The Secrets to Live a Successful Life

A fifteen-year-old boy travels to Verdun, one of the bloodiest battlefields of World War I, and learns that being successful in life means defending those things that make life worth living:  Freedom, faith, family, peace and prosperity.
A young girl picks up trash along the roadside in Georgia for one of the first Earth Day celebrations.  She learns that success means making a difference in the world around her.

The fifteen-year-old boy grew up to be Speaker of the House.  The young girl is his daughter, Jackie Gingrich Cushman.  With help from some friends, we’ve just written a new book, 5 Principles for a Successful Life:  From Our Family to Yours.
The Book Started When Newt’s Grandchildren Starting Asking How He Became Speaker

The idea of writing a book about what it takes to be successful in life started when Maggie and Robert (Jackie’s children and Newt’s grandchildren) began asking questions about how their grandpa became Speaker of the House.

Then Jackie helped create the Learning Makes a Difference Foundation, which focuses on innovative learning programs, such as Learn, Earn and Achieve, which offers students financial rewards for studying math and science.  

Watching previously uninterested students not only improve their math and science scores but discover the thrill of learning for learning’s sake further convinced us this book was necessary.  

For us, living a successful life means adding value to other people’s lives.  It means making a difference in the world around us.

For Jackie, It Was When She Watched Children Discover the Joy of Learning

The result of our collaboration is 5 Principles for a Successful Life: From Our Family to Yours.

Our new book isn’t just for Republicans or Democrats, or policy wonks or would-be politicians.  It’s a book for everyone who wants to lead a better and more meaningful life.  

And our voices are just two of many in the book.  The stories and insights of other successful Americans are included, from General David Petraeus to Seattle Seahawk Patrick Kerney to Rush Limbaugh.  

You can learn more about our new book and all the successful Americans who contributed to it by visiting our website at

Dream Big.  Work Hard.  Learn Every Day.  Enjoy Life.  Be True to Yourself.

1.    Dream big.
2.    Work hard.
3.    Learn every day.
4.    Enjoy life.
5.    Be true to yourself.

These are the five principles for a successful life that we’ve distilled from hundreds of life lessons.  They sound simple, but mastering them is anything but easy.  It requires diligence and perseverance.  Just getting one right can result in progress.  Mastering all five can lead to stellar results.

But don’t just take our word for it.  We shared our principles with some very successful people and asked for their response.  We were pleasantly surprised to hear our life lessons echoed in the lives of some of our most accomplished fellow Americans.

In 5 Principles for a Successful Life:

•    General David Petraeus talks about how his father’s advice to “dream big” saw him through four years at West Point and 34 years in the Army to become commander of the United States Central Command.
•    Broadcaster Bill O’Reilly writes about how 60-hour weeks and personal attention to detail have given him the highest-rated cable news program in America.
•    Political consultant James Carville tells us about becoming a political consultant at age 37, initially losing some races, and going on to get Bill Clinton elected president in 1992.
•    Lt. Col. Jill “Raggz” Long, one of America’s leading airshow pilots, talks about what it means to “live life on the ragged edge…and follow your dreams.”
•    Political correspondent Tucker Carlson writes about learning every day — even from people seated next to you on the airplane.
•    Nationally syndicated radio host Rush Limbaugh tells us about the importance of enjoying life.
•    Jackie Kallen, one of the world’s few female professional boxing promoters, talks about being successful by staying true to yourself.

5 Principles for a Successful Life also features the insights of Tom Brokaw, Jeb Bush, Bill Clinton, Alan Colmes, Carly Fiorina, Rudy Giuliani, Oliver North, Michael Reagan, Peter Pace and many, many others.  

A Personal Message From Our Family to Yours

Despite all the help we had, for us putting together this book has been a deeply personal, family experience.

In our book we tell the story of Kathy Lubbers, Newt’s other daughter and Jackie’s sister, and her struggle with rheumatoid arthritis.  

Not so long ago, there were days when Kathy couldn’t get out of her bed in the morning without help.  And other days when she lay in her bed and cried with pain.

But with the right medicine and the right focus on the things she could control — strength, nutrition, lifestyle and attitude — Kathy is now living an active, productive and happy life.  

More than that, Kathy exemplifies one of our central messages in 5 Principles for a Successful Life:  That success comes, not just from personal achievement, but from the good we can do for others.  With Kathy as their inspiration, Jackie and Kathy have started a team that walks marathons to raise money for the Arthritis Foundation.  

When You’ve Been Blessed With a Remarkable Life, You Should Share What You’ve Learned with Others

No family is perfect.  No father and no daughter are perfect.  But when you’ve been blessed to live a remarkable life, and learn some remarkable lessons along the way, you have an obligation to share what you’ve learned with others.

We hope reading 5 Principles for a Successful Life will be as entertaining and fulfilling an experience for you as writing it has been for us.  And if you enjoy the book, we hope that you’ll consider sharing it with your family, friends and loved ones.  

As we are all children of God, each of us was put here to live our best life.

So dream big, work hard, learn every day, enjoy life, be true to yourself — and live a successful life.

Your friends,

Newt and Jackie

Newt’s Quick Links

  • Callista and I were able to attend the White House Correspondents dinner this weekend.  You can see pictures here.
  • Last Wednesday, Jim Frogue, project director for the the Center for Health Transformation, testified before the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging on preventing Medicare and Medicaid fraud.  Jim revealed astonishing stories of fraud, including the state of New York paying 55 men maternity benefits over a two-year period.  He also made recommendations for reducing fraudulent spending and overall costs to Medicare and Medicaid.  You can read more here.
  • If you have stories of fraudulent activities in our Medicare and Medicaid system, please visit the Center for Health Transformation’s YouTube channel and respond by posting your stories and videos about fraud.
  • Callista and I have created a video for the PBS Website Planet Forward about how green conservatism is a better alternative to big government bureaucracy for protecting the environment.  You can watch it and let us know what you think here.
  • In addition to drilling off its coasts, one of the reasons Brazil has achieved independence from Middle East oil is its emphasis on using ethanol as a source of fuel.  I believe we can employ the same strategy in the United States and create jobs in America, instead of Iran or Venezuela.  One step we can take is to raise the cap on our ethanol blends for fuel from 10 percent to 15 percent.  You can let the EPA know you support this step at
  • Andy McCarthy has a powerful piece in National Review about the depravity of the decision to release photos of prisoner abuse.  I highly recommend it.
  • I had a very positive and productive discussion about education reform at the White House last week with President Obama, Rev. Sharpton, Mayor Bloomberg, and Secretary Duncan.  You can read more about the meeting here.
  • On Fox News Sunday, Chris Wallace and I discussed what Speaker Pelosi knew about enhanced interrogation techniques, what to do with terrorists now being held in Guantanamo, and whether the GOP should embrace big government. You can watch my appearance on Fox News Sunday here.