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File:The Greatest Salesman in the World book cover.jpg

I just finished reading an interesting book, “The Greatest Salesman in the World” by Og Mandino. Its Chinese translation was marketed in the name “Scrolls of Wealth” in China and was very popular.

I didn’t realize it was published just 40 years ago in 1968, a best-seller since then, until I read some critics about the book. The story of the book was set in biblical time in Arabic world. It’s about a poor camel boy, Hafid, who eventually became the greatest salesman in his time with unmatchable wealth. However, I can see the story is just a “make-up”, like all the stories in the TV advertisements. Essentially, the author would like to sell his “manuals for salesman”, which he developed for his insurance company while working in rural New Hampshire, as he disclosed in the preface of the book.

The author is indeed a very good salesman for his ideas. The story is catching, persuasive, full of drama, even having a mysterious link to the Bible. Obviously, he followed his own advices to sell, capturing people’s interests, making connections through familiarity (Bible story), demonstrating success stories happened with other ordinary people, and making the items for sale seems scarce and rare thus valuable. Another interesting way he did his selling is to command the reader to read each principle (a chapter or scroll in the book) three times a day for a month. That’s almost like a religious practice. I have to agree it’s the best way to build the principles into habits.

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Living in New Jersey for almost 10 years, I recently grew some deep interests in the history of New Jersey. After all, knowing the place we are living make us comfort and proud in our everyday life. The places we are driving by everyday start to become meaningful if we can tell their histories. I don’t feel like a stranger or a foreigner as I felt before. “Blossom where you are planted”, my newly acquired motto, starts from knowing the history of where I am planted.

I just came across a good description of the history of New Jersey. It’s short enough to read through quickly but thorough enough to cover all the important points. I like its way to see the history. Not as a boring sequence of “big events” like we used to read in text books, but as a continuous changes of people’s ways of living, driven by economical, technical and political forces.

Hope discovering the history of the place you live and work will give you the same joy as I do!

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Serving in an IT department of a non-IT company, I learned over the years one or two things about our business partners, who are our best friend and patrons, at the same time our ultimate source of headaches.

Bittersweet Partnership

After all, my job is to help them to be successful in their fields, in Sales, Marketing, Finance or Service. In a sense, IT department exists only because our business partners need us. And we need them too, to define the requirements and specs, to decide about the business logics, to promote the products we developed, to sponsor our projects, to give us feedbacks for improvements, etc. So, it’s truly a partnership.

However, we constantly fight with our business partners. They want too much from us within unrealistic short time. We insist on an absolutely necessary infrastructure change they don’t understand and consider too risky. We are furious that they keep changing their mind about the requirements in the last minute. They are bitter about the delay of the new release. This list can go on and on.

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April 2009
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