The Carpenter: Book Notes

The Carpenter is a beautiful book written by Jon Gordon. Here are some notes and reflections that inspired me.


Slow down. No business or success is worth your health and your life.

Remember, life gives us warnings for a reason. Learn from this. Do things differently. Your health, kids and future grandkids will be thankful you did.

Give and expect nothing in return. It is beautiful way to live and work.

Never do anything out of obligation. Do everything with gratitude and love. It’s much more powerful that way.

Before you build a masterpiece, you must design it. It’s the same way with life. Too many people go through life living by chance, but when you live by design and know the life you want to create, you are able to create a masterpiece instead of a piece of junk.

Blurry things can be brought to focus with the right questions and strategies. Begin with the end in mind, with a compelling vision and work backwards. Work towards that end and vision daily till it comes to fruition. Some questions you can ask are:

  • What will success look like for you?
  • What would it look like while you are thriving in your life and career?
  • What would it look like at the end of your life?

Most times the perfect design must give way to the ultimate creator’s plans.

Material things eventually fade away.

Simple is powerful. Just remember that simple is not easy. You still have to take action.

Be a craftsman in your approach to life and work. Be more concerned with who you are becoming and what you are creating rather than how fast you finish it. Make your life and work an art. Know that the things you build won’t last forever but work and create as though they will. Pour your heart and soul into everything you build, knowing that all that you create is a reflection of you. When you create art, you will feel energised and energize all who experience your work. With each creation you become more of the person you were meant to be.

The world is filled with people who get things done the fastest and the cheapest, but it needs more artists, craftsmen and craftswomen. When you become a craftsman in a world of carpenters, you will stand out and people will clamour to work with you.

Everyone can be a craftsman or a craftswoman but not everyone is willing to become one. Every one wants to do what the great ones do but few are willing to do what they did to become great. Many want the five minutes of fame but do not want to spend the thousands of hours it takes to master their craft.

When you see the good, look for the good, and expect the good, you find the good and the good finds you.

How you see the world determines the world that you see and how the world sees you. A positive attitude and perspective is wonderful always.

As a builder of lives and people and teams you must expect challenges, adversity, rejection and negativity but have an even greater expectation that you will overcome them.

Our biggest battle comes before our greatest victory.

Life and success are about what you choose to believe. It is easy to believe things will be great when everything is going well, but the true test of your faith is what you believe when you are facing insurmountable challenges.

I am fundamentally an optimist. Whether that comes from nature or nurture, I cannot say. Part of being optimistic is keeping one’s head pointed toward the sun, one’s feet moving forward. There were many dark moments when my faith in humanity was sorely tested, but I would not and could not give myself up to despair. That way lays defeat and death. – Nelson Mandela

Anything is possible if a person believes.

You have to be a little crazy to be a big success.

Talk to yourself instead of listening to yourself. It’s a powerful tool to build your success.

Believe that everything happens for a reason and good things will come from it.

The root cause of busyness and stress is fear. Do not fear anything. Love everything and do everything with love and you will succeed in all ways possible. The secret to life and the greatest success strategy is to love all of it and fear none of it. Do everything with love and gratitude. Love is not a feeling but a commitment and if you commit to love regardless of circumstances then you will do everything with love. Invest time in people and things you love. When we die we will not be measured by how much stuff we have accumulated but by the difference we made in people’s lives. To serve is the second greatest success strategy of all. Serve with love and serving will always feel joyous. To care is the third greatest success strategy of all. These are not short-term success strategies. They are strategies for the long haul, because all worthwhile and great things take time to build. Because, if we had immediate success, we would not build the character we need to sustain true success. The struggle, adversities, triumphs and victories are all part of the building process and we must embrace all of it.

Failure provides you with an opportunity to decide how much you really want something. If you really want it, you will be willing to pay the price. Alternatively, sometimes failure causes you to take a different path that is better for you in the long run. The failures and the challenges mean that you have to grow further and be shaped and moulded by God into what you can truly be. Your plan may not be working perfectly, but there’s a perfect plan working in you.

Do not judge me by my successes, judge me by how many times I fell down and got back up again. – Nelson Mandela

No challenge can stop you if you have the courage to keep moving forward in the face of your greatest fears and biggest challenges. Be courageous.

The more you are thankful, the more you will have things to be thankful for.

Keep loving, serving, caring. Keep making a difference. Over time, people will notice, word will spread and the truth will shine through. There will be days when you do not want to get out of bed. You will have moments when the last thing you want to do is to love serve and care. It is during these times that you need to remember your purpose. Complete this sentence: I love, serve and care because… When you can complete this sentence, you will become a powerful success builder. Love, serve and care one person, one moment at a time.

Don’t focus on building your business. Focus on using your business to love, serve and care and build others up. If you do this, your business will build and multiply exponentially. Don’t focus on winning a championship, focus on becoming a champion.

You are not a human being having a spiritual experience. You are a spiritual being having a human experience. While you have a body it is your soul and spirit that powers you. Work and everything else is a spiritual experience. When you realise everything is spiritual, you don’t just build great things, you build things with great power.

You are not a true success unless you are helping others to be successful. Success is meant to be shared.

The goal in life is not to accumulate things, but to give your life away. And the best way to give your life away was to help other people build things that make a difference.


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