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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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Lighthouse

Happy New Year!

I guess a lot of people are very happy to see the year 2008 passed by, just like myself. What a dramatic year! First we witnessed the house value dropping and foreclosures in the neighborhood, then the crisis of the subprime mortgage. Soon, the bad news crawled all over the financial sector. Investment banks, insurance companies, commercial banks, even big names like Bear Stearns and Leman Brothers burned down into ashes overnight. The darkness, like cancer, continued to spread into other industries, such as automobile and even high-tech. The stock market crashed. The unemployment rate soared. The words we heard most in the past several months are “great depression” and “bail-out”, not what we usually heard even in a bear market.

And the worst part, it’s not over yet. Although debating among each other, the economists agreed the economy won’t recover until the later half of 2009. And that’s from the most optimistic point of view.

With all the negative news, it’s very easy to feel depressed or stressed out in this unpleasant time.

Kind of like feeling depressed in the winter in the northeastern United States (where I am living), chilly, heavy wind blow, cloudy sky, crooked tree branches and yellow grass, no sign of life.

But, wait! We still got Christmas in winter time! Even the darkest nights were lightened up by the holiday lights!

Where can we find hopes and opportunities in the depressing days like now? Here are four directions to look:

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