Book Summaries

Book Summary: Lead The Field by Earl Nightingale.

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A human life is really nothing more than a collection of minutes, hours, and days. These are the building materials. And it’s left strictly up to us to determine the kind and size of structure we build.

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Success is a matter of sticking to a set of commonsense principles anyone can master. In Lead the Field Earl Nightingale explains these guidelines: the magic word in life is ATTITUDE. It determines your actions, as well as the actions of others. It tells the world what you expect from it. When you accept responsibility for your attitude, you accept responsibility for your entire life.

Success or failure as a human being is not a matter of luck, or circumstance, or fate, or the breaks, or who you know – or any of the other tiresome, old myths and clichés by which the ignorant tend to excuse themselves. It’s a matter of following a common sense paradigm of rules – guidelines anyone can follow.

Success is the progressive realization of a worthy goal or ideal.” – Earl Nightingale. 

The Magic Word: Attitude

We all want good results from life, in our home, in our work, and in all our contacts with other people. The most important single factor that guarantees good results, day in, day out, all the months and years of our lives, is a healthy attitude! Attitude is the magic word. 

Attitude is defined as “the position or bearing as indicating action, feeling, or mood.” And it is our actions, feelings, or moods that determine the actions, feelings, or moods of others. Our attitude tells the world what we expect in return. If it’s a cheerful, expectant attitude, it says to everyone with whom we come in contact that we expect the best in our dealings with our world.

Our environment, the world in which we live and work, is a mirror of our attitudes and expectations. If we feel that our environment could stand some improvement, we can bring about that change for the better by improving our attitude. The world plays no favorites. It’s impersonal. It doesn’t care who succeeds or who fails. Nor does it care if we change. Our attitude toward life doesn’t affect the world and the people in it nearly as much as it affects us.

 Cause and effect.

Everything we say or do will cause a corresponding effect. If we’re cheerful, glad to be experiencing this miracle of life, others will reflect that good cheer back to us. We are the kind of people others enjoy being around. 

You and I are responsible for our lives. You and I produce causes all day long, every day of our lives. The environment can return to us only a corresponding effect. That’s why I say that each of us determines the quality of his or her own life. We get back what we put out.

The cause must precede the effect, or the effect cannot occur. This is why people who try to get something for nothing are only fooling themselves and earning the disillusionment and frustration they must one day reap. 

Remember that everything in the entire limitless universe operates according to the law of cause and effect. There are no exceptions to this. Nothing happens by accident. For every result, there’s a cause. You have only to take care of the cause; the effect will always, without exception, take care of itself. Good cause; good effect. No cause; no effect. Bad cause; bad effect. It’s as reliable as the rising of the sun.


We become what we think about. And when we’re possessed by an exciting goal, we reach it. That’s why it’s been said, “Be choosy, therefore, what you set your heart upon. For if you want it strongly enough, you’ll get it.”

You see, the trouble with people is not that they can’t achieve their goals – they can do that, all right. The trouble is that they don’t set goals. They leave their future to chance and find out, sooner or later and to their sorrow, that chance doesn’t work – that they’ve missed the boat. 


Above all, realize that money cannot be sought directly. Money, like happiness, is an effect. It’s a result of a cause, and the cause is valuable service. 

It’s not the job; it’s the person. It’s not your present circumstances that count; it’s the circumstances you make up your mind to achieve that are important. The only limit on your income is you. And the income you decide upon can be achieved within the framework of your present work, or within the industry or profession where you already have a start and a place. If not there, it can be found somewhere else. 

All you need is a plan – the road map – and the courage to press on to your destination, knowing in advance that there will be problems and setbacks, but knowing also that nothing on earth can stand in the way of a plan, backed by persistence and determination. 

With the income that you intend to earn written down on a card, spend a part of each day thinking of ways in which you can increase your service, knowing that you have only to manage this, and the income will take care of itself. Since the amount of money you want to earn is more than you’re now receiving, your part of the bargain is to find ways of increasing your service until the gap has been bridged – and more than bridged! 

Above all, realize that money cannot be sought directly. Money, like happiness, is an effect. It’s a result of a cause, and the cause is valuable service. 

Keep money in its proper place. It’s a servant – nothing more. It’s a tool with which we can live better, see more of the world, give our youngsters the education they need and a good start in life. It’s the means to a happy, carefree retirement in later years. Money is necessary to modern life, but keep it in its place. You need only so much food to enjoy good health; you really need only so much money to live comfortably, securely, and well. Too much emphasis on money reverses the whole picture; you then become the servant, and the money becomes the master. 

Continuous Learning

 “Each of us must find his own 15-minute period each day for reading. It’s better if it’s regular. The only requirement is the will to read. With it, you can find 15 minutes, no matter how busy the day. That means you will read half a book a week, two books a month, 20 a year, and 1,000 in a reading lifetime. It’s an easy way to become well-read.” And it takes just 15 minutes a day.

We acquire the skills of living successfully through knowledge. Knowledge, properly applied, is power – and knowledge is available to everybody.  The degree of a person’s ignorance will determine his place in the world. Everyone is born ignorant and must, for a time, live in ignorance. But remember this: Anyone who remains ignorant has only himself to blame.

“Books extend our narrow present back into the limitless past. They show us the mistakes of the men and women before us and share with us recipes for human success. There’s nothing to be done which books [and let me add audio programs] will not help us do much better.” 


Luck has been defined as what happens when preparedness meets opportunity. A great opportunity will only make the unprepared, the unqualified, appear ridiculous. For every one of us, opportunities are all around us. Our ability to see them will depend, in large part, on how well we have prepared ourselves. 

A strong person cannot make a weak person strong; but a weak person can become strong on his own by following a specific course of action for a sufficient length of time. And a person who’s already strong can become a lot stronger…


When a person has no identity of his own, that person will seek to find his identity in a larger group. That’s why joining groups of various kinds is so popular. In that way, we get a badge, a label, that tells us what we are. Now we are properly labeled. This is not to say that successful men and women do not belong to organizations. They certainly do, and they make major contributions to their organizations. But they don’t need the organizations for identity. They are quite aware of who and what they are. And if their organizations did not exist, they would be successful, independent performers in society. They would never feel lost. 

Successful people follow independent paths. This is the important point to remember. At some point in their lives, they break away from the crowd and start on a path of their own. That’s the adult, the intelligent thing for human creatures to do. In striking off on an independent path, they are not necessarily alone. It’s just that they join a much smaller group of like-minded people. We can’t take the whole crowd into that top 5 percent. 

Daily Success

A goal sometimes seems so far off, and our progress often appears to be so painfully slow, that we have a tendency to lose heart. It sometimes seems we’ll never make the grade. And we come close to falling back into old habits that, while they may be comfortable now, lead to nowhere. 

Well, there’s a way to beat this. It’s been used successfully by many of the world’s most successful people, and it’s been advocated by many of the greatest thinkers. It’s to live successfully one day at a time! 

A lifetime is comprised of days, strung together into weeks, months, and years. Let’s reduce it to a single day, and then, still further, to each task of that day. 

A successful life is nothing more than a lot of successful days put together. It’s going to take so many days to reach your goal. If this goal is to be reached in a minimum amount of time, every day must count. 

Think of a single day as a building block with which you’re building the tower of your life. Just as a stonemason can put only one stone in place at a time, you can live only one day at a time. And it’s the way in which these stones are placed that will determine the beauty and strength of your tower. If each stone is successfully placed, the tower will be a success. If, on the other hand, the stones are put down in a hit-or-miss fashion, the whole tower is in danger.

All the best in your quest to get better. Don’t Settle: Live with Passion.

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Lifelong Learner | Entrepreneur | Digital Strategist at Reputiva LLC | Marathoner | Bibliophile |

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