This post is the continuation of a post from this past Sunday, “52 Life Lessons I Learned By Asking 52 People The Same Question (Part 1)” and inspired by a post from a few weeks ago, “38 Lessons That Took Me 38 Years To Learn,” in which I forgot to include quite possibly the most important lesson:

Instead of asking people what they are watching, ask them what they are reading.

If you are reading this post first, keep going. Below are simply my favorite quotes in no particular order from the 52 books that I have been recommended this past year along with what each of them mean to me. In the comment section I would love to learn what you are currently reading or what your favorite quotes are.

52 Lessons from 52 Books as a result of asking 52 people the same question (27–52)

27. “Think about your hero. Do you think of this person as someone with extraordinary abilities who achieved with little effort? Now go find out the truth. Find out the tremendous effort that went into their accomplishment, and admire them more.”

Reminder: Most overnight success stories are 10 years in the making.

28. “Greatness is not a function of circumstance. Greatness, it turns out, is largely a matter of conscious choice and discipline.”

Reminder: Exciting lives are created by good choices and boring routines.

29. “Life is a helluva lot more fun if you say yes rather than no.”

Reminder: I met my wife doing something I originally did not want to do.

30. “If you can’t learn, you can’t thrive.”

Reminder: Figure out how you learn best and keep auding and making improvements to the process.

31. “The most promising ideas begin from novelty and then add familiarity.”

Reminder: You do not have to reinvent the wheel, just add to the conversation.

32. “What gets measured gets improved.”

Reminder: Tracking your health, performance etc, has never been easier, so take advantage.

33. “Just because you have someone´s email address does not mean they want to hear from you.”

Reminder: Think of how you can help others, not of how they can help you.

34. The Ultimate Elevator Pitch –

“Simply create a one-sentence answer to the following four questions:

  1. What do you do?
  2. What problem do you solve?
  3. How are you different?
  4. Why should I care?”

Reminder: You never know who you are going to meet, so be prepared.

35. This is not a quote, but in this book, General George C. Marshall, was referred to as an, “Unnatural Genius,” and it dawned on me that I had never heard that before. Is there a higher compliment?

Reminder: Never stop learning, trying new things and meeting new people,

36. “Acronym of FAILURE:

F — Frustration (you don´t have any answers)

A — Aggression (Misdirected)

I — Insecurity (You can´t cut it anymore)

L — Leadership (You abandon it)

U — Undisciplined (You stop practicing fundamentals)

R — Resentment (You assume the victim´s role)

E — Excuses (It´s everyone´s fault but your own)”

Reminder: Most of the time success is found by analyzing and fixing failures.

37. “Ultimately, our progress, our growth, and our happiness comes from our ability to look within ourselves and ask the important questions.”

Reminder: The quality of our life is determined by the quality of the questions that we ask others and we ask ourselves.

38. “You need to stretch people to help them achieve their full potential. The most powerful way to do this is by having the courage to say, `I believe in you.´ These four words constitute the most inspirational message a leader can convey.”

Reminder: If you focus on supporting others, people will eventually support you.

39. “Leadership requires two things: a vision of the world that does not yet exist and the ability to communicate it.”

Reminder: Think like a philosopher, but communicate like a truck driver.

40. “The only guarantee, ever, is that things will go wrong. The only thing we can use to mitigate this is anticipation. Because the only variable we control completely is ourselves.”

Reminder: We cannot control what happens, but we can control how we react and respond.

41. “We all fool ourselves from time to time in order to keep our thoughts and beliefs consistent with what we have already done or decided.”

Reminder: Operate in reality.

42. “We convince by our presence.”

Reminder: Stand up straight and smile.

43. “Positive thinking must be followed by positive doing.”

Reminder: After reading a book or listening to a podcast — do something about it.

44. “Those who succeed in an outstanding way seldom do so before the age of 40. More often, they do not strike their real pace until they are well beyond the age of 50.”

Reminder: Life is long. Slow down and keep collecting and connecting your dots.

45. “Being present, paying attention to what’s going on rather than being caught up in your thoughts, can yield immense rewards. When you exhibit presence, those around you feel listened to, respected, and valued.”

Reminder: Most people are so worried about what they are going to say they do not listen to what is being said. Do not be like most people.

46. “Happiness and success will pass, what endures is creating meaning in your own life and in the lives of others.”

Reminder: Never stop asking yourself how you can make the lives of the people around you better.

47. “For me, happiness is the joy we feel striving after our potential.”

Reminder: It’s the journey….

48. “The man who can drive himself further once the effort gets painful is the man who will win.”

Reminder: What was impossible in the past is normal today.

49. “Work is a rubber ball. If you drop it, it will bounce back. The other four balls: family, health, friends, integrity, are made of glass. If you drop one of these, it will be irrevocably scuffed, nicked, perhaps even shattered.”

Reminder: Friend, mother, father, partner, husband, wife is much cooler than any job title.

50. “The easiest thing to sell is truth.”

Reminder: Never work on something you do not believe in.

51. “You buck yourself up with the thought that `this too shall pass,´ but then you remind yourself that it may not pass anytime soon, and so you re-dedicate yourself to making the absolute best of what you have now.”

Reminder: My wife and son are the only things that matter. Make them smile……at all times.

52. “You and everyone you know are going to be dead soon. And in the short amount of time between here and there, you have a limited amount of f*cks to give. Very few, in fact. And if you go around giving a f*ck about everything and everyone without conscious thought or choice, well, then you’re going to get fucked.”

Reminder: Just because a great writer used a bad word in his title, does not mean you should.

And there you have it, my favorite 52 quotes from the 52 books that I have read in the last 52 weeks.

Onto the next one.

Any recommendations?

Michael Thompson / (blog) / (company)

Originally published at