Book Review: Capital Gaines: Smart Things I Learned Doing Stupid Stuff

Capital Gaines: Smart Things I Learned Doing Stupid Stuff by Chip Gaines
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

What really separates those who make it from those who don’t? It’s difficult to say. There are just too many variables.
But to be successful, you can't just surround yourself with low-frequency people for very long periods of time. You can't just keep eating the same crappy food just because your spouse or colleague is making those same choices. Your days must consistently be spent on high-quality activities. Success requires balancing the essential, spiritual, relational, financial, and physical things in your life and removing everything else.
Saying "No" to great but ultimately irrelevant opportunities is hard. Giving up bad habits is hard. Changing your belief system and expanding your vision is hard. But so what, life is hard, get over it.
Hard work, the ability the pick yourself up after experiencing a failure, and a passion for what you’re doing, is the only sure way to get anywhere in life and seems to go quite a long way in defining an individuals level of success.
This book has given me a true appreciation for just how much Chip Gaines has accomplished in his life and I admire who he is as a person. His depth and humor are both bolstered by a consistent message of optimism and hope.
I am by nature a very pessimistic person, and optimism of any kind generally annoys me, but I didn’t find Chip’s optimism cheesy, cloying, or eye-rolling. For me it was an optimism based in realism and a logic rooted in a “don’t sweat the small stuff” mentality.
Ultimately, Chip’s message is a simple one really: “Don’t let the fear of failure keep you from your pursuits. I know I wouldn’t be where I am today if I hadn’t taken a few chances—sometimes they panned out, but even when they didn’t, I never let failure break my focus. If you believe in something, you gotta go after it.”


“Cody's reviews come sharp and to the point, displaying a vast wealth of knowledge all things book-related, from fiction to non and everything in between. With a side dish of social satire, outright sarcasm or even both, he serves as an exemplary model for the modern day book critic.”
- G.C. McKay, author of Sauced up, Scarred, and at Sleaze -