Book Notes

The School of Greatness by Lewis Howes

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This is a notes pages complied of my personal thoughts from the book and quoted material. Effort has been made to give appropriate credit to the author.

Informal Summary

Lewis Howes shares in a conversational format how he developed his overcoming mindset and of other highly accomplished people he’s personally come to know along his journey. Bouncing back and forth through story telling and practical steps, Howes walks with you in making significant changes in your life that he made just a few short years after deciding to get of his sister’s couch.


This is a great first book for anyone that’s never ventured into changing their life. Right at the beginning, Howes describes “grounding,” as the method that he uses to center himself and focus on whatever his task is. Practical exercises and techniques are shared, all based for the author’s personal experience. Howes introduces overcomes that he admires and intertwines their multiple overcoming stories throughout. By the end, the reader is cheering for many heroes.

Personally, Chapters three and four affected me the most, because they showcased Chris Howes’ rags-to-riches story. I related to a few of Howe’s bad habits, like beating himself up. Similarly, constantly expressing gratitude is an intentional practice I’ve taken on. Last, I got a lot out of the scenario exercise presented towards the end and would highly encourage anyone to do this as well if they are dealing with a fear that seems to be hindering progress.


Non-Fiction, Self-Help, Business

Passages & Quotes

  • “Before every game the coach would prepare us for the battle ahead by getting our thoughts together and putting us int he right frame of mind. I call it getting grounded. This is where I commit myself to my vision, get connected with who I am, and focus on what I’m intending to create in that moment. You may already have grounding moments in your daily life and not ever realize it. Where its meditation in the morning to getting ready for the day, taking a moment of silence or saying a prayer before meals, or psyching yourself up mentally and physically before a game or a speech or a sales pitch or any of the other “big” moments we go through in life, it’s extremely important to find some head space for whatever your ritual may be.” (XX)
  • “A powerful vision emerges when we couple our dreams with a seat of clear goals.”
  • “The challenge is to be able to project yourself into a future that you have no reference point. If you grew up in a well-to-do, solidly middle-class family where you got a new car, you live in a nice house, you took a nice vacation once in a while — I’m not talking about anything exotic, I’m talking about the middle-class American dream– well, for me growing up, that was absolute fantasy land. That was something I saw on TV, on Leave it to Beaver. That house on TV was a palace to me, and it was a challenge to convince myself that I belong there, too.” This new vision gave me the motivation and drive to refocus all of my every toward doing whatever it took to make that happen. It brought a sense of purpose when before I felt.” (pg. 42)
  • “What stands in the way becomes the way.”
  • “It also allows you to have a written record of what you are feeling over time so that you can look for patterns and see areas of growth.” (pg. 58)
  • “Most of the time, we are comparing ourselves to others in our family or careers, and we do more harm by comparing ourselves rather than give ourselves credit for where we are along our journey.”
  • “The other reason [the flow] it happens is because you’ve surrounded yourself with al the necessary flow triggers. True greats have basically created the most high-flow environment they possibly could. Everything in their lives is triggering flow. Another way of putting is that the five neurochemicals you get during flow — norepinephrine, dopamine, anandamide, serotonin, and endorphin, — are the most addictive chemicals on earth.They make you quicker, faster, strong, and mover motivated. According to Steve, they do that same thing for your mental output that they do for your physical output.” (pg. 71)
  • “In flow, we are so focused on the task at hand that everything else vanishes.”
  • “‘I said empty your mind. Be formless, be shapeless. Like water. You put water into a cup, it becomes the cup. You put water into a bottle, it becomes the bottle. You put it in a teappot, it becomes the teapot. now water can flow, or it can crash. Be water, my friend. Like that, you see.’ – bruce Lee, documentary Bruce Lee: A warrior’s journey. If there’s one thing I know about champions, it’s that they all have a strong belief in something: usually they belive they are the greatest thing in the world (like Muhammad Ali) or they beieve they have been given grace the the guiding hand of a higher power.” (pg. 73)
  • “Regardless of the ego involved, it continues to be true that most of the greatest athletes have such a powerful belief in themselves and their desire to accomplish their goals that nothing can stand in their way. Not even failure.” (pg. 74)
  • “You have to chase opportunity whether you’re an entrepreneur or an artist – specially for me, because I had to make up for so much lost time.”
  • “I watched with amazement as Chris pulled out all the stops, persuading customers to invest in his recordings and his future. It was about survival for him, about providing for his young family by doing work that thew as fortunate enough to be the exceptionally passionate about.” (pg. 97)
  • “Over the following year, I hosted 20 events in major cities, where 300 to 500 people would attend. They were amazed at how this 24-year old former pro athlete kid with no degree was able to get so many people to show up at these professional networking events. What they didn’t know was that I was literally emailing my LinkedIn connections one by one to ask them to come to my events or join one of the groups I’d create to bring everyone together… I’d already reached the bottom so the only direction was up.” (pg. 101)

Author Info

Lewis Howes is an American professional football player turned lifestyle entrepreneur and host a Top 100 podcast, The School of Greatness. Originally from Ohio, he currently resides in Los Angeles. His main website is

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The School of Greatness









  • Personal stories

Writer and creator of a character called Subbie. I'm host of the Move Up Podcast, dedicated to all things that help improve your life, one step at a time. I enjoy reviewing blog tools and apps. I send a weekly newsletter with updates and tips.

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