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HARVARD
COLLEGE
LIBRARY

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Oopyright, 1894,
BY ORISON SWETT MARD EN.

All rights reserved

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PREFACE

THE author's excuse for one more postponement of the end" of making many books” can be briefly given. He early determined that if it should ever lie in his power, he would write a book to encourage, inspire, and stimulate boys and girls who long to be somebody and do something in the world, but feel that they have no chance in life. Among hundreds of American and Eng. lish books for the young, claiming to give the "secret of success," he found but few which satisfy the cravings of youth, hungry for stories of successful lives, and eager for every hint and every bit of information which may help them to make their way in the world. He believed that the power of an ideal book for youth should lie in its richness of concrete examples, as the basis and inspiration of character-building; in its uplifting, energizing, suggestive force, more than in its arguments; that it should be free from materialism, on the one hand, and from cant on the other; and that it should abound in stir ring examples of men and women who have brought things to pass. To the preparation of such a book he bad devoted all his spare moments for ten years, when a fire destroyed all his manuscript and notes. The memory of some of the lost illustrations of difficulties overcome stimulated to another attempt; so once more the gleanings of odd bits of time for years have been arranged in the following pages.

The author's aim has been to spur the perplexed youth to act the Columbus to his own undiscovered possibili. ties; to urge him not to brood over the past, nor dream of the future, but to get his lesson from the hour; to encourage him to make every occasion a great occasion, for he cannot tell when fate may take his measure for a higher place; to show him that he must not wait for his opportunity, but make it; to tell the round boy how he nay get out of the square hole, into which he has been wedged by circumstances or mistakes; to help him to find his right place in life; to teach the hesitating youth that in a land where shoemakers and farmers sit in Con. gress no limit can be placed to the career of a determined youth who has once learned the alphabet. The standard of the book is not measured in gold, but in growth; not in position, but in personal power; not in capital, but in character. It shows that a great check. bouk can never make a great man ; that beside the character of a Washington, the millions of a Cresus look con. temptible; that a man may be rich without money, and may succeed though he does not become President or member of Congress; that he who would grasp the key to power must be greater than his calling, and resist the vulgar prosperity that retrogrades toward barbarism; that there is something greater than wealth, grander than fame; that character is success, and there is no other.

If this volume shall open wider the door of some nar. row life, and awaken powers before unknown, the author will feel repaid for his labor. No special originality is claimed for the book. It has been prepared in odd moments snatched from a busy life, and is merely a new way of telling stories and teaching lessons that have been told and taught by many others from Solomon down. In these well-worn and trite topics lie “the marrow of the wisdom of the world.”

" Though old the thought, and oft expressed,

T is his at last who says it best."

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If in rewriting this book from lost manuscript, the author has failed to always give due credit, he desires to hereby express the fullest obligation. He also wishes to acknowledge valuable assistance from Mr. Arthur W. Brown, of West Kingston, R. I. 43 BOWDOIN STREET, Boston, November 11, 1894.

CONTENTS.

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L. THE MAN AND THE OPTORTUNITY

Don't wait for your opportunity : make ito
II. Boys WITH NO CHANCE

Necessity is the priceless spur.
IIL AN IRON WILL

Give a youth resolution and the alphabet, and who shall placo

limits to his career ?
IV. POSSIBILITIES IN SPARE MOMENTS

If a genius like Gladstone carries through life a book in his
pocket, lest an unexpected spare moment slip from his grasp,
what should we of common abilities not resort to, to save the pre-

cious moinents from oblivion ?
V. ROUND BOYS IN SQUARE HOLES

Man is doomed to perpetual inferiority and disappointment it
out of his place, and gets his living by his weakness instead of by

his strength.
VI. WHAT CAREER ?

Your talent is your call. "What can you do?" is the interro-
gation of the century. Better adorn your own than seek another's

place.
VII. CONCENTRATED ENERGY .

One unwavering aim. Don't dally with your purpose. Not

many things indifferently, but one thing supremely.
VIIL “ON TIME,” OR THE TRIUMPH OF PROMPTNESS

Don't brood over the past or dream of the future ; but seize

the instant, and get your lesson from the hour.
IX. CHEERFULNESS AND LONGEVITY

You must take joy with you, or you will not find it even in

heaven.
X. A FORTUNE IN GOOD MANNERS ..

The good-mannered can do without riches: all doors fly open
to them, and they enter everywhero without money and without

price.
XI. THE TRIUMPHS OF ENTHUSIASM

“What are hardships, ridicule, persecution, toll, sickness, to a

soul throbbing with an overmastering enthusiasm ? "
XIL TACT OR COMMON SENSE..

Talent is no match for tact; we see its failure everywhere. In
the raco of ufo, common sense has the right of way.

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XIIL SELF-RESPECT AND SELF-CONFIDENCE

We stamp our own value upon ourselves, and cannot expect

to pass for more.
XIV. GREATER THAN WEALTH

A man may make millions and be a faikire still. He is the

richest man who enriches mankind most
XV. THE PRICE OF SUCCESS .

“ Work or starve” is Nature's motto, - it is written on the
stars and the sod alike, - starve mentally, starve morally,

starve physically.
XVL CHARACTER IS POWER.

Beside the character of a Washington the millions of many
an American look contemptible. Character is success, and there

is no other.
XVIL ENAMORED OF ACCURACY . .

Twenty things half done do not make one thing well done.
There is a great difference between going just right and a little

wrong.
XVIIL LIFE IS WHAT WE MAKE IT

We get out of life just what we put into it. The world has

for us just what we have for it.
XIX. THE VICTORY IN DEFEAT.

To know how to wring victory from our defeats, and make

stepping-stones of our stumbling-blocks, is the secret of success.
XX. NERVE — Geit, Grip, Pluck.

There is something grand and inspiring in a young man who
fails squarely after doing his level best, and then enters the con-
test a second and a third time with undaunted courage and re-

doubled energy.
XXI. THE REWARD OF PERSISTENCE

“ Mere genius darts, flutters, and tires; but perseverance

wears and wins."
XXIL A LONG LIFE, AND HOW TO REACH IT

The first requisite to success is to be a first-class animal.
Even the greatest industry cannot amount to much, if a feeble

body does not respond to the ambition.
XXIII. BE BRIEF

“ Brevity is the soul of wit ” Boil it down.
XXIV. ASPIRATION

A man cannot aspire if he looks down." Look upward, live

upward.
XXV. THE ARMY OF THE RESERVE .

We never can tell what is in a man until an emergency calls
out his reserve, and he cannot call out an ounce more than has
boen stored up

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