Do you ever wonder why some people seem to effortlessly achieve success while others work hard without ever getting anywhere? Did you know that there was a secret behind this?
If you want to decipher that strange writing on the wall that will unveil the hidden treasure for you, then this summary will give you goosebumps.
We are going to learn from the summary of the book “The Strangest Secret” by Earl Nightingale.
Why read the summary here?
Great question! As a fellow bibliophile, I share your passion for reading books, taking notes, and applying their teachings to my life. I also enjoy summarizing their impact on me for future reference.
If you’re familiar with my YouTube channel – Readers Books Club – you’ll know that I go to great lengths to delve into books and extract the most valuable insights.
I have applied the same level of scrutiny to the book in question, and I can confidently say that it is worth your attention. Despite the abundance of articles and blogs on the topic, this summary offers unique perspectives that are not found elsewhere.
So let’s begin…
About the author
Earl Nightingale, a depression-era child, had a hunger for knowledge. From his youth, he would visit the Long Beach Public Library in California, seeking an answer to the question: “How can a person, starting from scratch, reach their goals and make a significant contribution to others?”
Earl’s curiosity and desire to find a solution made him one of the world’s top experts on success.
While in the Marine Corps, Earl volunteered as an announcer at a radio station. He didn’t get far in his travels as the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, but he survived the ordeal. After five years in the service, Earl moved with his wife to Phoenix and later Chicago to start a successful career in network radio.
Earl’s daily commentary program on WGN (World’s Greatest Newspaper) provided him with a commission on his advertising sales. By 1957, he had achieved such success that he retired at the age of 35. He also bought an insurance company, where he inspired his sales force to achieve greater accomplishments.
When he went on vacation, his sales manager requested that he record his inspirational words, and the result was The Strangest Secret, the first spoken word message to sell over a million copies and win a Gold Record.
In this recording, Earl found an answer to the question that had inspired him as a youth and left a lasting legacy for others.
Earl met a successful businessman named Lloyd Conant, and together they founded an electronic publishing company, which became a multi-million dollar giant in self-improvement. They also developed Our Changing World, a syndicated, 5-minute daily radio program that became the longest-running and most widely syndicated show on radio.
Earl Nightingale passed away on March 28, 1989. When Paul Harvey announced the news on his radio program, he said, “The sonorous voice of the nightingale was stilled.” Earl’s friend, Steve King, remarked that Earl never missed an opportunity to learn something new and share it with others. It was his passion.
About “The Strangest Secret”
Earl Nightingale shared a message with his insurance agency’s salespeople that left them electrified. The word quickly spread, and thousands of requests for a recording of the message poured in every week. Over time, more than one million people requested a copy.
Earl was already a successful network radio announcer and had purchased a small life insurance company, where he motivated his sales staff with inspiring talks.
When he was going on vacation, he recorded an essay on a record, which he called “The Strangest Secret.” The message had a profound impact on the staff, and requests for copies continued to grow, resulting in over a million copies sold and earning the record a Gold Record.
Today, more than 40 years later, the message remains one of the most powerful and influential recordings. Earl recommends listening to or reading it twice a month for ten years, then once a month for life as a prescription for success.
The Strangest Secret
What is “The Strangest Secret”? It’s the reason why, out of 100 individuals who start at age 25 with a belief in success, only five will make it by the time they’re 65. What happened to the sparkle in their eye, their dreams, and their hopes?
Dr. Albert Schweitzer once said, “Men simply don’t think! And that’s what I want to talk to you about.”
We live in a golden age, an era that humanity has worked towards for thousands of years – abundant with opportunities for everyone. But what happens to those 100 individuals who start at age 25?
By the time they’re 65, only one will be rich, four will be financially independent, 41 will still be working, and 54 will be broke – relying on others for the necessities of life. Why do so many fail to accomplish what they intended to do? What happened to their dreams and plans?
The definition of success
To begin, let’s define success as “the progressive realization of a worthy ideal.” Success could be a teacher who loves teaching, an entrepreneur who builds a company, or a salesperson who becomes the best in their field.
Success is achieved when someone deliberately pursues and achieves their predetermined goal. But unfortunately, only one out of 20 people does that.
The majority conform to societal expectations without questioning why or where they are going. This conformity is the reason for so many failures. As Rollo May wrote in his book “Man’s Search for Himself” the opposite of courage in our society is not cowardice but conformity.
We learn to read by age seven and to make a living by age 30, but by age 65, many of us haven’t achieved financial independence, despite living in the most prosperous country in history. The reason for this is conformity. We act like the wrong group, the 95 percent who don’t succeed.
Do you ever wonder why some people seem to effortlessly achieve success while others work hard without ever getting anywhere? This phenomenon can be attributed to goals – successful people know where they are going, while those who fail believe their lives are shaped by external factors.
This analogy can be likened to a ship with a planned voyage, whose captain and crew know where they are headed and how long it will take. Such ships are almost sure to reach their destination. However, a ship with no aim or destination will not go anywhere and eventually be lost at sea.
Similarly, humans need direction and purpose to achieve success. While society aims to protect its weakest link, this often slows down progress and makes it easy for anyone to make a living and support their family.
The key to success and failure is having a clear goal and deciding how high one wants to aim above the plateau of security. Despite many disagreements among wise men and philosophers throughout history, this is one point they unanimously agree on.
We become what we think about
The Strangest Secret is a concept that has been known for ages by wise men and has been mentioned in the Bible. However, very few people understand and practice it.
This has been echoed by many great men throughout history:
- Marcus Aurelius said, “A man’s life is what his thoughts make of it.”
- Disraeli said that if a man has a settled purpose, he will accomplish it, and nothing can resist his will.
- William James said that if we act as if the thing we desire is real, it will become infallibly real by growing into such a connection with our life that it will become real.
- Dr. Norman Vincent Peale said that if we think in negative terms, we will get negative results, and if we think in positive terms, we will achieve positive results.
- George Bernard Shaw said that 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.
It’s pretty clear that we become what we think about. A person who thinks about a concrete and worthwhile goal will reach it because that’s what he’s thinking about.
On the other hand, a person who has no goal, who doesn’t know where he’s going, and whose thoughts are confused, anxious, fearful, and worried, will create a life of frustration, fear, anxiety, and worry. And if he thinks about nothing, he becomes nothing.
The difference between successful and unsuccessful people is their goals. Successful people know where they’re going, and they work towards it. They have a definite purpose and direction, which helps them succeed. They don’t believe that their lives are shaped by circumstances or external forces.
On the other hand, unsuccessful people don’t have a clear direction or purpose in life. They believe that their lives are shaped by circumstances and external forces. They don’t take responsibility for their lives and blame others for their failures.
The human race is designed to prevent the weak from losing. Society today is like a convoy in a time of war. The entire society is slowed down to protect its weakest link, just as the naval convoy has to go at the speed that will permit its slowest vessel to remain in formation.
We have a plateau of so-called “security” that makes it easy to make a living today. It takes no particular brain or talent to make a living and support a family today. So, to succeed, all we must do is decide how high above this plateau we want to aim.
The Strangest Secret is not a secret at all. It’s a concept that has been known for ages by wise men. We become what we think about.
If we have a clear direction and purpose in life, we’ll succeed. If we don’t, we’ll fail.
As you sow — so shall you reap
The human mind is often compared to a farmer’s land. Just as a farmer has a choice in what they plant on their land, the human mind also has the power to choose what it plants.
However, the mind does not discriminate between what is planted – it will return whatever is planted, whether it be success or failure, a concrete goal or confusion, misunderstanding, fear, and anxiety. This is why it is important to choose wisely and plant the right seeds.
Our minds are incredibly fertile, mysterious, and far more incredible than any land. They have the power to manifest our desires and dreams, but only if we use them wisely.
Unfortunately, our minds are given to us for free, and we often take them for granted.
We place little value on things that come to us easily and for free and often take them for granted. However, things that we pay money for we tend to value more.
The paradox is that everything that is truly worthwhile in life comes to us for free – our minds, souls, bodies, hopes, dreams, ambitions, intelligence, love of family and friends, and our country. These priceless possessions cannot be replaced, and we should cherish them.
On the other hand, the things that cost us money are cheap and can be easily replaced. A good man can be completely wiped out and make another fortune. Even if our home burns down, we can rebuild it. However, the things we got for nothing are irreplaceable.
Our minds have the ability to do any kind of job we assign to them, but we often use them for little jobs instead of big ones. The most important decision we’ll ever make in our lives is what we choose to plant in our minds.
Do we want to excel at our job, go places in our company or community, or get rich? All we have to do is a plant that seed in our mind, work towards it consistently, and it will become a reality. It’s a law of nature, just like the laws of Sir Isaac Newton, the laws of gravity – if you jump off a building, you’ll always go down.
To achieve our goals, we must think about them in a relaxed, positive way. We must picture ourselves in our mind’s eye as having already achieved our goals. Every one of us is the sum total of our thoughts. We are where we are because that’s exactly where we wanted to be – whether we’ll admit that or not.
What we think today and tomorrow, next month and next year, will mold our lives and determine our future. We are guided by our minds.
One day, while driving through eastern Arizona, the author saw a giant earth-moving machine with a little man perched on top, guiding it.
He was struck by the similarity of that machine to the human mind. Just like the earth-moving machine, we are sitting at the controls of a vast source of energy. It’s up to us to control and direct this power towards a specific, worthwhile purpose.
The very law that gives us success is a double-edged sword. We must control our thinking. The same rule that can lead people to lives of success, wealth, happiness, and all the things they ever dreamed of – that very same law can lead them into the gutter. It’s all in how they use it for good or for bad. This is The Strangest Secret!
Experts since the dawn of recorded history have told us to pay the price by becoming the person we want to become. It’s not nearly as difficult as living unsuccessfully. The moment we decide on a goal to work towards, we are immediately the successful person.
We belong to the top five out of every hundred people who know where they’re going. We don’t need to concern ourselves too much with how we are going.
30-days action ideas for putting “The Strangest Secret” to work
In this exercise, you will be following three simple steps for the next 30 days to achieve your goal:
Step 1: Write down your goal
Write down your single, clearly defined goal on a card. It can be anything you want – more money, a beautiful home, success at your job, a specific position in life, or a more harmonious family. Keep the card with you and look at it several times a day.
Think about it in a cheerful, relaxed, positive way each morning when you wake up and just before going to bed at night. As you look at your goal, remember that you must become what you think about. Since you are thinking about your goal, you will soon achieve it.
Step 2: Stop thinking about fear
Each time a negative or fearful thought enters your mind, replace it with a mental image of your positive and worthwhile goal. It’s easy for human beings to think negatively, but you must begin to place yourself in the five percent of successful people who think positively.
“Act as though it were impossible to fail,” said Dorothea Brande. If you feel like giving up, remember your goal and stay positive.
Step 3: Be of service
Your success will be measured by the quality and quantity of service you provide. Don’t focus on making money without understanding this law. Only people who work in a mint can make money without earning it. The rest of us must earn money.
Success is not the result of making money; earning money is the result of success, and success is in direct proportion to the service we provide. Don’t concern yourself with money. Be of service, build, work, dream, and create.
Do this, and you will find that there is no limit to the prosperity and abundance that will come to you.
Don’t worry! Worry brings fear, and fear is crippling. Know that all you have to do is hold your goal before you; everything else will take care of itself.
If you fail during your first 30 days, simply start over again and go for another 30 days. Gradually, your new habit will form until you find yourself one of that wonderful minority to whom virtually nothing is impossible.
Repeat this exercise and make it a part of you until you wonder how you could have ever lived in any other way. Live this new way, and you will open the floodgates of abundance and prosperity.
Money is important, but what’s more important is peace of mind and leading a calm, cheerful, and successful life.
Start today. You have nothing to lose, but you have a life to win.
The Strangest Secret Book Review
“The Strangest Secret” by Earl Nightingale is a timeless classic that offers valuable insights into the power of positive thinking and goal-setting. As someone who enjoys reading self-help books, I found this book to be an excellent addition to my collection.
Nightingale’s writing style is engaging, and he uses relatable examples to illustrate his points effectively. He encourages readers to take control of their thoughts and focus on their goals, rather than allowing negative thoughts and circumstances to dictate their lives.
One of the key takeaways from this book is the importance of having a clear and specific goal. Nightingale explains that having a specific goal is like having a target to aim for, and it helps to focus the mind and increase motivation. He also emphasizes the importance of taking action towards achieving that goal, as well as maintaining a positive attitude throughout the process.
Overall, I would highly recommend “The Strangest Secret” to anyone who wants to improve their mindset and achieve their goals. It’s a short and easy read, but the insights it provides are powerful and can have a profound impact on your life.