Book Review: The Greatest Salesman in the World


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The Greatest Salesman in the World: You Can Change Your Life With the Priceless Wisdom of 10 Ancient Scrolls Handed Down for Thousands of Years

Author: Og Mandino
Publisher: Bantam Books, 1968
Price: $7.99 (paperback)
Pages: 111

If you haven’t read this classic yet, it’s high time that you did; it’s an oldie but a goodie. Obviously, from the title, you can guess that it is a bit dated (please excuse the term “salesman”). Good, I’m glad we got that out of the way.

This is one of the classics of selling—a short book full of very good advice told in the tradition of a parable. Mandino (Og to his friends) is the bestselling business book author of all time, and that’s saying something. He was putting this book out before it was cool, and this one is cool.

This is the story of Hafid, a billionaire in the time of Christ, who earned his fortune by—you guessed it—selling. Now, as he approaches his end, Hafid is looking for someone who is deserving enough to be handed his chest full of leather scrolls holding the secrets to his success. This is when Pathros, the camel boy, shows up asking Hafid for help in becoming a successful salesperson so he can marry his beloved.

Hafid makes Pathros an offer that if he can sell one robe, he will be given the secrets of his success. Spoiler alert—Pathros does not sell the robe, but instead gives it away to a family that needs it more than he does. When you read this book—and you will read this book—you will find out which famous family he gives the robe to, and why Hafid rewards him with his treasure chest of 10 leather scrolls, or what I call “the first business book.”

I won’t go into all of the secrets, but here are a few to whet your appetite:

  • I will persist until I succeed
  • I will greet each day with love in my heart
  • I will give away half of what I earn
  • Today, I will master my emotions

There are a few more, but I want you to read the book to get the full effect of what they were. My personal favorite is, “My dreams are worthless, my plans are dust, my goals are impossible. All are of no value unless they are followed by action.” To which I say, “Amen.” If you consider yourself a self-respecting salesperson, you must read this book before you read any other business book.

Dan Beaulieu is the president of D.B. Management.

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