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The 100 simple secrets of successful people : what scientists have learned and how you can use it
Niven, David, Ph.D.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
[San Francisco] : HarperSanFrancisco, [2002]

Physical Description:
xii, 212 pages ; 19 cm
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BF637.S8 N58 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf

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What are the keys to success? Scientists have studied the traits, beliefs, and practices of successful people in all walks of life. But the answers they find wind up in stuffy academic journals aimed at other scientists.

The 100 Simple Secrets of Successful People takes the best and most important research results from over a thousand studies and spells out the key findings in ways we can all understand. Each entry contains advice based on those findings, a real life example of what to do or not to do, and a telling statistic based on scientific research.

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Publisher's Weekly Review

From "resist the urge to be average" to "speak slowly," psychologist and social scientist David Niven offers concise workplace and lifestyle advice in The 100 Simple Secrets of Successful People: What Scientists Have Learned and How You Can Use It. Niven's "secrets" are based on research by psychologists and sociologists, which he cites in each entry. One study, for instance, observed that six in 10 managers lost friends who weren't promoted as quickly as they were, leading Niven to reassure readers that co-workers' bitterness is "a sincere but unpleasant form of flattery." Each tip also draws on the real-life experiences of successful business owners and other professionals. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved



The 100 Simple Secrets of Successful People What Scientists Have Learned and How You Can Use It Chapter One Competence Starts with Feeling Competent How good are you at what you do? Do you have tests or periodic evaluations or some other means to measure your performance? Surely, there is an objective way to demonstrate whether you are good at what you do and whether you should consider yourself a success. Actually, people who do not think they are good at what they do--who do not think they are capable of success or leadership--do not change their opinion even when they are presented with indicators of success. Instead, their self-doubts overrule evidence to the contrary. Don't wait for your next evaluation to improve your judgment of yourself, because feelings are not dependent on facts--and feelings of competence actually start with the feelings and then produce the competence. Ross, a dancer from Springfield, Missouri, dreams of making it to Broadway. His road to dancing glory began with local amateur productions, the kinds of productions in which auditions take place in front of all the other performers trying out. Ross found the experience daunting; it was like being examined by a doctor with all your peers watching. "I was so scared. I felt like I had just come out of the cornfields," Ross said. Sometimes he succeeded, and sometimes he didn't, but Ross was able to try out for different parts in various productions and gain tremendously from the experience. "I have more confidence about my auditioning technique now that I have done it in front of so many people so many times." When he tried out for the first time for a professional touring company, he won a spot in a production of Footloose . Ross has one explanation for his immediate success in landing a professional part: "I had confidence. If you want to do it, you have to really want it and believe in it. You have to make it happen. You can't sit back and hope that someone is going to help you along." For most people studied, the first step toward improving their job performance had nothing to do with the job itself but instead with improving how they felt about themselves. In fact, for eight in ten people, self-image matters more in how they rate their job performance than does their actual job performance. Gribble 2000 Chapter Two It's Not How Hard You Try Work hard and you will be rewarded. It sounds simple. But remember what it was like studying for a test? Some kids studied forever and did poorly. Some studied hardly at all and made great grades. You can spend incredible effort inefficiently and gain nothing. Or, you can spend modest efforts efficiently and be rewarded. The purpose of what you do is to make progress, not just to expend yourself. Achenbach's Pastries was a Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, institution. The family-owned bakery had a loyal customer base and had operated profitably for more than four decades. In the 1990s the owners decided to expand--to offer deli sandwiches and other goods and to add new locations for both retail and wholesale sales. The bakery's owners had never worked harder in their lives than they did after the expansion. And in return for all their hard work, they got less money and the threat of bankruptcy because they could not keep up with debts incurred in the expansion. Earl Hess, a retired business executive, provided capital to keep the company in business and then ultimately bought the entire operation. He looked at things as an objective observer and found that the bakery was doomed by inefficiencies. "They had too many products. Ninety percent of sales came from 10 percent of the products. They were losing their aprons making low-volume items." Hess says when he took over the company he knew: "These people couldn't possibly have worked any harder, but they could have worked smarter." Effort is the single most overrated trait in producing success. People rank it as the best predictor of success when in reality it is one of the least significant factors. Effort, by itself, is a terrible predictor of outcomes because inefficient effort is a tremendous source of discouragement, leaving people to conclude that they can never succeed since even expending maximum effort has not produced results. Scherneck 1998 Chapter Three Creativity Comes from Within Everyone wants to think of something new--solve a problem no one else can solve, offer a valuable idea no else has conceived of. And every business wants to encourage its employees to have the next great idea. So when a business offers its employees a bonus for creative ideas, a flood of great, original thoughts should come pouring in. Right? We think that creativity, like any other task, can be bought and sold. But creativity is not the same as hard work and effort; it requires genuine inspiration. It is the product of a mind thoroughly intrigued by a question, a situation, a possibility. Thus, creativity comes not in exchange for money or rewards but when we focus our attention on something because we want to. Japan Railways East had the contract to build a bullet train between Tokyo and Nagano to be put in place in time for the 1998 Winter Olympics. Unfortunately, tunnels built by the company through the mountains kept filling with water. The company brought in a team of engineers, who were highly paid to come up with the best solution. The engineers analyzed the problems and drew up an extensive set of plans to build an expensive drain and a system of aqueducts to divert the water out of the tunnels. A thirsty maintenance worker one day came up with a different solution when he bent over and took a large swallow of the tunnel water. It tasted great, better than the bottled water he had in his lunch pail. He told his boss they should bottle it and sell it as premium mineral water. Thus was born Oshimizu bottled water . . . The 100 Simple Secrets of Successful People What Scientists Have Learned and How You Can Use It . Copyright © by David Niven. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold. Excerpted from The 100 Simple Secrets of Successful People: What Scientists Have Learned and How You Can Use It by David Niven All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.