I have this book sitting beside my bed. I went through a phase about 15 years ago when I was quite interested in reading about sales, how to run organizations, how to communicate better, and how to make money. It was about the same time as my NT Wright phase, if I recall correctly.
Most of those books have long since found their way to our local Vinnies or, more likely, the second hand bookshops around Carlton, Victoria.
For some reason I never tossed this one. I like the cover, which has the title in a Times New Roman type font, although I wouldn't really know. It was written in 1949 and my edition is 1988.
Having never raised myself from failure to success in selling, I don't know if this is a good book or not. But apart from the cover, what prompted me to keep it was its plain and direct style (whereas NT Wright's The New Testament and the People of God is no longer on my shelves. I don't know if it ever was, actually, or if I just scummed a copy off a friend.)
It is full of hokey stories which remind me of a different era, where despite the effects of two world wars an optimistic modernism reigned supreme. Here's one:
A dismal failure at selling life insurance, I finally concluded that I was never cut out to be a salesman, and began answering want ads for a job as a shipping clerk. I realised, however, that no matter what work I tried to do, I had to overcome a strange fear-complex that possessed me, so I joined one of Dale Carnegie's courses in public speaking. One night, Mr. Carnegie stopped me in the middle of a talk.
"Mr. Bettger," he said. "Just a moment...just a moment. Are you interested in what you are saying?"
"Yes...of course I am." I replied.
"Well then," said Mr. Carnegie, "why don't you talk with a little enthusiasm? How do you expect your audience to be interested if you don't put some life and animation into what you say?"
Dale Carnegie then gave our class a stirring talk on the power of enthusiasm. He got so excited during the talk, he threw a chair up against the wall and broke off one of its legs.
Before I went to bed that night, I sat for an hour thinking. My thoughts went back to my baseball days at Johnston and New Haven. For the first time, I realised that the very fault which had threatened to wreck my career in baseball was now threatening to wreck my career as a salesman.
I love it.