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A man sat in front of a fireplace and said, "give me heat and I'll give you firewood."

In the search for original themes, "The Strangest Secret" came into my hands, which more than a book is a 28-page reflective essay, which can be read over a cup of coffee.

With great indifference and without much enthusiasm I began to read it, since it appeared to be one of those more self-help writings, which in thirty days promises to "Change your Life."

What did I find in this writing? Is it worth reading?

Let's go by parts.

The author (Earl Nightingale), was an American radio host and author, primarily concerned with the topics of human character development, motivation, and meaningful existence.

He was born on March 12, 1921, in Los Angeles, California, and died on March 25, 1989, in Scottsdale, Arizona, United States.

When I started researching Earl, I was disappointed; on his web page there is an extraordinary description of his life and his work, which, as is customary in North American marketing, the objective is to sell through his online store, books, recordings and memories of Earl:

However, I continued to investigate, since I had already read his essay.

In an era when most men and women were heading towards a life of conformity and ease. . . A man came to the forefront of the national scene who decided to chart an interesting and challenging course.
Earl Nightingale's life was unique in the annals of American business. Stuck in the Great Depression when he was a twelve-year-old boy, he couldn't justify poverty when he was told there was enough to go around on this bountiful land. Therefore, he decided to find out why people succeed or fail in life and was determined that he would be financially successful at a young age.
Stationed aboard the battleship USS Arizona, he was one of the few survivors when that ship was destroyed and sunk at Pearl Harbor. Then, parting ways with the Marine Corps in 1946 and starting from virtually nothing, in ten years he founded and ran four corporations. He wrote, sold, and produced fifteen radio and television shows a week. He appeared on all the major networks and for four years was the star of the drama series Sky King, which was broadcast on over 500 Mutual Radio Network stations. He also started an insurance agency and in twelve months took it from last to sixth in the nation as one of the world's largest companies.
In 1956, the Nation's Press published the amazing story of a phenomenally successful young man who, at 35, had become financially independent. It was then that he produced his now famous recording of The Strangest Secret, which tells others of the proven blueprint for success that he spent seventeen years finding. Since its release, this inspiring recording has broken all record industry precedents by selling in the millions to major industries, retailers and vendors; clubs and associations, parents, students and people from virtually all walks of life. This masterful recording tells how anyone can make the most of his own abilities. . . You can achieve a rich measure of success and happiness, right in his current job or position. He says: "How to achieve greater success and how to enjoy greater happiness and peace of mind."

Earl's story is undoubtedly inspiring, however, the "recipe" proposed in his book "The Strangest Secret" is far from being a secret, much less rare, since as he describes it in some way, it seems who did a reflective exercise on what has already been said by other authors.

However, surprisingly I observed that one of Earl's innovative ideas is to emphasize that success is not only measured in financial terms, since there are other ways to do it, which I would like to quote below:

Who are successful?
The only person who is successful is one who progressively realizes a worthwhile ideal.
It is the person who says, "I'm going to get to do this" and then works to achieve the proposed goal.

I will tell you who these successful people are.
📌 The teacher who teaches in a school because that's what she wanted to do.
📌 A wife and mother, because that's what she hoped to do and she's doing it effectively.
📌 The person in charge of a gas station because that is precisely what he wants to do.
📌 It's the vendor who still wants to improve and grow his organization. 📌 It is anyone who is developing a certain job, which he has consciously decided to undertake.

Unfortunately, only one in 20 people identifies with his work as something valuable and that they really want and enjoy doing. Most people are not clear about their work objectives and goals, and instead of seeing it as a challenging game through indicators or scores, they see it as a predicament, because they do not know how they are doing or their impact on the organization (Observation of Juan Carlos Erdozain).

For this reason, there is no real competition unless we do it ourselves, therefore instead of competing you have to Create.

In addition to the contribution described above in this text, what can be rescue from Earl Nightingale's essay is that it is a good compendium of ideas and thoughts that Earl takes up and reconsiders from authors who preceded him, such as:

"Success is a progressive realization of a worthwhile ideal" which is a way of paraphrasing Dale Carnegie: Build success through failure. Discouragement and failure are two of the surest steppingstones to success.
We are the product of our thoughts which is a way of repeating what was said by: Marcus Aurelius said: "The life of a human being is the product of his thoughts" Ralph Waldo Emerson said: "man is the product of his constant thoughts." William James said: "The most important discovery of my generation is that a human being can change his life by changing his way of thinking."

I would venture to say that in general terms what Earl did was a "thoughtful summary" of Napoleon Hill's famous book "Success Through a Positive Mental Attitude" which in turn was influenced by Dale Carnegie.

Earl's proposal is to develop a 30-day plan that includes the following four points, however, I would add that no plan will work if there is not a genuine emotional and intellectual commitment, supported by the discipline to generate the habit and that this sometimes requires much more than 30 days to establish the habit.

First, it is necessary to understand both emotionally and intellectually that we are literally the product of our thoughts and that we have to control our thoughts if we want to control our lives. It is a matter of understanding what is written "we reap what we sow."
Secondly, it is a matter of freeing our mind, and thus allowing our imagination and creativity to flourish, through the inner genius that we all carry within. It is understanding that your limitations are imposed by you and that the opportunities you have today are much bigger than what you can imagine, it is a matter of going beyond the limitations and prejudices of a narrow mind.
Thirdly, it is a matter of using your courage to push yourself, think positively about your own problem and have a clear and well defined goal for yourself and allow your wonderful mind to think about your goal from various possible perspectives, also allow your imagination to think of the many possible solutions, then refuse to give up due to adverse circumstances you encounter that prevent you from achieving your purpose, then act quickly and decisively when you can see the path to your own diamond patch.
Fourthly, save at least 10% of what you earn, it is also a matter of remembering that no matter what job you have, it has enormous possibilities, if you are willing to pay the price.


Earl makes a series of interesting reflections, as if they were the prelude to modern neuroscience, when he says the following about the human mind:

Life should be an exciting adventure, not a hallucination.
An individual must fully live, be alive. He should be happy getting out of bed in the morning. He should be doing the job he likes, doing it because this is precisely what he does well.

Success is the progressive realization of a worthwhile ideal.” If a man is working on a predetermined goal and knows where he is going, this man is successful, if he does not know, he is a failure.

Success is not the result of making money, rather making money results from success. 
Success is obtained in direct proportion to our services.
Most people have misinterpreted this law. They believe that you are successful if you earn a lot of money. The truth is that you can only make money after you have been successful.

Earl ends his essay by saying the following: A Leading Psychiatrist Pointed Out Six Steps That Can Help You Succeed 1. Head towards a defined goal. 2. Stop putting yourself down. 3. Stop thinking about all the reasons why you are going to fail and start thinking about all the reasons why you are going to succeed. 4. If you have low self-esteem and don't believe in yourself, go back to your childhood attitudes, and try to figure out when you first developed the idea that you couldn't be successful and broke that pattern. 5. Change your own image by writing a description of the person you would like to be. 6. Act like the successful person you have decided to become.

It seems to me that as a book "The Strangest Secret" leaves much to be desired due to the lack of depth and bibliographic sources, however, as an executive and reflective summary, it complies with the premise of giving us an overview of success.

If a student of the subject wants to know more, they should turn to other sources such as Dale Carnegie, Napoleon Hill and Morrie Shechtman among others.


1) Nightingale, Earl Website:

2) Nightingale, Earl. The Stranger Secret. Copyright 2006. BN Publishing.

3) Shechtman, Morrie. Working Without a Net & Fifth Wave Leadership.

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