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See You at the Top

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For more than three decades, Zig Ziglar has traveled the world delivering powerful self-improvement messages. His ability to encourage, uplift, and inspire audiences clearly identifies him as one of the great motivators of the age.

His ground-breaking book See Yo at the Top, revised and updated in this twenty-fifth anniversary edition, remains an authentic American classic, explaining step by step his time-tested formula for individual development and personal success. It is a ...

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For more than three decades, Zig Ziglar has traveled the world delivering powerful self-improvement messages. His ability to encourage, uplift, and inspire audiences clearly identifies him as one of the great motivators of the age.

His ground-breaking book See Yo at the Top, revised and updated in this twenty-fifth anniversary edition, remains an authentic American classic, explaining step by step his time-tested formula for individual development and personal success. It is a philosophy that truly spans generations of readers who have been guided by its principles. See You at the Top is still widely used by corporations, schools, government agencies, sales organizations, and correctional institutions -- wherever motivation and self-improvement are major goals -- and serves as the foundation of the celebrated "I Can" course for young people.

Firmly committed to his Christian faith, Ziglar offers a compelling case for his basic premise: You can have everything in life you want if you will just help enough other people get what they want.

He stresses the importance of honesty, loyalty, faith, integrity, and high personal character. He emphasizes the value of a healthy self-image and shows how to build it. He also demonstrates why personal goals are an essential part of any program for success and teaches the reader how to set -- and achieve -- those goals.

One of America's most gifted specialists in human motivation sets forth the secrets of climbing the stairway to personal success.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780887490507
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 1/9/1987
  • Format: Cassette

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

The "More" Way of Life


    John Jones was in New York City. He wanted to go to Boston, so he went to the airport and bought a ticket. Having a few minutes to spare, he walked over to some scales, stepped on them, inserted a coin, and down came his fortune: "Your name is John Jones, you weigh 188 pounds, and you are going to catch the 2:20 to Boston." He was astounded because all of the information was correct. So he stepped back on the scales, inserted another coin and down came his fortune: "Your name is still John Jones, you still weigh 188 pounds, and you are still going to catch the 2:20 to Boston." Now he was more puzzled than ever and sensing a trick, he decided to "fool" whoever or whatever was responsible. He went into the men's room and changed clothes. Once again he stepped on the scales, inserted his coin and down came his fortune: "Your name is still John Jones, you still weigh 188 pounds, but you just missed the 2:20 to Boston."

    This book was written for the people who have missed the 2:20 to Boston or for some reason decided to get off before it reached its destination. In short, this book is for those who have been missing much of the good life. It is designed to help you get the extras you deserve to have and are capable of getting.

    Each word has been weighed, each thought has been evaluated, and each point carefully considered. I have made every effort to personalize it in a conversational manner so you will feel that you and Iare ina private conference discussing you and your future. I hope you take this message of hope and optimism personally because that is the way it was written.

    From the beginning I will plant a series of hope, success, happiness, faith, and enthusiasm seeds. I will "water" and "fertilize" these seeds and even add a few additional ones. By the end of the book the crop will be ready for harvesting to the degree, and in the amount, you have utilized or followed through on the message in this book. I stress that this is a P.M.A. (positive mental attitude) book, but it is a great deal more than that. See You at the Top is a P.L.A. (Positive Life Attitude) book. It's the power of positive believing, which is the necessary ingredient for converting positive thinking into positive action. Since man is tridimensional (physical, mental, and spiritual), I deal with the complete person. This is the only way to have complete success, which I will define as we go along.


    One man said that a picture is worth ten thousand words. Thousands have repeated his words and millions more have believed them. However, it is my personal belief that the man or woman who believes this saying has never really read Lincoln's Gettysburg Address or the Bill of Rights. Neither have they read and understood the 23rd Psalm or prayed the Lord's Prayer. These works contain words—just words—but they are words that have changed the destiny of nations, the course of history, and the lives of millions of people.

    Here is a story about how some other words had a dramatic impact on a life. A number of years ago, the movie A Man Called Peter was produced. I shall never forget one of the scenes. The actor portraying Peter Marshall was preaching a sermon on belief and faith. When the scene was over the cameras kept grinding. Many members of the cast got up from their seats to walk down to congratulate the actor for a superb performance.

    One of the members of the cast who was a member of the "congregation" was an actress named Marjorie Rambeau. As she walked down to congratulate the actor, it was obvious she was emotionally involved in the situation. I say this, and add that it was fortunate the cameras were still grinding, because Marjorie Rambeau could not walk. She had been injured in an automobile accident and for over a year had been unable to take a step. But, as she listened to those words of faith and encouragement, she became engrossed in the message contained in those words. So engrossed, as a matter of fact, she believed the message, got up, walked, and kept on walking.

    I'm not implying that the "words" in this book will change the history of the world or that their effect will be as dramatic as the story of Marjorie Rambeau. However, I completely believe that the philosophy contained herein can make a substantial difference for you. Several thousand unsolicited testimonials from people in all walks of life attest to the fact that the "Born to Win" concepts will work for you if you work with them. Now let's look at a thought provoker! How many squares do you see?

    If you said 16, you have lots of company. If you said 17, you are in a much more select group, but you are still in error. Before you turn the page to see what the artist has done with these squares, why don't you take another look and see how many more squares you can find. Now, turn the page.

    As you can see, there are 30 squares. Since you hold the book in your hands, no one could have added any additional squares. I simply showed you where they were. This illustrates two important concepts. First, an in-depth look reveals considerably more than a casual glance, doesn't it? That's true of the squares and it's also true of you, your potential and your future. Second, most of us occasionally need someone to point out the obvious and, more often, the not so obvious.

    Since to educate is to "pull out" or to "draw out," the purpose of this book will be to "pull out" the bigger, more capable person inside you. I'm convinced you will get a great deal out of this book but, more importantly, the book will get even more out of you.


    As you read, I would like for you to feel you and I are together and that I am personally talking with you and asking you questions. Of necessity, most questions will be of the "Yes/No" variety. On those occasions when I do ask questions that require an answer, I hope you will pause and carefully think the answers through. I hope you are not concerned with how fast you can read and "get out" of the book, but how much the book can "get out" of you. Your first reading probably will be the fastest, but subsequent readings will provide you with additional inspiration and information that will extend the immediate benefits to a richer way of life.

    The chances are strong that on occasion, while listening to a speaker, reading a book, or listening to a recording, you have heard or read something that really "triggered" your imagination. On those occasions you probably thought, "that reminds me," or "that gives me an idea." Try as you might at a later time, you often cannot recall the thought or idea that had been so clear in your mind a short time earlier. Since this is a characteristic of most people, I'm going to urge you to get a "Trigger Page" notebook. I suggest the standard stenographic pad because it is approximately the same size as this book and will be easy to carry. Divide the pages as we have done the sample "Trigger Page." The arrows would be helpful but they are not critical.

    Keep the Trigger Page notebook with your copy of See You at the Top because as you read the book it will "trigger" many thoughts and ideas of your own. When it does, let me urge you to stop reading, turn to a Trigger Page, and carefully record each thought or idea as it occurs. This will keep you involved as an active reader, utilize more of your senses, and enable you to concentrate more completely. A poet stated it more succinctly when he wrote, "I hear and forget. I see and hear and I remember. However, when I see, hear and do, I understand and succeed." Interestingly enough, you will discover that when you read this book a second time, you will get more thoughts and more ideas than you did the first time. This is especially true if you read a few minutes every day before you start your day's activities and just before you go to sleep.


    I suggest you get both a red and a black felt-tip pen to record your thoughts and ideas. Start by using the red pen at the bottom of the Trigger Page in Section 1 the first time you read the book. Use the black pen and move up to Section 2 of the Trigger Page the second and subsequent times you read it. As you move up the page, you will be symbolically moving from the "red ink" to the "black ink" of life.

    Let me also urge you to underline and mark the portions of the book that are meaningful to you. These markings, combined with the thoughts and ideas you record, will personalize the book and make it "your" book. It will be so personalized that you will keep it and use it as a constant source of reference.

    This is quite important because no one is smart enough to remember everything he knows. This also means that you and I will have coauthored the book, which also makes it "our" book. It should be a winner, shouldn't it?


    The foundation stones of honesty, character, faith, integrity, love, and loyalty are necessary for a balanced success that includes health, wealth, and happiness. As you go onward and upward in life, you will discover that if you compromise any of these principles you will end up with only a beggar's portion of what life has to offer. If you use dishonesty, deceit, or fraud, you might acquire money, but you will have fewer real friends and little peace of mind. That is not success. (I agree with the wit who said, "You climb the highest by staying on the level.") The man who earns a million but destroys his health in the process is not really a success. The corporate executive who alienates his family in his climb to the top is not a success. He can't take it with him and to whom is he going to leave it?

    The longer I live and the more successful people I meet, the more convinced I become that these foundation stones are the most critical success weapons we have in our arsenal. In any crisis or emergency, those with whom we deal, and on whom our health, wealth, and happiness depends, will act more readily, and cooperate more completely, if our credibility is beyond question.


    I wish it were possible for me to introduce you to the scores of personable, persuasive, talented—even brilliant—people I have met in my travels who are generally just one step in front of the bill collector and often just two steps ahead of the law. They are always looking for a "deal" and the "fast buck." They never build very much or very high, because they have no foundation to build on.

    Others with the right foundation end up living in the basement or building a chicken shack on that foundation. Many times they don't take all the steps to use the talent they have to get the richer life. Others don't realize that the real opportunity for success lies within the person and not in the job; that you can best get to the top by getting to the bottom of things—and then climbing those stairs, one at a time. They don't realize that success and happiness are not matters of chance but choice. You literally—as you shall see—choose what you want in life.

    Now let's make a list of the things you want to be, do, or have in the tomorrows of your life. Later, you probably will add additional items to this list. As a starter, you probably want more and better friends, more personal growth, better health, more money, more happiness, more security, more leisure time, opportunity for advancement, more peace of mind, more true love, the ability to be more competent and to contribute more to your fellow man. On the following page is your personal stairway to the top with the things you want, or want more of, listed on the door of your executive suite of tomorrow. I will use this stairway frequently to help you stay "on track." You might not need to be told what characteristics and qualities you need to get the things you want, but I'm betting you are human enough that you need to be reminded.

    There are probably some other things you want, but I'm confident if you had the things we've listed you would have a rich and rewarding life. Chances are strong that at this moment you do not have everything you want and expect to have in the tomorrows of your life. Fortunately, they are all available and you can get them to a much greater degree than you ever dreamed possible. I stress their availability, but just as you must have or develop muscles if you want to be a weight lifter, so must you have or develop certain characteristics in order to open life's vault of valuables and extract the things you want and deserve to have.


    I'm convinced the "good" things I've described are available to you, but I'm even more convinced that if you really want the things I've listed you must take six specific steps to get them. It's critical that you understand this because just as a baseball player will be "out" if he doesn't touch all the bases, so will you be "out" if you skip any of the steps.

    My good friend and outstanding motivational sales technician the late Dick Gardner called these steps "gradients" and used the following examples to emphasize the point: The boy who is introduced to a young lady and immediately tries to kiss her will lose any chance for serious consideration as a suitor. The student who attempts to move directly from simple arithmetic to geometry will face a hopelessly impossible situation. The salesman who introduces himself to the prospect and immediately starts trying to "write an order" will miss the sale and create ill will in the process. The suitor, the student, and the salesman would all have skipped too many steps, or gradients, and would have failed. Each of them would have had infinitely better chances at success had they taken all the steps. Now, obviously, some people can take the steps faster than others, but if you take all the steps you will be far more certain to get the things you really want.

    Next to your stairway to the top is an elevator to the top. As you can see, the elevator has an "Out of Order" sign on it. From where I stand, the elevator to the top is, has been, and always will be "out of order." In order to get to the top, according to sales executive John Hammond, you'll have to take the stairs—and you'll have to take them one at a time. Fortunately, they are directly in front of you so you know where. they are, what they are, and exactly how many stairs you must climb before you reach the top.

    As you start on your stairway to the top, your first step will be the development of a healthy self-image. The second step is the recognition of the worth and ability of other people, as well as the necessity of effectively living and working with them. The third step is a strong goal orientation. You need a plan to build a house. To build a life, it is even more important to have a plan or goal. The fourth and fifth steps are that you must have the "right" mental attitude and be willing to work. Within the pages of See You at the Top, you will learn that you really "enjoy" the benefits, rather than "pay" a price. I say this because the price of success is much lower than the price of failure. This is obvious when you compare the failures in life to the successes in life. Don't be misled, however, because you do have to work, but the difference between work being a drudgery or a joy is an adjustment in your thinking. The sixth step is that you must also have a burning desire to excel. You must have lots of "want to"—and, you must live in a free enterprise system so you can control your own destiny.

    Fortunately, you already have every characteristic necessary for success. You have some character, faith, integrity, honesty, love, and loyalty. You like some things about yourself and your fellow man. You have some goals, some "right" mental attitudes, and, obviously, you do some work and have some desire. Really, all you need to do is use what you have and give each characteristic a chance to grow, because the more you use what you have, the more you will have to use. Besides, it doesn't take much of a man or a woman to be successful. It just takes all of the person, and you do have all of you.

    The message in two stories will emphasize this point. A young couple, lost on a rural road, spotted an old farmer so they stopped the car and asked him a question. "Sir, could you tell us where this road will take us?" Without a moment's hesitation the old farmer replied, "Son, this road will take you anywhere in the world you want to go, if you are moving in the right direction." (You can be on the right road and still get run over if you are standing still.)

    A young business executive took some work home to complete for an important meeting the next day. Every few minutes his five-year-old son would interrupt his chain of thought. After several such interruptions, the young executive spotted the evening paper with a map of the world on it. He took the map, tore it into a number of pieces, and told his son to put the map together again. He figured this would keep the little fellow busy for a long time and he could complete his work. However, in about three minutes the boy excitedly told his dad he had finished. The young executive was astonished and asked the boy how he had done it so quickly. The little guy said, "There was a picture of a man on the other side, so I just turned it over and put the man together. When I got the man right, the world was right." Needless to say, when you get you right, your world will be right.

    Thought: You do have to take all the steps to get to the top but you don't need to build a nest on them. Like the man said, "There are two ways to climb an oak tree. You can climb it, or you can sit on an acorn and wait for it to grow." This book was written to help you climb it.

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Table of Contents

Why Revise See You at the Top? 9
Foreword 13
Acknowledgments 15
Segment 1 Stairway to the Top 21
Chapter 1 The "More" Way of Life 23
Chapter 2 The Time Is Now 35
Segment 2 Your Self-Image 47
Chapter 3 The Thieves 49
Chapter 4 Causes of a Poor Self-Image 59
Chapter 5 Manifestations of a Poor Self-Image 67
Chapter 6 Fifteen Steps to a Healthy Self-Image 77
Segment 3 Your Relationship with Others 103
Chapter 7 The Way You See Others 105
Chapter 8 Good Or Bad, You Pass It On 119
Chapter 9 The Most Important "Other" Person 133
Segment 4 Goals 147
Chapter 10 Are Goals Really Necessary? 149
Chapter 11 Characteristics of Goals 161
Chapter 12 Setting Your Goals 169
Chapter 13 Reaching Your Goals 179
Segment 5 Attitude 203
Chapter 14 Is the "Right" Attitude Important? 205
Chapter 15 Ensuring Your Attitude 227
Chapter 16 Step Four--Feed Your Mind 245
Chapter 17 Habits and Attitudes 261
Chapter 18 Stop Bad Habits--Start Good Habits 279
Chapter 19 The Subconscious Mind 293
Segment 6 Work 301
Chapter 20 Workers Are Winners 303
Chapter 21 Be Ready 315
Chapter 22 Priming, Pumping, and Producing 321
Segment 7 Desire 327
Chapter 23 From Mediocrity to Meteority 329
Chapter 24 Intelligent Ignorance 335
Chapter 25 David and Goliath 343
Chapter 26 America the Beautiful 353
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