Book notes: The Art of Exceptional Living by Jim Rohn

The Art of Exceptional Living by Jim Rohn summary.

The Art of Exceptional Living by Jim Rohn



The Art of Exceptional Living by Jim Rohn is the can’t-miss guide that shows you how to begin living life according to your own rules. Catch up on your success and attain all you want and need. Let success expert Jim Rohn teach you how to master the art of living exceptionally well!

Jim Rohn is credited with inspiring and teaching the likes of Anthony Robbins, Les Brown, and countless others various success principles in the areas of financial independence, education, relationships, and much more!” -Audible

Opening thoughts:

I absolutely love Jim Rohn’s work so I was excited to finally buy the audiobook and take it off my wishlist. I know that Jim is most recognized for being the guy who inspired Tony Robbins, as well as becoming an internationally-known speaker. I also believe that he built his career as a salesman which is why a lot of his works revolve around personal development. Not only that, but I enjoy listening to the classics like with Zig Ziglar, whose work inspired the past generation of self-development gurus.

Key notes:

  • Ideas can be life-changing. Sometimes all you need is one more in a series of good ideas
  • Be thankful for what you already have
  • Don’t be a follower, be a student
  • Make sure what you do is the product of your own conclusion
  • Fundamentals are the important building blocks for success, the basics
  • There are no new fundamentals. All the fundamentals are old and established
  • Happiness is a joy that most often comes as a result of positive activity
    • It is both the joy of discovery and the joy of knowing. It is a result of the awareness of a full range of life. It is the joy that comes from designing a life and practicing the fine art of living well
  • Discipline. It is the bridge between thought and accomplishment. The bridge between inspiration and value achievement. The bridge between the necessity and productivity
  • Whether or not you start and whether or not you continue are all that are important
  • Success. It is both a journey and a destination. It is both the steady, measured progress towards a goal and the achievement of a goal
  • Each person’s personal philosophy is the major factor in how your life works out
  • Failure is a few errors in judgment repeated every day
  • Formula for success: A few simple disciplines practiced every day
  • Study is a keyword for life-change
    • If you wish to be successful, study success. If you wish to be happy, study happiness
    • Happiness is not an accident. It is first a study, then a practice
  • When you find a good idea, capture it
    • Don’t rely on your memory. Write it down and record it somewhere
  • Learn from your own life
    • Make your own life one of your most important studies
    • Be sure to study the negative as well as the positive. Our failures serve us well when they teach us valuable lessons
  • One of the ways we learn how to do something right is simply by doing it wrong
    • The next place to learn is from other people’s experiences, whether they’ve done it right or wrong
  • All leaders are readers. Like most successful people have in common is that they’re constantly reading and learning and have an endless curiosity
    • Start a library
    • Don’t just read easy stuff. You won’t grow, change, or develop
    • The Bible is a great book because it has both examples and warnings through its stories
    • Be a good student by keeping a separate journal and writing all your notes down from books. (Hey, this is what I’m doing! 😉 )
  • A journal is one of the best things to leave behind when you’re gone
  • It’s not what happens, it’s what you do about it that matters
    • You can’t change the seasons, but you can change yourself
  • Money: we get paid to bring value to the marketplace
  • Learn to work harder on yourself than your job
    • Don’t wish it were easier, wish you were better
    • Don’t wish for less problems, wish for more skills. Don’t wish for less challenge, wish for more wisdom
  • Learn how to take advantage of the spring, a.k.a. opportunity
    • Everyone has to get good at one of two things: planting in the spring, or begging in the fall
    • Learn how to nourish and protect your crops all summer. Prevent the intruder from taking the goods, a major skill to learn
    • Two key phrases: 1) all good will be attacked. 2) all values must be defended
    • Learn how to reap in the fall without complaint
  • Take full responsibility for what happens to you. It is the highest form of human maturity
    • Success is not something you pursue, it is something you become
    • It’s not what happens, it’s what people do that make the difference
  • Get excited about your ability to do the necessary things. Discipline.
  • Important rule: Take care of yourself. Some people don’t do well because they don’t feel well
    • Make sure the outside is a major reflection of what’s going on inside
  • If you do believe in spirituality, study it and practice it regularly
  • The Five Abilities to develop:
    1. The ability to absorb. Not only the words and knowledge, but the atmosphere, experience, and what’s going on
      • Don’t just get through the day, get from it. Learn from it and let it teach you. Learn from the University of Life
    2. Learn to respond. Let life touch you, both sad things, happy things, and everything in between
      • Give into the emotion and let it strike you. Our emotions need to be educated as well as our intellect. It’s important to know how to feel and respond
    3. Learn the ability to reflect.Take a half-day at the end of each month to reflect. Take a weekend at the end of every year to reflect. Take a few hours to reflect at the end of the week
      • Learning to gather up the past and invest it in the future
        • Self-sacrifice is not noble, but self-development is. Think about how much you can give back when you develop yourself and not sacrifice yourself, which only produces contempt
    4. Develop the ability to act.Set up the discipline when the intent and motivation and inspiration is high
      • Every letdown affects the rest of your performance. Every new discipline affects the rest
      • Make rest a necessity, not an objective
    5. Develop the ability to share. If you learn a good idea today, pass it along
      • Pouring and giving out what you know to others expand your own capacity so that you can hold more of the next experience
      • To be the greatest and most powerful is a worthy ambition as long as it’s done at the service of many
      • Service to many leads to great wealth, recognition, satisfaction
      • If you help enough people get what they want, you can have everything you want” -Zig Ziglar
  • Financial independence is the ability to live from the income of your own personal resources
    • The Richest Man in Babylon. The theme is what you do with what you have is more important than what you have
    • What you do with your money says a lot about you
    • Don’t think if you had more money you would have a better plan
      • In reality, if you had a better plan, you would have more money
      • It’s not the amount that counts, it’s the plan that counts. It’s not what you allocate, it’s how you allocate it
    • Spend 70% of your net. Use 10% on charity, 10% on engaging in the marketplace with buying, fixing, selling and some sort of hobby. Use 10% on investing in the marketplace
    • Keep strict financial accounts so you know where it all goes
    • It’s not the amount that counts, it’s what it represents of your life that counts
  • Ask yourself: who am I around and what are they doing to me in terms of influence?
    • All you need to do is get around a person with a better plan and adopt it for anything, whether it be health or finances or something else
    • Pity the man who has a favorite restaurant but not a favorite thinker
    • We all need associations with people of substance to provide influence concerning major issues
  • Strive to become the kind of person that people of quality and substance would want to be associated with
    • Become a person of skillful language, positive attitude, well read and well disciplined. A person of culture and intelligence
  • We are all affected by 5 factors:
    1. environment
    2. events
    3. knowledge
    4. results
    5. view of the future
  • Of all the five influences, make sure your dreams are the greatest influence on your daily decisions and activities
    • Make sure the greatest pull on you is the pull of the future
  • Well defined goals are like a magnet. The harder you work on them, the stronger the pull
    • Regardless of talent, if you had enough reasons, you can accomplish anything
    • Ask yourself: what has you turned off?
  • His mentor said to set a goal to become a millionaire for what it will make of you to achieve itSet a goal that will make you stretch that far. It’s not the goal itself, it’s what it will make of you to achieve it
    • The greatest value in life is not what you get, the greatest value is what you become
    • Don’t set your goals to low. Don’t join an easy crowd, you won’t grow. Go where the expectations are high
      • Go where the demands are high. Go where the pressure is on to perform
  • Key idea: the greatest source of unhappiness is self-unhappiness. The greatest source of unhappiness comes from inside, not outside
  • Goal setting questions:
    • What do I want in the next 1 to 10 years? Make a list of 50 things you want
      • Write a number next to the goal corresponding to how many years it will take to achieve it
    • The way you enjoy life best is when you wrap up one goal, you immediately start on the next one
  • Include three types of goals:
    1. Financial and economic (income, profits, productivity)
    2. Material (tangibles like a home, car, boat, jewelry, etc.)
    3. Personal development goals (physical, lose weight, be more decisive, perfect and leader and communicator, learn another language, etc.)
  • Next step: pick out the four most important 1-year goals, four most important 3-year goals, four important 5-year goals, four important 10-year goals
    • Describe in detail each one of these 16 goals on paper. Describe why each goal is important to either talk yourself into or talk yourself out of it
  • Set aside time every week to review, reevaluate, at two, and edit your goals
  • Short-range goals, achievable in one year, are called confidence builders
  • It is very important to celebrate progress. Celebrate when you check off a short range or long-range goal
  • We grow from two experiences: the joy of winning and the pain of losing
    • Goals should be fun, big, challenging, rewarding, allow you to grow
  • Ask: what kind of person do I have to become to get all I want to?
    • This will help you write out personal development goal
  • Don’t just learn how to earn, learn how to live. This is what lifestyle is all about.
    • One of the great challenges of life: being happy with what you have while in pursuit of what you want
  • Key idea: More money will only make you more of what you already are. The key to happiness is not more
    • Happiness is an art to be studied and practiced. More money will only more quickly send you to your destination
  • If we don’t go for the higher tastes, we will settle for the lower ones
    • Develop an appreciation for the fine, develop an appetite for the unique things in life. Study the art and reach for the best
  • Sophisticated people ensure a good service by giving the tip upfront. This is how tips originally were intended
  • The good life is not an amount. It is an attitude, an act, an idea, a discovery, a search.
    • It comes from a lifestyle that is fully developed regardless of bank account so that it provides you with a constant sense of joy and living, and fuels the fires of commitment to all of the disciplines and fundamentals that make life worthwhile
  • The negative is not to be ignored, it is to be mastered. You’ve got to learn to do battle with the enemies on the outside and the inside
  • Advice: Welcome all experiences. You never know which one is gonna turn everything on
  • Resolve says, “I will.” Two of the most powerful words in the language.
    • Resolve means promising yourself you will never give up
  • Advice: Learn to help people with their lives, not just their jobs
    • Help them with their goals and dreams, their future, with errors and mistakes
  • If you work on your gifts, they will make room for you
  • Questions to ponder:
    • Why do something?
    • Why not?
    • Why not you?

Closing thoughts:

This book is very foundational to personal development as it follows a very familiar structure. It started with attitude and psychology, then it worked up to continuous learning and increasing your value. It then finished it off with happiness, giving, and helping others. Also, Jim Rohn’s speaking and tone is super entertaining and such a blast from the past.

There are a lot of repeating principles and lessons in this book as he jumps back-and-forth between recorded studio segments and live segments. It’s good that it reiterates and drives the point home, but at times it can feel a bit repetitive and superfluous.

I love the quote “you’ve got to do battle with the enemy on the inside and outside.” This reminds me of the saying “Life is a fight or territory. When you don’t fight for what you want, what you don’t want will come in.” If we aren’t proactive with creating the ideal life that we want, we will end up being reactive in trying to fend off the things we don’t want.

What I really liked about this audiobook is that while the items he discusses are very foundational and principle-based, he has a lot of great action items and next steps. Also, listening to him is very motivating and makes me want to take action, especially the live seminar segments. While some books have great stories and are inspiring, I left this one feeling really galvanized to action to work on my goals. I actually revisited my master goals list and made a few new commitments once I finished this audiobook.

Overall, Jim Rohn provides extreme value with his timeless knowledge that’s extremely applicable no matter when you listen to it, who you are, and what your goals are. Would highly recommend for anybody who needs a kick in the butt to get “started on their dreams” as Jim would say. Perfect listen for the beginning of the new year.


How to achieve your goals and live an exceptional life.

Similar books:



Subscribe for More Summaries👇

Success! You're on the list.

Try Audible for audiobooks 📚🎧

Personal recommendation: For the last 6 years, I’ve used Audible to listen to all of my favorite books. It’s easy to use, cost-effective, and they have the best library of audiobooks.

If you use my affiliate links below, not only will you get a special offer, but it’ll help support the costs to maintain this blog! 😊👇

Try Audible and Get Two Free Audiobooks

Audible Gift Memberships 

Please donate! 🙂

Please consider a small donation to help support my blog ^_^ I love providing free book notes and other content. Any donations help me maintain my website and create content consistently. Thanks everyone for the continued support!


8 thoughts on “Book notes: The Art of Exceptional Living by Jim Rohn”

      1. This is some phenomenal stuff. The notes really helped refresh my mind on both the course and his work in general. Thanks and keep up the great work!

        Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: