Actionable Book Summary: “The Magic of Thinking Big” by David J. Schwartz

Actionable Book Summary: “The Magic of Thinking Big” by David J. Schwartz

The basic principles and concepts supporting ‘The Magic of Thinking Big’ come from the highest-pedigree sources… minds such as Emerson, who said, ‘Great men are those who see that thoughts rule the world.’ … Amazingly perceptive minds like Shakespeare, who observed, ‘There is nothing either good or bad except that thinking makes it so.’

The Magic of Thinking Big, page 3

The Magic of Thinking Big, by motivational coach and professor Dr. David J. Schwartz, is filled with lessons that illustrate how a subtle shift in thinking can help ordinary people achieve big success in life. Although the book was first published in 1959, there is growing scientific evidence now that having a positive outlook has a myriad of benefits.

This book has plenty of actionable advice on how we can shift our thinking. I found the lessons around using action to cure fear and a “sell-yourself-to-yourself” commercial to be very practical. I write about these in more detail below.

As Emerson’s and Shakespeare’s quotes show, our thoughts have a significant influence on our behavior. If you’re looking for ways to elevate your thinking or perhaps get out of a bit of a rut, this book can be a great place to start.

Continue reading the summary here.


This summary was written for the Actionable Book Club – a book club where members read a business/leadership/self-help book every month and summarize their biggest takeaways. If you’re interested in learning more about the Actionable Book Club check us out here.

To see the full collection of over 1000 book summaries – available for free – visit http://www.actionablebooks.com/en-ca/summaries/.

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Actionable Book Summary: “Meditations” by Marcus Aurelius

Actionable Book Summary: “Meditations” by Marcus Aurelius

The second step: Concentrate on what you have to do. Fix your eyes on it. Remind yourself that your task is to be a good human being… Then do it, without hesitation, and speak the truth as you see it. But with kindness. With humility. Without hypocrisy.

Meditations (page 102)

Marcus Aurelius (121-180 AD) was a Roman Emperor from 161 to 180 AD. He is known as the last of the Five Good Emperors and is considered one of the most important Stoic philosophers. His book, Meditations, was written as a personal guidebook to answer some of the greatest questions of life. Why are we here? How should we live our lives? How should we ensure that we do what is right?

Meditations is a popular book read by leaders in business, politics, sports, and many other fields. The lessons, even after almost 2000 years, are still applicable to the challenges that we face today. Aurelius shares his take on a wide range of topics including the importance of humility, the transient nature of human life, and how our mission as people is to help each other. Although I am an amateur when it comes to Greek and Roman philosophy, I thoroughly enjoyed reading Meditations and found the lessons highly applicable to my life.

If you haven’t already read Meditations, I would recommend putting it on your list soon. I specifically recommend the translation by Gregory Hays as it does a fantastic job making it accessible for modern readers.Continue reading the summary here.

This summary was written for the Actionable Book Club – a book club where members read a business/leadership/self-help book every month and summarize their biggest takeaways. If you’re interested in learning more about the Actionable Book Club check us out here. To see the full collection of over 900 book summaries – available for free – visit http://www.actionablebooks.com/en-ca/summaries/.

Actionable Book Summary: “What to Say When You Talk to Your Self” by Shad Helmstetter

Actionable Book Summary: “What to Say When You Talk to Your Self” by Shad Helmstetter

“Your success or failure in anything, large or small, will depend on your programming – what you accept from others, and what you say when you talk to yourself.”

– What to Say When You Talk to Your Self (page 25)

If there are so many “keys” to success being offered by self-help books, motivational speakers, and YouTube videos, why do many of them fail to deliver the results? And for the many great ideas that have worked for people, why does the impact only last for a few days or weeks? Shad Helmstetter, in his 1982 classic What to Say When You Talk to Your Self, believes that the missing ingredient in successful change lies within yourself.

There are many fantastic self-help strategies and tactics that can make a meaningful impact on your life. But if the programming within ourselves is not programmed correctly, our well thought-out and well intentioned actions can be derailed. Helmstetter believes that our programming can be corrected by something called “Self-Talk” – literally, what you tell yourself when you talk to yourself. With improved Self-Talk, you can learn to adjust your programming and be able to rely on yourself to optimize your outlook and build true, inner-confidence.Continue reading the summary here.


This summary was written for the Actionable Book Club – a book club where members read a business/leadership/self-help book every month and summarize their biggest takeaways. If you’re interested in learning more about the Actionable Book Club check us out here. To see the full collection of over 800 book summaries – available for free – visit http://www.actionablebooks.com/en-ca/summaries/.

Actionable Book Summary: “Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman!” by Richard P. Feynman

Actionable Book Summary: “Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman!” by Richard P. Feynman

“Here I stand, atoms with consciousness, matter with curiosity. A universe of atoms, an atom in the universe.”

– Richard Feynman

If Richard Feynman was one of your family members, he would definitely be the crazy, fun, and beloved uncle. His fascinating personality, curiosity for the world, and love for physics pour through the pages of his autobiography.Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman! turns the image of a typical scientist upside down with Feynman’s off-the-cuff observations and a sense of wonder for the world that would make even a five year old boy jealous. His stories about learning how to become a safecracker or landing a gig on a Brazilian samba band shows us how life is full of possibilities and to live it with curiosity, energy, and persistence every single day.Feynman received the Nobel Prize in physics in 1965. He died in 1988 at age 69 and is one of the most prominent physicists of our time.

Continue reading the summary here.


This summary was written for the Actionable Book Club – a book club where members read a business/leadership/self-help book every month and summarize their biggest takeaways. If you’re interested in learning more about the Actionable Book Club check us out here. To see the full collection of over 800 book summaries – available for free – visit http://www.actionablebooks.com/en-ca/summaries/.

Actionable Book Summary: “What Millennials Want From Work” by Jennifer Deal and Alec Levenson

Actionable Book Summary: “What Millennials Want From Work” by Jennifer Deal and Alec Levenson

“Our research revealed that, fundamentally, Millennials want what older generations have always wanted: an interesting job that pays well, where they work with people they like and trust, have access to development and the opportunity to advance, are shown appreciation on a regular basis, and don’t have to leave.”

– What Millennials Want From Work (page 9)

What Millennials Want from Work is a well-researched, data-driven look at Millennials in the workforce. The authors, Jennifer Deal and Alec Levenson, compiled and analyzed just under 25,000 surveys from Millennial-aged respondents across 22 countries. The respondents came from 300 organizations ranging from medium to large businesses. It may be the best researched book on Millennials that I’ve come across.

Millennials are often portrayed in the media as self (or selfie) obsessed slackers with a serious entitlement problem, but the research shows that they’re surprisingly similar to other generations. Here are a few interesting findings from the book’s research:

“More than three-quarters of Millennials believe that hierarchies are useful.”

“When the conversation is about something Millennials believe is important to them (their performance, their career, or their compensation), they really want the conversation to happen face-to-face.”

“…about half say they would be happy to spend the rest of their careers with their current organizations.”

Millennials may be the most tech savvy generation we’ve ever had but the findings above suggest that they’re more traditional than we expected. They believe in hierarchies, they want to have in-person conversations for things that are important to them, and many of them want to stay at their current organizations for a long time.

On the flip side, Millennials are also building upon the progress made by Baby Boomers and Gen Xers in the workplace. They are engaging in conversations to push the boundaries in workplace flexibility, pay equality, and transparency from their organizations. Millennials, like the generations before them, are continuing the generational tradition of pushing organizations to change.

If you lead Millennials in your organization, you need to pick up this book to better understand the generation that is soon to take over the workplace. In the sections below, I’ll share more of the research from the book and how to better engage this generation.

Continue reading the summary here.


This summary was written for the Actionable Book Club – a book club where members read a business/leadership/self-help book every month and summarize their biggest takeaways. If you’re interested in learning more about the Actionable Book Club check us out here. To see the full collection of over 800 book summaries – available for free – visit http://www.actionablebooks.com/en-ca/summaries/.

Actionable Book Summary: “Manager 3.0” by Brad Karsh and Courtney Templin

Actionable Book Summary: “Manager 3.0” by Brad Karsh and Courtney Templin

“If I know anything about millennials, it is that you have the resolve to change the face of leadership and chart a new course for the way business – and therefore our world – works.”

– Manager 3.0 (page 132)

In early 2015, millennials became the largest generation in the US workforce – surpassing the Baby Boomers and Generation X. Looking ahead into the next few years, millennials will become an important part of the workforce as many will assume leadership positions in their organizations. If you are a millennial looking to take a leadership role, preparing for that opportunity is paramount.

There are a lot of challenges in the world of work today. Only 1/3 of the workforce is “engaged” and people are looking for greater meaning and purpose in the work that they do. As millennials, we have the power to create a workplace that is more collaborative, innovative, and fulfilling. According to Marcus Buckingham, the number one reason people quit their jobs is because of their managers. We can change that. We can provide leadership people are inspired by. It won’t be easy but we’re in a great position to make this happen.

As a millennial manager myself, I found Manager 3.0 to be a helpful resource. The book is written specifically for new millennial managers and provides a ton of great advice and frameworks on how to become a more effective manager. If you’ve done a lot of reading in the leadership development space, you’ll notice that much of the content draws from time-tested strategies on improved leadership and team management.

If you’re currently managing a team at work, this is a book worth picking up. It’s information dense and has tons of practical advice (e.g. types of 1:1 you should have with your direct reports or questions to ask yourself to understand your leadership style) that you can apply immediately to help your personal and team development. In this summary, I’ll take you through the book’s core framework – CONNECT – and focus on one area – Communicate – as it’s often cited as a skill millennials struggle with.

Check out my full summary of the book here. Enjoy!


This summary was written for the Actionable Book Club – a book club where members read a business/leadership/self-help book every month and summarize their biggest takeaways. If you’re interested in learning more about the Actionable Book Club check us out here. To see the full collection of over 800 book summaries – available for free – visit www.actionablebooks.com.

Book Summary: “Delivering Happiness” by Tony Hsieh

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I’m a part of a group called the Actionable Book Club where I read a business or self-help book every month and summarize the key points. This month, I read a book about Zappos and the story of Tony Hsieh. It was an eye-opening read about the importance of culture and staying committed to the values that you believe in. Enjoy!

http://www.actionablebooks.com/en-ca/summaries/delivering-happiness-2/