Book Review of “Take The Stairs: 7 Steps to Achieving True Success” by Rory Vaden

Book Review of “Take The Stairs: 7 Steps to Achieving True Success” by Rory Vaden

To be upfront with you, it’s not that I wanted to read this book. (Take The Stairs)

I REALLY wanted to read his second book, Procrastinate on Purpose, but the reviews on Amazon recommended that I read his first book in order to understand some things that he mentions in his second book.

So I’m going to go through a chapter by chapter review of Take the Stairs and get right to the point.

The ultimate goal for this post if to decide whether or not reading Take The Stairs will help you on the road to reaching FIRE (financial independence, retire early).

Let’s begin. the reading of take the stairs.

Book summary (Take The Stairs by Rory Vaden).

I found Take the Stairs to be mostly inspirational anecdotes from his life on success, along with inspirational success stories shared from his clients.

I thought it was more inspirational than practical and I really sped through this book so I could get to his second book.

If you’re down in the doldrums and looking for some inspiration, this book might be for you.

If you’re looking for practical tips and methods, this book might not be for you and you can skip to the last 5 chapters in his second book for actual meaty and practical stuff.

I’m currently on the 5 meaty and practical chapters on his second book and, to be honest, I didn’t actually need to read this first book to make sense of the second book.

So you can spare yourself the trouble and just go right to the last 5 chapters on his second book if you’re looking to change your life REAL quick.

Introduction (Of Take The Stairs by Rory Vaden).

He talks about how a lot of Americans procrastinate, are easily distracted, unfocused,  and how this is harmful to their success and how it’s costing American companies millions of dollars in lost productivity.

He talks about how we set invisible finish lines for ourselves in a hypothetical future ending where we will be happy.

In reality, we can choose to be happy now and not based upon reaching some end goal.

A good quote he brings up is “success is never owned. It is rented, and the rent is due every day.”

It’s an okay introduction, got me starting to feel inspired. since reading take the stairs.

Chapter 1: Sacrifice – the paradox principle

He opens up with a story about the buffalo of the midwest and how they’re different from cows.

Cows in the midwest try to run away from the snowstorm and end up getting caught in it.

Buffalos run head-on right into the storm and therefore the storm passes through them faster.

Basically, the cows have to endure the problems longer because they’re trying to run away from their problems.

The buffalo who face their problems head on only endure their problems for a short while and are better off in the long run.

I hope you get the gist of what he’s trying to tell you, basically if you face your problems head on instead of running away from them, the problems will be over faster, and the pain won’t last as long.

He calls it the pain paradox.

The rest of the chapter then devolves into a bunch of short stories and inspirational anecdotes on this idea.

My thoughts on chapter 1

It was alright.

The story about the buffalo and the cows I did not know before so that was cool to know.

Chapter 2: Commitment – the buy-in principle

He talks about how you need to commit to your decisions and actions in order to make your goals a reality.

Tell me something I don’t already know…

One thing he did mention that was really cool was the idea that if you change your wording from “Should I?” to “How will I?” your brain will start to think in new ways in order to make your goals a reality.

Then he ends with the idea of your attitude being the ultimate factor in deciding whether you’re going to succeed or not.

He brings up a vacation to Jamaica where he was angry that it was raining.

Then the Jamaican taxi driver called it liquid sunshine because it nourishes the land.

It started to change his perspective on how if we shift and change our perspective, we could succeed or have a greater chance of succeeding.

My thoughts on chapter 2

I thought the last story was cool even though most of the chapter was like “I already know this.”

Chapter 3: Focus – The Magnification Principle

He talks about being more deliberate with your thoughts and actions in order to magnify your thoughts into reality.

He gives stories about athletes, mentally picturing your future, and setting up vision boards for the future that you want.

He mentions a term called “visioneering” which is vision plus engineering.

It hints at the idea that if you have a vision of the future you want for yourself, it doesn’t just happen unless you plan it out and go about exacting certain actions in certain ways to make it happen.

My thoughts on chapter 3

It was a cool chapter, learned a new term, “VISIONEERING.”

It reminds me of Disney’s “Imagineering” where you imagine the outlandish, the absurd, the fun, the crazy, wacky, etc. and you engineer it into existence.

So whether you imagine or envision the future you want for you, your life, your family, etc. you need to engineer and action it into existence.

Chapter 4: Integrity – the creation principle

He talks about how the words you use on your way to success can have a huge impact on how successful you’ll be.

He brings up how you can express more gratitude and compliments to increase the positivity in your life.

He also talks about how if we speak in negative ways it can harm us on the way to creating the future we want for ourselves (pardon me for saying this but no duh?…).

He mentions how if we break our promises, use profanity and uncontrolled language, tear others down, back out of obligations, negate our words, use too many words instead of being honest and straight forward, we create negativity in our lives that can harm us.

My thoughts on chapter 4

It was nice to hear these things again.

It was good to hear him bring up all the ways I can work toward being a better and moral human being while building up myself and others along the way.

It reminds me of what my girlfriend tried to teach me years ago during my hormonal raging young adult years, that I don’t have to tear others down in order to bring myself up.

We can all build ourselves up together 🙂

Chapter 5: Schedule – the harvest principle

He talks about how farmers have to schedule their while year in advance, when to plant, where to plant, when to harvest, etc.

You can’t procrastinate farming and then in fall, plant the seeds and hope to reap the next day.

I get where he is coming from with this, that in order to be successful, you have to schedule and plan your actions in order to get the most impact.

It’s a nice idea to remind us about, that procrastination will harm us on the road to achieving our dreams.

He talk about creating your ideal schedule, to schedule your ideal week and work toward making it your ideal week every week.

He mentions how you should aim to schedule your priorities instead of prioritizing your schedule.

This way, your schedule doesn’t fill up with inconsequential nothings, and instead can be filled up with big monumental things that will help you achieve your dreams.

My thoughts on chapter 5

It was a nice reminder to schedule the important things first rather than have the unimportant things run our schedules and our lives.

I remember reading Stephen R. Covey’s The 7 habits of Highly Effective People years ago when he talked about this same thing and I forgot it after getting sucked up in the hubris of growing up.

Maybe we can have a T-shirt or a poster on the wall with the saying “Schedule your priorities, not prioritize your schedule”?


Chapter 6: Faith – the perspective principle

He talks about how sometimes we get caught up in the day to day small part of life and we forget to look at the current part of our life relative to our whole lifetime.

He talks about how no matter how much we’re struggling now or how much life sucks now, if we step back and try to look at our current life situation from the perspective of our entire life, past and future, we can try to see that it’s not really that bad.

We just need to have faith that life will work out and that there is a plan for us all.

My thoughts on chapter 6

It was one of the shorter chapters and I understand why.

The message is simple, have faith in your life and keep working toward your dreams.

Everything happens for a reason.

If you’re down in the dumps now, remove yourself from your current point in time, jump forward in the future and see how much better life can be if you work toward it.

It was again a nice reminder and inspirational.

Chapter 7: Action – the pendulum principle

He mentions how if you want to see people’s priorities, look at their schedules.

He mentions how a lot of people are all talk and no action, that for most it’s not a matter of skill as it is a matter of will.

He shows a graph called “The Law of Diminishing Intent” and the intent goes down the longer time draws out.

Meaning, the longer you wait to enact your intentions, the less likely you are to actually do something.

I’m kind of reading into this as “be brash and do the actions NOW because you know your lazy butt is not going to want to do it tomorrow…” lol…

He then brings up how 3 things are usually holding us back from achieving our goals:

  1. Fear: “I’m scared to do it.”
  2. Entitlement: “I shouldn’t have to do it.”
  3. Perfectionism: “I won’t try to do it if I can’t do it right.”

And these points are valid.

Back in 2019 when I used up my life’s savings, maxed out my credit cards, AND took out loans from the bank to start my business, I was afraid the whole way, but I didn’t let the fear get to me.

I was nervous and anxious and filled out nerve-racking jitters for months as we worked on building out my business and to this day, I’m still nervous here and there because it’s been less than a year, but I learned to fight through the fear and just get it done.

Heck, I’m willing to do whatever job it takes to make sure my business is a success, even if it means sweeping the front of the store, cleaning out the garbage, staying up late working on something, etc., because I try to beat that entitlement complex that comes with thinking “I shouldn’t have to do this. It should be successful right away because I built it.”

If anything, tackling the seemingly “dirty” duties of trying to be successful sets you up for more success because it diminishes the entitlement attitude that is so detrimental to success.

I understand the perfectionism part because when we were building up my business, I wanted everything to be perfect before I went live, but now I realize it was also fear of failure that was keeping me from going live faster.

Fear of “what if they don’t like it?” or “what if they don’t like me?” etc.

Fear of failure, etc.

So trying to be perfect can also stem out of a fear of failure.

That’s why during the final stages of building out my business, my girlfriend and my family were like “you’re ready enough. Get out there and open up!”

So, we set an open date, even though we weren’t ready, and we opened.

We learned more by opening, making mistakes, fixing, adapting, and growing than if we had just continued trying to make things perfect.

Things will never be perfect and you just gotta roll with the punches.

He says this nice quote, “Action is the cure to fear.”

He recommends you have people who can hold you accountable for your actions and you goals.

This way, even if you let yourself down, you’re trying not to let other people down because you’ve made commitments to them.

Thoughts on chapter 7

It was a nice chapter that did its best to wrap up the whole book.

The 3 things holding you back from achieving your goals were nice to read about and confront them head on.

It gives a face to the silent existential quandaries we are facing internally.

And by calling them out, we can do something about it.

I was afraid of starting this business because my girlfriend mentioned how she would hate me if I did it.

But I went ahead and did it anyways, even in fear of my girlfriend hating me, and now my girlfriend sees the positive benefits the business brings to the local community that she now supports it 100%.

So what I’m learning is that it’s okay to be afraid.

It means that you’re doing something new, that you’re learning and growing.

So listen to your fear and lean in anyways.

Plan and engineer around it, with your fear in mind, schedule and action your way into success.

In Conclusion: Thoughts on The Book (Take The Stairs by Rory Vaden).

You already know my thoughts on Take the Stairs from the beginning of this post.

If you’re looking for inspiration, Take the Stairs does that.

If you’re looking for hard meaty tips, skip this book and go right into the last 5 chapters of his second book, Procrastinate on Purpose.

I think if you are starting out on you’re FIRE journey and you’re looking for that initial jolt of inspiration, this book can do that for you.

If you’ve already read a bunch of inspirational books, then this book might say a lot of the “same old, same old,” just in different ways.

While it won’t teach you many specifics about money, I think the mindset will help you on your FIRE journey.

Like in terms of grit, determination, scheduling, visioneering the future you want for yourself where you FIRE.

I hope this book review was useful to you, especially if you made it to the end of this post.

You can get the book on Amazon via my affiliate link here: Take the Stairs by Rory Vaden.

Resource mentioned:


Follow for more FIRE insights 🙂

Success! You're on the list.

Jack The Dreamer

I'm a dreamer. But you know what? All the best people are. And if you're one too, join the revolution! My blog is about being financially independent and working towards that goal each and every single day so that we can all start living the life we've always dreamed of! Jack the Dreamer, over and out!