Book Review: The Summit Mindset, Miller and Moore

Winning the Battle of You versus You, Scott Miller, and James C. Moore

The cycles of growth in life don’t let up, and it can make you wonder what gets in the way of personal and business success. The subtitle names a challenge that many entrepreneurs encounter – how you can get in your own way. Scott Miller, co-founder and CEO of Yesly Water, along with NYT best-selling author James C. Moore, share a framework to help individuals and entrepreneurs create more success and happiness. The Summit Mindset is Miller’s formula earned through personal challenges, as well as years of business success. His work took place from the warehouse floor to the boardroom.

What do you suck at? Miller doesn’t shy away from the hard questions nor expect life to be challenge-free. Those who do any hiking understand the unpredictability of climbing a summit. You set out with a plan, check the weather, and spend hours training. But despite your best intentions, things may not go according to your plan. Weather can change, injuries can happen, and trails can be damaged. In recent years in the Rocky Mountains, wildfire smoke caused many cancelled plans.

Miller’s voice and experience provide color and authenticity. His questions to consider and packed delivery portray his passion. From humble beginnings, he watched his father, who died young from cancer, fail to support his family in his later years despite being a well-intentioned hard worker. That formed his commitment to figure out success. Miller had personal health challenges that arose with awful timing as he was about to start a new executive position. These experiences did not deter him, and he counsels “using the hurt” of adversity to grow. Keep “doing the reps” he suggests, to stay with creating your dream of both personal happiness and business success. Miller shows how to work with the inevitable adversity of life, and even how to expect and prepare for it.

Unclear about what you want? Not unusual, even for the leaders he interviews. Miller guides readers to do the “inside job” work of getting clear about who you are and what you truly want. This clarity of purpose is the “north star” that keeps you on track toward your summit. You can name your Four Pillars personally and as a business to help the team’s clarity and culture. Pillars show up in many professions; Miller defines them as “dominating principles that guide your life and your foundation for the construction of happiness.”

Stories are important in a good book, and Miller and Moore include personal and instructive business stories of both success and failure. These expose the blind spots that everyone can fall victim to when unexpected adversity or change visits. Hindsight is 20/20, Yet, some of these examples can make everyone gasp, “Doh!” Using Summit Mindset tenets of honest communication, courage, and people first can help with owning mistakes.

Inspiring courage and clarity in work and life, honest communication is crucial in creating a successful and caring work culture. The “What do I/we suck at?” question is another way the book advises badassery. Not only admitting weaknesses but embracing them helps individuals and businesses improve. They can pivot to improve flaws, and “engineer solutions” to potential blind spots or pitfalls.

One of Miller’s Four Pillars is Faith and it’s played a big role in his happiness and success. The chapter that discusses this is lovely. His spiritual devotion is a powerful force in his life, but he doesn’t force it on you. For him, it provides “an underlying sense that I am connected to something greater than myself.” He knows that “if I can do good, live a meaningful life, and help others, be charitable and hopeful through struggles, I might make some tiny contribution to whatever is greater than us and is the life force of our existence, and that provides me another sense of fulfillment.” (That long sentence gives a flavor of the passionate, expressive style evident throughout the book.)

There are two questions that one can ask to determine if they have lived spiritually: “Did you love more than you hated? Did you give more than you took?” One doesn’t have to be religious to wish to make a difference to the world, to something greater than themselves. It’s a worthwhile discussion and important to define the deeper intentions behind striving for success and dream creation.


There is an excitement to this book and the abundance of “inside job” questions and enthusiasm may make it one you want to keep in your library for inspiration. The inside job work will take reflection time as you create or tweak your life design and goals. The Summit Mindset embraces adversity and constant growth as part of life. It’s a heartfelt and intelligent guide that may increase your faith, perhaps not in a Creator. But certainly, in fellow humans who speak the truth and teach about how to wield power wisely in the pursuit of success and happiness for the greater good.

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