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The Magic of Thinking Big

By Thomas J. Stanley on May 18th, 2010 in Books and Publications

Are you frustrated about the way your career is unfolding?  Perhaps you are not achieving what you should be given your hard work and discipline.  If this is the case you may wish to read the perennial bestseller, The Magic of Thinking Big, by Dr. David J. Schwartz.  Dave and I were on the marketing faculty at Georgia State University.   Dave was often asked about why some people succeed and others do not.  His book details many outstanding case studies which support his contention that success is all about thinking big. 


Dave and I had many discussions about why so few people are financially independent in America, the land of opportunity.  I can still hear Dave giving me his explanation of why one person retires with $200,000 in the bank and another with $1M or more.  “It’s not about the variation in intelligence. . . it’s not about the number of hours worked. . . it’s not about education or health.  There is one big difference.  The difference is that the rich fellow thought five times bigger during his career.”


You may have grown tired of reading motivational books and attending seminars which are nothing more than pep talks.  The material in Dave’s book is much more than a motivational tour.  I can personally attest to the efficacy of what is contained in The Magic of Thinking Big.  It certainly was magic for me.  The first book I wrote, Marketing to the Affluent, discussed how to market to “the millionaire next door.”  After reading it, Dave suggested that I broaden my work to appeal to a much larger audience.  He said, “You already have 90% of the work done.  You’ve already defined who they are and to a lesser extent how they got that way.  Now put all your focus on how they became wealthy. Think big.”


What is particularly interesting about Dave’s insight was that it took me twice as long to write my first book than it did to write The Millionaire Next Door.  I wrote every word in every chapter of both books.  It took 720 hours for me to write the entire manuscript of The Millionaire Next Door (on display at the main library of my alma mater, The University of Georgia).  That is over 300,000 words or about 1.5 million printed symbols made by hand via cases of No. 2 Blue Medium Point Paper Mate pens on college ruled, 3-ring notebook paper.  You might think that this effort was drudgery.  Far from it.  Every day that I sat down I had vision of this work being a bestseller.  And so did Dave.


America is filled with highly motivated, hard working people who have already done “90% of the work” as I had.  Sometimes just the slightest change or one key decision can dramatically alter one’s economic productivity.  In my case it was the difference between selling 150,000 books and 2.5 million!

4 responses to “The Magic of Thinking Big”

  1. Benjamin Arie says:

    Magic of Thinking Big is a must-read. The first time I read “Millionaire Mind” I said to myself, “This reminds me of Thinking Big.” And then you mentioned in the book that he was a close friend and it all clicked. The two books go together like dollars and cents.

  2. Daniel says:

    How true “The Magic of Thinking Big” by Mr. Schwartz is probably a classic by now. It has been recognized by so many successful people over the years.

  3. frank kelnhofer says:

    I was fortunate to be in Dr. Schwartz’s last class and 2 of your last classes at GSU. Even though his class was an entry level class it was great. I’ve probably read his book 20 times. Glean something new every time. Just picked up Marketing to the Affluent yesterday from the Athens library yesterday and am going to read it by the middle on Sept. Keep preaching it Dr. Stanley.

  4. Philipp says:

    How Dr. David J. Schwartz died?

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