By John Wood

What I’m about to share with you today has the potential to change your life forever for the better.

A bold statement, I know.

But I wouldn’t make that claim if I wasn’t sure I could deliver the goods.

Because every so often you come across something in life where you say to yourself …

“Wow this is good stuff, I wish I’d read this years ago.”

In my opinion, what I’m about to share with you today should be displayed behind every computer screen and tacked up on every bulletin board, blackboard, and fridge in the world.

Because the ideas it communicates cut to the very core of what all success in life springs from.

I stumbled upon them a few years ago. They were included in a Brian Tracy program I was studying, and I’ve kept them close by ever since.

(Surprisingly, they are nowhere to be found on the Internet. Tracy indicates they were taken from something called “Wisdom of the Ages” which I can’t find anywhere either.)

They were written by Max Lincoln Schuster.

Never heard of him?

In 1924, he co-founded the Simon and Schuster publishing house – today one of the top four English publishers in the world.

Schuster was an accomplished thinker and a relentless collector of ideas. One of his most inventive ideas was “The Bible Designed to Be Read as Living Literature.” It made the Bible easier to read and understand.

In 1939, he helped create “Pocket Books” which was responsible for bringing the paperback into general circulation. In 1940, he edited the popular “Treasury of the World’s Great Letters.”

Along the way, he took the time to list the guidelines he used in his life that made him successful. He titled his mini-essay “Success Is Yours”. Here are his 11 success tips:

  1. Become the world’s supreme expert in something– Schuster advises to “begin at once, at this precise moment to choose some subject, some concept, some great name or idea or event in history on which you can eventually make yourself the world’s supreme expert.”He urges us to start a crash program immediately using the three R’s of modern education, reading, research, and reflection – with the goal of establishing yourself as “one who has the most knowledge, the deepest insight, and the most audacious willingness to break new ground by defining your terms and actually examining all the alternatives and consequences.”
  2. Master the art and technique not merely of rapid reading, but creative reading and creative research– Schuster says it’s important to “learn how to use a library and how to build a home library of your own.”He reflects how “back in 1913, high school graduates were singing the old refrain: “No more pencils, no more books, no more teacher’s saucy looks.” He points out that they were throwing away their books and saving their diplomas.  He urges us to do the opposite, “Forget your diploma, or throw it away, but save your books and use them day and night.”
  3. Learn the supreme art of getting sixty seconds out of a minute, sixty minutes out of an hour, twenty-four hours out of a day– He reminds us that we have as much time as everyone else our age.  He says to “Save it, hoard it, plug up all the leaks. If necessary, stand on the street corner, cap in hand like a mendicant, and beg all the passers-by for the seconds and minutes and hours and days they waste.”
  4. Master the art of preparation – Do your homework (especially after your formal education). Remember the words of French chemist Louis Pasteur (1822 – 1895) who said “Chance favors the prepared mind.”
  5. Begin now to learn the art and science of preventative medicine – In other words, take care of yourself. Exercise and eat healthily. He says we should prepare now to outperform and outlive our doctors. He says Ralph Waldo Emerson said it best: “Give me health and a day, and I will make the pomp of emperors ridiculous.”
  6. Work hard, think big, and always have a dream beginning with a detailed blueprint and plan for your agenda, your priorities, and your first things first – Schuster encourages us to put a firm foundation under our “castles in Spain, in the form of these step-by-step, play-by-play specifics and make your dream come true.”
  7. Remember the following three questions: “If I am not for myself, who will be? If I am not for others, what am ‘I’? And if not now, when?”These three questions were first asked by renowned Jewish religious leader Hillel the Elder.
  8. Work hard and opportunities will come – Schuster advises us to remember the words of noted American journalist H.L. Mencken (1880 – 1956) who said, “Most people don’t recognize opportunity when it comes along, because usually it is disguised as hard work.”
  9. Don’t try to please everyone – Schuster counsels us to always keep in mind the maxim of U.S. editor and journalist (and the first recipient of the Pulitzer Prize for reporting), Herbert Bayard Swope (1882-1958) who said, “I can’t give you any formula for success, but I can give you a sure formula for failure – try to please everybody.”
  10. Always remember, the time to be happy is now – The place to be happy is here. The way to be happy is to make others so.
  11. Remember what people really want – Schuster’s last point is extremely applicable to writers who promote products and services. He says to “never forget that people never buy things or services … they buy solutions, for their problems. Your job is to help them find solutions.”

Not bad advice huh?

But don’t just read them and forget them.

Keep them near and use them to guide your actions and I’m confident you’ll be more successful in every area of your life.
This article appears courtesy of American Writers & Artists Inc.’s (AWAI) The Writer’s Life, a free newsletter that delivers original, no-nonsense advice on how to live the life you’ve always dreamed of. For a complimentary subscription, visit