The Book of Mistakes

9 Secrets to Creating a Successful Future


By Skip Prichard

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This item is a preorder. Your payment method will be charged immediately, and the product is expected to ship on or around January 8, 2019. This date is subject to change due to shipping delays beyond our control.

Have you ever wondered why some people seem to catch all the breaks and win over and over again? What do the super successful know? What is standing between you and your wildest dreams?

The Book of Mistakes will take you on an inspiring journey, following an ancient manuscript with powerful lessons that will transform your life. You’ll meet David, a young man who with each passing day is more disheartened and stressed. Despite a decent job, apartment, and friends, he just feels hollow . . . until one day he meets a mysterious young woman and everything starts to change.

In this self-help tale wrapped in fiction, you’ll learn the nine mistakes that prevent many from achieving their goals. You’ll learn how to overcome these hurdles and reinvent your life.

This success parable is packed with wisdom that will help you discover and follow your personal purpose, push beyond your perceived capabilities, and achieve more than you ever dreamed possible. You’ll find yourself returning again and again to a deceptively simple story that teaches actionable insights and enduring truths.



My childhood was anything but normal. I suppose that’s what most of us think, but we don’t realize it until we are fully grown. In my case, I realized it when I was very young, one of six children: four girls, two boys. My parents wanted to make the world a better place and almost left for a Third World country to do mission work. But, instead of moving to the mission, they decided to move the mission to them. Our home would be a place to welcome anyone in need.

How these needy people found us remains a mystery to me, but they came. All types of people walked through the door, making our home a mini United Nations. You were welcome no matter your race or background. Some would stay for a few nights, needing meals and a place to sleep; then they would continue on their life’s journey. Others would stay for years, becoming like family members with all of the rights and responsibilities you would expect.

Looking back, the only common trait these people really had was that they were in trouble of some sort: drugs, abuse, unemployment, physical disability, or mental illness. You name it; the litany of problems went on and on. Counseling may not have been of the approved, professional variety, but it was plentiful. A talk with my mom was balm to the soul. Watching both as an observer and a participant in this experiment, I learned so much about people and perspective.

The Riddle

During these years, I began to study what I thought of as a riddle, a puzzle, a question with implications spanning philosophy to psychology. Why did two people with similar challenges end up with such dramatically different results? Why would one go on to secure an education and a good job while another was unable to pry off the deadly grip of addiction’s claws?

I remember learning some powerful lessons from the most unexpected people. You wouldn’t think to ask an unemployed drug addict about success, but it can be an extraordinary opportunity. When I was sixteen or seventeen, a homeless man shared with me his mistakes and how and why he’d messed up his life. I still recall the conversation and my own resolve not to make the same mistakes he did.

Ask. Seek. Knock.

As the years passed in my life, I read everything I could about success, leadership, and personal development. I studied what many call the “secrets of success.” I discovered that they are available to anyone who pursues them. You may have heard the wisdom from the Bible saying, “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.” It was the business philosopher Jim Rohn who first taught me that this wisdom was not available to all, but only to those who ask, those who seek, and those who knock. Each requires action. When I heard Jim’s teaching, I resolved to become an asker, a seeker, and a knocker.

In my pursuit of success, I realized that true success was not about acquiring material possessions or a large income, though these often come as a byproduct of it. And I learned that each and every person in our lives offers wisdom. If you wait for the rich, the powerful, the super-successful to give you a guidebook, you may find yourself waiting for a train that never arrives. The lessons are all around us. The lessons are found in the collective wisdom of those we meet, in the books we read, in the experiences uniquely given to us.

The lessons of success are disguised. They are revealed only to those with a willing, seeking mindset. The questions I most often ask are:

• What was your biggest mistake?

• What would you do over again?

• What made you successful?

• How did you do it?

• What went wrong?

I have learned that we can draw extraordinary lessons from the ordinary people in our lives.

As my own career advanced, I became a CEO myself, successful by many definitions. I still continued to interview people, to ask questions, and to seek wisdom. My job and my travels expose me to a broad group of interesting people. I am blessed and honored to meet and interview business leaders, famous journalists, rock stars, politicians, bestselling authors, the world’s greatest sports legends, and many celebrities. What I have learned is that many of them are successful because they overcame hardships and their own doubts and developed a resolve to succeed.

This book is a fable of a young man and a young woman in a mysterious journey to learn the nine mistakes that trip up many. By avoiding these nine mistakes, most of us can change our lives for the better. Wherever you are on your own life’s journey, whether starting out or well down the road, you are here for a purpose. And that purpose is still achievable, no matter your age or condition.

In order to fulfill your dreams, it is imperative to become an asker, a seeker, and a knocker. That’s where the magic starts. That’s where the riddle of success is answered.

Ask. Seek. Knock.

The door is in front of you.



The alarm went off at precisely 5:30. It was Thursday. The weekend was in sight, but the week’s responsibilities felt less than halfway done. The thoughts of work were stabbing into David’s mind, surgically waking him even as he tried to push them away.

Shifting in bed, David reached over, hit snooze, and tried to enjoy another ten minutes of sleep. When the annoying sound blared through his apartment’s bedroom again, he reluctantly pushed himself out of bed and shambled into the bathroom. Looking in the mirror, he did a double take.

His hair had morphed into something way beyond typical bed head, swooping up and to the left in such a dramatic way that it made him smile. Though he was quite clearly no longer a teenager, he saw glimmers of his younger self. His brown eyes retained their mixture of wonder and amusement. Most would describe him as handsome, though he knew he wasn’t headed for the big screen anytime soon.

Turning the shower to its hottest setting, he mentally coaxed the water to heat up, knowing that was unlikely in his aging apartment building. About fifteen minutes later, he was in the kitchen, making coffee and scrolling through his e-mail.

Worry was working on him earlier in the day than usual. When had it started? David remembered how carefree he’d felt when he graduated from college and took his current job, almost two years ago. Moving into his own place was almost anticlimactic. No big deal, nothing special. It felt right. At the beginning, he would have described himself as neither overly confident nor nervous, just ready for what would come next.

Somewhere in the last year, things had shifted, and not exactly for the better. His paychecks weren’t coming fast enough. Unpaid bills were piling up on the table. Those two credit cards, originally for convenience, now had growing balances. It’s funny, he thought, when he took the job and signed the lease, he never imagined that it would be anything other than easy. He hadn’t spent as much time developing a budget as he should have. Truth be told, he really hadn’t spent any time developing a budget. He hadn’t even thought about utilities, and he had definitely miscalculated the tax bite from his pay.

And then there was his job. It had started out well. His boss liked him, took him under his wing, and acted more like an older brother or mentor rather than a superior. That lulled him into a false sense of security. Three months in and his boss was off to join a new start-up, leaving David reporting to someone new who wasn’t invested in him and who didn’t laugh at his jokes.

That was fine enough until he messed up. It was really nothing, at least to him. But his new boss acted as if it was a blot on his record that would never be erased. He couldn’t believe it mattered that much. After all, he had only forgotten to call back a customer. The company wasn’t in danger.

Two weeks ago, he finally learned what was really up. He never thought a small office could be so political, nor that someone would be so underhanded. Someone had clearly set him up for a fall. It wasn’t really the customer call. It was more. He was blamed for a raft of things he didn’t do, most of them stemming from rumors that seemed to originate directly with the boss.

It wasn’t supposed to be this way. He thought of one of his friends, who’d graduated just a few years before him. Quick promotions. Big money. His name regularly in the news. At first, David was genuinely happy for him. But as he toiled on in what seemed like a meaningless job and struggled with the bills, he found it difficult to stomach his friend’s success. And then he hated himself for thinking that way.

Scrolling through his e-mail, he saw an unexpected, terse message from his boss. He read it again and again in an attempt to interpret the meaning behind the words.

I need to see you in my office at 11:00.

That was it. No explanation.

He felt his pulse quicken, and he sucked in a breath. His eyes involuntarily closed and he massaged his temples, willing it all to go away.

Looking back at his messages, he saw another one. This one was a cheery note from Mom. He put his phone down and took another sip of coffee.

His parents had no idea what it was like. They were proud of their college graduate who was gainfully employed at a good company. They had bragged about his accomplishments, embarrassing him a bit, within their circle of friends. He hadn’t shared that his doting boss was gone, how his new boss had him unfairly under the microscope, or that he was struggling. He didn’t share that he felt his job was meaningless, the daily repetition boring him to tears as he slogged through one e-mail after another. Answering these e-mails drained him, though he was required to respond within a day at most. Often he found himself imagining a different life, one where he wasn’t imprisoned in a dull gray cubicle.

He hadn’t shared the stress, the bills, nor the anxiousness with anyone. Why would he add to their worries? Dad was already stressed out enough over how the stock market decline was eating into his retirement. And Mom’s ongoing health challenges made sharing troubling news unwise, or at least unwelcome. About the only thing they were expecting to hear from him was that he had found “the one” and that a wedding and kids were inevitable. He avoided that question, too, staying vague about his dating so as not to encourage his mother’s hopes for an immediate end to his bachelorhood.

“Will I actually be fired? For stuff I had nothing to do with?” he wondered aloud, his voice cutting through the relative silence of the morning. The only answer was from the heating system, which kicked on at that very moment with a roar.

Maybe the meeting wasn’t about his job. Maybe it was a new assignment or something completely different. Maybe his boss was going to apologize for blaming him unfairly.

He decided to scan the local news to take his mind somewhere else. One of the city’s prominent business leaders was making headlines for some charitable work, a warm story of giving back to the community. He read about a new play debuting in town and about the hockey team’s trade of a star player. The coach was interviewed about the prospects for a big season.

The news didn’t calm him much. David exhaled, silently willing his stress to fade with his breath. He put his cup in the sink, grabbed his computer bag, and left for his walk to work. This tension was all too much, he thought, wondering how in the world life had grown so complex so quickly.

It was an unusually cold autumn day, with winds that plucked the leaves off the trees and sent them into a spinning, colorful show before pulling them high into the air and then dropping them scattershot across the lawn. Passing the corner church, the one with the stained glass windows and the heavy wooden door, he noticed a man slumped over against the opposite wall. A crude cardboard sign told a lifetime’s story in a few sentences. David actually imagined, for the briefest of moments, that he might become homeless himself. It was as if his mind raced to the most negative possibilities of getting fired and then evicted. He shook his head, hard, as if he could knock the thought right out of his head. He wasn’t even close to that situation at this point, and he could always return home. This stress was getting to him.

At the same time, something else tugged at him: The hopeful thoughts of that teenager he once was. The thoughts of moving up the corporate ladder, making good money, hosting parties, enjoying his wife and kids. How everything would work out for good—thoughts that flashed brightly and then seemed to disappear.

When had those thoughts been replaced by thoughts of survival? Of getting fired? Of the completely irrational—like such fears as being homeless?

Glancing ahead at the busy street, he decided to take the shortcut through the park. He was a creature of habit and generally oblivious. He didn’t notice the people around him. He didn’t notice much of anything. Instead, he purposely picked up speed to make it in to work and begin another day handling problems, shuffling paper, and grinding through a slog of e-mail.

Lost in thought, David almost tripped over a young woman who was frantically grabbing faded yellow papers that the wind had pulled out of her hands. Despite the fact she was not winning the war against the wind, she was laughing and obviously having a great time, as if she had planned this little game all along. David quickly began snatching the pages out of the air with such speed and ease that she stepped back and admired his skill.

“Thank you. I would never have been able to do that.”

David nodded, bowed slightly at his waist, and said, “At your service.” Handing the pages back to her, he politely smiled and kept going.

Minutes later, he was standing in front of his office building. He glanced at his watch and realized he was early. Extremely early. He decided to waste a little time, and so he passed his office building and entered the corner shop. Having had his fill of coffee, he perused the long list of teas. Finally settling on a robust black tea mixed with a fruit flavor, he angled to a far table where he resolved to calm his thoughts and settle down before work.

As the sounds of the hungry morning commuters surrounded him, he steeled himself for the day ahead. Leaving the shop, he approached the revolving door to his office building. As he pushed his way into the lobby, he felt the transformation begin. Inside the office, he felt different, as if cloaked in a costume, a minor character in a play. He nodded to a few coworkers and made his way to his desk.

A few hours later, it was time to meet with the boss. David walked slowly down the hallway, his palms sweaty, his face flushed. Trying to be confident, he managed a weak smile as he stepped to the open office door.

The meeting was over in two minutes.

He wasn’t fired, but he was given a verbal warning. There was little room left for error.

David surprised his manager by not arguing. He even surprised himself when he heard his own voice promise to turn things around. Immediately after exiting the office, he headed for the bathroom and splashed water on his face to cool down. He wondered if he had sounded as pathetic as he felt. He couldn’t lose this job, not now, not with no savings. His family, his friends, everyone thought he was hitting it out of the park.

If he were fired, it would be a shock to them. At home, he was always confident, had lettered in two sports in high school, played in college, exceptional grades, two sterling internships. He was well liked, and everyone imagined that he was on the fast track to a highly successful career.

He couldn’t fail. He would not fail.

David knew that something had to change, but he didn’t know where to begin.

That evening as he started back through the park, he heard a rustling sound. Looking up, he saw a piece of paper that had lodged neatly under a rock. Its color was the same faded yellow he remembered from that morning. He walked over and picked it up before glancing around as if the woman would still be nearby. Tucking the yellow paper in his jacket pocket, he continued walking home, thinking he might run into the young woman again the next morning. He smiled as he remembered their brief meeting, her contagious laughter, the twinkle in her eyes.

At home, he hung up his jacket and then reached into the pocket. On the folded paper was a note:

NORTH CAFÉ 10:00 a.m. Friday, September 14.

Flipping over the fold, he read:

Your success is only possible if you avoid the nine mistakes. Most people never realize these until it’s too late. Don’t let that happen. Meet me in the last booth by the windows. They’ll know you’re coming.

It was signed with the name of the man who had been in the paper that morning for his charitable work.

This must have been hers, David thought, his mind conjuring up the image of her attractive face and the sound of her contagious laugh. I wonder if I could just sit in. Maybe I’ll go and say I found the paper and then see what happens. This is just what I need!

His thoughts drifted off to what he had heard about the man who was a benefactor to many: his successes, his work in the city, and his connections. He could be a way out for me, thought David. Maybe I could work for him or network into a new position. I’m definitely going to this meeting.

That night, as he stared at the ceiling over his bed, listening to the sounds of the traffic, he mulled the day’s events over and over again. He replayed the conversation with his boss. As he thought about it, he remembered sounding more confident. He wondered whether his mind was subtly changing the actual tone of the meeting to make himself feel better.

He whispered a prayer, more a plea or a wish, that this all would change. He didn’t just want to get things on track at work and pay down his bills. He wanted his confidence back. He wanted his dreams back!

“I wish I could sense when I was about to slip and make major mistakes. Or erase them completely.”

Just for effect, he fist-punched the air above him.

He smiled and finally fell into a deep sleep, the best sleep he had had in a long time.


David arrived at the North Café early enough to intercept the woman, explain, and then be on his way if things seemed too… strange. She wasn’t there, so he asked to be seated in the last booth by the windows.

He glanced up at the clock. Less than two minutes later, he did it again. He was sitting in the last booth, his leg jumping as if it were on batteries. His server was faithfully refilling coffee while someone out of sight was steadily mopping the floor, cleaning the morning rush away.


  • Success is a riddle, and Skip Prichard's business parable shines a light on the answer. By exploring the nine mistakes most leaders and entrepreneurs make, Skip helps us turn desire, gratitude, and belief into powerful tools for achievement.—Michael Hyatt, USA Today bestselling author of Living Forward
  • An inspirational read packed full of wisdom and advice, The Book of Mistakes is a MUST-READ for anyone who wants to move forward from the past and create a positive future!—Jon Gordon, bestselling author of The Energy Bus and The Carpenter
  • Skip Prichard packs a lot of wisdom into this story. Read it to learn the timeless truths of success from a cast of varied characters, and then share the message with others. This truly is a book for readers of all ages.—Mark Sanborn, President of Sanborn & Associates, Inc. and author of The Fred Factor
  • In this absolutely brilliant book the author-a noted CEO and highly-regarded business leader-weaves a story (including a heart-racing subplot) that, while greatly entertaining, magnificently educates us with success principles to help us go from where we are to where we want to be. Avoid the mistakes so common to human nature, follow his suggestions on what TO do instead, and watch your business success accelerate and your sense of joy, happiness and peace of mind reach greater heights than you might ever have imagined to be possible. And, definitely buy a copy for every graduate in your life before they step into the real world of business. They will thank you for it! Bravo, Skip Prichard!—Bob Burg, co-author of The Go-Giver
  • Skip Prichard's The Book of Mistakes is a compelling narrative and a must-read for anyone who wants to be a better leader and live a life of meaning. If you're in need of a dose of inspiration, you've found it in this book!—Stephen M. R. Covey, The New York Times and #1 Wall Street Journal bestselling author of The Speed of Trust and coauthor of Smart Trust
  • Prichard's vast experience in publishing is evident in the construction of this delightful and instructive book. The Book of Mistakes is not only a tale told well, but it offers life lessons that remind us what matters most, and what to avoid. Reminiscent of The Alchemist, this book is an operating instruction for life. It should be a mandatory read for people of all ages, especially those getting ready to launch.—Lee Woodruff, New York Times bestselling author of Perfectly Imperfect, In an Instant, and Those We Love Most
  • This is no ordinary story. Within these pages, there exists the power to reinvent your life.—Andy Andrews, New York Times bestselling author of How Do You Kill 11 Million People?, The Noticer and The Traveler's Gift
  • In this wonderful, engaging narrative, Skip Prichard teaches nine timeless principles of success. The Book of Mistakes will inspire you to achieve your goals and build a fulfilling life.
    Marshall Goldsmith, Thinkers50 #1 Leadership Thinker in the World
  • The essentials of success form the core principles of Skip Prichard's inspiring adventure, The Book of Mistakes. Don't miss it!—Ken Blanchard, coauthor of The New One Minute Manager® and One Minute Mentoring
  • In this engaging story, Skip Prichard gives you a roadmap of mistakes you can avoid on your life's journey. You'll find yourself in these pages, along with a new way to think about success through curiosity, empathy, and action.—Tim Sanders, author of Love Is the Killer App: How To Win Business and Influence Friends
  • The Book of Mistakes will show you more about success in a few hours than most people come across in decades. Read it, internalize its secrets, and watch your life begin to transform before your eyes.—Robert D. Smith, author of 20,000 Days and Counting
  • If financial success and personal happiness are the Emerald City of Oz, Skip Prichard, in this marvelous book, has paved the perfect Yellow Brick Road to get there. Read it and change your life.—Robert Goolrick, New York Times bestselling author of A Reliable Wife, Heading Out to Wonderful, and The End of the World As We Know It
  • Skip Prichard's new book is a helpful reminder about the power of the choices we make in life and leadership.—Doug Conant, Founder of ConantLeadership and Former President and CEO of Campbell Soup Company
  • Not only is The Book of Mistakes a page-turner that will keep you up at night, it is chock full of lessons you wish you had learned twenty years ago, and the principles for success that you hope to impart to your children, employees, or co-workers. Skip Prichard has spun a tale that transforms what it means to get ahead in life.—Ken Abraham, New York Times bestselling author
  • An interesting platform for demonstrating the importance of making mistakes and moving forward.—Tony Hsieh, New York Times bestselling author of Delivering Happiness
  • Skip Prichard masterfully tells a story that keeps you interested and engaged throughout the entire book. I love his message of hope and his belief that our greatest work is always ahead of us not behind us. I highly recommend this book to leaders who aspire to reach their full potential.—David M.R. Covey, coauthor of Trap Tales: Outsmarting the 7 Hidden Obstacles to Success
  • Skip Prichard's lessons are right for our time because they are backed by the wisdom of one who has led by example and openly shares his own mistakes. The Book of Mistakes is one book that will set you straight on your path to achieving your goals in record time.—John Baldoni, Inc Top 50 Leadership Expert, executive coach and author of more than a dozen books on leadership including MOXIE: The Secret to Bold and Gutsy Leadership
  • With a refreshing change of style from traditional personal development books, Skip Prichard offers an engaging fable, artfully woven between the past and the present, that will be understood and relished by readers of all ages and walks of life. His 9 Secrets to Creating a Successful Future are presented in such an interesting and thought-provoking way that you'll find yourself wanting to highlight, underline, dog-ear pages-anything to ensure that you'll be able to revisit them again and again.—Mark Timm, EVP, Ziglar, Inc.
  • The Book of Mistakes is an instant classic, a guidebook to achieve success and fulfillment. You'll find yourself fully immersed in the story and its powerful lessons. Skip Prichard packs each chapter with the wisdom you wished you had years ago. Read it today and change your tomorrow.—Kevin Kruse, Founder and CEO, LEADx, New York Times bestselling author
  • Skip Prichard's new book, The Book of Mistakes, is not just another book. This one makes a difference! His perspective of the Nine Mistakes covered is life-altering. He creates for the reader an intense awareness of critical mistakes most of us have made and positioned them as an intense, meaningful, learning experience. If you don't read but one book in the coming year, make it this one!—Don Hutson, co-author of the New York Times #1 bestselling The One Minute Entrepreneur
  • A riveting reminder that while the clues to success are all around us, ultimately the keys are within the person we see in the mirror.—Dan Miller, New York Times bestselling author of 48 Days to the Work You Love

On Sale
Jan 8, 2019
Page Count
192 pages
Center Street

Skip Prichard

About the Author

Skip Prichard is an accomplished CEO, growth-oriented business leader, and keynote speaker. He is known for his track record of successfully repositioning companies and dramatically improving results while improving the corporate culture. He is a keynote speaker on topics ranging from leadership, personal development, growth strategies, culture, corporate turnarounds, and the future of publishing. His views have been featured in print and broadcast media including the BBC, the New York Times, CNN, NPR, the Daily Beast, Harvard Business Review, Information Today, the Bookseller, Publishers Weekly, Christian Retailing, and the Library Journal.

Learn more about this author