The 10X Rule — Book Summary and Review

The Only Difference Between Success and Failure Book Summary

the 10X rule book cover

The 10X Rule —Setting 10X Targets

The 10X Rule teaches that in order to succeed, we need to set targets, work systematically and doggedly, use time effectively and network. When you consider your life, you may see that you succeeded in the past when you put in 10 times more effort than most other people. Those who’ve achieved enormous success in the arts, philanthropy, politics, athletics or entertainment all followed the 10X rule.

“The 10X Rule is the one thing that will guarantee that you will get what you want in amounts greater than you ever thought imaginable.”

Develop the capacity to foresee how much work you and your colleagues must sustain to achieve your targets. Then, set goals 10 times higher than that and undertake 10 times the effort that initially seems necessary. That’s what it takes to follow the 10X rule.

Four Mistakes

People tend to make four types of mistakes when they begin applying the 10X rule:

  1. Mistargeting
    They set limited goals whose targets don’t galvanize them.
  2. Severely underestimating
    They don’t really assess what it will take in the effort, capital and gumption to achieve their objectives.
  3. Spending too much time competing
    They let their competitors dictate their pace of work and their goals.
  4. Underestimating the amount of adversity
    They don’t correctly envision the challenges they face.

The 10X Rule — Meaning of Success

Each person conceives of success differently. No matter how you define it, you must value success highly and strive to attain it. Success means growth. History provides lessons of the consequences of an end of growth. Success and the pursuit of success ensure societal survival.


The 10X Rule — Embrace Your Potential

Most people don’t consider success all that important, or they think that only other people can achieve it. Or they want only a little success, believing that would tide them over. These attitudes explain why most people don’t get anywhere.

How much of your potential do you use?

You might feel uncomfortable with the answer. If you don’t think success is imperative, you won’t live up to your potential. People may spend their lives explaining why they didn’t succeed. This could happen to you if you regard success as just another option rather than as something you must attain.

read: maximize your potential.

Take Responsibility

In order to decide your direction in life, accept responsibility. People who shirk responsibility don’t reach their highest potential level of achievement. High achievers accept responsibility for their success or failure. They don’t blame other people. They take charge of what happens. Those who think of themselves as victims tend to hand control of their lives over to someone else. They never understand their own capacities.

The 10X Rule — Four Degrees of Action

Individuals often fail because they don’t act appropriately. In most circumstances, you have four choices, but most people use only the first three:

  1. Do nothing – Passivity brings failure.
  2. Retreat – Giving up gets you nowhere.
  3. Take normal levels of action – Doing just enough allows people to plod along.
  4. Take massive action – Only a few outstanding people take massive action. Among other things, taking massive action means to stop measuring how much time you work.

“Success provides confidence, security, a sense of comfort, the ability to contribute at a greater level, and hope and leadership for others in terms of what is possible.”

Any individual might take one of these actions at some time or another. Everybody has the capacity for each step. You might apply a normal degree of action to a healthy lifestyle and yet embrace massive action on destructive habits that undermine it. People may succumb to passivity and never understand that even doing nothing takes effort. Those who succumb to ennui, self-satisfaction or lack of purpose waste a lot of energy and precious time justifying their behaviour, especially to themselves.


People who retreat often fear success. Perhaps a retreater tried hard and failed, and so fears trying that hard again. Retreaters waste time making excuses for their fears. Yet they seldom fear the failure they suffered; rather, they are afraid of what they see as the meaning of that failure and how badly they felt about themselves afterwards.

Like doing nothing, retreating takes effort. It’s exhausting to urge yourself not to try, to fight against the innate desire to achieve. Wasting time hiding out, dodging opportunities and effort takes more energy than actual work.

“The most successful follow up every action with an obsession to see it through to a reward.”


If you claim that you can go no further in your arena – business, self-growth, healthy behaviour, intimacy, creativity, political involvement, whatever it is – you are retreating. If you choose to remain a server in a restaurant and give up acting, that’s a retreat. If you decide that no one in your field will hire you and you stop looking for work, that’s a retreat.

Usually, no one can talk a retreater out of retreating. They take all the willpower they applied to go forward and apply it to moving backwards instead. If you’re retreating, recognize the energy that demands. Dig in your heels and apply your efforts toward beginning to move ahead again. 



Most people are normals. They do just enough work and live with just enough verve to have fundamental, if plodding, lives. One mark of normal employees, supervisors, bosses or organizations is that they “blend in more than they stand out.”

“Criticism is not something that you want to avoid; rather, it’s what you must expect to come your way once you start hitting it big.”

As long as times are good, normals thrive, in their limited way. But the moment an economic downturn or financial crisis hits, normals suddenly realize that their cherished, easy way of life is under threat. In such times, a normal lifestyle may be irrevocably damaged. But most people accept being unexceptional and do just enough to survive. A penchant for the average means you giving up on your dreams.

“Regardless of how superior your product, service, or proposition is, I assure you that there will be something you don’t anticipate or correctly plan.”

Instead, reach for your dreams. Instead of being average, use the 10X rule and break out of the routine. Being average is being “less than extraordinary.” You can’t expect to lead an extraordinary life or live in extraordinary circumstances if your efforts are only average or slightly above average. If you have above-average capabilities, but you behave or perform in an average way, you are being passive or retreating If you have more vigour and originality than you apply to your daily life, use it. Don’t insist on remaining average? No one wants to buy an average product. No advertiser ever promotes anything as being average. To make your life extraordinary, you must embrace the massive action.

Massive Action

Spending time at a children’s playground should convince you that massive action is a person’s natural state. Kids never stop moving. If you go into the ocean, you will see nonstop massive action. Even the Earth itself, just below its surface, is in constant action, constant turmoil.

“People who refuse to take responsibility generally don’t do well at taking much action and subsequently don’t do well in the game of success.”

Some people waste their massive efforts in thrill-seeking behaviour, drugs, alcohol and other self-destructive pursuits. That usually results in boredom, and it can lead to paralysis or retreat. When you embrace positive massive action, don’t expect everything to go smoothly. The more action you generate, the more problems you may create. And the more you must solve. Massive action doesn’t mean counting the hours you work; it means ignoring them. When people comment on your energy, commitment and determination, you know you’re taking massive action.


Treat every single day as if you will ruin “your future and your life” if you don’t take massive action. If people call you “a workaholic, obsessed” or “driven,” you know they’re not operating on a level of massive action. If they were, you would recognize them as kindred spirits, and they would similarly recognize you. When you finally succeed, rest assured that the passives, retreaters and normals will vilify you. That’s simply the fruit of massive action.


Most workers in the United States read about one book a year and work fewer than 40 hours a week. They make about 300% less than senior executives who read more than 60 books a year. People often criticize the salaries of highly paid executives, but such critics discount how hard a well-paid CEO must work.

“We are encouraged to conserve and protect ourselves from losses rather than to go for the big payoff.”

In 2008, the US economy came under enormous stress. Howard Schultz, the founder of Starbucks, did what most other executives did – he cut costs. He also did something most other executives did not: He travelled around the United States to meet his company’s customers. Schultz set out to discover how Starbucks could do a better job of satisfying its customers. His actions exemplify extraordinary massive action. Starbucks sells something customers want but don’t need, especially in tough times. But because it satisfies its clientele, Starbucks thrives.



Customers gain from the competition. In fact, competing makes some people work harder. Most people believe in the benefits of competition. They don’t stop to question who stands to gain. Many businesses look to their competitors to provide a model of effort and expenditure. If these businesses manage to equal their competitors, they feel as if they’ve succeeded. However, to be a 10X businessperson, you must command, not compete. You must put in the effort to reach a controlling position in your field. You must make your business invulnerable to any competition and make your competitors strive to keep up with you.

“Disciplined, consistent, and persistent actions are more of a determining factor in the creation of success than any other combination of things.”

Apple, for example, sets the agenda in several fields. Apple sets its own business pace. It never lets rivals affect its tempo. You, too, can create a business that others want to emulate. Examine the practices of other businesses in your arena. Adopt the best ideas and figure out how to surpass them. Work until you decimate all the rival businesses in your market.

The 10X Rule — The Trap of the Middle Class

People who belong to the middle class often settle for getting just enough. They want a comfortable life, a good job and some money in the bank. In 2009, The Economist magazine said that almost half of the world belongs to the middle class due to growth in emerging countries. It suggested that the members of the middle class have the flexibility to spend a third of their incomes on discretionary things they want after they pay for basic needs.

“Fear is actually a sign that you are doing what’s needed to move in the right direction.”

But, in fact, the middle class is getting squeezed. Rising prices and the failure of salaries to match inflation account for some of that squeeze. Pundits, educational establishments, politicians and the media urge most people to compromise rather than to work for abundance. That advice makes no sense. The richest 5% of people in the world control $80 trillion of its wealth.

If you have the capacity and the gumption, shouldn’t you join them?


Hard Times

When the economy goes through a contraction, most people work to protect their assets and stay out of trouble. This approach ensures that they’ll never achieve their goals. Instead, emulate the people and businesses that take advantage of hard times by seizing opportunities and expanding.

“Treating success as an option is one of the major reasons why more people don’t create it for themselves.”

Striving to stay safe violates a fundamental of the 10X rule. The rule demands that you work and produce copiously, no matter what’s happening around you. At times, you might contract, but only for periods of retrenchment before advancing again. Some companies fail because they expand too fast, but many more suffer because they don’t prepare for expansion. The strategy of consistent expansion requires courage, but it will help you forge ahead in any situation.



Author: Muhamad Aarif

A notorious book addict by night and an oil and gas executive by day. As Mark Twain said, "The man who doesn't read good books has no advantage over the man who can't read them." So, read, read, and read some more.

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