The 10X Rule: A book review by Bob Morris

The 10X Rule: The Only Difference Between Success and Failure
Grant Cardone
John Wiley & Sons (2011)

How to increase sustainable fulfillment of human potentialities, one’s own as well as those of others

Many years ago, I read a book written by David J. Schwartz, The Magic of Thinking Big, that helped me to widen and deepen my perspective when exploring possibilities. I was reminded of that book as I began to read The 10X Rule in which Grant Cardone also urges his reader to keep in mind that most human limits are self-imposed. Long before Schwartz’s book was published (my copy was published in 1987), Henry Ford observed, “Whether you think you can or think you can’t, you’re right.” More recently, in Built to Last, Jim Collins and Jerry Porras urge business leaders to select what they call a BHAG, a Big Hairy Audacious Goal, for their organization. Cardone brings valuable insights to an important discussion of how to increase sustainable fulfillment of human potentialities.

In other words, many (most?) people become committed to a negative self-fulfilling prophecy: consciously and/or unconsciously, their self-defeating attitude ensures that they will either fail or fall far short of what they could have achieved. And more often than not, they see themselves as victims of circumstances over which they have little (if any) control. In striking contrast, peak performers are committed to a positive self-fulfilling prophecy: consciously and unconsciously, they consistently achieve great success because they are absolutely convinced they not only can but WILL. It is not a matter of “if,” only “when.”

In Chapter 1, Cardone lists the basic series of mistakes people make when setting out to achieve goals:

1. Selecting objectives that are too low, too easy, etc. that will not excite, inspire, and motivate people
2. Severely underestimating what is necessary to achieve a goal
3. Spending too much time competing, not enough time succeeding
4. Underestimating the resistance and adversity that must be overcome to achieve the goal

In essence, as Cardone explains, the 10X Rule is based on two separate but interdependent assumptions: First, if you set (let’s call it) a 1X goal or target and then increase it by a factor of ten, you may not reach that but you will achieve far more than you originally intended. Also, if you set a 10X goal or target, you will make a corresponding investment of resources (especially time, energy, and focus) far greater than you would have invested to achieve a 1X goal or target. The place to be, therefore, is at the 10X level both in terms of setting a goal and of efforts to achieve it.

After carefully reading and then (hopefully) re-reading this book, many people will ask, “What now? Where to begin?” Cardone offers excellent advice in the 23rd and final chapter, “Getting Started with 10X.” (Actually, a reader has already gotten started by reading the book and probably gained – as I certainly did -an increased awareness of self-imposed, self-defeating limits.) There are six specific suggestions (on Pages 188-189) that are best revealed within the narrative, in context, but I feel comfortable revealing a few of Cardone’s key points. First, getting to and then operating on a 10X level is a journey, not a destination. Like failure, success tends to feed upon itself and thus one must be prepared to increase the level of difficulty of a given goal that will then increase the degree of success when achieving it. Finally, the aforementioned journey can and should include the involvement of those who can provide support and encouragement to the “pilgrim” who, in turn, must be not only willing and able but also eager to provide the same support and encouragement to others during their own journey.

In fact, what could be more satisfying than applying the 10X Rule to making a positive difference in the lives of others? If there is a higher goal in life than that, I would very much like to know about it.


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