These are my book notes on The Strangest Secret by the author Earl Nightingale.

The Strangest Secret was a - spoken word - record by Earl Nightingale.

It was recorded in 1957 and over one million copies were sold.

Let’s dive in.


  • Title: The Strangest Secret
  • Subtitle: -
  • Author: Earl Nightingale
  • Author’s website: Wikipedia
  • Best audio version: YouTube
  • Transcript: here
  • First published: 1957
  • Type: non fiction
  • Genre: self-help
  • Inspired by: Napoleon Hill’s book Think And Grow Rich
  • Rating: 4/5
  • Recommended: Yes

Key Concepts & Ideas

Why is there such a large disparity between what people intended to do and what they actually accomplished?

The Definition Of Success

Success is the progressive realization of a worthy ideal.

If a man is working towards a predetermined goal and knows where he’s going, that man is a success.

People with goals succeed because they know where they’re going.

It’s that simple.

The Reason Why So Many People Fail

Conformity and people acting like everyone else, without knowing why or where they are going.

Earl Nightingale On Sales / Salesmen

There is no other person in the world today with the future of a good salesman.

Selling is the world’s highest-paid profession.

If we’re good at it and if we know where we’re going, every company needs top-notch salesmen and they reward those men.

The sky is the limit for them.

Each of us succeeds to the extent of his ability to sell.

The Strangest Secret

If you understand completely what I’m going to tell you from this moment on, your life will never be the same again.

You’ll suddenly find that good luck just seems to be attracted to you.

The things you want just seem to fall in line and from now on you won’t have the problems, the worries, the knowing lump of anxiety that perhaps you’ve experienced before.

Doubt and fear will be things of the past.

Here’s the key to success and the key to failure:

“We become what we think about.”

A man’s life is what his thoughts make of it.
- Marcus Aurelius

Disraeli said:

“Everything comes if a man will only wait… a human being with a settled purpose must accomplish it, and nothing can resist a will that will stake even existence for its fulfillment.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson said:

“A man is what he thinks about all day long.”

William James said:

“The greatest discovery of my generation is that human beings can alter their lives by altering their attitudes of mind.”


“We need only in cold blood act as if the thing in question were real, and it will become infallibly real by growing into such a connection with our life that it will become real.”

“It will become so knit with habit and emotion that our interests in it will be those which characterize belief.”

He continues:

“… only you must, then, really wish these things, and wish them exclusively, and not wish at the same time a hundred other incompatible things just as strongly.”

From the Bible (mark 9:23):

“If thou canst believe all things are possible to him that believeth.”

Dr. Norman Vincent Peale said:

“If you think in negative terms, you will get negative results. If you think in positive terms, you will achieve positive results.”

In three words:

“Believe and succeed.”

William Shakespeare said:

“Our doubts are traitors and make us lose the good we oft might win by fearing to attempt.”

George Bernard Shaw said:

“People are always blaming their circumstances for what they are. I don’t believe in circumstances. The people who get on in this world are the people who get up and look for the circumstances they want, and if they can’t find them, make them.”

“We become what we think about.”

How Does It Work?

Why do we become what we think about?

The human mind is much like a farmer’s land.

The land gives the farmer a choice.

He may plant in that land whatever he chooses.

The land doesn’t care what is planted.

It’s up to the farmer to make the decision.

The mind, like the land, will return what you plant, but it doesn’t care what you plant.

As You Sow, So Shall You Reap

The human mind will return anything we want to plant.

Every one of us is the sum total of our own thoughts.

The very law that gives us success is a doubleedged sword.

We must control our thinking.

Putting The Strangest Secret To Work For You (30-Day Action Plan)

We can achieve nothing without paying the price.

The results of your 30-day experiment will be in direct proportion to the effort you put forth.

Step 1: Fully Understand And Appreciate The Following Truths

  • Understanding emotionally as well as intellectually that we literally become what we think about.
  • We must control our thoughts if we’re to control our lives.
  • As you sow, so shall you reap.

Step 2: Cutting Away All The Fetters From The Mind And Permitting It To Soar As It Was Divinely Designed To Do.

  • Your limitations are self-imposed.
  • The opportunities for you today are enormous beyond belief.
  • Rise above narrow-minded pettiness and prejudice.

Step 3: Use All Your Courage To Force Yourself To Think Positively On Your Own Problem

  • Set a definite and clearly defined goal for yourself.
  • Let your marvelous mind think about your goal from all possible angles.
  • Let your imagination speculate freely upon many different possible solutions.
  • Refuse to believe there are any circumstances sufficiently strong to defeat you in the accomplishment of your purpose.
  • Act promptly and decisively when your course is clear.
  • Keep constantly aware of the fact that you are at this moment standing in the middle of your own acre of diamonds.

Step 4: Save At Least 10% Of What You Earn

Important Points: The Price Each Of Us Must Pay

In order to achieve the wonderful life that can be ours.

(It is, of course, worth any price.)

  1. You will become what you think about.
  2. Remember the word imagination.
  3. Courage. Concentrate on your goal every day.
  4. Save 10% of what you earn.
  5. Action! Ideas are worthless unless we act on them.

Remember These Words

(From The Sermon On The Mount And Remember Them Well - Keep Them Constantly Before You)

  • Ask, and it shall be given you.
  • Seek, and you shall find.
  • Knock, and it shall be opened unto you.
  • For every one that asketh, receiveth.
  • He that seeketh, findeth.
  • To him that knocketh, it shall be opened.

It’s as marvelous and as simple as that.

In fact, it’s so simple that in our seemingly complicated world it’s difficult for an adult to understand that all he needs is a purpose and faith.

Another word for faith is persistence.

Your Success Will Always Be Measured By The Quality And Quantity Of Service You Render

Our financial return will be in direct proportion to our service.

Success is not the result of making money;

earning money is the result of success and success is in direct proportion to our service.

You can only earn money after you’re successful.

We’ve got to put the fuel in before we can expect heat.

We’ve got to be of service first before we can expect money.

Don’t concern yourself with the money.

Be of service.

Build. Work. Dream. Create.

Do this and you’ll find there’s no limit to the prosperity and abundance that will come to you.

Closing Thoughts

My book notes only cover small parts of the book.

So if you like what you read, please consider buying the book from the author.

Thank you for reading and stay awesome,

Tim for Online Business Dude

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