Total Recall by Arnold Schwarzenegger: Book Summary

In this book summary of Total Recall by Arnold Schwarzenegger, you’ll find my notes, high-level ideas, valuable lessons, and important action steps.

Total Recall Summary

Life’s big and small rewards come from strict discipline plus work.

Dream big regardless of your present circumstance and reality. You can accomplish more than you believe you can.

Get motivation from anywhere you can: posters, meeting your idols, working with them, learning about their habits, and picturing yourself making it—visualization is a special motivator.

It helps to know what you want from an early age. Because this way you can achieve more when you’re younger than other people who get a later start.

Work, work, and then work some more every day to reach your goals. Learn more efficient ways to work and get the more out of the hours you spend working. Besides the hours you spend sleeping, you have 24 hours each day to get better.

Always have the expectations and attitude that you’re going to win. If you train like that in advance, you’re going to win.

Being extremely smart doesn’t mean you’ll be successful. Sometimes knowing too much paralyzes you and causes you to take less risks. Making a mistake isn’t the worst thing that can happen, not trying is. So don’t overthink.

Before you put a ton of money into something, make sure you’ve studied the investment and know all the ins and outs of that investment. If you do this, you’re going to make a great return on your money. If you don’t, odds are you’re going to lose (sometimes a lot of) money.

If you have a grand vision for yourself, don’t settle for smaller roles. Stay patient and keep hustling at what you want until the right opportunity presents itself. Don’t have a Plan B or C, it will only get in the way of Plan A.

Sometimes you need to spend considerate time improving your weaknesses, which will make the difference to put you over the top.

You can’t underrate the importance of having a successful team around you. Treat them right and pay them fairly, and then they’ll make you life easier and wealthier.

When you want to learn something, get in contact with those who are the best at it already and learn from them. Then practice consistently. And this will increase the learning process.

You need to equally train your mind and your body. It doesn’t make sense to let one of them slack because you’re going to be best when both of them are in shape.

Marketing and sales is an amazing skill to have in any field. Don’t think that it’s too uncomfortable, hard, or beneath you to learn how to sell something to someone.

Stay hungry and never coast after you become successful. Keep pushing and use it to improve the lives of others. “Be useful. Do something.”

Mini Summary

To be good, yet alone great, at anything, you need to put continual work into it. It’s impossible to accomplish anything spectacular without hard work leading up to it.

Believe in yourself, because you’re going to run into other people who will say you can’t do what you want to do. When it comes down to it, you need to belief yourself so you can overcome the struggle when they say no.

Any grand vision you see for yourself, you can accomplish if you put your heart and soul into it.

Three Favorite Quotes

“There are no shortcuts—everything is reps, reps, reps.”

“It’s not what you get out of life that counts. Break your mirrors! In our society that is so self-absorbed, begin to look less at yourself and more at each other. you’ll get more satisfaction from having improved your neighborhood, your town, your state, your country, and your fellow human beings than you’ll ever get from your muscles, your figure, your automobile, your house, or your credit rating.”

“If I can see it and believe it, then I can achieve it.”

Action Steps For You

It’d be disrespectful to Arnold if your action step was something other than doing the reps, or in simpler words I’ll call it practice.

This is assuming you know what you dream of accomplishing.

Arnold knew what he wanted, and I know what I want. It’s up to you to decide what you want to be great at. I can’t tell you that or it won’t be true for you.

Once you lock onto that, simply practice it religiously day in and day out for hours. Get crazy about it and work your face off. Work more than anyone else.

Do this for enough hours over enough years, and you’ll become excellent at it and clearly better than the super majority of people.

What happens when you’re up there with the best is you get the unbelievable opportunities and unreal payoffs that come with it. You’ll accomplish more than you thought possible, it will blow your mind.

Then you can transfer these skills you learned to reach the top echelon in your field, and transfer them to a different passion if you desire—just like Arnold did with bodybuilding, real estate, acting, and politics.

Again, to make it crystal clear, what’s the simple ingredient behind all major success? It’s practice, and thousands of hours of it in whatever you want to be great at.

If you want to be the best consultant, practice 20 case studies a day. If you want to be a world-renowned inventor, spend three hours a day engineering new products. If you want to be the best speaker, study speeches and practice giving speeches every single day for a year. If you want to be a top comedian, study the best and then rearrange their jokes doing standup every weekend.

Practice like crazy and your life depends on it.

Dreams don’t come a reality on their own. They become real through years of mental blood, sweat, and tears from practicing.

Your action step is to practice and never stop. What are you waiting for? Start putting in your reps!

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Brian Robben

Brian Robben is the founder of Take Your Success, a site dedicated to helping entrepreneurs and wantrepreneurs grow a profitable business and reach freedom. For in-depth training, visit:

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. “Knowledge is not mastery. Execution is mastery.” – Tony Robbins

    Total Recall sounds like a very interesting book. Your choices sometimes surprise me in a good way. It is nice to read about different people and their perspective on life. As someone who is interested in working out and becoming more physically fit, this book could be good for me!

    Thanks for the review,

    1. Brian Robben

      Hope to continue to surprise you, keep you on your toes. You’d enjoy Total Recall.

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