Riding the highway to success: Replacing bad habits with good ones

The Greatest Salesman In the World, by Og Mandino (1968)

**Pages: 110**, Final verdict: Great-read

"The Greatest Salesman in the World" - upon stumbling on this title you’d normally expect to read some best practices in mastering the art of selling; yet, this book is so much more - a game changer of sorts. Fear not, whilst the book will certainly help aspiring salespeople, it does not focus on sales. It is a book for everyone who wants to go above and beyond.

The Greatest Salesman in the World delivers 10 simple principles in the form of “Ancient Scrolls” that will help you excel at anything you do. Sounds over simplistic? Hop on the Og Mandino train and read more about 3 of these principles for the next 4 minutes and I’ll let you be the judge of that!

The First Scroll: I will form good habits and become their slave

The first principle revolves around a simple, yet often overlooked important truth; every grown man and woman is a slave to their habits. The first lesson to be taken away, and foundation for the rest of the book is about putting in the effort to replace bad habits with good ones.

Furthermore, the first scroll differs from all the others as it is the only one that does not contain a specific principle, rather than that it focused on the aspect of learning and how to effectively learn what the other scrolls contain. More precisely, these scrolls were designed to be read and learned in 10 months.

“What they will teach me is more to prevent failure than to gain success, for what is success other than a state of mind?” - Og Mandino

The Second Scroll: I will greet this day with love in my heart

In this chapter the author highlights the importance of maintaining a positive attitude, no matter how grave the circumstances seem. He refers to the ability of opening up to others and expressing your feelings, not only vocally but also with your body language as one of the greatest assets to carry with you in the marketplace.

It is mentioned again and again how love has the ability to enhance everything. His lessons to take away:

  • Look for the positive things in everything, even the grimmest of situations
  • View all obstacles as tools that will help you advance further
  • Always find reasons to encourage others, never criticize
  • Remain humble, especially when praised
  • Love all mankind, everyone has qualities worth of your admiration

"And how will I confront each whom I meet? In only one way. In silence and to myself I will address him and say I love You. Thought spoken in silence these words will shine in my eyes, unwrinkle my brow, bring a smile to my lips, and echo in my voice; and his heart will be opened. And who is there who will say nay to my goods when his heart feels my love?" - Og Mandino

What does love have to do with good salesmanship? Pretty much nothing and everything: while it won’t help you directly during the sales action, it might do so indirectly. The meaning behind it is to commit yourself to a life-changing positivity.

The Fourth Scroll: I am nature’s greatest miracle

There are no two people on earth who interact exactly the same way and that’s why Og Mandino emphasizes that we shouldn’t waste our time imitating others, but instead embrace our own qualities for they are unequaled.

"Vain attempts to imitate others no longer will I make. Instead will I place my uniqueness on display in the market place. I will proclaim it, yea, I will sell it. I will begin now to accent my differences; hide my similarities." - Og Mandino

And by miracle Og Mandino does not only mean to showcase the uniqueness of each person, but he also aims to destroy any prejudice about our own limits. It is mentioned that every individual should not underestimate his/her potential and never lose track of his/her real goal.

Lesson to take away:

  • Understand and embrace the fact that you are unique
  • Display your own uniqueness instead of wasting time imitating others
  • Never feel satisfied with past accomplishment, always go the extra mile
  • Leap into life-long learning, increasing your knowledge continuously
  • Separate professional life from personal life

So, these were the contents from 3 out of 10 principles presented in the book; shall we continue to the final verdict?

Bottom Line

The Greatest Salesman in the World is definitely a great-read. With barely over 100 pages, it proved to be a very easy and pleasant read, as you can comfortably go through it in one evening. I was impressed by the way the book was written, having the feeling that not a single word was wasted. Also, to my enjoyment, the book was written with a light touch of Archaic English (use of Thou, thee, thy etc.).

Now, if you rolled your eyes while reading parts of the review (I know some of you did!), some of the content feels very cliché, if love and confidence-pumping sentences are not your cup of tea you might want to consider twice before reading it. On the negative side, the last chapter came as quite the disappointment as it went into a religious direction by making a connection between the story and Christianity; however this did not spoil my overall opinion of the book.

Even if salesmanship is not part of your job description, isn’t it true that we all need to sell every day - be it ideas, inspiration, or simply personal opinions? While this book’s title is definitely about sales, its essence lies in creating the right foundation and mindset to pursue one’s own ambitions.

Further Learning:

Happy reading.

“Always do your best. What you plant now, you will harvest later." - Og Mandino

This post was written by Marios Kiriakidis, a guest author at BetaGlyph. You can find out more about the author at betaglyph.com/about.