Howard Schultz was born the son of an unskilled laborer in Brooklyn in 1953 and grew up in a deprived neighborhood. This book tells the story of how he went on to turn his company Starbucks into a leading brand with more than 27,000 branches worldwide. He prefaced his 1997 autobiography by advising readers: “Dream more than others think practical. Expect more than others think possible.” Larry Page, who created Google, is a strong proponent of what he calls “a healthy disregard for the impossible.” He lived by the maxim: “You should try to do things that most people would not.” Sam Walton, the founder of Walmart, which was at one time the largest corporation in the world, explained the secret of his success by saying: “I’ve always held the bar pretty high for myself: I’ve set extremely high personal goals.”
Another legendary entrepreneur and billionaire, Richard Branson, stated pithily: “The lesson I have learned throughout all this is that no goal is beyond our reach and even the impossible can become possible for those with vision and belief in themselves.”
That’s the topic of this book. I have studied the careers of a number of extraordinarily successful men and women – most of them entrepreneurs, but I have also included top managers, athletes and others who were successful in various areas. By analyzing their life stories, I have found that what distinguishes them above all is their courage to be different from the majority of those around them and to question traditional ways of thinking. They also set their goals and ambitions considerably higher than most people. This book looks at the examples of men and women like Arnold Schwarzenegger and Madonna, Steve Jobs and Bill Gates, Jack Ma and Warren Buffett in order to elicit the crucial secrets of their success. Their stories serve as guidelines which can teach you how to aim far higher and achieve much more than you would ever have thought possible.
Rarely have I met anybody who set his or her goals too high. Most people either live their lives without any real goals at all, or they set their goals far too low. I consider this to be the main reason why they fail to achieve more and fall short of their potential.
Why is it that some people are so much more successful than others? Education or social privilege can hardly account for the difference between winners and losers. Many of the successful personalities featured in this book had difficult childhoods. And among self-made billionaires, the quota of high school or college drop-outs may be even higher than in society at large. A well-known legend, which for obvious reasons is especially popular with people who have failed in life, has it that success is simply a question of ‘luck’. According to this theory, large corporations might as well hold raffles to fill management positions. The lucky winner would be promoted to CEO, while losers would have to work in the mail room.
Of course, there may well be an element of luck involved, though overestimating its significance would be a mistake. Nobody is always lucky or always unlucky. Over the course of several years or even decades, the balance between fortunate and unfortunate incidents tends to even itself out. A majority of those who become millionaires by pure chance lose their fortunes later on. Within the space of just a few years, many major lottery winners are worse off financially than they were before they hit the jackpot. Why? Because they lack the necessary mental resilience to build and retain wealth. On the other hand, there are countless examples of people who lost their entire fortune – which they had worked hard for – and were able to rebuild it after only a few years.
Being successful means achieving far better results than the average contender in a certain area, and it means reaching your goals. This book is about certain attitudes and ways of thinking which all successful people share. In our culture, imitating others and copying what they do is frowned upon, although even children learn mainly by copying those around them. And children usually learn faster and more successfully than adults. In his autobiography, Walmart founder Sam Walton confesses: “Most everything I’ve done I’ve copied from somebody else.”
In order to aim high in life, avoid taking advice from those who have not achieved any overwhelming success themselves. Make sure to take guidance only from the winners and to study the attitudes and actions which helped them to achieve their goals.
This book is based on a systematic study of the autobiographies and biographies written by and about more than 50 successful men and women, all of whom have shown the willpower and fortitude to achieve successes beyond what others considered possible. It also contains some of my own experiences – not because I would ever consider myself the equal of these great personalities. Rather, as a reader of self-help guides to success, I have frequently asked myself whether the authors of such books have successfully tried and tested their own recipes. In my opinion, those who have achieved success in various areas are in a far better position to give credible advice than others who have never achieved anything of note themselves.
From the outside, successful careers often appear to be an unstoppable progression from one phenomenal success to the next. This view fails to take into account the huge problems and seemingly insurmountable hurdles many successful people have had to overcome. It also ignores the failures and setbacks they have often suffered along the way and which, far from discouraging them, have spurred them on to set their goals even higher. The successful men and women featured in this book have all had the courage to approach and solve problems in unconventional ways and to take unpopular positions in opposition to the majority. What is more, they frequently took great pleasure in distinguishing themselves from their competitors by doing things differently, rather than following the conventions of what was considered the ‘proper’ way. If you are faced with problems and setbacks yourself, these stories will encourage you in your own endeavor. And they will help you to understand the mental strength which is the secret of their success, allowing them to solve seemingly impossible problems.
This book tells the stories of successful entrepreneurs, investors, athletes and artists. The majority of them have also been able to build huge fortunes. But whether your goal is to get rich or to become a successful musician, athlete or writer is really immaterial. In any case, the road to personal success starts by setting your goals higher than you yourself and those around you would consider ‘sensible’. This book is intended to encourage you to aim higher and to start fulfilling your dreams. “If you play without long-term goals, your decisions will become purely reactive and you’ll be playing your opponent’s game, not your own,” Garry Kasparov warns. “As you jump from one thing to the next, you will be pulled off course, caught up in what’s right in front of you instead of dealing with what you need to achieve.”
If you follow the ground rules laid down in this book and apply the laws of success established on the basis of analysis, you will definitely have success. Did you know that most extremely successful people are insatiable readers? Warren Buffett, the most successful investor in the history of finance, has often been asked for the secret of his success. This is his answer: “Read everything you can.” At the legendary meetings of his Omaha-based company, Berkshire Hathaway, he has been dispensing this very advice for many years. Buffett is convinced that it was the reading he did in his formative years that shaped his approach to investing and prepared the groundwork for the next 50 unprecedented successful years. He himself says: “By the age of ten, I’d read every book in the Omaha Public Library with the word finance in the title, some twice.” At a book signing, he once casually mentioned having 50 books at home which were waiting to be read.
Buffett’s reading was not restricted to books on finance – he also read self-help manuals such as Dale Carnegie’s How to Make Friends and Influence People, and he developed his own system for implementing the advice he gleaned from that book. Many people have read books like the one written by Carnegie – in fact, you might well be among those readers. But reading alone does not guarantee anybody’s success. After studying Carnegie’s methods, Buffett decided to perform a statistical analysis in order to test what would happen if he applied them in his own life. “People around him did not know he was performing an experiment on them in the silence of his own head, but he watched how they responded. He kept track of his results. Filled with a rising joy, he saw what the numbers proved: The rules worked.”
Buffett’s closest business associate, Charlie Munger, with whom he has spent decades building a billion-dollar empire, was nicknamed “book with legs” by his children because he was always reading books about the achievements of other successful personalities. Munger reportedly read a book a day.
This book is about outstanding personalities and the secrets of their success. Exemplary episodes from their lives serve to expose and illustrate those secrets. The episodes frequently deal with difficulties confronting these men and women on their way up, and with the ways in which they mastered them. The secret of their success will reveal itself to you as soon as – following Buffett’s example – you move on from merely studying the rules and patterns inherent in these stories and start applying them to your own life. The right moment to start acting on this advice is – now.
secure and easy at: