Og Mandino, the late self-help expert who has influenced millions, is known best for his mega-selling book “The Greatest Salesman in the World.”
This little volume, just 110 pages, is a fictional story of a man who regards himself as a colossal failure before stumbling on a set of 10 scrolls with timeless wisdom. By applying these lessons, he becomes what the title promises and extremely wealthy.
Many successful businesspeople have sworn by Mandino’s extraordinary sagacity and ease of imparting pearls.
“He’s one of my favorite authors,” said Timothy Plan founder and President Art Ally. “I have read his books, and especially “The Greatest Salesman in the World” numerous times. They ring true because his north star was the Bible, where our Creator stored timeless insights for living.”
That’s the guiding philosophy behind Biblically Responsible Investing, which Ally pioneered in 1994 by founding the Timothy Plan mutual fund family, which now comprises 12 mutual funds and six ETFs. Art’s story can be found in “Invested in Purpose: The Birth of the Biblically Responsible Investment Movement” (Nehemiah Publishing, 2019).
Og, whose name was Augustine Mandino II, led a checkered life and even contemplated suicide before discovering a trove of self-help books in a library. With renewed optimism toward life, he wound up editing a magazine, “Success Unlimited.” In one edition, he included his own penned story about “The Greatest Salesman in the World.”
Fred Fell, who owned a small publishing house, came upon the article while in dentist’s waiting room. He recognized that it could be expanded into a book and contacted Mandino.
In 1968, “The Greatest Salesman in the World” was published and immediately began selling briskly, much of it through word of mouth. Eventually, it sold more than 13 million copies in 18 languages. Several more books followed, netting more than 36 million sales.
At Berkshire Hathaway’s REthink Report, Gino Blefart offered a tribute, including this brief bio of Mandino:
“Born in Boston, Og joined the Army Air Corps in 1942 and was honored with the Distinguished Flying Cross. After the war, he turned to a career as an insurance salesman, though that quickly spiraled downhill. While he traveled, he would stop at hotel bars during the night and drink, which turned into a serious drinking problem. His first wife left him. He was so depressed; he almost took his life. But thankfully for the world and all those he’s inspired since, he didn’t and instead, headed to the self-help section of his local library. It was there among words from the wise, Og decided to turn his life around.”
What followed was a steady string of best-selling books, speeches, articles and other products geared to self help. Mandino, who was born in December 1923, died in September 1996 at the age of 72.
Although Og wrote a book called “The Christ Commission,” an internet search turns up no details about his faith life. There is no doubt, however, about where he drew his strength and wisdom.
For handy reference, here are some Bible verses that illustrate points made in the scrolls found in “The Greatest Salesman in the World.”
Spoiler alert: Reading this book is like peeling back an onion, with readers gaining more and more insight into how it will end. I recommend not jumping around or thumbing to the back. If you want to be surprised at how the mystery unfolds, get a copy and have a good read. It won’t take very long.
Now that those who haven’t yet read it have been warned, here are the 10 principles in the scrolls, a sentence from Og, and relevant Bible verses.
Scroll One: Today I begin a new life. “I will form good habits and become their slave.”
Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” (John 3:3)
“Behold, I am making all things new.” (Rev. 21:5)
“The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning. (Lamentations 3:22-23)
Scroll Two: I will greet this day with love in my heart. “For this is the greatest secret of success in all ventures.”
“Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.” (1 John:48)
“Let all that you do be done in love.” 1 Cor. 16:14)
“There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear.” (1 John 4:18)
“If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.” (1 Corinthians 13:1)
Scroll Three: I will persist until I succeed. “I will try, and try, and try again. Each obstacle I will consider a mere detour.”
“For the righteous falls seven times and rises again, but the wicked stumble in times of calamity.” (Proverbs 24:16)
“Whoever is slothful will not roast his game, but the diligent man will get precious wealth.” (Proverbs 12:27)
“And endurance produces character, and character produces hope.” (Romans 5:4)
Scroll Four: I am nature’s greatest miracle. “All men are my brothers, yet I am different from each. I am a unique creature.”
“So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.” (Genesis 1:27)
“You made him for a little while lower than the angels; you have crowned him with glory and honor.” (Hebrews 2:7)
“I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.” (Psalm 139:14)
Scroll Five: I will live this day as if it is my last. “And if it is not, I shall fall to my knees and give thanks.”
“Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.” (Ephesians 5:15-16)
“Yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.” (James 4: 14)
“So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.” (Psalm 90:12)
Scroll Six: Today I will be master of my emotions. “I will master my moods through positive action and when I master my moods I will control my destiny.”
“A man without self-control is like a city broken into and left without walls.” (Proverbs 25:28)
“For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.” (2 Timothy 1:7)
“Whoever is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city.” (Proverbs 16:32)
Scroll Seven: I will laugh at the world. “I will laugh at evil and it will die untasted. I will laugh at goodness and it will thrive and abound.”
“All the days of the afflicted are evil, But he who is of a merry heart has a continual feast.” (Proverbs 15:15)
“A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.” (Proverbs 17:22)
“Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” (1 John 2:15)
“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” (Romans 12:2)
Scroll Eight: Today I will multiply my value by a hundredfold. “I will commit not the terrible crime of aiming too low.”
“And God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.’” (Genesis 1:27-28)
“I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13)
“For nothing will be impossible with God.” (Luke 1:37)
Scroll Nine: I will act now. “My procrastination which held me back was born of fear.”
“The hand of the diligent will rule, while the slothful will be put to forced labor.” (Proverbs 12:24)
“One who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing.” James 1:25)
“So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.” (James 4:17)
Scroll 10: I will pray for guidance. “Let me become all you planned for me when my seed was planted and selected by you to sprout in the vineyard of the world.”
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” (Philippians 4:6)
“If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.” (James 1:5)
“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened.” (Matthew 7:7-8)
In the final chapter, Mandino offers his own suggestions for prayer, as expressed by the protagonist of his story:
“Oh creator of all things help me. For this day I go out into the world naked and alone, and without your hand to guide me I will wander far from the path which leads to success and happiness.”
In a passage strikingly similar to the prayer offered up to God by King Solomon, who sought wisdom rather than riches, Mandino says this:
“I ask not for gold or garments or even opportunities equal to my ability; instead, guide me so that I may acquire ability equal to my opportunities.”
A writer for Timothy Partners, Ltd. He is a regular weekly columnist for The Washington Times and Townhall.com and is frequently published by AmericanThinker.com, DailyCaller.com, OneNewsNow.com, and others. He has authored the following books: “A Strong Constitution: What Would America Look Like If We Followed the Law” (D. James Kennedy Ministries, 2018), Invested with Purpose: The Birth of the Biblically-Responsible Investment Movement, and A Nation Worth Fighting For: 10 Steps to Restore Freedom.