • When you want something bad enough, you make the time— regardless of your other obligations.

Draw a line in the sand

  • Great businesses have a point of view, not just a product or service.
  • If no one’s upset by what you’re saying, you’re probably not pushing hard enough. (And you’re probably boring, too.)
  • If you stand for something decisions are obvious
    • if you don’t have an ethos everything becomes an argument.
  • Examples – whole foods, high quality natural organic products. No debate over Snickers or Coke

Mission statement impossible

  • Big difference between a mission statement and truly standing for something
    • one is a piece of paper
    • one is something you do everyday
    • belive it and live it

Outside money is Plan Z

  • No matter what type of business you are building take as little cash as possible. If you take cash you…
    • Give up control
    • think about cashing out
    • spend out of control
    • generally get screwed
    • stop thinking about customers, instead think about investors
    • are distracted by raising money

You don’t need as much as you think

  • work under constraints
  • It’s ok to be frugal

Start a business, not a startup

  • every business is goverend by same market rules
    • revenue in, expenses out, make money or go home
  • think about how you are going to make a profit right away
    • don’t defer profits for later
      • that’s a hobby
  • Act like a business, it will help you succeed

Building to flip is building to flop

  • You need a commitment strategy, not an exit strategy. Stop talking about exit strategies
  • Don’t be the flipper, if you have something good going, keep it going

Less mass

  • embrace the idea of being smaller
  • keeping small lets you change easily
  • the more expensive it is to change, the less likely you will make the change

Chapter 4 – Progress

Embrace Constraints

  • get creative with the constraints you have.
  • You can make a lot with a little
  • 37signals –
    • only one or two people working on project at a time
    • keep features to a minimum
    • keeps down bloat

Build half a product, not a half-assed product

  • you can turn a bunch of great ideas into a crappy produt
    • don’t try to do it all at once
    • sacrifice things for the greater good
  • cut out the stuff that’s merely “good”

Start at the epicenter

  • There’s the stuff you could do, the stuff you want to do, and the stuff you have to do. The stuff you have to do is where you should begin. Start at the epicenter.
  • How do you find the epicenter? Ask yourself “If I took this think away would I still have something to sell?”

Ignore the details early on

  • details are important
  • don’t focus on them too early
    • disagreement / meetings / delays
    • get lost in things that don’t really matter
  • Low rez prototypes

Making the call is making progress

  • Try to swap “Let’s think about it.” with “Let’s do…”
    • force yourself to make decisions
    • don’t wait for the perfect solution
  • your decisions don’t need to last forever
  • Long projects zap morale. The longer it takes to develop, the less likely it is to launch. Make the call, make progress, and get something out now— while you’ve got the motivation and momentum to do so.

Be a curator

  • the stuff you leave out is what matters
  • look at how you can pare things down
  • Stick to what’s truly essential. Pare things down until you’re left with only the most important stuff. Then do it again. You can always add stuff back in later if you need to.

Throw less at the problem

  • Trim down then polish what’s left
  • stop pushing back deadlines and increasing your budget

Focus on what won’t change

  • don’t be a company that chases the next big thing
  • core of business is built around thigns that don’t change
    • invest in those
  • When you focus on permanent features, you’re in bed with things that never go out of style.

Tone is in your fingers

  • don’t focus on your tools
  • your equipment is a crutch
  • In business, too many people obsess over tools , software tricks, scaling issues, fancy office space, lavish furniture, and other frivolities instead of what really matters. And what really matters is how to actually get customers and make money.

Sell your by-products

  • When you make something you end up also making something else.
  • everything has a by-product
  • try to find these and look for opportunities to monetize them

Launch now

  • Once your product does what it needs to do get it out there.
  • If you had to launch your biz in two weeks what would you cut out?
  • Don’t mistake this approach for skimping on quality, either. You still want to make something great. This approach just recognizes that the best way to get there is through iterations. Stop imagining what’s going to work. Find out for real.

Chapter 5 – Productivity

Illusions of agreement

  • don’t over document. It’s an illusion
  • If you need to explain something, get real
    • remove layers of abstraction

Reasons to Quit

  • Ask questions to determine if what you’re doing matters
    • Why are you doing this?
    • What problem are you solving
      • make sure you are not solving an imaginary problem
    • Is it actually useful
      • don’t mix enthusiasm with usefulness
    • Are you adding value?
      • adding something is easy. adding value is hard
    • Will this change behavior
    • Is there an easier way?
      • problems are usually simple, we just make them hard
    • What could you be doing instead?
    • Is it really worth it?
  • sometimes abndoning something is the best thing to do. Don’t throw good time after bad work.

Interruption is the enemy of productivity

  • Interruptions are slowing you down
  • it’s not collaboration, it’s just an interruption
  • they breakup work day into series of “work moments”
  • fight back from interruptions

Meetings are toxic

  • an hour meeting with 5 people is 5 hours of lost productivity
    • is it ever worth it?
  • Est. rules if you are having a meeting
    • Set a timer and end meetings on time.
    • limit your invites
    • have a clear agenda
    • begin with a specific problem
    • go to the problem, not to a conference room
    • end with a solution

Good enough is fine

  • Find judo solutions to hard problems.
    • maximum efficency with minimum effort
  • If good enough gets the job done, go for it.
  • better than wasting resources
  • you can’t afford complex solutions
  • you can turn good enough to great later

Quick wins

  • Momentum fuels motiviation
  • Every improvement you make gives you a jolt of momentum
  • longer it takes to do something less likely you’ll finish it
  • stuck on a long term project? Give yourself some time each week to some small victories
  • What can we do in two weeks?
    • quicker it’s in the hands of the customer the better off you’ll be

Don’t be a hero

  • Sometimes you start something it takes longer than it should
  • you feel bad and lock yourself away and kill yourself to get it done.
  • was it really worth it?
    • you originally budgeted X and it took Y what else could you do in Y?
  • If anything takes longer than two weeks bring in someone else to take a look
  • best answer to problem might be to quit doing something

Go to sleep

  • there are costs to pulling an all-nighter
    • you become stubborn
    • lack creativigy
    • low morale
    • irritability
  • don’t be a mascohist, get some sleep

Your estimates suck

  • we always see everything in best case scenarios
  • estimates that stretch weeks, months, and years into the future are fantasies.
  • break big things into smaller things
  • better to have it be a small project that’s a couple weeks over rather than a long one that’s a couple months over.

Long lists don’t get done

  • make smaller todo lists
  • divide problems into smaller and smaller pieces
    • find what you can deal with quickly
    • prioritize visually, most important thigns on top

Make tiny decisions

  • big decisions are hard to make and change
  • make choices that are small enough that they are temporary
  • you can still think big just get there with one tiny decision at a time
  • always strive for attainable goals

Chapter 6 – Competitors

Don’t copy

  • copying in business arean is dumb
  • you can’t build a business being a copycat
    • it skips the understanding part
    • that’s how you grow
  • if you copy, you can’t keep up
  • you’re always playing catch-up
  • being influenced is ok
  • you don’t see the entire picture when you copy stuff
    • why do things work the way they do.

Decommoditize your product

  • you’re going to be copied
  • make you part of your product or service
    • Zappos example
  • You should be felt in all parts of your product
    • sales, service, explaining it, delivering it
    • can’t copy you

Pick a fight

  • If your competitor sucks, say so.
    • people will agree with you and rally behind you
    • be the anti-___
    • differentiate yourself and attract followers
  • get a target in your sights

Underdo your competition

  • Normal thinking is beat competitors by one-uping them
  • it keeps you on the defensive
    • you can’t think ahead then, only behind
  • Do less instead to beat them
  • Solve simple problems really well
  • leave the hard stuff to the competition
  • try one-downing
  • try underdoing
  • Don’t shy away from the fact that your product or service does less.
  • Highlight it. Be proud of it.
  • Sell it as aggressively as competitors sell their extensive feature lists.

Who cares what they are doing?

  • Focus on yourself, not your competition
  • What’s going on in here, more important than out there
  • if you worry about others you can’t improve yourself
  • Don’t allow your competition to define your parameters
    • you can’t out-Apple Apple

Chapter 7 – Evolution

Say no by default

  • get into that habit
    • even to some of your best ideas
    • use it to get priorities straight
    • rarely regret saying no
    • often regret saying yes
  • don’t avoid confrontation
  • customer isn’t always right
  • making a view vocal customers happy isn’t worth wrecking product for everyone else
  • make sure product stays right for you.
    • you’ll love it because I do

Let your customers outgrow you

  • if you stick with your current customers you cut off new ones
  • it becomes tailored to the current customer
  • stops appealing to fresh blood
  • that’s how your company dies
  • Scaring away new customers is worse than losing old customers
  • you’ll probably end up with a basic product. That’s ok
  • small simple needs are constant
  • endless supply of customers who need that
  • Be true to a type of customer more than an individual customer with changing needs

Enthusiasm != Priority

  • enthusiasm you have for a new idea is not an indicator of its true worth
  • Must have’s get downgraded to nice to have with the passage of time
  • you chase ideas and you never get anywhere
  • let your ideas cool off a bit
    • write them down and revisit them
    • evaluate their priority with a calm mind

Be at home good

  • don’t be the product that only is good in the store
  • be the product that’s good at home
    • you’re more impressed with it then at the store
    • the more you use it, the more you like it
    • can’t paint over bad experience with good advertising or marketing

Don’t write it down

  • How should you keep track of what customers want?
    • Don’t
    • Listen but then forget what they say
  • The only requests that really matter are the ones that come up over and over again
  • you won’t be able to forget them because they keep reminding you
    • they show you what things you really need to worry about
  • If you keep forgetting a request it’s not that importnat

Chapter 8 – Promotion

Welcome Obscurity

  • obscruirty is good
  • make mistakes without everyone watching you
  • try new things
  • who cares if you mess up
  • Once you get bigger you’ll take fewer risks

Build an audience

  • Speak, write, blog, tweet, make videos.
  • Share information that’s useful
  • it will help build an audience

Don’t outspend / out teach

  • Can’t compete on marketing dollars
  • If you teach someone something you’ll build a better bond
  • earn loyalty by teaching
  • they’ll trust you more
  • they’ll respect you
    • even if they don’t use your stuff

Emulate Chefs

  • Share everything you know
  • This might go against thinking
  • Don’t be paranoid and secretive
  • Cooks write cookbooks. What can you do?

Go behind the scenes

  • Show people how your business works
  • it builds a relationship with them
  • better appreciation for what you do

No one likes plastic flowers

  • Don’t fear your flaws
  • There is beauty to inperfection
    • Wabi-sabi – character and unqiueness over shiny facade
      • scatches and cracks are ok

Press releases are spam

  • Don’t do a generic pitch
  • Press releases are boring, they don’t get people interested in writing about you
  • don’t do what everyone else does
  • pick up phone and call someone
  • write them a note
  • pitch with passion and life
  • be unforgettable

Fuhgettabout the Wall Street Journal

  • Big trades aren’t that important
  • they are nice but don’t result in instant activity
  • focus on trade pubs, niche outlets

Emulate Drug Dealers

  • Make your product addictive.
  • give them a free taste and make them want to come back with cash
  • don’t be afraid to give somethign away.
    • but you need something to sell

Marketing is not a department

  • It’s the sum of everything you do
  • 24/7/365

The myth of the overnight sensation

  • you won’t get rich quick
  • no one cares about you
  • trade the dream of overnight success for slow growth
  • it’s hard but be patient
  • start building your audience today.
  • get people interested in what you ahve to say

Chapter 9 – Hiring

DIY First

  • don’t hire someone until you’ve tried to do it yourself first
    • you understand the job better
    • you know what a good job looks like
    • you will be a better manager
  • try learning first
  • you need to be initimately involved in your entire business

Hire when it hurts

  • don’t replace lost employees immediately
  • see how long you can get by w/o him
  • might not need as many people as you think
  • hire when there is more work than you can handle for a sustained period of time

Pass on great people

  • Don’t just hire someone because they are great.
    • if you don’t need them
  • don’t have people one staff who aren’t doing anything

Strangers at a cocktail party

  • Don’t hire too fast
  • they don’t work well together initially
  • like strangers at a cocktail party, they’re too polite to each other
    • no one says “This idea sucks”
  • you need to be able to tell each other when ideas are full of crap
  • safe environment to be honest when things get tough

# Resumes are ridiculous

  • resumes are a joke
  • exaggerations
  • filled with fluff that don’t mean anything
  • you want specific person who cares about company, product, customers, job
  • Look at the cover letter
    • trust your gut in the letter. first paragraph should hook you in.

Years of irrelevance

  • little skill difference between six months of experience and six years.
  • real difference is dedication, personality, intelligence
  • not how long but how well someone is doing something

GPAs don’t matter

  • Not everyone tests well
  • too much time in academia can be harmful
  • pool of great talent is much bigger than people who completed college with great GPAs
    • dropouts
    • community college
    • just finished high-school

Everybody works

  • small team, everyone works,
  • not just delegate work
  • everyone’s producing

Hire managers of one

  • They come up with own goals and execute on them
  • don’t need much direction
  • free you from oversight
  • find someone who is capable of building something from scratch and seeing it through

Hire great writers

  • If you’re deciding between candidates, hire the best writer
  • being a good writer is more than just wriging
  • clear writing = clear thinking
  • great writers know how to communicate
  • make things easy to understand
  • they know what to omit

The best are everywhere

  • Embrace remote work
  • have time overlap a few hours a day
  • meet in person once in a while
  • geography doesn’t matter, hire the best talent

Test drive employees

  • interviews only tell one picture
  • hire them for mini-project
    • twenty / forty hours
    • see how they make decisions
  • truth comes out in real work environment.

Chapter 10 – Damage Control

Own Bad News

  • if something goes wrong people will talk about it
    • should be you.
  • if something bad happens tell your customers
  • people respet you if you are honest.
  • make sure your customers are as informed as possible.
  • How to share the story?
    • message from the top
    • spread it far and wide
    • always have a comment
    • say your sorry like a real person
    • be really empathetic

Speed changes everything

  • get back to people quickly. esp in customer service
  • try not to use canned answers
  • even if you don’t know, tell them and get back to them.

Know how to say you are sorry

  • use language that conveys you really understand how much they are inconvienienced.
  • no canned sorry message. they don’t ring true
  • think about how you would feel if the apology was directed at you.
  • Would you believe yourself?
  • no apology will help you if your customers don’t trust you.

Put everyone on the front lines

  • big difference between working in kitchen and dealing with customers
  • don’t split your front and back house
  • everyone should be listening to customers
  • try having everyone connect with customers a few times a year
  • no one should be shielded from direct criticism
  • Look at Craigslist founder

Take a deep breath

  • make a change and people will bitch
  • resist urge to panic or make rapid changes
  • people are creatures of habit
  • make decisions you believe in even if it’s unpopular at first.
  • negative reactions are always louder than postive ones.
  • when people complain, let them know that you are listening.

Chapter 11 – Culture

You can’t create culture

  • Culture isn’t foosball or trust falls.
  • It’s action, not words
  • it needs time to develop

Decisions are temporary

  • Things aren’t problems until they are real problems
  • your decisions aren’t set in stone
  • if circumstances change revisit your decisions
  • optimize for now
  • being small makes it easy to change course

Skip the rockstars

  • create a rockstar environment instead
  • good work environment breeds great work
  • rock star environment comes from trust, autonomy and responsibility.
  • people should have
    • privacy
    • workspace
    • the right tools

They’re not 13

  • when you treat people like children, you get children’s work
  • people need diversions
  • failing to trust employees is expensive.

Send people home at 5

  • You don’t need more hours, you need better hours
  • if they have things to do at home they use their time wisely
  • they get their shit done
  • you want busy people who have a life outside of work

Don’t scar on the first cut

  • Keep your policies to a minimum
  • Policies are collective punishment for the misdeeds of an individual
  • No one sets out to create a bureaucracy. It sneaks up slowly.

Sound like you

  • Small companies try to sound big, it comes off as a joke.
  • It’s ok to sound small
  • Talk to your customers the way you talk to friends
  • Read out loud what you write
  • Think about one person while you are writing it.

4 Letter Words

  • Avoid need, must, can’t, easy, just, only and fast.
  • Need – very few things need to get done.
  • Can’t – yeah, you probably can
  • Easy – don’t describe someone’s job as easy. You don’t ever describe your job that way.
  • Try to avoid words that box people into a corner

ASAP is poison

  • stop saying it
  • everyone knows the stuff needs to get done as soon as possible
  • reserve your use of emergency language for true emergencies

Chapter 12 – Conclusion

Inspiration is perishable

  • we all have ideas – they last forever
  • inspiration doesn’t
  • if you’re inspired on Friday, dive right in
    • you can get a lot done in a little time
  • If inspiration grabs you, grab it back and put it to work.

Lead the Field Book Summary

Chapter 1 – The Magic Word

The book is about 12 ideas.

  • Our attitude tells the world what we expect in return.
  • We live up to our own expectations and others give us what we expect.
  • Start each morning establishing our attitude
  • Everything we say or do has an effect (cause and effect)
  • You are going to get out of your life what you put into it.
  • Once you begin to change your attitude your surroundings will change.
    • great attitude / great results
    • poor attitude / poor results
  • Most people never think about their attitude at all.
  • “Human beings can alter their lives by altering their attitudes of mind”
  • For the author, the attitudes of gratitude and expectant work well.
    • grateful for living on earth, yadda yadda
    • expect the best of myself
  • If you have a poor attitude you will become a magnet for unpleasant experiences. These experiences then reinforce the poor attitude
  • You get what you expect
  • Your attitude is a reflection of who you are inside.
  • Find someone doing and outstanding job and getting outstanding results and you’ll find people with a good attitude.
  • Luck is what happens when preparedness meets opportunity, and opportunity is there all the time.
  • Successful people come in all sizes, shapes, ages, and colors, and they have widely varying degrees of intelligence and education. But they have one thing in common: They expect more good out of life than bad.
  • Our environment, the world in which we live and work, is a mirror of our attitudes and expectations.
  • Our attitude toward life doesn’t affect the world and the people in it nearly as much as it affects us
  • Create reminders for yourself to have a great attitude.
  • If you’ll begin to develop and maintain an attitude that says yes to life and the world, you’ll be astonished at the changes you’ll see.
  • have the attitude of the person you wish to become.
  • The great German philosopher and writer Goethe put it this way: “Before you can do something, you must be something.”
  • Treat every person with whom you come in contact as the most important person on earth. Do that for three excellent reasons:
    • (1) As far as every person is concerned, he is the most important person on earth.
    • (2) That is the way human beings ought to treat each other.
    • (3) By treating everyone this way, we begin to form an important habit.
  • Each morning, carry out into the world the kind of attitude you’d have if you were the most successful person on earth.
  • Destructive emotions and attitude don’t hurt anyone but yourself.
  • Forgive everyone that can hurt you and then forgive yourself.
  • It really is too short – much too short – to spend any of our valuable time mimicking the attitudes of others – unless their attitudes are good.
  • Make each thought you hold constructive and positive.
  • Radiate attitutde of well-being and confidence

Chapter 2 – Acres of Diamonds

  • Each of us is standing in the middle of an acres of diamonds
    • explore the work which we are engaged, explore ourselves.
    • don’t run off to greener pastures
  • Your mind is your richest resource
    • go deep with what you already know before going on to something else.
  • Serve the customer; serve the customer better than anyone else is serving the customer.
  • There is just as much opportunity in one biz as there is in another.
  • Stop begin a copycat and think in new directions
  • Develop intelligent objectivity – the faculty to stand back and look at your work objectively.
    • Do you know all about your industry or profession?
    • time for refreshing change?
    • can customer’s get a better break?
  • How will your work be performed 20 years from now?
  • No growth without risk
    • you run risks when you get out of bed in the morning
    • risks are good
  • Restate and reaffirm your goal. The thing you want most to do, the place in life you want most to reach.
  • Take an hour a day to dissect your work. Take it a part and look at it. There are opportunities in there.

Thoughts on the chapter

  • List opportunities around you now
  • How can you increase your knowledge of your current job, trade, industry or profession?
  • How can you improve your job performance now?

Chapter 3 – A Worthy Destination

This chapter focuses on goal setting. The author sets up some success stories and then hits you with the idea that these people, unluck others have set goals for themselves.

  • They know what they want, they think about it everyday.
  • “Burning desire”
  • “The secret of happiness is freedom; and the secret of freedom, courage.”
  • “Success is the progressive realization of a worthy goal,” or, in some cases, “…the pursuit of a worthy ideal.”
  • Success isn’t the achievement of a goal, it’s the journey.
  • We are happier moving toward our goals than we are when we’ve achieved them.
  • You should feel positive emotions when thinking about your goals.
  • Make sure you constantly reevaluate your goals and move forward
  • Write down your goals
  • Focus your thinking toward your goals. It will help you reach them.
  • Work on one goal at a time.
  • We become what we think about
    • You are sum total of all your thoughts. Think about the right things and in time your sum total will encompass those thoughts.
  • Just thinking about your goal moves your toward it.
  • Thirdly, before you can achieve the kind of life you want, you must think, act, talk, and conduct yourself as would the person you wish to become.

In summary:
* First, it’s our attitude at the beginning of a difficult task that, more than anything else, will bring about its successful outcome.
* Secondly, our attitudes toward others determine their attitudes toward us.

Things to do

  • Create a list of the things you want
  • Prioritize them
  • Make the top one your current goal, save the rest of the list for later.

Chapter 4 – The Miracle of Your Mind

Everything you have has come to you because you use your mind. This chapter discusses how to use more of it.

  • Successful people are not people without problems; they’re simply people who’ve learned to solve their problems.”
  • Living successfully, getting the things we want from life, is a matter of solving the problems that stand between where we are now and the point we wish to reach!
  • Don’t worry about the wrong problems. Worry about the right problems
    • problems we can solve
    • problems we need to solve that are beyond our ability to solve
  • Look at a problem as a challenge to be overcome.
  • When faced with a problem why not look to your mind to solve it?
    • Do you know how to think?
  • Take 1 hour per day and use it to think.
    • Write your primary goal
    • write down ways in which you can improve upon your work each day
    • Most ideas will suck
    • This isn’t easy
  • When you start your day thinking you will think all day long.

Thoughts on this chapter

  • List your worries and concerns
  • Take the list and determine what is actually legitimate
  • Figure out the strategy for solving legitimate problems
  • Spend 1 hour / day exercising mind by writing down ideas for achieveing goals
    • Try to get 20 ideas / session
  • Test the ideas that you think are good

Chapter 5 – Destiny in Balance

  • You need to understand the law of cause and effect
  • Our rewards will be determined by the extend to which we serve
  • Unhappy with your rewards? Look at your device.
  • Constructive discontent is what is responsilbe for our continuing upward spiral of civilization
  • What do people need or want that you can supply them?
  • George Bernard Shaw once commented, “I have become rich and famous by thinking a couple of times a week. Most people never think at all.”
  • Your life is yours to do what you do with it, make it grow or fallow.
  • Figure out how to increase your service
    • read books
    • read about and emulate other successful people
    • think of original wasy to increase your service
  • Ask yourself everyday – “How can I increase my service today, knowing that my rewards in life must be in exact proportion to my service?”
  • Being together is understanding how things work. Working hard won’t do it. That isn’t enough. We have to work intelligently.
  • Succeeding takes time. It takes dedication, 100 percent commitment, and creative thought.
  • If you’re worried about your income or your future, you’re concentrating on the wrong end of the scale.
    • instead focus on increasing your service, income and future will take care of itself.

Thoughts on this chapter:
* Evaluate how you are serving others now
* Note one way in which you can increase your service today
* Assess whether you are working not only hard but intelligently.

Chapter 6 – Seed for Achievement

  • People Love and value someone with integrety
  • thine own self be true
  • Integrity means to try, as best we can, to know ourselves, to examine ourselves as Socrates advised, and to make a true assessment of ourselves – an inventory of our abilities, our talents, our goals.
  • What is important is to find what one can do best and then to do it with all one’s might.
  • But trying to live up to [making the world better] involves constantly looking forward to the consequences of one’s actions, choosing those that are likely to be fruitful, and inhibiting action from impulse.
  • The richness of a life depends not on the amount of happiness it achieves, but on finding out who one is – i.e., about one’s unique combination of powers – and then discovering through experiment and reflection what course of life will fulfill those powers most completely.”
  • We have our underutilized minds, our abilities, our talents, and time.
  • We are the only ones from whom we can steal time, talent, ability, and the use of our minds.

Thoughts on this chapter:

  1. Reflect on your typical day. Can you spot an area where you are throwing an “unfailing boomerang” — where, for example, you are cutting corners you should not cut, or doing something you should not do? (Integrity, the “Seed for Achievement,” is a deeply personal subject. Although space is provided for notes under this question, you may not want to write down a response. You may want to simply think it out, and make a mental commitment to take any corrective action that may be called for.)
  2. Do you always look for the truth, wherever it leads? Do you check things out for yourself, weigh what others tell you, and make your own judgments?
  3. Write down a task that you consider difficult and/or unpleasant. Resolve to do it to the best of your ability, just for the joy of accomplishment.

Chapter 7 – It’s Easier to Win

  • What motivates people to live like they do?
  • The people in this world who are willing to go after the hard ones are the people who achieve greatness. They are motivated to give the last ounce of themselves in the achievement of their goals.
  • Bill Cosby earned $12 million in 1986. Do you know why? It’s because of the people he serves. There’s an investment banker in Los Angeles who earns about $40 million a year. Do you know that, as far as is known, there is no limit on earnings?
  • Discontent is the greatest motivator
  • Successfult people follow independent paths
  • breakaway from crowd
  • start path of their own
  • And it’s almost never too late, for with a purpose – a worthy goal – and the motivation to reach those upper layers on the pyramid, a person can travel farther in a few years than he might otherwise travel in a lifetime.

Thoughts on this chapter:

  1. Our environmental conditioning teaches us to conform, to play it safe. It’s an easy trap to fall into — one that all of us fall into to some extent. In adulthood, do you ever find yourself playing the game Earl Nightingale calls “follow the follower”?
  2. Analyze the key people in your environment, those who have an important effect on you, in your family, in your community, at work, and socially. Who possesses qualities you want to emulate?
  3. How can you improve your “human environment”?

Chapter 9 – How Much Are You Worth?

  • Begin to see yourself for what you really are: an amazing, infinitely valuable creature.
  • Now, while the operations of a corporation are multitudinous and complex, they can be reduced to four basic functions: finance, production, sales, and research.
  • Treat yourself like a business
  • research, production, and sales. They are the head, hands, and legs of a company.
  • A company growing at the rate of 10 percent a year will double in size in about eight years. What attention are you giving to the production of your personal corporation? Can you grow and improve as a person at least 10 percent a year?
  • An ongoing education is vital, if we are to stay vital.
  • Tomorrow is a brand new day. Time is the great equalizer – you have no more, or no less, than anyone else on earth can have. Right now, begin to think of ways in which you can begin to increase your effectiveness, raise your production, knowing that by so doing, you’re automatically presetting your rewards.
  • If we waste an hour of productive time every day, it adds up to about 250 hours a year that our corporation, our plant, is shut down. We can earn nothing with the doors closed.
  • Learn to enjoy every minute of your life
  • A human life is really nothing more than a collection of minutes, hours, and days. These are the building materials. And it’s left strictly up to us to determine the kind and size of structure we build.
  • How have you been handling the four vital functions of your business: finance, research, production, sales?
  • How much time and effort are you giving to finance?
  • To research – to the study of your work, your career? Can this be improved?
  • What about production? How can you vastly improve the way in which you conduct your work?
  • And how can your sales be improved? Sales entails more than selling a product or service; it includes the way in which we sell ourselves to everyone with whom we come in contact. It includes the way we get along with our associates, our spouse, our kids, our neighbors.

Thoughts on this chapter:

Analyze your worth as a one-person corporation in three of the four critical areas of operation: research, production, and sales. Then write down ways in which you can improve in each of these areas.
1. How are you doing in research? (For example, are you holding a regular career study hour?)
2. Plans for improvement:
3. How is your production? (Are you spending an hour a day brainstorming? Are you putting the best of these ideas to work to increase your productivity? Are you more productive, more effective, on the job this year than you were last year? Are you growing and improving every year?)

Chapter 9 – Let’s Talk About Money

  • I think it’s important that we remind ourselves just exactly what money is, how much of it is enough, and how to earn the amount of money we need to live the way we want to live now, as well as in the important future years.
  • What is money? Money is the harvest of our production. Money is what we receive for our production and service as persons, which we can then use to obtain the production and services of others.
  • The amount of money we receive will always be in direct ratio to the demand for what we do, to our ability to do it, and to the difficulty of replacing us.
  • Most people think they want more money than they really do, and they settle for a lot less than they could earn if only they went about it in the right way.
  • Our rewards will always be in exact proportion to our service. If you don’t like your income, you must devise ways and means of increasing your service. Your service must come out of you – your mind, your abilities, and your energy.
  • People who refuse to do more than they’re being paid for will seldom be paid for more than they’re doing. You may have heard someone say, “Why should I knock myself out for the money I’m getting?”
  • People who refuse to do more than they’re being paid for will seldom be paid for more than they’re doing. You may have heard someone say, “Why should I knock myself out for the money I’m getting?”
  • Two distinct steps to take:
    • decide exactly how much money we really want.
    • forget the money and to concentrate on improving what we now do, until we’ve grown to the size that will fit and naturally earn the income we seek.
  • Goals
    • the trouble with people is not that they can’t achieve their goals
    • they never set them
  • Ben Franklin gave us the secret to wealth. He said that the road to wealth lies in augmenting our means or diminishing our wants. Either will do.
  • It’s not your present circumstances that count; it’s the circumstances you make up your mind to achieve that are important.
  • With the income that you intend to earn written down on a card, spend a part of each day thinking of ways in which you can increase your service.
  • realize that money cannot be sought directly. Money, like happiness, is an effect.
  • money in its proper place. It’s a servant – nothing more. It’s a tool with which we can live better,
  • A person may be worth more than he’s getting – for a while – but the two will match up. They have to. In fact, unless a person is worth more than he’s receiving, he cannot move ahead. He’s receiving all he’s worth.

Thoughts on this chapter:

  1. How much money do you want? How much do you need to live in the way you want to live? There are three amounts of money that you should decide upon: the yearly income you want to earn now or in the near future; the amount of money you want to have in a savings and/or investment account; and the amount you want as retirement income.
    • Set your financial goals. i. Yearly income: ii. Financial reserves: iii. Retirement income:
  2. Who in your line of work is now earning that amount of money? (If you know, you’ll have a good idea of what you’ll have to do to earn it.)
  3. Continue to make plans for increasing your service to others, for making yourself more valuable. The money will follow!

Chapter 10: One Thing You Can’t Hide

  • The degree of a person’s ignorance will determine his place in the world.
  • A person should begin with the study of his language, and then study his general area of interest.
  • Our use of our language is the one thing we can’t hide.
  • Children with the best vocabularies get the best grades in school.
  • Make it a point to acquire books that will help you improve your vocabulary.
  • Build a personal library

Thoughts on this chapter:

  1. Rate your knowledge of the English language. Is it “excellent,” “fair,” or “poor”?
  2. Set goals for improving your vocabulary and usage. (Include books to read, audio programs to listen to, courses to take, a number of new words to learn each week.) Make a list of them here.
  3. Set goals for increasing your knowledge of your area of interest, for upgrading your job skills. (Include books and periodicals to read, audio programs to listen to, courses and seminars to attend.) Write them down. At the end of the book, there is a list of audio programs that will enrich your life in many areas.

Chapther 11 – Today’s Greatest Adventure

  • We’ve defined success as the progressive realization of a worthy goal.
  • Seems like reaching goal is slow and takes forever
    • beat that feeling by living successfully one day at a time
  • Successful life == many successful days back to back
  • Keep your goals in mind as often as possible live life one day at a time
  • Do everything you can each day
  • not quantity of things but quality of things
  • To get the habit of success (and that’s why successful people go from one success to another – because it’s a habit with them), you need only to succeed in the small tasks of each day.
  • To advance to the place you’ve chosen, two things are necessary: that you keep your eye on your goal and that you continue to grow in competence and effectiveness.
  • If you do most of your tasks successfully than your life will be successful. It has to happen.
  • Remind yourself at this time that people become exactly what they make up their minds to become.
  • The 25k plan
    • write down six things you need to do
    • order them by importance
    • work on each until they are finished
    • don’t waste your time being successful at unimportant things
    • work on the important stuff that moves you towards goal
    • don’t get sidetracked by people or things
  • “Work as though you would live forever; but live as though you would die tomorrow.”


p>Thoughts on this chapter:

  1. Try the $25,000 idea in your life: Write the six most important things you have to do each day, then number them in their order of importance. Print out this sheet. Work on item number one until it is successfully completed. Then move on to number two, and so on. When you’ve finished with all six, repeat the process.
  2. Make certain that the tasks you spend your time on are important ones — tasks that will move you ahead, steadily, toward your goal. List any tasks that you might be able to delegate to others or even eliminate from your agenda — tasks that, over time, have become unnecessary or obsolete.
  3. How well do you deal with interruptions and distractions? If you are often sidetracked during your day – by non-urgent telephone calls, drop-in visitors, etc. — plan a strategy for handling those diversions.

Chapter 12 – The person on the white horse

  • The best way for you to develop the security that lasts a lifetime is to become outstanding at one particular line of work.
  • When he was asked the formula for success, the great steel magnate, Andrew Carnegie, answered, “Put all your eggs in one basket, and then watch the basket.”
  • Keep you eye on the goal
  • be happy about everything – you’ll achieve your goal, why not be happy
  • become a sponge of information that will help you on the way
    • learn from other people’s mistakes
  • don’t forget success comes at the service of others

Thoughts on this chapter:

  1. Evaluate your leadership skills, and note any ideas for improvement below:
  2. How can you develop what Earl Nightingale calls “the security that lasts a lifetime”?
  3. Resolve to, each day, do more than you are paid to do.