Ben Stein’s brilliant “How Successful People Win” is in many ways the most honest book on success I have read in a long while. Ben makes no bones about it: life is full of pain, tears, disappointment and betrayal. Not just for us normal folks, but for everyone, even those who have risen to the absolute heights of fame and fortune. That said, Ben makes sure we all understand that success is a great place to be, and well worth the effort. He regales us with visions of hundred-year-old brandy, Hollywood mansions, and other goodies, but only as the ending of stories of how people demonstrated “activity and inner mobility” : that is: they made the necessary changes in their own lives first, and, after time and effort , they reaped their rewards.
Ben Stein is a media personality, attorney, economist, and son of economist Herb Stein. His book is gloriously literate, written in an almost nineteenth-century prose style that is inspiring and poetic. He has clearly seen it all, and speaks in a worldly-wise philosophical tone.
Some of the points he makes:
Never give up. Think in terms of years, even decades of effort.
Realize there is no ‘big score”; that there is always another rung up the ladder.
That there is no deus ex machina: you must be the source of all forward motion in your own life.
Bad things happen to everyone. It’s not you, your bad luck, or anything else: it’s just the way life is. Reality doesn’t “have it in for you”.
If you are ready to face the world as it is, with no excuses, and then walk up to the window to collect your chips, this book is for you.
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