Chapter Summaries

CHAPTER 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59

CHAPTER 1 – ACTION: Away with Delay!

“Seize the moment!! Remember all those women on the TITANIC that waved off the dessert cart.” — Erma Bombeck

When Twilight Zone creator Rod Serling, posing for a snapshot, went to put his arm around an Army buddy, an Air Force plane flying overhead accidentally dropped an ammunition box on his friend, killing him instantly. Also, get the incredible, in-the-moment scoop on how a quick-acting Berkeley police officer (an extended family member of the author) was able to end the 18-year reign of terror of Phillip Garrido, the kidnapper of Jaycee Dugard, when no one else could. As Cuban rapper Pitbull says, do what you can do today, ‘”cause we might not get tomorrow!” Also, learn the GOYA (get off your ass), make-it-happen now principles that will you move up from mediocre to marvelous. Hear how the best make their todays bigger than their tomorrows, including act-now people like Jeff Bezos, who after reading a report projecting the astronomical annual growth of web sales, quit his hedge fund job and wrote his Amazon business plan in five days. If you think you have the luxury of time before making your next move, drop whatever you’re doing and read this chapter NOW!.


CHAPTER 2 – ADVERSITY: Turn Misfortune into Millions

“Defeat is not bitter unless you swallow it.” — Joe Clark

What’s holding you back? In a way, life is like golf, but instead of trying to put the ball in the hole, you’re constantly trying to get out of one. In Adversity, you’ll learn from high-achievers, past and present, how they converted their obstacles into opportunities and adversities into advantages. Your international cast of teachers includes luminaries like St. Paul, Coco Chanel, Soichiro Honda, and Stephen Hawking to American favorites like John Muir, Walt Disney and Erma Bombeck. You’ll also hear the amazing story of DeWayne McKinney, who received a life sentence for a murder he did not commit. When the real murderers emerged two decades later, he was released from prison sans driver’s license, social security number, a change of clothes or even a toothbrush, but still managed to turn his misfortune into millions.


CHAPTER 3: ASKING: Don’t Ask, Don’t Sell

“The key to getting everything you want is to never put all your begs in one ask-it!” — Source Unknown

Don’t lavish gifts on people without first knowing what they want or need. By ASKing, (Always Seeking Knowledge), you’ll successfully address that problem and several others, including how to build wealth and a legacy, as legendary coach Bear Bryant did with the University of Alabama’s football program. “Don’t hurt none to ask,” he said, sharing his simple formula for recruiting the best high school athletes to come to Alabama. Charles Ardai, founder of Hard Case, a publisher of crime novels, also used the ASK principle to recently obtain the unpublished manuscript, The Cocktail Waitress, by James M. Cain, author of Double Indemnity and The Postman Always Rings Twice. Life is full of mysteries; you’re job while you’re here is to solve a few. ASKING shows you how!


CHAPTER 4 – ATTITUDE: Choose Your Attitude

“A smile is a curve that sets everything straight.” — Phyllis Diller

In Attitude, you’ll learn to believe like Winston Churchill, who said, “I am an optimist. It does not seem too much use being anything else.” To help you with your faith-lift, we’ve assembled an incredible team of “A” (Attitude) listers, whose ranks include actors, athletes, salespeople, sailors, and fishermen. These big shots were all once little shots who never stopped firing away. They found their winning stride and spirit by never taking themselves too seriously, and as a result of their light, free, uplifting attitude, they soared higher than everybody else. Because they are warriors and not worriers, they are a joy to be around. They don’t believe in living in a CAVE (Citizens Against Virtually Everything), when there is still so much sunshine to be found. You can do the same.



“Be yourself. Everyone else is taken.” — Oscar Wilde

People these days aren’t looking for a “new deal” to help the country get out of its funk so much as they’re searching for the real deal — leaders they can trust to tell it like it is — leaders like Abraham Lincoln, Eleanor Roosevelt, and Oprah Winfrey. Despite what Shakespeare tells us in Measure for Measure, that “All difficulties are but easy when they are known,” most people, especially our leaders and public officials, like to conceal or fudge the truth because it’s easier to live a lie.  While you’ll learn many lessons in this chapter, two of the most important will be nullius in verba (“Take nobody’s word for it,” the Royal Society of London’s famous motto) and don’t take advice from people who don’t practice it themselves.


CHAPTER 6 – BALANCE: Balance is Beautiful

“Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance you must keep moving.” — Albert Einstein

Hold on to your center of gravity in this fun, free-wheeling account of how balance and inner conflict works in your life. It’s fascinating enough when we see opposing forces neutralize each other but when they occur in the same family (brothers Al and James Capone) or the same individual (Teddy Roosevelt), life can get really interesting. When you have a better understanding of life’s natural rhythms, cycles, and inevitable ups-and-downs — in nature, chemistry, and the affairs of mankind — you’ll be less afraid to engage the world and less afraid to fail. Although the rover Spirit got stuck in the Martian sand and stopped communicating with Earth in 2010, the rover Opportunity on the opposite side of the Red Planet presses on. The same goes for you — some days, you’ll be stuck, but on others, you’ll get unstuck and do great things.


CHAPTER 7 – BELIEF: Conviction Without Conduct Is Worthless

“Belief in a cruel God makes a cruel man.” — Thomas Paine

God gave us many tools — and belief and prayer are two of the most powerful. “Without prayer, I should have been a lunatic a long time ago,” Gandhi said. It’s a power available to us all, Christians and cannibals alike. Belief is full of powerful believers, each one taking a slightly different path to finding God, from World War I ace Eddie Rickenbacker, to boxing slugger Jack Dempsey, to the Dalai Lama. God may not be able to answer all your prayers, or even any of them, but that doesn’t prevent you from trying to answer some on your own. God gave you that spark, so light a fire with it. Without belief, nothing will come of nothing, and that’s no way to live.


CHAPTER 8 – BITTERNESS: Plant Flowers, Not Thistles

“Practice the 101 Percent Principle: Whenever possible in a difficult situation, find the 1 percent that you agree on and give it 100 percent of your effort.” — John Maxwell

Hear the story of how one man turned a potential lynching into a love fest. It happens when you plant flowers and not thistles. Instead of using the unfairness of life as an excuse for failure, use it as motivation to get ahead. By not harboring grudges or holding bitterness inside, you will far surpass your competitors. When friends of Abraham Lincoln advised him not to appoint some of his political rivals to his cabinet, he said, “You have more of a feeling of personal resentment than I have. Perhaps, I have too little of it, but I never thought it paid.” Learn how you can also adopt a Lincoln-like attitude to rise above an often “selfish, egotistical, ungrateful” world.


CHAPTER 9 – CHANGE: Without Change, There Are No Butterflies

“Change is good. You go first.” — Mac Anderson and Tom Feltenstein

What will it take to convince you that change is all around you, and you need to change, as well, if you want to succeed: Pluto was a planet and now it’s not; of the original Dow Jones Industrial Companies, only one still exists; icebergs are melting at such a high rate that polar bears may soon known as solar bears. Even mighty Mt. Everest is growing taller each year. If you refuse to change, you risk becoming irrelevant. But if you embrace change, your opportunities and possibilities become endless. “To succeed in this world, you have to change all the time,” said Sam Walton, founder of Walmart, the largest private employer in the world today.


CHAPTER 10 – CHARACTER: Damn the Rules, Character First

“Live in such a way that you would not be ashamed to sell your parrot to the town gossip” — Will Rogers

God summoned Noah to build an ark, although it had never rained a day on earth. Although God’s request must have seemed absurd at the time, Noah honored it, completing the ark 120 years later. People of character don’t just reside in the Bible, however. When General Grant’s own wife, Julia, asked him to arrange a special prisoner exchange for the release of her brother, a captured Confederate soldier, he refused. In our own time, Sharon Watkins, an Enron vice president, wrote her bosses a brutally honest, put-it-on-the-record letter, informing them they were running an elaborate accounting hoax that threatened to bring down the company. Despite putting her job at risk, she said, “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” Conversely, you will begin to really live when you draw up a code of conduct and choose to live by it every day. All the great ones do.


CHAPTER 11 – CLUTTER: Simplify

“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” — Leonardo da Vinci

To find success, dismiss the excess. Use this chapter to cleanse yourself of all the gunk and baggage you’ve accumulated so you can reclaim your sanity and start being creative and productive again. To help you start freeing up this precious psychic and physical space, you’ll receive lots of de-cluttering tips, techniques, and shortcuts, including how to say more by saying less. When you learn how to keep it simple – and clean the slate — you’ll put your mind at ease and set others free as well.


CHAPTER 12 – DECISIONS: The Choice Is Yours

“I guess it comes down to a simple choice, really. Get busy living or get busy dying.” — Andy Dufresne (Shawshank Redemption)

Your freedom to choose separates you from every other living organism. It’s what makes you human. Never give up this power. Indeed, learn how to make not only better, faster, and more informed decisions, but more of them. To inspire you, you’ll meet some great decision-makers, including St. Damien, Hallmark Cards founder J.C. Hall, IBM founder Thomas Watson, astronaut Sally Ride, novelist Dan Brown, industrialist Henry Ford, Nazi hunter Simon Wiesenthal, concentration camp survivor Viktor Frankl, baseballer Yogi Berra, and a dog that answers to the name of “Lucky”. By the end of this chapter, you’ll never say, “I don’t care,” or “I don’t mind,” again.


CHAPTER 13 – DESIRE AND DRIVE: Like the Mighty Oak, Be That Little Nut That Stood Its Ground

“When you come to the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on.” — Franklin D. Roosevelt

After prevailing by the slimmest of margins at the hotly contested 2011 U.S. Open Men’s Tennis Finals, Novak Djokovic said, “I guess the winner is the one who believes in victory more.” To win at whatever you do, you have to show ferocious resolve. To be the best, you can never leave good enough alone. To go to bed at night with satisfaction, you have to wake up each morning with determination. Half-hearted efforts just won’t do. Among others, your teachers in this chapter include philosophers, warriors, mountain climbers, retailers, race car drivers, violinists, dramatists, and prisoners of war. Each will tell you that nothing good comes without paying a great price. How deeply are you willing to sacrifice your personal comfort to accomplish your sacred calling?


CHAPTER 14 – DETAILS: Revel in the Small Stuff

“Trifles make perfection, and perfection is no trifle.” — Michelangelo

Small matters are definitely a big deal, influencing every avenue of life. In this fun and fascinating chapter, you’ll meet a number of perfectionists whose eye for detail was their formula for success. Michael Phelps won an unprecedented eight gold medals at the 2008 Summer Olympics by mastering mere trifles. Robert Woodruff raised Coke to a global brand by paying scrupulously precise attention to the smallest detail. Dissatisfied that the cheeks of Snow White appeared too pale in a three-minute sequence with the seven dwarfs, Walt Disney ordered his artists at great expense to go back and add blush to thousands of frames. Disney’s project went from folly to fortune because of the extra effort. Conversely, if you miss a single detail, the consequences can turn deadly. Just ask the designated limo driver of the Austrian royal court, whose wrong turn down a Sarajevo street led Europe down the road to World War I.


CHAPTER 15 – DISCIPLINE: Choose Restraint over Complaint

“I can resist everything except temptation.” — Oscar Wilde

Rather than thinking of discipline as sacrifice, regard it as liberation. Instead of being some horrid, torturous, self-flagellating activity, leading a disciplined life will help you reach your greatest victories and successes. It helped Alexander the Great conquer most of the known world and Christopher Columbus sail to the new one. It helped Jack London write his classic adventure tales and Henry Aaron break Babe Ruth’s home run record. True disciplinarians place duty over desire and commitment to a cause over their own comfort. Moreover, they hold true to the belief they must create their own disciplined system or be enslaved by another man’s. If you can’t exhibit self-control and self-restraint, be prepared for someone to apply those restraints and impose those controls for you. That’s no way to live.


CHAPTER 16 – DREAM: Be a Daydreamer

“I dreamed all sorts of things, and saw how all that I dreamed might be realized.” – Napoleon

Get ready to meet some incredibly positive and persistent people who will lift you with their bold and daring visions, people like Walt Disney who built his Magic Kingdom on the back of mouse, and a couple of bicycle mechanics who defied gravity with their flying machine. Here you’ll learn their dreaming strategies, which start and end with staking out and believing in a vision and then working fanatically on it until it comes true. Here you won’t meet anyone rehashing the past or holding onto regrets. This section is reserved for only those who believe in the future.



“If you aren’t fired with enthusiasm, you will be fired with enthusiasm.” — Vince Lombardi

The word “enthusiasm” means to be filled or inspired by God (en theos). Therefore, use this natural spirit and energy that the creator gave you to overcome all the challenges you’ll face. With enthusiasm, you’ll be able to turn any challenger or confrontation into a celebration. If constant rejection has sent you into a “no’s-dive,” tap your unlimited supply of enthusiasm to reverse course and propel yourself higher. As you’ll soon discover after meeting some incredible survivors, including one who uses a chopstick to type (“chopstick-to-itivness), you can overcome any negative situation when you live en theos.



“When I do good, I feel good. When I do bad, I feel bad. That’s my religion.” — Abraham Lincoln

Excellence is not as elusive as one would think. “Any other bright-minded fellow,” Edison said, “can accomplish as much as I did if he will stick [to it] like hell and remember that nothing that’s any good works by itself, you got to make the damn thing work.” So, in addition to ability, you need dependability to achieve excellence. First, you have to put yourself on the path to excellence and then you have to walk it — a journey that could take days, months, or years. You can’t quit when you’re tired. You can only quit when the gorilla is tired. That’s how you go from being a peanut farmer to president or go from winning no championships in your first 15 years of coaching to winning 10 in your next dozen years. After putting in the work, you’ll be ready to graduate from AHS (Absolutely High Standards) and become CEO (Chief Excellence Officer).


CHAPTER 19 – EXPERTS: Please Don’t Take My Advice

“Blind respect for authority is the greatest enemy of the truth.” — Albert Einstein

People follow conventional wisdom because it’s easy, convenient, and comfortable. Unfortunately, it’s rarely true for any age. No field is immune from manifold misdiagnoses. In publishing, critics bashed books like Huck Finn and Moby Dick. In science, the head of the U.S. Patent Office in 1899 declared “everything that can be invented has been invented” and in 1923 Nobel Prize winner Robert Millikan said “there is no likelihood man can ever tap the power of the atom.” In economics, Yale Professor Irving Fish stated just before the 1929 stock market crash that stocks had reached “what looks like a permanently high plateau.” The Wall Street Journal has whiffed countless times, including 1993 when it described the “the decline” of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, saying his vision for NeXT Computing resembled “a pipe dream.” What you’ll learn here is that experts use hindsight. What you need is foresight, but don’t take our expert advice, discover this truth for yourself.


CHAPTER 20 – FACTS: Facts Lie Naked, Lies Come Fully Dressed

“Did you ever wonder if the person in the puddle is real, and you’re just a reflection of him?” — Calvin and Hobbes

Like experts, facts are getting harder to find all the time, and when they are exposed, people usually ignore them anyway. Today, there’s so much spin, it’s a sin – or worse. Because when you constantly rearrange, repackage, or overlook the truth, you do so at your own peril — inviting disasters like the Battle of the Little Bighorn or 9/11. Use this chapter as a wake-up call to say goodbye to easy solutions and so-called “Secrets” and to become a warrior for the truth. With your new moral compass guiding you, you’ll be able to recognize and outmaneuver all the misinformation designed to throw you off course and distract you from your true calling. When you can draw the line between fact and fiction, you’ll have a real fighting chance to meet the inevitable challenges you’ll face in life. And you’ll sleep better, too.


CHAPTER 21 – FAILURE: Please Fail; Otherwise You’ll Always Be Mediocre

“Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.” — Winston Churchill

Truly great people understand the critical role failure plays in their success. “If you want to increase your success rate, double your failure rate,” legendary IBM founder Thomas Watson said. For them, failure means “one step closer” to the grand prize. When Albert Einstein was asked what he required to outfit his new Princeton University office, he replied, “A desk, some pads and a pencil, and a large wastebasket to hold all my mistakes.” Besides the error-prone Einstein, you’ll meet elite, loveable losers like Jesus Christ, Abraham Lincoln, Vince Lombardy, Gregor Mendel, Michael Landon, and Ernest Hemingway. They all would tell you that if you want to succeed, then seek more opportunities to fail.


CHAPTER 22 – FEAR: Fear Not!

“Do the thing we fear, and death of fear is certain.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson

What’s your greatest fear? Public speaking? Forgetting the words to “The Star Spangled Banner?” Staying home alone? Catching the latest pandemic? Never making another sale? Not measuring up to your mother-in-law’s expectations? Fortunately, most FEARs appear as False Evidence Appearing Real. In other words, they never materialize. When real threats surface, however, you can conquer them with preparation and direct action. Action immobilizes fear, indecision incites it. Another powerful strategy to take is to envision success far greater than any risk required to achieve it. Indeed, “in order to succeed, your desire for success should be greater than your fear of failure,” comedian Bill Cosby told us. History also will help calm any misplaced fears. Ancient cartographers labeled uncharted waters with “here be dragons.” When explorers set out for the New World, however, they never found any dragons, but they did find vast quantities of gold, silver, potatoes, corn, chocolate, and other New World treasures.


CHAPTER 23 – FEEDBACK: How Ya Doin’?

“To a pitcher, a base hit is the perfect example of negative feedback.” — Steve Hovley

One of illustrator Norman Rockwell’s teachers, George Bridgman, would sit glowering in a chair while clamping down hard on his cigarette holder until he couldn’t contain himself any longer. Then he’d lurch forward and spit tobacco juice on Rockwell’s drawing, usually near the top of the paper so the drool would dribble down the length of the canvas. Although Bridgman’s actions might be described as tough love, they were the kind of feedback Rockwell needed to grow as an artist. If you want to grow, you’ll need feedback, too, perhaps not as harsh or drastic as the kind Rockwell received, but you don’t want criticism of your work sugarcoated, either. You want the truth, and really shouldn’t care how it’s delivered.


CHAPTER 24 – FLEXIBILITY: If You Can’t Touch Your Toes, Reach for the Sky

“Do not be too moral. You may cheat yourself out of much life.” — Henry David Thoreau

King Kong, the first monster purely invented for the cinema, didn’t just appear out of the blue. It was the creation of a flexible-thinking entrepreneur who was able to connect past and present experiences to make future ones. Actually, flexible thinkers do more than connect, they reconnect, rework, recast, rethink, and reshape. They always have a workaround for any obstacle they encounter. They don’t think outside the box because they never saw themselves in a box. Inside this chapter, you meet a fascinating cast of naturally curious and relentlessly resourceful characters, including the person who invented the TV dinner as well as the guy who invented the microwave oven to cook the TV dinner. We get you thinking about linking!


CHAPTER 25 – FOCUS: Follow One Course Until Successful

“We all sit around in a circle and suppose, while the secret sits in the center and knows.” — Robert Frost

How do you think a tightrope walker can balance on a wire 20 stories high without falling, how a 72-year-old man can sink 2,750 free throws in a row, or how a pilot can become the first person to fly across the Atlantic? In a word, FOCUS (Follow One Course Until Successful). Without a doubt, you can get what you want or at least put yourself into a position to get what you want with the proper focus and concentration. A young Mark Twain intensely focused on filling his mind and his notebooks with information about navigating the 1,200 miles of rapidly shifting water that made up the Mississippi River. After an 18-month apprenticeship, he earned his pilot’s license and was soon making as much money as a Supreme Court justice or the vice president of the United States. “Astonishing things can be done with the human memory if you will devote it faithfully to one particular line of business,” Twain wrote in Life on the Mississippi. We won’t try to distract you from reading this chapter. More action, less distraction.


CHAPTER 26 – GIVING: Give to Live

“A candle can cast as much light as a chandelier.” — Peter Bennett

You don’t really start living until you start giving – and there are so many different and unique ways to do it. Personal favorites include Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the World Wide Web. He could have made billions on his invention, but he chose the nonprofit road instead. Another is Ben Franklin, who elected not to patent either his stove or his lightning rod. More recently, we saw Christian Lopez, a 23-year-old cell phone salesman with student loans to pay off, return the home run ball that Yankees great Derek Jeter slammed into the bleachers for his 3,000th hit. Lopez could have reaped a small fortune by selling it. “It wasn’t about the money … It’s his accomplishment,” he said. In Life Lessons, we celebrate a lot of go-getters, but this chapter is solely devoted to the go-givers, people like poet W.H. Auden, who said, “We’re put here on earth to do good for others. What the others are here for, I don’t know.”


CHAPTER 27 – GIVING AND FORGIVING: The Greatest Revenge is Forgiveness

“We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.” — Winston Churchill

If a 9 year old, severely burned in a napalm attack launched by her own countrymen, is willing to forgive; if Nelson Mandela, who was jailed for 27 years for his anti-apartheid activism, is willing to forgive; and if Congressman Gabby Giffords, who was severely wounded in an assassination attempt, is willing to forgive; why can’t you do the same when your personal human rights have been violated? If they can each continue to stand up for good in a world of so much hatred and hostility, then we must try to follow in their footsteps. It’s exactly because grudges and resentment can eat away at your soul and your health that it’s far better to pity your enemies — and if you can, forgive and forget them. Mandela expressed this need “to let go” far more descriptively: “Resentment,” he said, “is like drinking poison and then hoping it will kill your enemies.”



“It is never too late to be who you might have been.” — George Eliot

In Goals, we do our best to spread the GOSPEL (Goals, Objectives, Strategies, Priorities, Execution, and Links).For goal setting, you have to think big. Preparing for his “This Is It” concert tour six weeks before his death, Michael Jackson said, “When people leave my show, I want them to say, ‘I’ve never seen anything like that in my life …. It’s amazing. He’s the greatest entertainer in the world.’” Whatever your goal, it can’t answer to someday.” It has to be specific. Moreover, you have to measure your execution and progress toward reaching it every day. Finally, you have to link your goal to everyone you know. Fortunately, with more media platforms available than ever before, spreading the GOSPEL can now be just a click away.


CHAPTER 29 – HABITS: You Are What You Repeatedly Do

“Ill habits gather by unseen degrees –
As brooks make rivers, rivers run to seas.” — John Dryden, Absalom and Achitophel

Habits are repeated acts or patterns of behavior that rule your life. At first, these hobgoblins are too small to be felt until they are too strong to be broken. If you like your habits, keep them. Author Stephen King sits down every morning between 8 a.m. and 8:30 a.m. and drinks a glass of water or cup of tea: “I have my vitamin pill and my music, sit in the same seat, and the papers are all arranged in the same places,” King said. “The cumulative purpose of doing these things the same way every day seems to be a way of saying to the mind, you’re going to be dreaming soon.” If your habits aren’t helping you, however, you must abandon them and find new ones. Life Lessons will help you with the process.


CHAPTER 30 – HEALTH: Nothing Tastes As Good As Health and Fitness Feel

“Life expectancy would grow by leaps and bounds if green vegetables smelled as good as bacon.” — Doug Larson

When the discussion turns to the health, you’ll typically find more flip-flopping on the issues than you’ll ever hear at any political debate. Our position, therefore, is to give it to your straight: 10 simple, helpful health tips that you can start incorporating today. In honor of Jack LaLanne (1914-2011), the original exercise nut who lived to be 96 years young, we also pass along some of his exercise advice: “Don’t exceed the feed limit,” “Your waistline is your lifeline,” and “A moment on the hips, a lifetime on the hips.” Get moving.


CHAPTER 31 – HUMILITY: Take One for the Team

“Humility is not thinking less of yourself; it’s thinking of yourself less.” — C.S. Lewis

Despite all his magnificent accomplishments, Sir Isaac Newton never gloated about his greatness. In fact, he compared his discoveries to a boy playing along the seashore “whilst the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered by me.” Another eminent scientist, Maurice Hilleman, who was the 20th century’s answer to Louis Pasteur, is credited with creating more than 40 life-saving vaccines, but you would have never known it. How did he regard his staggering achievement? “Looking back on one’s life,” he recalled, “you say, ‘Gee, what have I done? Have I done enough for the world to justify having been here?’” As you’ll quickly discover in this chapter, outstanding people don’t need the spotlight to shine, they would rather shine it on others and bring forth new discoveries.


CHAPTER 32 – IMAGINATION: It’s the Greatest NATION in the World

“It’s a poor sort of memory that only works backwards.” — Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

Have you been an expatriate of the greatest nation in the world for far too long — the nation they call Imagi-Nation? If so, it’s time to come home. This section will serve as your personal “what-if” workshop, where you’ll meet inventors of the Weed Whacker, ATM, Pac-Man video game, the iconic Green Bay cheesehead and the darkest, dankest place on earth, better known as Forks, Wash., home to the Twilight novels. The great thing about the journey you’re about to take is, it can take you wherever you want it to take you, so hold onto your seat and prepare to believe in six impossible things before breakfast.


CHAPTER 33 – IMPROVEMENT: It’s the Best Room in the House

“Don’t go through life, grow through life.” — Eric Butterworth

Self-improvement is the sure cure for any melancholy. Your mind can never exhaust this unlimited resource. Improvement is not some sheepskin on the wall. It’s an attitude. It’s also an altitude you try to reach in every endeavor you undertake. To be the best, you can never stop learning. To continue glowing, you must continue growing. If people should ever try to hold you back from this special quest, leave their company or shadow as quickly as possible and seek out the best place anyone could ever stay: the room for improvement. It’s highly recommended, it’s always available, and you can stay as long as you like.


CHAPTER 34 – INNOVATION: Keep It Super-Simple

“He that will not apply new remedies must expect new evils.” — Francis Bacon

Great innovators have not only a sixth sense, but a seventh and eighth, and so on. They have a sense of opportunity, a sense of independence, a sense of timing, a sense of style, and, foremost, a sense of optimism and deep-rooted belief in progress. They are masters at pouring old wine into new bottles. By reconnecting the dots in new ways, they turn ordinary into extraordinary. For example, before oral antiseptic was packaged as mouthwash, it was promoted to help fight gonorrhea and clean toilet bowls. Passion is always driving their innovation, and if that ardor ever ebbs, they’re not above resorting to good old-fashioned showmanship to win the day. Innovators use every trick in the book to innovate, and you’re about to learn some of their best secrets.


CHAPTER 35 – INSPIRATION: Take the Leap of Faith

“You can’t wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club.” — Jack London

The world should not only fill you with wonder, but inspiration. It’s everywhere. Can you imagine leaping out of a helium-filled balloon 19 miles above the ground and surviving the fall that reached speeds of 714 mph? The jumper who did broke the sound barrier without a vehicle. Equally inspiring is engineer David Packard going to the grave leaving more than $5 billion to charity. The self-effacing leader had lived in a simply furnished house with a tiny kitchen and linoleum floor from 1957 until his death in 1996. You’ll find that indeed inspiration can come from anywhere. We’ll show you some of the strange places others have found it, and where you might also look for this abundant and renewable resource.


CHAPTER 36 – LEADERSHIP: Accept the Challenge

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” — Margaret Mead

Great leaders are rare because there are so few who possess all the qualities needed to lead. The list of desired characteristics is daunting, indeed. But it’s not so overwhelming that it should prevent you from trying to measure up and see if you have what it takes to be a truly great leader. Take the challenge! See what leadership qualities and characteristics you already possess and which ones you need to further develop … to become a great leader. We need you!


CHAPTER 37 – MENTORS: Look for Inspiration, Not Infallibility

“The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires.” — William Arthur Ward

Mentors are those quality people you find in your life who can guide, encourage, and bring out the best in you. Stemming from the same origin as the word mental (to think), a mentor gets you thinking about all your possibilities. Mark Twain, Ernest Hemingway, and many other notable achievers benefited from mentors, and so should you. Pick as many as you like, but choose wisely. Search for real people, not reality show people. Each should bring different strengths and assets to the table. Invite these coaches to challenge your ideas and assumptions. Lean on them and learn from them, but never imitate them. If a mentor should go astray (Tiger Woods, Ben Roethlisberger, John Edwards, etc.), simply move on. As with all your special relationships, look for insight and inspiration, not infallibility.


CHAPTER 38 – OPPORTUNITY: Honeymoon in Style

“Don’t be afraid to give up the good to go for the great.” — John D. Rockefeller

When his fiancé abandoned him at the altar, Franz Wisner decided to drag his brother along on his pre-paid honeymoon, and after quitting their jobs, selling their houses and giving away their possession, they set out on a two-year globetrotting tour visiting 53 countries. When they returned, they wrote a best seller that was turned into a movie. Likewise, should you suffer a setback, instead of sulking or shrinking from the occasion, seize the moment. One lesson you need to learn early is to make more opportunities than you will find. So, when you recognize an opportunity, do whatever it takes to claim it: drop out, borrow, take a pay cut, whatever you need to do. We provide some incredible opportunity-makers, famous and not-so-famous, that will give you strength and guidance for your opportunity-seeking missions.


CHAPTER 39 – PASSION: Find Something to ‘Ho, Ho, Ho’ About

“Are you man enough to pitch a harpoon down a live whale’s throat and jump after it?” — Capt. Peleg from the movie, Moby Dick

Passion is a state of perpetual energy and excitement that burns inside you. It takes over your body like an uncontrollable fever. Its signs are unmistakable: You forget to eat, drink, or sleep. You lose all sense of time. It’s an affliction that you can’t get out of your mind. Witness Sir Isaac Newton when he was producing the three books of the Principia (“Principles”) Like an absent-minded professor, he walked around Cambridge University with his hair uncombed, his coat unbuttoned, and his garters unfastened so that his socks drooped to his ankles. Others call on their passion to draw, paint, write, make films, explore space, fight injustice and cruelty — or exercise. After finding a note on his car that read, “Fat people die young, please don’t die,” Richard Simmons launched a fitness crusade and became the ubiquitous health guru for a generation — a passion that led to cash, contentment and a healthy body.


CHAPTER 40 – PERSISTENCE: Say ‘Impossible’ to Impossible

“Paralyze resistance with persistence.” — Woody Hayes, American football coach (1913-1985)

A few years ago, a story ricocheted around the world about an Aussie motorist who was arrested for driving 25 miles in reverse on the freeway. He explained to the arresting officers that his car only operated in reverse gear, and he had no other means of transportation to get to work. Frankly, it takes that kind of drive and persistence to get where you need to go in this world. You have to be the engine of your own success. You have to push, pull, prod, plead, pray, persevere, and persist, turning what seems like the end of the road into just another bend in the road. After serving 15 months of a 30-year sentence for his involvement in a $67 million train robbery, England’s Ronnie Biggs staged a daring escape. Scotland Yard’s Jack Slipper pursued him for the next 37 years before Biggs turned himself in.  Successful people don’t have quit-switches, only go-switches. How are you wired? You’ll have a better idea after reading this chapter.


CHAPTER 41 – PERSPECTIVE: Let It Be a Real Eye-Opener

“Advice to children crossing the street: Damn the lights. Watch the cars. The lights ain’t never killed nobody.” — Moms Mabley

In 1896, Col. Griffith J. Griffith donated most of the 4,100 acres that make up Los Angeles’ Griffith Park. He also funded the public observatory in the park that was constructed after his death and bears his name today. He was moved to make his bequest after peering through the telescope at nearby Mt. Wilson, then the most important research observatory in the world. He said, “If all mankind could look through that telescope, it would change the world.” By looking at the world in a new way, he gained new appreciation for it. You can do the same. You can view life as a prison, where you feel trapped all the time, or as a prism, where the world is filled with a rainbow of possibilities. This chapter invites you to step outside the frame you’ve been living in and picture the world from an entirely new perspective that will enrich your life forever.


CHAPTER 42 – PLANNING:  Proper Planning Prevents Poor Performance

“The best surprise is no surprise.” — Kemmons Wilson

You certainly don’t have to look far to find that all great achievers are incredible planners. Charles Lindbergh didn’t become the first human being to fly solo across the Atlantic by winging it. After a hard day of work preparing for his historic 1927 flight, a friend caught him staring out the window into the darkness, when he should have been asleep. “What are you doing?” the friend asked. “Practicing” Lindbergh replied. “Practicing what?” his friend inquired. “Staying awake,” Lindbergh answered. Like Lindy, each of us needs a flight plan to help us soar and stay aloft. Success responds best to definite plans, persistence, and practice. This chapter will help you fine-tune your flight plan and give you all the flying instruments you need to reach your goal.



“I ask for the world and then I get a small piece of the world.” — Madonna

In 1492, Columbus left Palos, Spain, and four months later found a new world. After his third voyage, he came home in chains, but he never put those shackles on himself. In 2011, scientists found 1,200 new planets, including 54 matching Earth’s size and temperature. One, Kepler-22b, orbits a star much like our sun; has a year of 290 days, not too far off our own; has a balmy, Club Med-like 72 degree surface temperature; has water; and is almost the same color as Earth. The discovery caused one astronomer to comment that Earth-like worlds in the universe may be as “common as ants at a picnic.” Explorers and scientists are possibility-thinkers because they have seen a steady march of miracles ever since life began, wherever it began, and they have no reason to believe they’ll cease. Early in the 20th century, a teenage farmer got the idea for TV after tilling a potato field. Amazing! Imagine what you can do, if you believe in yourself and in the world of possibilities.


CHAPTER 44 – PRAISE: No Word is Sweeter to the Ear

“I can live for two months on a good compliment.” — Mark Twain

There’s more hunger for love, appreciation, and acknowledgement in the world than there is for bread. Here’s but one example. Once, a mouse ran wild in a Detroit classroom. The inner-city teacher told her students to be silent, then asked her blind student to use his extraordinary ears and sense of hearing to locate the mouse. He said years later that this act of appreciation, trust, and encouragement shown him was the beginning of a new life. From that time forward, he developed his gift of hearing. Steve Morris became music legend Stevie Wonder. Don’t overdo it with your praise. Simply make it honest and accurate. No cookie-cutter compliments. This doesn’t mean you can never be honestly critical, just try to sandwich your criticism between two compliments. Be nice, and sometimes that means biting your tongue if you have nothing good to say.


CHAPTER 45 – PURPOSE: Build Yours Brick by Brick

“It’s the first of all problems for a man to find out what kind of work he is to do in this universe.” — Thomas Carlyle

Knowing your purpose in life will fill you with power and give meaning to the remainder of your days on Earth. We know it’s not always easy to find your purpose so we share the purposeful quests of others from all walks of life so that they might help trigger your own meaningful searches. We also share some questions that might help you find your life’s work and mission. One purpose-driven question Apple founder Steve Jobs thought worth asking was: “If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do? And whenever the answer has been ‘No’ for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.” This is a chapter with a purpose: We want to make sure you know where you’re headed and why, because as management Peter Drucker said, “There is nothing so useless as doing efficiently that which should not be done at all.”


CHAPTER 46 – REJECTION: Turn Denials Into Smiles

“Through my illness I learned rejection. I was written off. That was the moment I thought, Okay, game on. No prisoners. Everybody’s going down.” — Lance Armstrong

Rejection leads to election, sometimes even perfection. Ronald Reagan didn’t make it to the White House until he was 69 (about two weeks after his 1981 inauguration, he turned 70). In 1976, he had lost the Republican nomination to Gerald Ford. Voters of his own party had rejected him for somebody else. It happens. Steve Jobs, who had just turned 30, got fired by his own company, which he had founded with Steve Wozniak. Ouch. Rejection isn’t a stop sign or the end of the line, but rather a guideline to rethink, reexamine, and reinvent. That’s how Jobs came to create NeXT, Pixar, and eventually be invited back to run Apple. In fact, it’s almost impossible to be a success without being a failure first. Our honor roll of rejectees includes F. Scott Fitzgerald, John Grisham, Elvis, Charles Schulz, Jim Carrey, Oscar Hammerstein…. Instead of avoiding a list like this, perhaps you should try to get on it.



“Tell me what company you keep and I’ll tell you what you are.” — Miguel de Cervantes

People need people. People need relationships to stay and feel alive. Of the hundreds of commandments that Moses received, the first 10 dealt with relationships. It’s pretty obvious why. You can’t scale Mt. Everest or fly to the moon by yourself. Newton recognized this, saying that he was able to see as far as he did because he had stood on the shoulders of giants. We give you some of the strategies to start building your own giant relationships, including how to connect instead of correct; complete instead of compete; and empower instead of employ. By the end of the chapter, you will have all the tools you need to be a great communicator and relationship-builder.


CHAPTER 48 – RISK: If You Care Enough, You’ll Dare Enough

“A ship in harbor is safe — but that is not what ships are for.” — John A. Shed

Learn the intimate details of how a young woman, who considered herself ugly, inspired one of the world’s greatest artists. She had taken the risk of answering an ad for a pretty night nurse, and got the job. Few successes occur without huge upfront risks, as her example indicates. Indeed, if people waited for all conditions to be perfect — for every risk to be minimized or erased — ship captains would never leave port, airplane pilots would never take off down the runway, and you would never leave your home. To grow, you sometimes have to forgo the status quo and jump off a cliff, building your wings on the way down. We’ll even hold your hand as you take the leap! Take our dare. No risk, no results.


CHAPTER 49 – SALES: 4 Steps to Sales Heaven

“The difference between try and triumph is just a little umph!” — Marvin Phillips

Most of us sell for living, so you better get good at it to survive and thrive in today’s economy. Therefore, we show you how to put some wind and winning ways into your sales by personalizing your pipeline, expanding your network, mining loyalty gold, knowing your competition, marketing directly, and being more consistent than Mr. Rogers. To be the best at what you do, put mastery before money, significance before salary, relationships before revenues, commitment before commissions, and quality before quantity. Maybe, we should have made Life Lessons a sales book?


CHAPTER 50 – SELF ESTEEM: There Is Only One You

“It ain’t what they call you, it’s what you answer to.” — W.C. Fields

The biggest identify theft you have to worry about isn’t that which is stolen from you, but that which you give away. Given the thousands of layoffs that have occurred over the last few years, it’s easy to see why people feel like they’ve been kicked to the curb, no longer of use to anybody. This is precisely the time to tell yourself that the one thing that distinguishes you from everybody else is your identity. So, you must celebrate it and nourish it. Rejoice like Milton Hershey, who switched from making caramels to chocolate bars in 1903 because caramels didn’t retain the imprint of his name in summer, and chocolates did. Rejoice like Coco Chanel. After turning down a marriage proposal from one of the richest men in Europe, the French fashion designer said, “There have been several duchesses of Westminster. There is only one Chanel.” After reading this loaded chapter, you’ll understand, as Chanel and Hershey did, that no one can ever make you feel inferior unless you let them.


CHAPTER 51 – SIGNIFICANCE: Don’t Die Without Having Lived

“How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.” — Anne Frank

Add a little more dash to your dash (19xx-20xx), because a life is not important except in the impact it has on others. Start now because the clock is ticking. Some years ago, a group of 95 year olds and older was asked if they could live their lives over, what would they do differently. They said, they would risk more, reflect more, and do more things that would live on after they’re exit. John Atkinson was one of the least likely people you would expect to try to create a legacy. He founded what would become the Braille Institute of America, but when you find out how he did it in the face of overwhelming obstacles, you too will want to start investing your talents and resources in something that will outlast your life.


CHAPTER 52 – SUCCESS: Assembly Required

“Success is simply a matter of luck. Ask any failure.” — Earl Wilson

Success comes from following your own instinct, not where the herd wants to take you. It’s something you have to create yourself. This success journey will carry you along a broad arc — from dependence to independence to interdependence — that right interaction between yourself and the world at large. You’ll know in your heart when you’ve arrived at the right place at the right time. Of course, we offer a formula to speed this progress along, and it’s an easy one to remember: Faith + Fundamentals + Follow through = a Fabulous and Fantastic Future. But while we give you the “Effing” steps, and explain them in great detail, you’re the one that has to walk them. Did you expect to create success any other way?


CHAPTER 53 – THINKING: Start Your Own Think Tank

“A person who has good thoughts cannot ever be ugly. You can have a wonky nose and a crooked mouth and a double chin and stick-out teeth, but if you have good thoughts they will shine out of your face like sunbeams and you will always look lovely.” — Roald Dahl

Your life is what your thoughts make it. So, what’s on your mind? To help you answer this question, we’ll share how some other notable thinkers think, people like Jesus, ad man David Ogilvy, Napoleon, ballet impresario Sergei Diaghilev, and a parade of others. Thinking isn’t just for mystics and monks or rich people or policy wonks who work in think tanks. It’s for you and me. The best part is, the more thinking you do, the more you want to do it well. “The greatest revolution of our generation,” 19th century philosopher William James said, “is the discovery that human beings by changing the inner attitudes of their minds can change the outer aspects of their lives.” Are you ready to start altering your thinking?


CHAPTER 54 – TIME: Better Not Count on It

“I don’t know whether this is the best of times or the worst of times, but I assure you it’s the only time you’ve got.” — Art Buchwald

Whether it’s the best or worst of times, you have to make good on the time you’ve got. In this chapter, you’ll learn the art of making the best use of your time by worrying less, setting priorities, establishing deadlines, taking vacations, ditching bad relationships, reevaluating and realigning goals, dismissing excuses, and not rehashing the past. Because time is so precious – that period from diapers to diplomas to death – don’t delay another second in making your time count while you’re here! (Readers’ advisory: Life Lessons is a good use of your time.)


CHAPTER 55 – VISION: Keep It in Sight

“I can teach anybody how to get what they want out of life. The problem is that I can’t find anybody who can tell me what they want.” — Mark Twain

Vision is perhaps more important than the discovery itself. It is the force that drives the action. Man didn’t reach the moon because of a discovery; he got there because he had a vision. When the Wright brothers’ 605-pound “Flyer” lifted off from Kitty Hawk and flew 120 feet in 12 seconds on Dec. 17, 1903, the flight wasn’t just the culmination of detailed research and exhaustive scientific application, it was the zenith of a boyhood vision that extended far past the average man’s horizon.“I look with amazement upon our audacity in attempting flights with a new and untried machine,” Orville Wright said. People with vision do more than see; they fore-see. They become torchbearers who spread the light so that others can see. In exploring this chapter, you’ll meet extraordinary visionaries and also learn how to create, sharpen, and share your special vision.


CHAPTER 56 – WEALTH: You’re Worth It

“If you think nobody cares if you’re alive, try missing a couple of car payments.” — Earl Wilson

Fifty-dollar steaks, $100 oil changes, $500 hotel rooms. While it doesn’t do much good to complain about inflation, you can change your attitude toward money, and make a greater portion of it flow your way. Like the millionaire next door, you build wealth by doing lots of little things right. Founding Father Benjamin Franklin, whose image graces our $100 bill, said, “Human felicity is produced not so much by great pieces of good fortune that seldom happen, as by little advantages that occur every day.” On controlling costs, he added, “Beware of little expenses, a small leak will sink a great ship.” There are no secrets to accumulating wealth: work hard, cut spending, save, and invest. Above all, treat money the way you treat people, with respect. In that spirit, we show you how to make and save money and how to put your money to work, even when you don’t feel like laboring.


CHAPTER 57 – WORDS: Write One True Sentence

“After eating an entire bull, a mountain lion felt so good he started roaring. He kept it up until a hunter came along and shot him. The moral: When you’re full of bull, keep your mouth shut.” — Will Rogers

Words can be a delight when used correctly and a disaster when used inappropriately. Using even just a few, they can help or hinder, encourage or discourage, or lead or mislead. Ultimately, your use of words is what distinguishes you from every other living organism. Because of their extraordinary power, we humbly share a few insights about language that we’ve learned over the years, and only ask in return that you always think before you ink … text or speak.


CHAPTER 58 – WORK: Enjoy Its Rewards

“Fatigue is the best pillow.” — Benjamin Franklin

Make employment your enjoyment. George Burns, who lived to be 100, learned this little secret. “When you’re not working, you’re old. And when you’re 91, and you’re working, you’re 18.” Holiday Inn founder Kemmons Wilson knew this secret, as well, despite working just half days. “And it doesn’t matter which half … the first 12 hours or the second 12 hours,” he said. Inspired by such working wisdom, we produced our own exhaustive list of high achievers who not so coincidentally also toiled relentlessly. We suggest you consult this list every time you feel like calling it a day a little early or skipping work altogether. “It would seem to me that I was committing a theft if I were to let one day go by without doing some work,” said Louis Pasteur, who invented vaccines for rabies and anthrax and whose pasteurization process saved France’s wine industry, creating employment for thousands. A lesson to the wise: Be an eager beaver, not an eager leaver, when it comes to work!


CHAPTER 59 – WONDER: Lead a Wonderful Life!

“If you have an apple and I have an apple and we exchange these apples then you and I will still each have one apple. But if you have an idea and I have an idea and we exchange these ideas, then each of us will have two ideas.” — George Bernard Shaw

This is the longest chapter, but is it any wonder why? You and your universe are fascinating. The ways of God are even more inscrutable and mysterious. Neither history nor science can begin to grasp or characterize our place and role in the cosmos, but we persist anyway. We continue to try to pull back the curtain and take a peek at this miracle we call life – probing both its sheer power and its fragility. We especially marvel at the law of unintended consequences and wonder aloud about all the things we think we see and understand when they may not be what they seem at all. Whatever the universe is, it’s not boring. We hope you carry forth this torch of wonder and inquiry.