Life Lessons from the Scrolls
(A Book Review of Og Mandino’s The Greatest Salesman in the World)
The Greatest Salesman in the World is a self-help classic from best-selling author Og Mandino. It’s a tiny book interspersed with powerful principles, written in a compelling, clear style that makes for a quick read.
It tells the story of Hafid’s journey from being a humble camel boy to the titular greatest salesman in the world and like him the teaches us how his journey can also be ours. The main highlight of the book is the “The Ten Scrolls of Success” which the casual reader might think are piecemeal advises of different sales technique. What they contain are enduring principles on how to improve your life, how the world works and how one can overcome obstacles (real or imagined). Each scroll is designed as a meditation or daily affirmation that one needs to employ into full advantage, so much so that readers should take one chapter at a time and read it daily for a month before moving on to the next. More often, readers get involved with Mandino’s easy to read rhetoric and finish the entire book off in a single sitting — which I did. For the sake of those who haven’t read or heard of this book yet, let me beg off from revealing what the scrolls teach. I feel that if I write it here I might be robbing you of the discoveries that is yours to make.
While it may seem dated (it was published in 1968), the book still has some great concepts one may pick up. Of course, the book offers not a panacea for all the pains we feel but one or two of the teaching it instructs might help and I see no harm if one decides to follow it — after all the book instills “good habits” to guide us through daily living. Well, I say this is a case of different strokes for different folks. Take whatever suits you then you’re good to go.
The message is familiar to anyone who has read through self-help and success books, but the The Greatest Salesman in the World presents it in a very simple format…and is primarily written for Christians. It’s an interesting read and its message is something one might ponder over at times, but it’s really not for people who are not willing to make positive changes in their attitudes or actions.
If, however, you really think you can change your life, and that your success depends on your habits and attitudes, this book could start something very powerful changes for you. It won’t do the work for you, but it could be a seed of positivity that might begin some pretty great things for you. Mandino’s message: the individual determines the quality of his or her life.
Some of my favorites passages from the book:
“Failure will never overtake me if my determination to succeed is strong enough.”
“Today I will savor the taste of grapes from these vines and verily I will swallow the seed of success buried in each and new life will sprout within me.”
“True wealth is of the heart, not the purse.”
“Act now. For now is all you have.”
“For now you know one of the greatest principles of success; if you persist long enough you will win.”
“The only people who never fail are those who never try.”
“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.”
“Always strive to make the next hour better than this one.”
Published by Bantam Books
(Mass Market Paperback, March 1974 Edition)
Read in: August 2009