Think Big: Unleashing Your Potential for Excellence

( 35 )

Overview

After telling the story of how he overcame an inner-city background to become a world renown neurosurgeon (Gifted Hands), Dr. Ben Carson now gives an inspirational look at the philosophy of life that helped him meet life's obstacles and leap over them.

In this follow-up to his best-selling Gifted Hands, Dr. Ben Carson prescribes his personal formula for success. And who could better advise than a man who has transformed himself from a ghetto ...
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Overview

After telling the story of how he overcame an inner-city background to become a world renown neurosurgeon (Gifted Hands), Dr. Ben Carson now gives an inspirational look at the philosophy of life that helped him meet life's obstacles and leap over them.

In this follow-up to his best-selling Gifted Hands, Dr. Ben Carson prescribes his personal formula for success. And who could better advise than a man who has transformed himself from a ghetto kid into the most celebrated pediatric neurosurgeon in the world? With an acrostic, Dr. Carson spells out his philosophy of living: T-Talents/time: Recognize them as gifts. H -Hope for all good things and be honest. I -Insight from people and good books. N -Be nice to all people. K -Knowledge: Recognize it as the key to living. B -Books: Read them actively. I -In-depth learning skills: Develop them. G -God: Never get too big for Him. Think Big emphasizes how to evaluate and respond to problems in order to overcome them and make the most of your inner potential. Written in the tradition of his best-selling autobiography Gifted Hands, Think Big is guaranteed to touch the hearts of readers everywhere.

Author Biography: Dr. Benjamin Carson is the director of pediatric neurosurgery at John Hopkins Hospital and the author of two best-selling books, Gifted Hands and Think Big. A widely respected role model, he shares motivational insights with inner-city kids and corporate executives alike. He serves on the corporate boards of Yale University and the Kellogg Company. He lives with his wife, Candy, and three sons in West Friendship, MD.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780310214595
  • Publisher: Zondervan
  • Publication date: 12/1/1996
  • Pages: 280
  • Sales rank: 37,385
  • Product dimensions: 4.25 (w) x 6.75 (h) x 0.75 (d)

Meet the Author

Dr. Benjamin Carson is a Professor of Neurosurgery, Plastic Surgery, Oncology, and Pediatrics, and the Director of Pediatric Neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions. He is also the author of four bestselling books—Gifted Hands, Think Big, The Big Picture, and Take the Risk. He serves on the boards of the Kellogg Company, Costco Wholesale Corp., and the Academy of Achievement, among others, and is an Emeritus Fellow of the Yale Corporation. He and his wife, Candy, cofounded the Carson Scholars Fund (www.carsonscholars.org), a 501(c)3 established to counteract America's crisis in education by identifying and rewarding academic role models in the fourth through eleventh grades, regardless of race, creed, religion and socio-economic status, who also demonstrate humanitarian qualities. There are over 4800 scholars in forty-five states. Ben and Candy are the parents of three grown sons and reside in Baltimore County, Maryland.

Cecil Murphey, author of 112 books, has also assisted well-known personalities in writing their biographies.

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Read an Excerpt

Think Big

Unleashing Your Potential for Excellence
By Ben Carson Cecil Murphey

Zondervan

Copyright © 1992 Benjamin Carson, M.D.
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0-310-21459-9


Chapter One

Do It Better!

It is chiefly through books that we enjoy intercourse with superior minds. In the best books, great men talk to us, give us their most precious thoughts, and pour their souls into ours. God be thanked for books, they are the voices of the distant and the dead, and make us heirs of the spiritual life of past ages. Books are true levelers, they give to all who will faithfully use them, the society, the spiritual presence, of the best and greatest of our race.

William Ellery Channing

Benjamin, is this your report card?" my mother asked as she picked up the folded white card from the table.

"Uh, yeah," I said, trying to sound casual. Too ashamed to hand it to her, I had dropped it on the table, hoping that she wouldn't notice until after I went to bed.

It was the first report card I had received from Higgins Elementary School since we had moved back from Boston to Detroit, only a few months earlier.

I had been in the fifth grade not even two weeks before everyone considered me the dumbest kid in the class and frequently made jokes about me. Before long I too began to feel as though I really was the most stupid kid in fifth grade. Despite Mother's frequently saying, "You're smart, Bennie. You can do anything you want to do," I did not believe her.

No one else in school thought I was smart, either.

Now, as Mother examined my report card, she asked, "What's this grade in reading?" (Her tone of voice told think big me that I was in trouble.) Although I was embarrassed, I did not think too much about it. Mother knew that I wasn't doing well in math, but she did not know I was doing so poorly in every subject.

While she slowly read my report card, reading everything one word at a time, I hurried into my room and started to get ready for bed. A few minutes later, Mother came into my bedroom.

"Benjamin," she said, "are these your grades?" She held the card in front of me as if I hadn't seen it before.

"Oh, yeah, but you know, it doesn't mean much."

"No, that's not true, Bennie. It means a lot."

"Just a report card."

"But it's more than that."

Knowing I was in for it now, I prepared to listen, yet I was not all that interested. I did not like school very much and there was no reason why I should. Inasmuch as I was the dumbest kid in the class, what did I have to look forward to? The others laughed at me and made jokes about me every day.

"Education is the only way you're ever going to escape poverty," she said. "It's the only way you're ever going to get ahead in life and be successful. Do you understand that?"

"Yes, Mother," I mumbled.

"If you keep on getting these kinds of grades you're going to spend the rest of your life on skid row, or at best sweeping floors in a factory. That's not the kind of life that I want for you. That's not the kind of life that God wants for you."

I hung my head, genuinely ashamed. My mother had been raising me and my older brother, Curtis, by herself. Having only a third-grade education herself, she knew the value of what she did not have. Daily she drummed into Curtis and me that we had to do our best in school.

"You're just not living up to your potential," she said. "I've got two mighty smart boys and I know they can do better."

I had done my best - at least I had when I first started at Higgins Elementary School. How could I do much when I did not understand anything going on in our class?

In Boston we had attended a parochial school, but I hadn't learned much because of a teacher who seemed more interested in talking to another female teacher than in teaching us. Possibly, this teacher was not solely to blame - perhaps I wasn't emotionally able to learn much. My parents had separated just before we went to Boston, when I was eight years old. I loved both my mother and father and went through considerable trauma over their separating. For months afterward, I kept thinking that my parents would get back together, that my daddy would come home again the way he used to, and that we could be the same old family again - but he never came back. Consequently, we moved to Boston and lived with Aunt Jean and Uncle William Avery in a tenement building for two years until Mother had saved enough money to bring us back to Detroit.

Mother kept shaking the report card at me as she sat on the side of my bed. "You have to work harder. You have to use that good brain that God gave you, Bennie. Do you understand that?"

"Yes, Mother." Each time she paused, I would dutifully say those words.

"I work among rich people, people who are educated," she said. "I watch how they act, and I know they can do anything they want to do. And so can you." She put her arm on my shoulder. "Bennie, you can do anything they can do - only you can do it better!"

Mother had said those words before. Often. At the time, they did not mean much to me. Why should they? I really believed that I was the dumbest kid in fifth grade, but of course, I never told her that.

"I just don't know what to do about you boys," she said. "I'm going to talk to God about you and Curtis." She paused, stared into space, then said (more to herself than to me), "I need the Lord's guidance on what to do. You just can't bring in any more report cards like this."

As far as I was concerned, the report card matter was over.

The next day was like the previous ones - just another bad day in school, another day of being laughed at because I did not get a single problem right in arithmetic and couldn't get any words right on the spelling test. As soon as I came home from school, I changed into play clothes and ran outside. Most of the boys my age played softball, or the game I liked best, "Tip the Top."

We played Tip the Top by placing a bottle cap on one of the sidewalk cracks. Then taking a ball - any kind that bounced - we'd stand on a line and take turns throwing the ball at the bottle top, trying to flip it over. Whoever succeeded got two points. If anyone actually moved the cap more than a few inches, he won five points. Ten points came if he flipped it into the air and it landed on the other side.

When it grew dark or we got tired, Curtis and I would finally go inside and watch TV. The set stayed on until we went to bed. Because Mother worked long hours, she was never home until just before we went to bed. Sometimes I would awaken when I heard her unlocking the door.

Two evenings after the incident with the report card, Mother came home about an hour before our bedtime. Curtis and I were sprawled out, watching TV. She walked across the room, snapped off the set, and faced both of us. "Boys," she said, "you're wasting too much of your time in front of that television. You don't get an education from staring at television all the time."

Before either of us could make a protest, she told us that she had been praying for wisdom. "The Lord's told me what to do," she said. "So from now on, you will not watch television, except for two preselected programs each week."

"Just two programs?" I could hardly believe she would say such a terrible thing. "That's not -"

"And only after you've done your homework. Furthermore, you don't play outside after school, either, until you've done all your homework."

"Everybody else plays outside right after school," I said, unable to think of anything except how bad it would be if I couldn't play with my friends. "I won't have any friends if I stay in the house all the time -"

"That may be," Mother said, "but everybody else is not going to be as successful as you are -"

"But, Mother -"

"This is what we're going to do. I asked God for wisdom, and this is the answer I got."

I tried to offer several other arguments, but Mother was firm. I glanced at Curtis, expecting him to speak up, but he did not say anything. He lay on the floor, staring at his feet.

"Don't worry about everybody else. The whole world is full of 'everybody else,' you know that? But only a few make a significant achievement."

The loss of TV and play time was bad enough. I got up off the floor, feeling as if everything was against me. Mother wasn't going to let me play with my friends, and there would be no more television - almost none, anyway. She was stopping me from having any fun in life.

"And that isn't all," she said. "Come back, Bennie."

I turned around, wondering what else there could be.

"In addition," she said, "to doing your homework, you have to read two books from the library each week. Every single week."

"Two books? Two?" Even though I was in fifth grade, I had never read a whole book in my life.

"Yes, two. When you finish reading them, you must write me a book report just like you do at school. You're not living up to your potential, so I'm going to see that you do."

Usually Curtis, who was two years older, was the more rebellious. But this time he seemed to grasp the wisdom of what Mother said. He did not say one word.

She stared at Curtis. "You understand?"

He nodded.

"Bennie, is it clear?"

"Yes, Mother." I agreed to do what Mother told me - it wouldn't have occurred to me not to obey - but I did not like it. Mother was being unfair and demanding more of us than other parents did.

(Continues...)



Excerpted from Think Big by Ben Carson Cecil Murphey Copyright © 1992 by Benjamin Carson, M.D.. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Table of Contents

Contents
Introduction 9
Part 1
Giving Their Best and Thinking Big
1. Do It Better! 13
2. My Mother, Sonya Carson 31
3. Mentors, Inspirers, and Influencers 57
4. Medical Mentors 71
5. Other Significant People 89
6. Builders for Eternity 99
7. Parents and Patients 113
8. Taking Risks 127
9. Not Enough 139
Part 2
You Can Give Your Best and Think Big
10. Thinking Big 151
11. Honesty Shows 169
12. Insightful Thoughts 177
13. Nice Guys Finish 195
14. Knowledge Counts 205
15. Books Are for Reading 219
16. In-depth Learning 231
17. Caution: God at Work 243
18. Reaching for Success 257
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First Chapter

Do It Better!
It is chiefly through books that we enjoy intercourse with superior minds. In the best books, great men talk to us, give us their most precious thoughts, and pour their souls into ours. God be thanked for books. They are the voices of the distant and the dead, and make us heirs of the spiritual life of past ages. Books are true levelers. They give to all who will faithfully use them, the society, the spiritual presence, of the best and greatest of our race.
William Ellery Channing
Benjamin, is this your report card?' my mother asked as she picked up the folded white card from the table.
'Uh, yeah,' I said, trying to sound casual. Too ashamed to hand it to her, I had dropped it on the table, hoping that she wouldn't notice until after I went to bed.
It was the first report card I had received from Higgins
Elementary School since we had moved back from Boston to
Detroit, only a few months earlier.
I had been in the fifth grade not even two weeks before everyone considered me the dumbest kid in the class and frequently made jokes about me. Before long I too began to feel as though I really was the most stupid kid in fifth grade. Despite
Mother's frequently saying, 'You're smart, Bennie. You can do anything you want to do,' I did not believe her.
No one else in school thought I was smart, either.
Now, as Mother examined my report card, she asked,
'What's this grade in reading?' (Her tone of voice told me that I
was in trouble.) Although I was embarrassed, I did not think too much about it. Mother knew that I wasn't doing well in math,
but she did not know I was doing so poorly in every subject.
While she slowly read my report card, reading everything one word at a time, I hurried into my room and started to get ready for bed. A few minutes later, Mother came into my bedroom.
'Benjamin,' she said, 'are these your grades?' She held the card in front of me as if I hadn't seen it before.
'Oh, yeah, but you know, it doesn't mean much.'
'No, that's not true, Bennie. It means a lot.'
'Just a report card.'
'But it's more than that.'
Knowing I was in for it now, I prepared to listen, yet I was not all that interested. I did not like school very much and there was no reason why I should. Inasmuch as I was the dumbest kid in the class, what did I have to look forward to? The others laughed at me and made jokes about me every day.
'Education is the only way you're ever going to escape poverty,'
she said. 'It's the only way you're ever going to get ahead in life and be successful. Do you understand that?'
'Yes, Mother,' I mumbled.
'If you keep on getting these kinds of grades you're going to spend the rest of your life on skid row, or at best sweeping floors in a factory. That's not the kind of life that I want for you. That's not the kind of life that God wants for you.'
I hung my head, genuinely ashamed. My mother had been raising me and my older brother, Curtis, by herself. Having only a third-grade education herself, she knew the value of what she did not have. Daily she drummed into Curtis and me that we had to do our best in school.
'You're just not living up to your potential,' she said. 'I've got two mighty smart boys and I know they can do better.'
I had done my best --- at least I had when I first started at
Higgins Elementary School. How could I do much when I did not understand anything going on in our class?
In Boston we had attended a parochial school, but I hadn't learned much because of a teacher who seemed more interested in talking to another female teacher than in teaching us. Possibly,
this teacher was not solely to blame --- perhaps I wasn't emotionally able to learn much. My parents had separated just before we went to Boston, when I was eight years old. I
loved both my mother and father and went through considerable trauma over their separating. For months afterward, I
kept thinking that my parents would get back together, that my daddy would come home again the way he used to, and that we could be the same old family again --- but he never came back. Consequently, we moved to Boston and lived with Aunt
Jean and Uncle William Avery in a tenement building for two years until Mother had saved enough money to bring us back to Detroit.
Mother kept shaking the report card at me as she sat on the side of my bed. 'You have to work harder. You have to use that good brain that God gave you, Bennie. Do you understand that?'
'Yes, Mother.' Each time she paused, I would dutifully say those words.
'I work among rich people,
people who are educated,' she said. 'I watch how they act, and I know they can do anything they want to do. And so can you.' She put her arm on my shoulder. 'Bennie, you can do anything they can do --- only you can do it better!'
Mother had said those words before. Often. At the time, they did not mean much to me. Why should they? I really believed that I was the dumbest kid in fifth grade, but of course, I never told her that.
'I just don't know what to do about you boys,' she said.
'I'm going to talk to God about you and Curtis.' She paused,
stared into space, then said (more to herself than to me), 'I need the Lord's guidance on what to do. You just can't bring in any more report cards like this.'
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 35 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(25)

4 Star

(7)

3 Star

(1)

2 Star

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 35 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 1, 2004

    A BIG BOOK THAT GIVES YOU COURAGE

    DR BEN CARSON HAS TRULY WRITTION THE RIGHT PRESCRIPTION FOR ANY BROKEN HEART THAT CAN BE FOUND IN THIS WONDERFUL BEST SELLER 'THINK BIG' IN THIS GREAT BOOK DR BEN CARSON RECOUNTS HIS OWN LIFE AND INCORPORATES ALL THE VALABLE LESSONS INTO ONE SIMPLE EASY TO UNDERSTAND LESSON THAT WILL GIVE YOU COURAGE, HOPE, AND MAKE YOUR LIFE MUCH BETTER. EACH LETTER OF THE PHRASE THINK BIG STANDS FOR SOMETHING ENCOURAGING. YOU WILL HAVE TO BUY THE BOOK.

    6 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 28, 2001

    Highly Motivational

    This book is a highly motivational book. It encourages people to keep on going. He encourages people from every race and ethnicity that they can achieve their goals. I was a little nervous about whether or not I would make a good doctor, but with the help of Dr. Carson, I am encouraged that I will not only be a good doctor, but a great doctor.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 6, 2011

    THINK BIG BY BENJAMIN CARSON

    I think this is very excellent book because Dr.Carson inspire you that you can make it regardless how difficult can be your childhood. when you have a goal in this life you can finished with a lot pride.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 1, 2008

    very good inspirational book.

    Motivated book. I recommend this book to anyone who needs a little push

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 27, 2007

    A reviewer

    This book is very well written and is a great inspiration to me for my future. Ben Carson inspired me to think more of my future when it comes to wanting to be a doctor. He is a great doctor with an intelligent mind, he is one of my mentors. Overall this book is good for people that want to become doctors!

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 19, 2006

    Worthwhile Easy Reading Book

    I enjoyed reading Dr. Carson's book. It had a wealth of information that I could use in my life. His stories come from the heart and are interesting. I read his book in three weeks. Think Big encourages people to live up to their potential.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 28, 2005

    True Inspiration

    I am truly inspired by reading this book. Sonya Carson is a woman of excellence. I have truly learned a lot from her faith in God, her parenting style, and her hard work and dedication to her children.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2013

    Ben Carson for President!!!

    This book really does make you think & definitely "Think Big". He has an amazing perspective on living. A very goo d read.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 25, 2013

    Great book & Dr

    This is a great book, really opens your eyes that no matter what, a person can do anything if you put your mind to it. Dr. Carson autographed my hardback book after he perform surgery on me @ John's Hopkins.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 30, 2013

    Great read!!!

    I must say I love this book and feel that it has added to my life, views and thoughts greatness.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted April 1, 2013

    "think big" is my favorite of allof the ben carson boo

    "think big" is my favorite of allof the ben carson books. each letter stands for something inspirational and motivativational and shows how you can make a difference in your life. dr ben carson as a child was doing very bad in school and his mother made him go out to the library and read books and do her book reports and as a result his grades improved and he went on to attend a fine university and become one of the most famous doctors. wonderful book very hard to put down great gift idea. other books by ben carson gifted hands, take the risk , america the beautiful also billy grahams new book :the reason for my hope salvation

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 26, 2013

    Highly Recommended!!!

    Great book, great man, we need more people like this to be our leaders in this country! This man knows what it is to work for something and achieve it though hard work. He is a man of God that has values and integrity and it shows through his work and how he lives his life. this is something the people in Washington could learn from.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 19, 2011

    Highly Recommended - you must check it out!!

    I highly recommend Think Big to others. It gives so much hope for becoming successful. Dr. Carson talks about how he went from being one of the dumbest kids in class to the smartest, it truly makes you recognize that anyone can do it; anyone can be successful in life as long as you give it your all. I recommend this book to anyone. It was so encouraging and helpful and I feel so confident after reading it.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted October 11, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Good book to unleash your potential

    Very inspirational, I have learned a lot from this man. Humble in his approach to his work. Describing what each letter of THINK BIG means to him and for others.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 12, 2009

    Inspirational And Life changing

    The book Think Big by Ben Carson is very inspirational and a life chnging book. Ben Carson talks about talks about his childhood and how he wasn't always the smartest kid in his class. But his mother inspired him to do his best in school!! This book is great for anyone who wants to improve in anything!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted June 20, 2009

    Very good book

    If your looking for inspiration this is a good book for you. It shows you how to think outside the box, and to follow your dreams no matter what.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 6, 2003

    I'm going to open up childrens hearts

    Little kids like 11and up to 18 I think that they should have an curfew and that shoul be at 10:00p.m. parents should know where there childs are and what time are they leaving. Parents now days just dont care but my mother told me to always check in before i go somewhere else.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted May 2, 2014

    Recommended for inspirational benefit

    Dr. Carson has accomplished almost the impossible in his life considering from where he came. I feel this book would be a good one for a recent graduate, a mother or anyone who is not sure where he/she is going yet. His mother was one of the most influential people in his life and should receive some kind of medal. She pushed he and his brother and it turned out great. I have not finished the book yet. Part of the story is told in his mother's words and is very true to the movie I had watched of his life thus far. A good read.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 12, 2013

    I READ THIS BOOK AT THE TIME WHEN I WAS AT SCHOOL AND WASNT DOIN

    I READ THIS BOOK AT THE TIME WHEN I WAS AT SCHOOL AND WASNT DOIN VERY WELL JUST AVERAGE,, I THEN BECOME THE BEST ENGINEERING STUDENT AT UNIVERSITY .. THANKS TO BEN CARSON'S STORY...“It does not matter where we come from or what we look like. If we recognize our abilities, are willing to learn and to use what we know in helping others, we will always have a place in the world.” Ben Carson, Think Big: Unleashing Your Potential for Excellence

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 16, 2013

    Where are the chatrooms?

    Where would the chatrooms be located?

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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