In the preceding pages, I’ve shared with you some of the mental habits and day-to-day practices that I believe have helped me succeed over the past six decades across four careers. These principles and practices grow out of a mind-set most people would regard as unreasonable. But to the extent you make this mind-set yours, you can achieve more than you ever thought possible. Demand the unreasonable of yourself and you will exceed everyone’s expectations, not least your own.
The unreasonable life is lived with confidence, decisiveness, and drive, but it does not guarantee happiness. Success cannot inoculate you against difficult times. Every life brings regret, tragedy, and crisis—the moments that test our ability to cope. My life, however rich in experience and material rewards it may outwardly appear, is no exception.
I take pride in my achievements but I recognize my mistakes. I know what I would like my legacy to be, but I also know I can’t control what others will make of it. At the very least, I hope that what I have done will survive me and continue improving the lives of others long after mine has ended.
Looking back, I can see that my parents laid the foundation of my unreasonable life by giving me unusual independence at an early age. They both came from big families and, growing up in the Bronx, I had a lot of cousins and aunts and uncles around me on weekends. My closest friends were my cousin ...