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How Successful People Win: Using Bunkhouse Logic to Get What You Want in Life Hardcover – April 1, 2006

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

While the cowboy life is basking in the Brokeback spotlight, Stein (How to Ruin Your Life) believes the mindset of these romantic figures-the cowboys' "bunkhouse logic"-is the ultimate guide to fulfillment in life. But don't let the stature of this breezy book fool you: Stein dispels wishful thinking and exhorts readers to figure out what they want and then to ask for it. Unlike most entries in the self-help field, Stein's writing is dark, funny and devoid of sunny aphorisms: readers should accept that life is a series of potentially debilitating blows, forego "illusions that anything will work out in a just or decent or proper way," realize that "constant ass-kissing is so demeaning to the ass-kisser and the ass-kissed that it cheapens life" and always "dream your biggest dreams." Stein's bunkhouse thinking revolves around realizing the stark facts of life and then acting accordingly, so associating with lucky, successful people is good, but choosing perfection over persistence is bad. Readers may be disheartened to read Stein's flip affirmation of their fears about how the world works, but this guide to playing the game will help those feeling hogtied.
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About the Author

Ben Stein can be seen talking about finance on Fox TV news every week. He is known to many as a movie and television personality, but has probably worked more in personal and corporate finance than anything else. He has written about finance for Barron’s and The Wall Street Journal for decades and contributes regularly to the AARP’s    Modern Maturity (now AARP: The Magazine). He was one of the chief busters of the junk bond frauds of the 1980s, has been a long-time critic of corporate executives’ self-dealing, and has written several self-help books about personal finance.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 200 pages
  • Publisher: New Beginnings Press (April 1, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1561709751
  • ISBN-13: 978-1561709755
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.5 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #442,957 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Ben Stein (Los Angeles, CA) is a respected economist who is known to many as a movie and television personality, but has worked more in personal and corporate finance than anywhere else. He has written about finance for Barron's, the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, and Fortune; was one of the chief busters of the junk-bond frauds of the 1980s; has been a longtime critic of corporate executives' self-dealing; and has cowritten eight finance books. Stein travels the country speaking about finance in both serious and humorous ways, and is a regular contributor to CBS's Sunday Morning, CNN, and Fox News. He was the 2009 winner of the Malcolm Forbes Award for Excellence in Financial Journalism.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Rules for life are necessarily general in nature. Imagine if I gave you instructions on driving such as, "drive forward 320 feet and stop at the stop sign, wait for the yellow Dodge pickup truck on your left to go through, then proceed for a quarter mile". These instructions are so specific that they might never apply to any real world situation and certainly not one you will ever face. However, if I told you to stop you car at stop signs and proceed when the intersection is clear, you will be able to handle a great many different situations at four way stops (but not all). So, a handy book like the one Ben Stein provides here only seems simple because it is so concisely and clearly written. The proof that living is not very simple is how many lives are full of troubles. Yours, too?

The author begins a story about when he was most miserable and uses that as a point of departure to help us end the misery in our own. The basic idea of this book is to use the idea of the American cowboy as an example of how one gets control of one's life and acquires what one really wants from life. The cowboy is active, decisive, and focused on his purposes and goals. The cattle must be rounded up and driven to the city were they will be sold. There are no excuses, no alternatives, and no one else will come in and do the work for him. Nor would he want them to.

The book is in five parts. The first part introduces us to Stein's story about his own life and the Spirit of the cowboy. Part II frames what Bunkhouse logic is and what it is not. Part III provides some basic thoughts about life, but really makes an argument that anything worthwhile in life is going to involve risk. That is, you might experience actual loss and pain in pursuit of your dreams.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Edward Durney VINE VOICE on September 19, 2006
Format: Hardcover
How Successful People Win gets a five-star review from me, even though I tend to be a little stingy on the stars. Self-help books in particular usually don't get my attention. Seems like almost anyone can write one, and does.

But Ben Stein does do a great job of distilling valuable life lessons into teachings we can all benefit from. Frankly, I quickly tired of the analogy of life to a cowboy herding cattle. Seemed quite strained. Nonetheless, I never tired of the book. I even read it through, cover to cover, twice in two or three days. Can't remember the last book I did that with.

I've read some of Ben Stein's other books -- How to Ruin Your Life and its ilk. Those were entertaining, but more fluff than substance. How Successful People Win definitely gives you a lot more to chew on.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By William G. Ryan VINE VOICE on August 7, 2006
Format: Hardcover
I remember when i was reading the introduction, Mr Stein mentions that many of the observations have probably occurred to you but he's synthesizing them into a overal philosophy. True indeed.

This book presents the basic rules of life, and rules of success. You can love them or hate them but you can't ignore them because they are contsants. The book is a very quick read, interesting, keeps you wanting to read more and is just a good book. After I bought this I want and bought his other two books on How to screw up your life and how to ruin your financial life.

Well worth the price
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Steve R VINE VOICE on March 21, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Ben Stein has the smarts. Unlike most famous actors, he's gotten by on more than his, er, good looks. He worked hard for what he has. He knows practical economics better than many economics professors (his dad was one). He's been a teacher, journalist, and a lawyer. And he's spent his entire life actively observing successful people. So when he speaks (or writes), I'm willing to listen. And Stein speaks the truth...like it or not.

Others have touched upon most aspects of this short book, which is of course about being a success. "Success" here is defined as "getting what you want in life." The book is broken into five parts, with the meatiest being Part IV ("Preparing for the Game") and Part V ("The Rules of the Game"). The binding theme is "bunkhouse logic": an emphasis on activity, mobility, and performance--not excuses. This is something cowboys have known for a long time. You gotta work HARD for success. And then you gotta get up early the next morning and do it again.

If I'm going to allow someone into my head to do a little lifehacking--and pay for it to boot--then for my money I want to hear what works, no matter how tough it may be. Stein doesn't disappoint me. If your idea of success is the sort you get from late night infomercials ("Lose weight with no money down!" "Get rich eating nothing but chocolate!") this book will disappoint you. (Remember what dear Wesley told Buttercup? "Life is pain, Highness. Anyone who says differently is selling something.") Stein emphasizes what truly successful people have always understood: Success = Work. Hard work, and lots of it.

This lesson (really, the heart of the book) is summed up in Part V, Rule #4: `Life is a Process, and the Process Never Ends.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Timothy Howerton on May 23, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
How successful People Win, is a no nonsense approach to winning at what you want do in life. The information teaches you it's all on you, take life by the throat and say lets go! Figure out what you want, figure out how to get it and accept no excuses not to win. It also goes on to explain alittle luck is needed, but that's life. THE RULES explain the peramators needed to ahear in order for victory!

To conclude, Ben Stein has taken his past experience and put them to example of how to break out of the life blue print trap that most people find them selves in, including me. Thanks Ben.
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