The Greatest Salesman in the World by Og Mandino
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
The Greatest Salesman in the World (1968) by Og Mandino is a book that will change your life for the better. It did for Matthew McConaughey. Before he became a well-known actor, Matthew was going to become a lawyer.
Instead he became lost in reading The Greatest Salesman in the World and it changed his life ever-after. Perhaps losing ourselves is what we need.
“The book’s a kind of philosophy on life,” Matthew told one magazine. “I started reading it right before I was due to take my exams for law school and I got so engrossed in it that I was almost late for my exam! But it was well worth it because that book changed my outlook on life and gave me the courage I needed to chase my dream of applying to film school.”
This book has also changed my life as well. The Greatest Salesman in the World tells the story of Hafid who has earned such incredible wealth through trading throughout all of ancient Europe and the Middle East that he turns to his most trusted friend, Erasmus, and asks,
“Old friend, how much wealth is there now accumulated in our treasury?”
And Erasmus replies, “I have not studied the numbers recently but I would estimate there is in excess of seven million gold talents” (p 3).
But to Erasmus’s confusion, Hafid decides to sell everything.
“I do not understand, sire. This has been our most profitable year. Every emporium reports an increase in sales over the previous season. Even the Roman legions are now our customers for did you not sell the Procurator in Jerusalem two hundred Arabian stallions within the fortnight? Forgive my boldness for seldom have I questioned your orders but this command I cannot comprehend…” (p 4).
Hafid goes on to tell Erasmus the story of how the boy-Hafid was given ancient scrolls and sworn to secrecy and later rose to such heights of success where men who chase such desires often fall into madness.
“All but one of these scrolls contain a principle, a law, or a fundamental truth written in a unique style to help the reader understand its meaning. To become a master in the art of sales one must learn and practice the secret of each scroll. When one masters these principles one has the power to accumulate all the wealth he desires” (p 12).
Hafid, the greatest salesman in the world, continues,
“It is, indeed, a simple task provided one is willing to pay the price in time and concentration until each principle becomes a part of one’s personality; until each principle becomes a habit” (p 13).
But there is much more to this story than principles and codes and precepts of conduct. As a boy, Hafid stumbles to bed one cold night into a stable in Bethlehem after a few days of failed attempts to prove himself worthy as a salesman by selling an expensive robe given to him by his master, Pathros.
“Hafid closed his eyes and sighed. Then he walked swiftly toward the small family, knelt on the straw beside the infant, and gently removed first the father’s tattered cloak and then the mother’s from the manger. He handed each back to its owner. Both were too shocked at Hafid’s boldness to react. Then Hafid opened his precious red robe and wrapped it gently around the sleeping child” (p 31).
Hafid returns to his master, Pathros, without having sold the robe, but rather having given it away for free, and the boy considers himself a failure. But the words from Pathros will provide a clue to the business of sales and to the true nature of living:
“Hafid, so far as material wealth is concerned, there is only one difference between myself and the lowliest beggar outside of Herod’s palace. The beggar thinks only of his next meal and I think only of the meal that will be my last. No, my son, do no aspire for wealth and labor not only to be rich. Strive instead for happiness, to be loved and to love, and most important, to acquire peace of mind and serenity” (p 20).
It will be Pathros who judges the boy-Hafid’s heart to be pure and gives Hafid the secret scrolls which unlock the keys to success.
And so we begin with the Scroll Marked I:
“Today I begin a new life…Failure no longer will be my payment for struggle. Just as nature made no provision for my body to tolerate pain neither has it made any provision for my life to suffer failure. Failure, like pain, is alien to my life. In the past I accepted it as I accepted pain. Now I reject it and I am prepared for wisdom and principles which will guide me out of the shadows into the sunlight of wealth, position, and happiness far beyond my most extravagant dreams until even the golden apples in the Garden of Hesperides will seem no more than my just reward…
“Nature has supplied me with the knowledge and instinct far greater than any beast in the forest and the value of experience is over-rated, usually by old men who nod wisely and speak stupidly…
“Good habits are the key to all success… I will form good habits and become their slave” (p 51-54).
The Scroll Marked II:
“I will greet this day with love in my heart…
“Is it not so that birds, the wind, the sea and all nature speaks with the music of praise for their creator? Cannot I speak with the same music to his children? Henceforth will I remember this secret and it will change my life. I will greet this day with love in my heart…
“Henceforth I will love all mankind. From this moment all hate is left from my veins for I have not time to hate, only time to love. From this moment I take the first step required to become man among men…I will greet this day with love, and I will succeed” (p 58-62).
The Scroll Marked III:
“I will persist until I succeed…
“I will persist until I succeed. I was not delivered unto this world in defeat, nor does failure course in my veins. I am not a sheep waiting to be prodded by my shepherd. I am a lion and I refuse to talk, to walk, to sleep with the sheep. I will hear not those who weep and complain, for their disease is contagious. Let them join the sheep. The slaughterhouse of failure is not my destiny…I will persist until I succeed” (p 63-64).
The Scroll Marked IV:
“I am nature’s greatest miracle…
“I am nature’s greatest miracle. I am not on this earth by chance. I am here for a purpose and that purpose is to grow into a mountain, not to shrink to a grain of sand. Henceforth will I apply all my efforts to become the highest mountain of all and I will strain my potential until it cries for mercy” (p 69-70).
The Scroll Marked V:
“I will live this day as if it is my last…
“I will live this day as if it is my last. This day is all I have and these hours are now my eternity. I greet this sunrise with cries of joy as a prisoner who is reprieved from death…
“I will live this day as if it is my last. I will avoid with fury the killers of time. Procrastination I will destroy with action; doubt I will bury under faith; fear I will dismember with confidence. Where there are idle mouths I will listen not; where there are idle hands I will linger not; where there are idle bodies I will visit not. Henceforth I know that to court idleness is to steal food, clothing, and warmth from those I love. I am not a thief. I am a man of love and today is my last chance to prove my love and my greatness. I will live this day as if it is my last” (p 73-76).
The story unveils a total of ten scrolls (the remaining five will be up to you to discover).
And what of Hafid? Of Erasmus? Of the robe Hafid gave to the infant in the manger?
Well, I’ve got my copy but you will just have to read The Greatest Salesman in the World to learn those secrets for yourself.
But I must warn you: this book will change your life. Are you ready for such change?
The American novelist CG FEWSTON has been a Visiting Scholar at the American Academy in Rome (Italy), a Visiting Fellow at Hong Kong’s CityU, & he’s a been member of the Hemingway Society, Americans for the Arts, PEN America, Club Med, & the Royal Society of Literature. He’s also a been Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA) based in London.
He’s the author of several short stories and novels. His works include A Father’s Son (2005), The New America: A Collection (2007), The Mystic’s Smile ~ A Play in 3 Acts (2007), Vanity of Vanities (2011), A Time to Love in Tehran (2015), Little Hometown, America (2020); A Time to Forget in East Berlin (2022), and Conquergood & the Center of the Intelligible Mystery of Being (2023).
He has a B.A. in English, an M.Ed. in Higher Education Leadership (honors), an M.A. in Literature (honors), and an M.F.A. in Creative Writing & Fiction. He was born in Texas in 1979.
A TIME TO FORGET IN EAST BERLIN
BREW Book Excellence Award Winner
BREW Readers’ Choice Award Winner
“A spellbinding tale of love and espionage set under the looming shadow of the Berlin Wall in 1975… A mesmerising read full of charged eroticism.”
~ Ian Skewis, Associate Editor for Bloodhound Books, & author of best-selling novel A Murder of Crows (2017)
“An engrossing story of clandestine espionage… a testament to the lifestyle encountered in East Berlin at the height of the Cold War.”
~ Lone Star Literary Life Magazine
“There is no better way for readers interested in Germany’s history and the dilemma and cultures of the two Berlins to absorb this information than in a novel such as this, which captures the microcosm of two individuals’ love, relationship, and options and expands them against the blossoming dilemmas of a nation divided.”
~ D. Donovan, Senior Reviewer, Midwest Book Review
“A Time to Forget in East Berlin is a dream-like interlude of love and passion in the paranoid and violent life of a Cold War spy. The meticulous research is evident on every page, and Fewston’s elegant prose, reminiscent of novels from a bygone era, enhances the sensation that this is a book firmly rooted in another time.”
~ Matthew Harffy, prolific writer & best-selling historical fiction author of the “Bernicia Chronicles” series
“Vivid, nuanced, and poetic…”
“Fewston avoids familiar plot elements of espionage fiction, and he is excellent when it comes to emotional precision and form while crafting his varied cast of characters.”
“There’s a lot to absorb in this book of hefty psychological and philosophical observations and insights, but the reader who stays committed will be greatly rewarded.”
“Readers of The Catcher in the Rye and similar stories will relish the astute, critical inspection of life that makes Little Hometown, America a compelling snapshot of contemporary American life and culture.”
“Fewston employs a literary device called a ‘frame narrative’ which may be less familiar to some, but allows for a picture-in-picture result (to use a photographic term). Snapshots of stories appear as parts of other stories, with the introductory story serving as a backdrop for a series of shorter stories that lead readers into each, dovetailing and connecting in intricate ways.”
~ D. Donovan, Senior Reviewer, Midwest Book Review
“The American novelist CG FEWSTON tells a satisfying tale, bolstered by psychology and far-ranging philosophy, calling upon Joseph Campbell, J. D. Salinger, the King James Bible, and Othello.”
“In this way, the author lends intellectual heft to a family story, exploring the ‘purity’ of art, the ‘corrupting’ influences of publishing, the solitary artist, and the messy interconnectedness of human relationships.”
~ Lone Star Literary Life Magazine
GOLD Winner in the 2020 Human Relations Indie Book Awards for Contemporary Realistic Fiction
FINALIST in the SOUTHWEST REGIONAL FICTION category of the 14th Annual National Indie Excellence 2020 Awards (NIEA)
“Fewston’s lyrical, nostalgia-steeped story is told from the perspective of a 40-year-old man gazing back on events from his 1980s Texas childhood…. the narrator movingly conveys and interprets the greater meanings behind childhood memories.”
“The novel’s focus on formative childhood moments is familiar… the narrator’s lived experiences come across as wholly personal, deeply felt, and visceral.”
American Novelist CG FEWSTON
This is my good friend, Nicolasa (Nico) Murillo, CRC, who is a professional chef & a wellness mentor. I’ve known her since childhood & I’m honored to share her story with you. In life, we all have ups & downs, some far more extreme than others. Much like in Canada, in America, the legalization of marijuana has become a national movement, which includes safe & legal access to cannabis (marijuana) for therapeutic use & research for all.
“This is a wellness movement,” Nico explains. The wellness movement is focused on three specific areas: information, encouragement, & accountability.
In these stressful & unprecedented times, it makes good sense to promote & encourage the state or condition of being in good physical & mental health.
To learn more you can visit: Americans For Safe Access & Texans for Safe Access, ASA (if you are in Texas).
The mission of Americans for Safe Access (ASA) is to ensure safe and legal access to cannabis (marijuana) for therapeutic use and research.
TEXANS FOR SAFE ACCESS ~ share the mission of their national organization, Americans for Safe Access (ASA), which is to ensure safe and legal access to cannabis (marijuana) for therapeutic use and research, for all Texans.
Stay safe & stay happy. God bless.
Nico Murillo Bio ~ Americans & Texans for Safe Access ~ Medical Cannabis
CG, thanks for the reminder of Og Mandino’s book ‘The Greatest Salesman in the World’. When I saw the subject of your post, a dim light of memory began to glow just a little, then, as I read further the light brightened. I had last held that book so many years ago in my youth. It had an impact then. So now I have been given the chance to recall and to thank the author in my heart.
Any time, George. Yes, it is such a wonderful book and it has helped change my life as well.
Reblogged this on A Journey of Faith.
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