grant cardone, success, the difference between success and failure

Review of The 10X Rule: The Only Difference Between Success and Failure by Grant Cordone

Why I Chose this Book

A former colleague of mine recommended this book one day. The same weekend, I believe, I put this book and Bigger, Leaner, Stronger on hold at my library. I made it to the second to last chapter when I had to return the book. Fortunately, I had mentioned to a friend that I was reading the book and he “lent” me an audio version. I listened to it from the beginning even though I had already read most of it. I remember hearing the author say in an interview that he recommends people listen to the audio version and I understood why. Funnily, when I was reading the book, I read it in the voice of Tony Robbins even though I knew Cardone, the author, had a southern U.S. roughness to his voice similar to the actor Matthew McConaughey’s voice. If reading the book doesn’t get you fired up, then maybe Cardone’s enthusiastic audio version will.

The 10X Rule

We’ve probably heard some form of the advice given in this book before such as “shoot for the stars and fall among the moon” or something as simple as “you have to work hard.” How hard do you have to work though? It may even be easy to mentally fool yourself into thinking that you are working hard when you’re not. One of the pros of the 10X rule is it quantifies or give you a clearer idea of how hard you should work. Say, you have a goal, you know you need to work hard to obtain that goal, but what is hard work, really? Cardone’s idea is to take that goal and multiply it by ten (shoot for the stars). On top of that, you should take the amount of effort you think you’ll need to accomplish that goal and multiply that by 10! That’s how hard you need to work. Even if you don’t reach your goals, if you put in the time and effort to reach them, you will have surpassed your original goal (fall among the moon).

But why 10X though? Why not 5 or 3 or 7? What’s the science behind it? That’s where a drawback appears. It seems Cardone recommends multiplying your goals and effort by ten because it sounds good. It’s a memorable number that significantly pushes your goals forward. Because of this, one could potentially convince himself that the goal or amount of effort isn’t that important and that they could ease up some when he finds himself facing setbacks to reach his goal. Because there is nothing backing up this idea of 10X, no solid research, no case studies, one could convince himself to say that you can work hard, but ten times as hard isn’t really necessary. Eventually this person is in danger of reverting to his or her old ways, all the while believing that he is putting in extra work. To its advantage though, 10X is easy to remember.

Overall, it’s a good concept.

Starting with the 10X Rule

By multiplying your goals and effort by ten, you take into account any setbacks that may come along the way. It’s better to miss a high goal than to miss a low one. According to Cardone, goals should not be scaled back and if you are having difficulty reaching a goal, increase your effort. Success should be thought of as always expanding.

Cardone identifies three necessary viewpoints on success: 1. Success is important, 2. Success is your duty., 3. There is no shortage of success. Success is important to carry on your legacy, to put food on the table, to survive during bad economic times, etc. If you view success as your duty, then you understand that being successful protects you from the mishaps that occur in life. Fail to be successful and you put your loved ones and yourself at risk of succumbing to life’s inevitable pressures.

“Success must be approached from an ethical viewpoint. Success is your duty, obligation, and responsibility!”

Cardone advocates that you should have the mindset that there is no shortage of success available. If one person succeeds, that does not make it less likely that another person will. Success is created not found. You can control your life and you should assume control of everything. Even for things that seem to be out of your control such as the power going out, claim responsibility. Even though you couldn’t control the power going out, one way to take control of the situation is to have a backup generator. Whatever is happening to you is caused by you. Don’t adopt a victim mindset.

I personally had a situation once in which my work required the use of mice and two had escaped. At the time that they escaped, I was not personally handling them, but a specialized animal care staff member was. I had nothing to do with the situation, but when I told my advisor, he said that it was my fault. I was confused. I had nothing to do with the mice escaping. He asked me what I could have done differently to avoid the situation. I was stumped. Besides doing the staff member’s job for him from then on out, I had no clue what else I could have done. My advisor ended up explaining the same general idea as Cardone. We have to take responsibility for whatever happens to us. I never came up with a reasonable solution to the problem, but I understood the message.

When we try to take ahold of our lives, there are four degrees of action: 1. No action. 2. Little action 3. Average action 4. Massive action. You want to take massive action. Average action is dangerous and a failing formula. It can lead you to believe that you are doing something and that should be good enough when it is not. Average action is a trap similar to existing in the middle class. When you take massive action always strive to dominate your competition rather than compete with them.

“If competition is healthy, then domination is immunity.”

Your actions should be imbued with obsession. Obsession drives one to accomplish her goals. It’s what gets stuff done. Others, less successful people, may call your obsession a disease, but look at it as a gift to be successful. Say yes to everything and give it your all. Never go backwards even when others in your field are reducing their resources or decrease what they’re doing. Once you start working hard, don’t stop and always increase your business or skills. Fear is a great indicator of an opportunity for growth and success.

Work-life Balance

Cardone says that you shouldn’t worry about time management or work-life balance. Do everything you want to do to the fullest capacity. You can apply massive action to parts of your life including your career, family, hobbies, etc. This sounds great! I can do and have it all! Personally, this seems unrealistic to me. It sounds great, but if you’ve ever tried to juggle multiple projects and responsibilities at the same time, you know some things will just have to be neglected. There is some kernel of good advice here though.

What you can do is make a plan so that you can get the most out of what time you do have. If you want to spend more quality time with your kids, similar to Cardone’s example, every morning before you go to work you can take your child to the park and instead of wasting time, make sure every minute of that hour you are attentive. Same with a spouse. When you are at work, you spend less time doing frivolous things and spend that time working efficiently so that you don’t have to stay late and cut into time spent with your family, your workout session, or whatever else you may do in your free time. That’s what I got from it. Be more efficient.

It seems like Cardone had a child later in life. He was around 52 years old when he wrote The 10X Rule and he states that he had recently just had his first child meaning he had his daughter sometime in his 50s or 40s. That’s later than most people. He had more time to build his businesses before having to concentrate more on family. I wonder how his views on success and life would be different if he had had children earlier in life. Balancing work and life is a serious struggle for a lot of people. How far does the 10X rule apply to the typical person looking to balance the two?

Once you reach success

Cardone says that once you reach a certain level of success, you will be criticized. You should not let criticism deter you from what you are doing. Don’t let criticism cause you to contract. Criticism is a sign of success. Criticism means people are noticing you. It means you are standing out. It means you are doing something worth paying attention to. In the same vein, don’t worry about satisfying customers. Sounds counterintuitive right? Instead, attract the customers that will appreciate your “product.” To get your target customers, you should be everywhere at once. Be so involved in your field that you are seen everywhere. Make it so that others have to notice you or your company or your brand. Don’t make excuses.

The second to last chapter contains 32 points that could probably be and maybe already have been books themselves. Many of these points overlap with what Cardone says elsewhere in the book, but at least one point not mentioned earlier is to “reach up in relationships.” Basically, make connections with those that are more successful than you. Also, Cardone advises that to get started with the 10X rule you should write your goals down, follow them up with actions, and review your goals every day.

The 10X Rule provides a great framework and mindset for anyone looking to be successful in his/her field. Some may struggle with some of the concepts. There’s little research or data presented to backup his claims. You have to find it on your own, but overall, the advice in this book jibes with advice from others and makes sense. It’s worth a read, or listen, for anyone young and old.


This book is read by the author Grant Cardone. It’s a pretty good listen. He reads this book less like he’s reading it and more like he’s speaking from his heart. His enthusiasm and energy pulls you in.

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