The Common Denominator of Success by Albert E. N. Gray

successBooks on success are like bricks – you keep adding them to your wall and eventually you have a house.

Book Review by Daniel R. Murphy–

Synopsis of Content:

Like many before him and since Gray wanted to know what single common denominator of success applied to every successful person. At first he thought it might be hard work. In time however he noticed that some people worked very hard and succeeded little, while others did not work hard at all and succeeded tremendously. He read many books including the biographies of the successful. He studied successful people for years – and in time he came to identify one single common denominator of every successful person: the willingness to form the habit of doing things that failures do not like to do.

The first half of this tiny book teaches this principle – that successful people regularly do what others do not want to do. This is born from the realization that successful people are motivated by results whereas failures are motivated only by doing what they want to do or like to do.

Gray then asks why do people form this habit? He tells us that people are willing to discipline themselves to do what others do not wish to do because they have a purpose – a single driving purpose which they have clearly identified and strive to achieve.

Gray was in sales. He was an executive of an insurance company and his goal was to motivate sales professionals to do the things they did not like to do, like calling on prospects, to achieve sales. But the principle applies equally well to any field of work.

Readability/Writing Quality:  

Gray’s writing is easy to follow. Written in the 1940s it follows a clear style without lots of breaks and subheadings. The writing is clear and concise.

Notes on Author:

Albert E. N. Gray was an official of the Prudential Insurance Company of America and a highly sought after speaker. In 1940 he delivered the message from this small book to the National Association of Life Underwriters at their annual convention. His little book was a major influence on Charlie “Tremendous” Jones who published it through his Executive Books company. He has influenced many of the leading motivational speakers and writers of our time including Stephen Covey, Charlie Jones, and many more.

Related Website:

Albert Gray died long before the internet was created and there is no single website for his materials. You can Google his name however and find many sites that quote him.

Three Great Ideas You Can Use:

  1. The common denominator of success is the willingness to form the habit of doing the things that others do not want to do.

  2. The successful are motivated by results while failures are motivated only by the desire for pleasing methods.

  3. If you do not consciously form good habits you will unconsciously form poor ones.

Publication Information:  

The original book by Albert Gray is out of copyright. The Books2Wealth Edition however is available to the reader free of charge as an e-book. You can download it at

Rating for this Book:        

Overall Rating:                     Very Good

Writing Style:                        Easy to Read

Application:                          Very relevant at any time

Technical Difficulty:          Easy

Wishing you well,

Daniel R. Murphy
Educating people for building wealth, adapting to a changing future and personal development.