In a departure from my regular reading plan, I recently enjoyed David J. Schwartz’ The Magic of Thinking Big. First published in 1959, the book is dated yet very refreshing. It is one of those books like Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People and Hill’s Think and Grow Rich. The cover of my edition advertises it as “a unique way to magnify your thinking patterns and achieve the things you want: -Higher Income -Financial Security -A Prestige Job -Power and Influence…” That sounds corny, and the book is corny, but in a charming and level-headed way. The advice amongst all the stories of Salesman Dave and Executive Bob is great advice. You could take the core wisdom and easily re-write into something heavier-sounding: Personal Diplomacy: Methods towards a New Era of Global Leaders.
Every chapter of The Magic of Thinking Big (with titles like “Believe You Can Succeed and You Will” and “Get the Action Habit”) has concrete examples of how improving your thoughts and actions can lead to a better, more full life. Schwartz provides very clear tools to show you how to apply his ideas. Although he sometimes veers a bit close to the currently-popular woo of The Law of Attraction, he never completely lapses into New Age foolishness. His ideas are about how to think and behave rationally, in a way that leads to more success and more valid friendships.
This is the kind of book that my grandfather John Wallace would have read, pondered and applied to his life. The book is a gentle reminder that we all need to treat others with respect, create and act towards goals, and think big. Those who read mostly “serious” works would benefit from taking a break and enjoying a tonic like The Magic of Thinking Big.