The Long Game – Dorie Clark Book Summary

The Long Game – Dorie Clark | Free Book Summary

The Long Game – Dorie Clark

Playing the long game—eschewing short-term gratification in order to work toward an uncertain but worthy future goal—isn’t easy. But it’s the surest path to meaningful and lasting success in a world that so often prioritizes what’s easy, quick, and ultimately shallow.

How to create the space to explore long-term goals

  • Say no to short-term work that displaces more important things.
  • Instead of a to-do list, use a daily calendar to organise your work.
  • Use the “Hell yeah” test to figure out if something is worth doing.
  • Say no to anything less than “Wow, that would be amazing!”

How to evaluate requests and opportunities

The following questions can help to assess requests and opportunities:

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  • What is the actual time commitment?
  • What is the opportunity cost?
  • What’s the physical and emotional cost?
  • Would I regret it in a year if I didn’t do this?

Identify the right goals

Use the 20% time approach. Spend 20% of your time exploring new interests.

Use the infinite horizon network. It is “pure, no-agenda relationship building” that is simply out of personal interest in individuals. The idea is that you never know what could come of it.


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Use the “no asks for a year” strategy. When meeting someone, first establish a foundation.

Persevering when progress is slow

Use strategic patience: Admit that you need work and time to progress. It often takes two to three years to gain notice in a field you’re pursuing.

When things don’t improve, ask yourself why you’re doing the thing you’re struggling with, and how it has worked for others.


  • Give yourself repeated opportunities to succeed.
  • Test concepts in a small way before pursuing them in a bigger way.
  • Use deadlines to ensure you stay on track.

Finding strategic direction

Consider these questions to help you find strategic direction:

  • What should I spend my time doing?
  • What are the 20% of activities that will return 80% of the results?
  • What can I stop doing?
  • How can I use limitations to my advantage?
  • What do I believe about the future, and how do they inform my current actions?

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