Money mindset

A recap of The Strangest Secret and how your kids can learn with audio

I just started reading EntreLeadership by financial guru, Dave Ramsey. Early on in the book, Dave talks a bit about his childhood.

My parents were in the real estate business and were bent on tutoring their children by listening to motivational tapes in the car… They said it would be good for us to learn to dream, to think big, and to know that we could be anything we wanted to be. At twelve years old, all I wanted to be was somewhere else other than stuck in the backseat of that hot car, listening to Earl Nightingale’s deep voice. He sounded like God himself, droning on about how “you become what you think about; this is the strangest secret.”

I also realize the gift my parents gave my sister and me, because I am convinced that a lot of my personal success in so many areas of my life can be traced back to being in the backseat of that Chevy Impala. As a captive audience, I learned that you have to dream and you have to do something about making those dreams happen.

Dave Ramsey, EntreLeadership

What a great idea — playing audiobooks in the car!

The Strangest Secret

We were just about to be traveling to summer camp, so I gave it a try with Earl Nightingale’s The Strangest Secret. (It’s not specifically about finance — the 35 minute program talks primarily about success.)

I turned it on and after about five minutes, J stopped me and said, “What is this?” We had a conversation about what motivational/educational audio programs were and then what this one specifically was about.

As the program continued, we stopped several other times during key points. I wanted to make sure he understood what was being said. I’d ask him first, “What do you think he meant by that?” Sometimes he was able to articulate the point and sometimes he wasn’t, but it provided an opportunity for me to explain further.

Key points

If you’ve never listened to it, I highly recommend it. Here were some of the key takeaways:

  • If you take 100 25-year-olds and look at them again at age 65, one will be rich and four will be financially independent (meaning that about 5% achieve success)
  • Success is the progressive realization of a worthy ideal
  • The opposite of courage is conformity; don’t act like everyone else
  • People who succeed often continue to succeed and people who fail often continue to fail
  • People with goals succeed because they know where they’re going
  • The key to success is the same as the key to failure — we become what we think about
  • If you think in negative terms, you will get negative results. If you think in positive terms, you will achieve positive results
  • Suppose a farmer has some good, fertile land and plants a seed of corn and a seed of nightshade (a poison). Both will be returned to him, so think carefully about what you are planting
  • Decide now. What is it you want? Plant the goal in your mind like a seed, care for it and work steadily towards it

Although J didn’t have a ton of thoughts about the program, I could tell he was listening.

Action steps

Part 2 talked about steps you can take to achieve success. First, you have to pay the price for what you want.

  1. You will become what you think about
  2. Imagine and let your mind soar
  3. Have courage and concentrate on your goal every day
  4. Save at least 10% of every dollar you earn (where have we heard that before?!)
  5. Take action; ideas are worthless unless we act

Then, he directs us to write on a card something we want more than anything. It should be a single, specific, clearly defined goal. And for the next 30 days:

  • Look at the card immediately after you wake up, every chance you get during the day and just before going to bed at night
  • Think about it in cheerful, relaxed, positive way
  • Don’t worry about how you’ll achieve your goal, just focus on where you’re going
  • Do more than you have to do during this month, give more of yourself and persist
  • When you start thinking about what you fear, replace those fears with thoughts of your goal


The program concludes with a few thoughts on being of service.

  • The only people who make money work in a mint, the rest of us earn money
  • The only way to earn money is to provide products or services that are needed and useful
  • Making money is the result of success — be of service first, then the money will come (likewise, you have to put fuel in the fire before you can expect heat)

And lastly, he cites Dr. David Harold Fink and six steps to realize success.

  1. Set yourself a definite goal
  2. Quit running yourself down
  3. Stop thinking of all the reasons you can’t be successful and start thinking about all the reasons you can
  4. Trace your attitudes back through your childhood and try to think of where you got the idea that you couldn’t be successful
  5. Change the image you have of yourself by writing out a description of the person you want to be
  6. Act the part of the successful person you have decided to become

We didn’t get to talk about the action steps before we got to camp, but I think we’ll listen to the program again. I also love that listening to audio books and programs in the car has opened up a whole new avenue for us to learn about success, wealth and happiness.

What about you? Have you tried listening to audio programs with your kids in the car? Let me know in the comments below!

Just a note that I stopped the program a few times to explain that although there were a lot of great points, it was recorded at a time when women didn’t have the same opportunities as men. I clarified that when he said men, we should replace that in our minds with men or women.

4 replies on “A recap of The Strangest Secret and how your kids can learn with audio”

Hey Maggie,

Great rundown of “The Strangest Secret”. Nightingale is absolute dynamo; I love turning on his audios when I’m working out. They provide great inspiration and real nuts-and-bolts advice as far as reframing your mindset to achieve success (or really any goal you might set for yourself).

Take care,

I’ve listened to the strangest secret many times in the past few years and have been listening to it every day since 7/21 and will continue listening to it every day for as long as I can. I love the success principles and the mindset reprogramming to a success consciousness. I’ve been thinking lately about having my 2 daughters; 13 and 10 listen to it and I was thinking they might be too young for it. I’m glad I was able to confirm that other parents have had their kids listen to it. I was doing a search for a similar audio for kids and I found your search result so I’m glad other parents have felt the way that I have. Thanks

Hey Annan, thanks for your comment! I’m not sure if my son fully grasped the content, but that’s okay! We can always listen to it again, especially as he gets older. I think introducing this type of content might even spark an interest in finding other helpful content as well (books, other audio programs, etc.). Good luck!

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