Friday, November 12, 2010

Classic quotes and timeless wisdom from, How They Succeeded

If you caught our last post on Wednesday, then you probably had a chance to glance through some of the 109-year-old wisdom found in Orison Swett Marden's collection of personal success stories from legendary businessmen and artists called, How They Succeeded.

Today, I thought I'd share a few key lessons and quotes from the book with you. Now, I've only read a few chapters of the book so far, so this is by no means a complete overview of greatest hits. The following are just a few choice ideas to whet your appetite for further reading. Here they are:

1. Marshall Field - Author Marden notes that the famed merchant's early career was off to an unremarkable start, until he decided to head West for Chicago. Field's climb was aided by, and linked with, the rapid growth of his adopted hometown.

"What were your equipments for success when you started as a clerk here in Chicago, in 1856?"

"Health and ambition, and I what I believe to be sound principles", answered Mr. Field. "And here I found that in a growing town, no one had to wait for promotion. Good business qualities were promptly discovered, and men were pushed forward rapidly".

Marshall Field stayed in Chicago, turning down an offer from his previous employer to return home and acquire a partnership stake in the older man's business. Check out Field's thoughts on the importance of doing business on a cash basis, perseverance, and weathering the Chicago Fire of 1871.

2. Darius Ogden Mills - If you get a chance to read more about D.O. Mills, do so (see his Wikipedia page or do a Google search on the Mills hotels for a start). Here are some interesting quotes from Mills' interview with Marden.

Responding to a question on the important traits of influential men: "[Men should form] a habit of thinking and acting for themselves. No end of people are ruined by taking the advice of others."

On familiarity with one's surroundings: "A knowledge of men is the prime secret of business success."

On the beneficient use of capital: "A man can, in the accumulation of a fortune, be just as great a benefactor to mankind as in the distribution of it. In organizing a great industry, one opens up fields of employment for a multitude of people...".


3. Thomas Edison - A man who needs no introduction. Marden's description of his initial meeting with the legendary inventor is an interesting and amusing one, so be sure to start at the beginning of this chapter.

Here's an interesting quote from Edison on the practical utility of his inventions:

"It is a good rule to give people something they want, and they will pay money to get it.".

Hope you enjoyed these quotes and are eager to learn more. If nothing else, Marden's 1901 collection of personal success stories are an entertaining and historic look back at the past, so you're sure to have fun flipping through the e-book.

However, I think you're also likely to find a few valuable pieces of timeless wisdom here. Take a look inside and see which segments capture your imagination. You may find that some of these insights apply not only to business and entrepreneurial ventures, but to trading and investing as well.