Book Review: The Magic Of Thinking Big by David Schwartz.

What if you could have the power to do anything you wanted? All you needed was a superpower called belief and there was a way to get it, to nurture it and bring amazing things into your life. That is the subject of author David Schwartz’s book, ‘The Magic of Thinking Big’. In it he puts forward the idea that all success hinges on belief and that it has to be there before we can start to take the action necessary to make things happen. 

The book in a nutshell

Schwartz believes that belief is something we can all access. He stresses that there is nothing mystical about it, and that it’s simply an ‘I can’ attitude that generates the power, skill and energy required to get things done. If we believe we can then we will.

In his words:

‘We have to first believe we can do something before the how-to-do-it part develops.’

The book is peppered with interesting, real-world examples that illustrate the point .

Key Takeaways

Through his extensive observation and study of the successful, the author concludes that believing that they will be successful is the one basic ingredient that all successful people have. His view of failure is also interesting. What does he think guarantees of failure?


He calls it the ‘Okay-I’ll-give-it-a-try-but-I-don’t-think-it-will-work’ attitude.

Disbelief he asserts is also very powerful. It pulls towards us reasons that support it which in turn leads to failure. Our subconscious minds produce exactly what we believe to be true. After all we are the product of our thoughts.

1. How to develop the power of belief

  1. We think success not failure.

When we face challenges we promote a ‘I’ll win’ mentality not an ‘I’ll probably lose’ one. Thinking success conditions the mind to create plans that produce success.

  1. We continue to remind ourselves that we are better than we think we are.

Success does not require a superintellect and isn’t based on luck. Rather, it is a result of believing in oneself and one’s abilities. Don’t ever sell yourself short.

  1. We have to Believe Big.

The size of our success is determined by the size of our belief. If we think small and expect small then that is exactly what we’ll get. So expand the mind and realise that big ideas are often no more difficult than small ideas.

2. Avoid the disease that all unsuccessful persons suffer from – Excusitis.

Probably one of my favourite sections in the book, the author uses this ‘disease’ analogy to explain the difference between those who are moving forward and achieving and those who don’t.

‘Excusitis is all the excuses made by the mediocre fellow that could be but aren’t made by the successful person.’

He believes that behind every failure is an advanced infection of excusitis and like any disease it gets worse if it isn’t treated properly. Excusitis is dangerous because once a victim has selected a ‘good’ excuse, he sticks with it. He uses it to explain why he isn’t progressing. The more he repeats it the more he becomes convinced that it’s true. Eventually it does become his truth.

What are some forms of excusitis?

Health Excusitis – the ‘my health isn’t good’ excuse.

His message:

‘It’s better to wear out than rust out.’ Life is yours to enjoy. Don’t waste it. Don’t pass up living.

Intelligence Excusitis – the ‘I’m not smart enough’ excuse.

His message:

‘The thinking that guides your intelligence is much more important than the quantity of your brainpower.’ Knowledge is only potential power. It becomes power only when put to constuctive use.

Age Excusitis – the ‘I’m too old or too young’ excuse.

His message:

‘Age has no real relation to ability, unless we convince ourselves that years alone will give us what we need to make our mark. It’s too late only when we let our minds think it’s too late. Instead of thinking ‘I should have started years ago.’ think instead ‘I’m going to start now, my best years are ahead of me.’

Final thoughts

Although a tad repetitive in parts, the book is littered with gems that will get you thinking big and wanting to act big too. If you want to:

  • Learn how to build confidence while destroying fear.
  • Discover ways to add value to yourself and those around you.
  • Learn how to cure yourself of whichever strain of excusitis you may be suffering from.
  • Develop the power of belief and cultivate a success mentality.
  • Start thinking as big as you really are!

Then this book is well worth the time.

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