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5 Principles for a Successful Life: From Our Family to Yours

5 Principles for a Successful Life: From Our Family to Yours

4.6 20
by Newt Gingrich

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Is life really so complicated? Ask happy and successful people this question and you’re likely to hear that, in its essence, life is really quite simple. In these pages, Newt Gingrich and his daughter Jackie Gingrich Cushman–with the help of prominent people they know and admire, such as Bill Clinton, Rush Limbaugh, Mary Matalin, and David


Is life really so complicated? Ask happy and successful people this question and you’re likely to hear that, in its essence, life is really quite simple. In these pages, Newt Gingrich and his daughter Jackie Gingrich Cushman–with the help of prominent people they know and admire, such as Bill Clinton, Rush Limbaugh, Mary Matalin, and David Petraeus–show how, by following just five principles, you can live life to its fullest:

• Dream Big Like Walt Disney, who shared the magic kingdom of his imagination with millions, or like Jackie’s sister, Kathy, who didn’t let a severe case of rheumatoid arthritis stop her from completing a walking marathon, see where your dreams can take you.
• Work Hard As Jackie points out in her recollections of her dad’s early political career, working hard can be a surprising source of energy, and adopting an attitude of cheerful persistence will help you reach your goal.
• Learn Every Day The key is to re- member that learning is a reciprocal process. You can’t be passive; you must be engaged. Come along on a visit to the acclaimed Ron Clark Academy in Atlanta to see how this principle works in action.
• Enjoy Life And what’s the best way to do that? From the wisdom of the ancient philosophers to information from the latest scientific studies, the answer is the same: Be grateful for all your blessings and do something every day to show compassion and generosity to others.
• Be True to Yourself It sounds easy, but it’s the hardest principle to live by. Discover what people from William Shakespeare to Henrik Ibsen to John P. Abizaid have had to say about this touchstone for an honest life.

With these inspiring and memorable words of wisdom, Newt and Jackie have given us a book to treasure for a lifetime.

From the Hardcover edition.

Editorial Reviews

Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich left Congress in 1999, but he has by no means retired. He continues to be active in public life and has authored more than 20 books, including half a dozen alternative history novels. Book No. 21 is this laser-sharp summary of principles that can help guide you to a more successful, fulfilling life. In 5 Principles for a Successful Life, Gingrich is joined by his daughter Jackie Gingrich Cushman, herself a popular guest on TV and radio talk shows.

Product Details

The Crown Publishing Group
Publication date:
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Random House
File size:
3 MB

Read an Excerpt

Why 5 Principles?

The number five is important. The idea that any one
of us–or our children or grandchildren–can learn
a finite number of things is important. We don’t have to
learn one hundred rules to live successfully, we simply
have to learn five principles and live by them.

Success. We hear the word often, but what is the definition
of success? If you ask five people to define success,
you will get five different definitions. Many people strive
for material success–large homes, expensive cars, and
designer wardrobes. Others look to recognition, celebrity,
or societal impact as a marker. Some view success
from a much more personal perspective: being a good
mother, father, brother, sister, or daughter.

Since this book is focused on helping you achieve success,
you might wonder how we define it. We focus on
the long-term effects of our actions. For example, are we
making the world a better place for our children and
grandchildren? To us, success means adding value to
people’s lives and making a difference in the world
around us.

Each of us has to determine for ourselves how to define
success in life. Americans tend to focus on achieving
success, but we often forget to focus on what creates
success. Success does not happen overnight, and it does
not happen easily. But we believe that everyone can find a
way to be successful. The outcome is simply a result of
an ongoing process–learning to live successfully.

Together our family has found that by following five
principles, anyone can improve his or her life and create
success: Dream Big, Work Hard, Learn Every Day,
Enjoy Life, and Be True to Yourself. We began brainstorming
on writing a book about these ideas a few years
ago, when Jackie’s children, Maggie and Robert, began
to ask questions. Questions about how their grandpa became
Speaker of the House. We thought it might be best
for them to understand the process and how it happened
over time–not overnight. Our goal is for Maggie and
Robert and you to understand that success is a process
that involves a lifetime of learning about how to succeed.

While these principles might appear to be simplistic
and easy, mastering them requires diligence and
perseverance. The application of any one of them might
result in progress, but the integration of all five can lead
to stellar results. Believe us; we know that sometimes
it’s challenging to live by your principles. Do not deceive
yourself; there will be occasions when you will fall short.
But in the end, it’s about picking yourself up and moving
back to the path that you want to follow. If you focus first
on these principles and your values, you’ll always make
the right decision and follow the right path.

Both of us have tried to follow these five principles
throughout our lives.

We know they can have a positive impact on anyone
willing to learn them and live them, and we want to
share them with you.

In this book, we hope to provide you with a playbook
for success. Not a guarantee, but a path to follow that
will improve your odds. We have included quotes from
many people who are successful in a variety of areas.
These individuals provide real-life examples of how they
achieved success by following these five simple principles.
Our dream is that this book will inspire and encourage
you to pursue your happiness and that you will
enjoy it once you find it.

Newt & Jackie
May 2009

Principle : 1
Dream Big
If you can dream it, you can do it.

As a young man, I planned on becoming a zoo director
or a vertebrate paleontologist. Yet during one special
weekend as a teenager, I learned a powerful lesson
that sparked my dream of entering public office and becoming
a leader of our nation.

It was 1958, I was fifteen years old, and we were living
in Orléans, France. My father was a career soldier–
an infantryman. He served his country in World War II,
Korea, and Vietnam. He understood that freedom is not
free. During our time in France, my father took me to
Verdun. That battlefield had been the largest and bloodiest
on the western front in World War I. While there,
we stayed with a friend of my father’s who had been
drafted in World War II and sent to the Philippines, survived
the Bataan Death March in 1942, and went on to
spend three and a half years in a Japanese prison camp
during World War II. During that weekend, between
talking to my father’s friend and learning about Verdun,
I was immersed in stories of the human sacrifices that
were made for freedom throughout both world wars.
I learned that the freedoms we now enjoy and take for
granted were paid for in blood. This truth became very
real tome during those three days at Verdun.

The lesson from history is that it is possible for bad
leadership to result in the collapse of seemingly invulnerable
societies. I was shaken by the realization that
countries can disappear with remarkable speed when societies
and their cultural values collide.

As an American, I believe everything we hold dear–
our freedom, our prosperity, and our safety–is very fragile.
During that summer at Verdun, my father taught me
that we desperately need leaders who look beyond the
present, who understand the seriousness of the threats
we face, and who are willing to commit themselves to
finding solutions worthy of our challenges.

The ultimate fate of any free society rests with our
elected political leadership, and I decided it was my duty
to become one of those leaders. This became my goal,
my mission, my dream. That lesson from Verdun never
left me, and it was the reason I ran for office. I ran for
Congress twice unsuccessfully, but I never gave up on
my aspiration to serve the public because I remembered
those who never gave up defending freedom with their
lives. After two defeats I won election and achieved my
dream of becoming a leader for America.


From the Hardcover edition.

Meet the Author

NEWT GINGRICH is best known as the chief architect of the Contract with America. A former Speaker of the House of Representatives, he has published eighteen books, including the bestsellers Real Change and Rediscovering God in America, and most recently, Drill Here, Drill Now, Pay Less. Newt lives in Virginia with his wife, Callista. The Gingrich family includes two daughters, two sons-in-law, and two grandchildren. Visit www.newt.org.

JACKIE GINGRICH CUSHMAN writes a weekly human-interest column for Townhall.com. Her nonprofit activities include serving on the Georgia Advisory Council: The Trust for Public Land and as president of the Learning Makes a Difference Foundation, which she founded in 2006. Jackie and Jimmy Cushman Jr. live with their two children in Atlanta. Visit www.jackiecushman.com.

From the Hardcover edition.

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5 Principles for a Successful Life: From Our Family to Yours 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 20 reviews.
MichelleRodenborn More than 1 year ago
I found this book to be a great read. It is insightful and inspiring, a useful tome to have on the shelf to pull out whenever you need a refresher on what's important in life and how to get there. I particularly liked the section on "Dream Big." The authors hit it on the head that too often we don't allow ourselves to dream big enough. Their point that big dreams must be grounded in talent and interest is a sage reminder of what it takes to produce the kind of passion that will lead to great success. Despite the famous names of the book's authors and its many celebrity contributors, the advice given is down-to-earth, real and accessible. I appreciated the extent to which the authors and contributors were so open about their lives and beliefs, and willing to share personal stories of their experiences with the reader. I heartily recommend this book as a friendly, inspiring and useful guide to all who want their big dreams to come true.
JTW_ More than 1 year ago
5 Principles is an excellent guide for life. There are so many great examples of how persistance pays. Great lessons in life from some outstanding people. This book is a great reminder in this facst paced life - good things come to those who work hard for their goals. 3 cheers to Jackie and Newt for sharing their experiences and finding good stories from their friends.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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SSheldon More than 1 year ago
I know Jackie as a fellow parent and friend; her dad as a prolific yet engaging author and politician for whom I'd cast a vote any time. One could argue this makes my review subjective. Fine and I won't waste my time in debate. The duo clearly shows, through first-person examples and an amazing collection of short essays from a spectrum of "guests," the reader how to lead a successful life. While written with an adult reader in mind I'm sure each of our three elementary-school age sons can also easily engage with the principles. I can't wait for them to read it over the summer and talk about it with me.
abc01 More than 1 year ago
This is a highly readable and personal roadmap for self-fulfillment. It spans generations and lifestyles with practical ideas for making the most of your gifts. Both Gingriches share stories from their own lives, making basic connections with us all. Contributions from a wide variety of notable personalities also add different points of view. This is an enjoyable and engaging read - plus a healthy dose of positive energy.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Very motivating book! Enjoyable read with inspiring tales from lots of different people. I received it as a graduation gift. Will be a great Father's Day gift too.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Common sense words of wisdom that we could all stand to hear now and again, packed into an easy and enjoyable read. This is a book one can return to again and again. It would make a perfect gift for anyone graduating from high school or college this year!
KCBKB More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed reading this book--a quick and easy read! It was very inspirational to hear not only from Newt and his daughter regarding their personal insights on success, but also from all of the incredibly diverse contributors--Lou Holtz and Arthur Blank were a couple of my favorites. As a mother of young children myself, I could relate easily to much of what Jackie Gingrich Cushman wrote--it honestly made me want to dream big, work hard, learn every day, enjoy life, and be true to myself!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is a motivating, inspiring, and VERY interesting read! I read it, loved it, and bought a copy for everyone in my family from my 75 year old father to my 8 year old son! This book includes easy to read, captivating stories from people of all areas of life.
CCounts More than 1 year ago
This book -- Five Principles For a Successful Life -- is not what you would expect. Although it is co-authored by Newt Gingrich and his daughter, a political columnist, it is not a political book. Also, despite its title, this is not a run of the mill self-help book. By using history and personal anecdotes, the co-authors frame each of the basic principles in personal and interesting ways. Of particular intrigue is the discussion of how winners have to be great at failing. In discussing his successes, Newt does not shy away from admitting his failures and the personal revelations are endearing. It is also heart warming to hear his daughter's perspectives of the principles as she has seen them applied by her father and others. Yet, the uniqueness and brilliance of the book is in how it interweaves the contributions of such a diverse group of contemporary success stories -- both the unknowns and the well known -- about the principles. These co-authors tell of successes in a dynamic way and organize brilliantly the various contributor's stories so as to demonstrate the commonality in work ethic and basic attitudes of each despite their divergent backgrounds. (The 42 or so contributors include comedians, politicians, reporters, pilots and other successful business people. Interestingly, several contributors are politically liberal -- including Bill Clinton). All the contributors give insight as to how they applied the various principles on their own respective roads to success. In short, the book is unique, topical, and took only a few hours to read. Best of all, I think it will inspire you to pursue or recommit to your own personal success path and dreams. It is a must read for anyone who dares to dream big!
DSMakaAKV More than 1 year ago
It is a great read that I can relate to as an adult, parent, mother, step mother, daughter, step daughter, grandparent. We read it as a family and reference to recall good stories and thoughts of leaders and leadership today. We loved the personal stories, the honesty and humor.What a gift when a very public family and families share their thoughts to help others.
jlwmlm More than 1 year ago
This book boils it down to Five Principles for a Successful Life- 1. Dream Big 2. Work Hard 3. Learn Every Day 4. Enjoy Life 5. Be True to Yourself All lessons that help you keep life in perspective. Throughout the book, I kept thinking this is what I want my kids to learn. Its really all about "Keeping the main thing, the main thing..." I love it that Newt Gingrich and his daughter, Jackie brought the principles to life through highlights and examples of Successful Americans. People from all different political viewpoints, professions, and backgrounds. It is not a book about whether or not one is a Republican or Democrat, but a book about how much we can learn from each other regardless of our political views. In the end, these principles are timeless. A great read! And a great gift.
surprised_liberal More than 1 year ago
Not only is it a insightful guide on how to focus on what's important in life; with the commentary of successful leaders in politics, business, sports and entertainment, it's a moving tribute to people who have overcome obstacles to make a difference in the world. Jackie Cushman and her father put a great deal of thought and love into creating this book, as they share stories of their own struggles and successes - both day-to-day and long-term. It was clearly a labor of love. What a wonderful gift for someone who has achieved success or who is seeking to do so.
Whee More than 1 year ago
Perfect book for all your relatives and friends! Birthdays, graduation, father's day... the chapters are short and interesting and perfect for a summer read. I found myself reading several of the stories outloud to my young sons. The message is just what we need now. Upbeat and inspirational are what comes to mind.
dixiesky More than 1 year ago
This book is a "must" read. It reminds me of the principles we grew up with not so long ago - principles my father taught. Principles that, when followed, lead to a life full of passion, enthusiasm and respect for yourself and your neighbors. What better way to look at life than: 1. Dream Big 2. Work Hard 3. Learn Every Day 4. Enjoy Life 5. Be True to Yourself. Newt and Jackie have proven with this book - they still live in each of us!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great for high school and middle school kids because it has short chapters and guest writers from a broad base of experience. Kids won't get bored once they pick it up. Bi-Partisan guests and Non-Partisan writing!
KShel More than 1 year ago
I have been a stay at home mom for the last 11 years and am now looking for what's next in my life. This book came just in time! The 5 principles were clear and concise and are followed up with successful public figures' own stories, which made a potentially dry book incredibly interesting. "Five Principles" will be a reference guide for me as I pursue the next stage of my life.
hjanssen More than 1 year ago
In their book 5 Principles for a Successful Life: From Our Family to Yours, father/daughter team Newt Gingrich and Jackie Gingrich Cushman share their thoughts and experiences toward living a meaningful and successful life. They eloquently illustrate the principles all parents hope to communicate to their children in word and deed. I plan on reading and discussing this book with my own children. The words of other successful Americans, from Bill Clinton to Whoopi Goldberg, Rudy Giuliani to paleontologist Jack Horner, are shared and inspire the reader to live according to the principles: 1. Dream Big 2. Work Hard 3. Learn Every Day 4. Enjoy Life 5. Be True to Yourself I thoroughly enjoyed this book and will refer to it often as a wonderful resource which will inspire us toward better living and thinking. During these hard times in which we live, Newt and Jackie's book is a wonderful investment toward an improved way of life! I will recommend it to everyone I know and give it as gifts to the people I love.
stormsTC More than 1 year ago
speaker newt gingrich and his daughter jackie gingrich cushman have teamed up to write "5 principles for a successful life" which is an amazing bestseller. what they have done is they have studied the lifes of many successful people such as mary matalin david patroleus walt disney and william shakespere and many other famous and not so famous individuels and find out what made them great and found some special principles that can be applied to anyones life that can help them get better encouragment wonderful skills that they can learn from these amazing people. it is great that these two arthurs have put together some principles from these great leaders in the world. great gift idea for a friend or family member.