The Success System That Never Fails

By Simona Rich / Review of W. Clement Stone's The Success System That Never Fails

I have reviewed and summarised the content of each chapter and at the end you will find my opinion of who would benefit from this book and whether it’s a book worth reading.

The Search Begins

In this first chapter of the Success System That Never Fails book W. Clement Stone talks about his childhood. He tells how he found the principles of success – by selling newspapers when he was six years old. He became very good at selling newspapers and when he asked himself why he was so good at it, he came to the conclusion that this was thanks to the success principles he unconsciously employed.

He mentions that the principles employing which the success can be achieved by anyone are as follows:

  • Inspiration to action
  • Know-how
  • Activity knowledge

Get Ready for Tomorrow

In this chapter C. Stone advises to select the right environment to develop your talents. He gives example of how he got into the right school. He also decided to choose his own friends – people that had good personalities and strong character. This decision greatly influenced his life.

He then goes on to tell about his mother, how she exchanged her jewellery for cash to buy the agency. That day she didn’t make a single sale and so she didn’t know what to do. Eventually she decided to pray for guidance. After a couple of days of praying she felt a strong force within her urging her to sell at the bank. She got the license to do it and she made 44 sales. That’s how W. Clement Stone discovered the power of prayer and faith.

Clement Stone teaches that you should always reduce your success to a formula, so that you would be able to employ that formula over and over again. Nothing happens by a chance and the reason some businesses go up and down is because they haven’t figured out what causes them to achieve success and what causes them to experience failure. If these things are discovered, you can discover the formula, intensify success and avoid failure and thus you will never fail again.

In this Success System That Never Fails chapter author talks about the importance of working hard to succeed. W. Clement Stone kept practising selling over and over again and he worked really hard and because of that he became a good salesperson.

Be A Self-builder

It’s important to inspect yourself, in other words, to be aware of which areas of your life are going well and which ones need improvement. That also applies to your character – which features are positive and which ones need improvement or elimination.

In this chapter W. Clement Stone also mentions how important self-motivators are. Self-motivators is his phrase meaning “affirmations”. If you keep affirming something positive and useful to yourself every day, eventually that affirmation becomes you – you will live such affirmation every day of your life.

The author also talks about the “unseen walls” that so many people build in their minds. People build such walls by not listening to or accepting any new concepts and by refusing to step out of their comfort zones. To avoid such walls, you have to expose yourself to new ideas and keep abreast of what’s happening in the world.

Don’t Leave Your Future Behind You

The future can only be positive if you eliminate your negative habits, thoughts and actions. You should watch your actions, be aware of your thoughts and habits so that you would build a positive mental attitude destined for success. Although nobody is perfect, it’s a good goal to always strive for perfection because then you become a better human being.

You should be aware of where you are at the moment because without such awareness you will keep lying to yourself and these lies will keep you stuck for years to come or maybe even till you die. You can take control of your life at this very moment, should you wish so.

To succeed, you have to win over yourself – this is the greatest battle you can win. Because people who have all the opportunities but weak characters cannot succeed. Trying to win over yourself and eventually achieving this goal builds your character and then you are no longer a slave to the destructive habits that once were your reality.

This battle with yourself should be won from within, but you can also get help from without – from people who are the experts in their fields and self-help books. But merely reading books won’t help – you have to apply what you learn.

In this Success System That Never Fails chapter author mentions Napoleon Hill’s book “Success Through A Positive Mental Attitude”. The way you behave, the way you think affects everything in your life and determines whether you will be a success or failure.

In this chapter the author expands on the topic of affirmations. He explains that self-suggestions can be self-motivators if they are positive. Therefore it’s very useful to come up with some positive statements that will impact you positively and keep repeating them every day. Such positive statement, for example, can be “Try to do the right thing because it’s right”, as W. Clement Stone suggests.

The author talks about his meeting with Horatio Alger, when the author was a little boy. He read all of his books, and the theme for each one of them was how a poor person becomes wealthy – classic rags to riches stories. Clement Stone mentioned that these books made many poor American boys seek and acquire wealth.

For a person to achieve something great she has to be disatisfied with her current life in some way. This disatisfaction inspires her to do something about it and thus enables her to achieve success. But to achieve success because of unsatisfactory conditions you have to have a positive mindset. If a person’s mindset is negative and he experiences some failure, that will actually demotivate him or completely devastate him.

I Find The Treasure Map

This is one of my favourite chapters. In this chapter W. Clement Stone deals with three absolutely essential pieces of advice:

  • Do what you are afraid to do.
  • Believe you can – and you can!
  • Dare to aim high.

He shares another principle: it takes less work to succeed than to fail. You can achieve success in less time by focusing on the right things. You should learn a lot about a little rather than a little about a lot. Learning a lot about a little makes you an expert and you don’t waste your energy for nothing. Time spent this way is time well invested.

When you do something, focus completely on a task. But you should do tasks that count rather than those which cause you to waste your energy and don’t give you good results. You sould put your heart in your work and give to the task everything you have. Then, once it’s done, completely take your mind off the task and relax. That’s how Clement Stone went about selling and this brought him amazing success.

When you find out a lot about a little, you can develop a technique. You can keep trying to do new things until you discover a success formula. Then all you have to do is stick to it – do the same thing all the time – and it will consistently bring you great results.

When you have proper knowledge, know-how and inspiration to action, it takes a little time for you to succeed because you possess a success system that never fails. That shows that it takes less time and work to succeed than to fail.

It’s important to do what you are afraid to do because whenever you do something you fear, you become open to an opportunity. However when you let the fear take over you, you let the opportunity pass you by. Whenever you step into the unknown, you become more confident and you become exposed to the new environment that can teach you something new and improve you.

If you do something that you fear you will succeed more than those who don’t have this habit. Because those who fight the fear get more opportunities than those who let fear take over them.

Sometimes you have to go through many discouraging moments to eventually “arrive”. But you should know that every temporary failure gets you closer to permanent success. In this Success That Never Fails chapter the author advises to be aware that defeats are necessary to achieve success. You cannot achieve success without some failures – that never happens.

Get On The Right Course

This Success System That Never Fails chapter deals with the subject of “know-how”. People who have the know how of something, do whatever they are good at without thinking about it. They practised it for such a long time that their actions always produce success, be it cooking, selling or anything else.

It’s very important to possess the “know how” of whatever you want to do because that’s an irreplaceable ingredient to success. The word “know how” the author notes, doesn’t mean having the knowledge of your subject. It means integrating the knowledge into your daily life to the extent that it becomes a part of you (my own interpreration of author’s explanation).

You don’t have to have all the right answers. To reach a goal, you must begin to act even if you feel not ready or even if you don’t know something. Keep creating momentum and solve problems/gain knowledge as you go.

Go Power

The author calls inspiration to action “Go Power”. It’s important to have go power if you want to achieve success. You can generate go power by mixing your strong emotions and directing them to your goals. The author mentions that the greatest force of all is the force of the emotion of Love. Love can motivate you to achieve great things in life, like it helped the author to succeed in his business and life.

If you want to achieve some goal, you should go after it and not give up until your goal is achieved. Also, you should have faith that your goal will be achieved. The prayer can help you succeed too. The author here shares a few stories of how employing faith and prayer helped people achieve success. He mentions that the greatest power the human being possesses is the power of prayer.

W. Clement Stone also mentions in this Success System That Never Fails chapter the importance of seeking for answers or information. “Seek and you shall find” is a universal principle – it works all the time. You can seek all three ingredients to success – inspiration, know-how and knowledge – and you will find them.

An Eventful Journey

You should select a specific destination and keep going until you reach it. However most people fail in life because they don’t even get started – they don’t overcome the intertia. Once you start, however, you gain momentum and then it gets really hard to stop you.

Most people don’t start going for their goals because they fear the unknown. Their current comfort zone keeps them stuck. If you are one of those people who cannot seem to start going for your goals, you should keep affirming to yourself “Do It Now!” until you embody this affirmation.

The author talks about laying the proper foundation before the business can expand. If you don’t do that, your business will have bigger and bigger problems. Once you are good, you can simply multiply yourself by properly training your employees. Also, hire employees one at a time.

We Weathered The Storm

In this Success System That Never Fails chapter the author talks about the Great Depression. Many people lost fortunes at that time, however his business remained strong because he quickly learnt from his mistakes and avoided the mistakes he saw other people making.

The author mentions a very interesting tactic that he used to expand his business and his wealth. He says that he wasn’t the “saving kind” and he would increase his profits by taking more things on credit. He explains that if a person is honest, he would always pay off his debts and using this fact one can acquire wealth.

However the Great Depression taught him to save because he saw so many successful men losing their fortunes. So he decided to get into the habit of saving, just in case he would lose some of his fortune or an opportunity would come by that would require a large amount of money.

Although he had over a thousand licensed agents working for him, soon he realised that they are not performing well. Clement Stone had large expenses and he eventually got into a large debt because of the poor agents’ performance. Although his situation wasn’t good, he knew that opportunities are unlimited.

So he soon decided to sell a new policy which was a bit more expensive. Many thought he would not sell anything because of the financial climate at the time, but Clement Stone new that if he had proper knowledge, know-how and inspiration to action, nothing would stop him. And he was right.

It’s Easy If You Know How

The Great Depression taught the author that such hard times make those with positive mental attitude succeed and those with negative attitude fail.

In this chapter the author explains how he would train his sales people and how he increased the profits of his company by creating a blueprint for success. He would train all his employees the same way because he found the principles that made them motivated and made them sell large quantities of insurance policies.

Because he couldn’t train everyone in his company personally, he reduced his sales force to 135 agents. Those agents were personally trained by Clement Stone and they produced more business than over 1,000 untrained agents that used to work for him.

Mysterious Sources of Power

In this Success System That Never Fails chapter W. Clement Stone talks about the power of prayer and faith. He shares several moving stories about how a sincere prayer helped people avoid problems and achieve success. When you ask for guidance through a prayer, amazing things can happen to allow your prayer become a reality.

The author talks about the importance of noticing cycles in your personal and business life. The cycles in nature is a well-known subject, however not many people are aware of the cycles in their own lives. If you measure and understand the cycles in your life, you will be able to make accurate forecasts about the future happenings. And if you expect a down period in your life, you can escape it by introducing something new – an idea, thought or technique.

Also, it’s very useful (if not necessary) to inspect your business activity. If you properly measure everything in your business, you will see whether your business is growing or dying. However if you don’t measure your business profits and activities, your business can be slowly dying without you being aware of this fact.

The Way of All Flesh

This chapter covers the most common weaknesses that are responsible for the failure of many. These are: illicit sex, stealing, deception and alcohol. Each one of them can make the person into a failure and if one possesses such trait it needs to be changed to achieve success.

You can eliminate these traits by self suggestion. If you keep repeating a positive statement in your mind every day, when a moment of opportunity to do something harmful comes, you will refuse to do it because of your own self-suggestion. However if you don’t guard your mind and don’t have any strong positive statement in your mind to discourage you from engaging in something negative, nothing will stop you.

How To Get Where You Want

This part of the Success System That Never Fails book is about the importance of not giving up until your objective is reached. The author here also mentions how he discovered “The strangest book ever written”, “Think and Grow Rich” by Napoleon Hill. After reading this book he got into the habit of giving away self-help books to others.

He explained that this book indeed helped him to think and grow rich. His sales representatives (who applied principles in the book) also thought and grew rich.

Then he talks how he discovered another book that impacted his life, “The Richest Man in Babylon”. For those not familiar with this book, it’s about how to get wealthy no matter how much income you are earning. It’s a must-have for people who have money problems. W. Clement Stone urges to get this book for the invaluable advice it offers.

Wealth And The True Riches of Life

This chapter of Success System That Never Fails is dedicated to financial education. The author tells that to become wealthy you first must know how the wealth is acquired. He talks about how the American government was formed and why anyone in the US can succeed. He also talks that some other countries make it hard for their people to succeed.

He talks that you can convert your energy into wealth if you have the right mental attitude. The author also mentions that most wealth comes from intangible sources, like intelligence and forecasts. When people buy more things, they increase the wealth of the nation because through their purchases the employees get salaries that enable them to buy more things and pay taxes.

Clement stone talks that nations are wealthy not because of their natural resources. It’s because of the labor of people and the right politics. He says that every poor country can become rich if the government would allow every person to succeed.

How To Spark The Ambition

The person has to have something to live for so that he would succeed. If the person doesn’t discover what makes him want to become more successful, he won’t. You should trust other people and give them opportunities for them to become successful. Some people, without these things, will be stuck in mediocre conditions.

Sometimes, when you want something, you get it through a so seeming failure. Therefore it’s important to be able to spot opportunity in every adversity. Here W. Clement Stone shares an amazing story of a preacher who thorugh seemingly horrible experience was able to achieve his biggest dream.

Gifted Men Are Made… Not Born

In this Success System That Never Fails chapter the author tells that every person is a potential genius. It’s a sad fact that most kids are labelled “average” when in fact anyone is gifted. It takes, of course, a lot of work and practice for some to be considered “gifted”, but that doesn’t deny the fact that anyone can become so.

The Power That Changes the Destiny

The mind has all the answers – you just have to be clear about what question you want to be answered. When you intensely think about the problem and then completely relax, the answer will come to you. The author shares in this chapter some of the stories illustrating how you can get any answer you seek.

Also, it’s important to have high standards. High standards that you set for yourself insure that you will not be deceitful or commit other crime against yourself. The author suggests that the way to develop high standars is through auto-suggestion. Whatever standards you lack, you can convince yourself through positive statements that you possess those standards and sooner or later you will.

Also, if you convince yourself of your high standards this way, when some external influence wants you to do something against what you convince yourself of, you won’t and therefore you will avoid taking the wrong paths.

The True Riches of Life

In this chapter the author shares the opinions of many known people (of that time) of what the true riches of life are. The majority of them mention the contribution to the society, good family life and doing something that you love as the true gifts of life.

The Search Ends

It’s useful to know the Leading Indicators of anything that happens in your life. Leading Indicators means something that happens all the time right before something else happens. If you become aware of those, you will be able to avoid disasters in your business and personal life and magnify the successes.

Here W. Clement Stone also mentions a Social Time Recorder – a personal system which can help you manage your time better. It allows you to spot where you waste your time and get on the right track. He mentions that the Social Time Recorder helps people accomplish more by working less.

You don’t have to use this kind of personal system to succeed, however you need to either acquire or develop such “success indicator”. As W. Clement Stone says, “Don’t expect what you don’t inspect” – it’s essential to monitor your progress and actions to determine what the future holds for you.

The Author Reviews His Own Work

In this chapter the author shares the reason he wrote this book and he also mentions the importance of continued education. To succeed, you must expand your horizons. That’s why the author mentioned quite a few self-help books in this book “Success System That Never Fails”.

Success System by W. Clement StoneThe Hiding Place

A few sentences about the most important hiding place of all, from which nothing can be stolen – your own mind.

My opinion

This book is perfect for people who are thinking of starting their own businesses or who already have businesses. It’s also a good read for those who want to become better human beings. This book introduces some of the most important universal laws and never-failing success principles. I truly enjoyed the Success System That Never Fails book and highly recommend it to those interested in improving themselves or their businesses. Get your copy at


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