Acres of diamonds

"Acres of diamonds" is the autobiography of Russell Conwell, that was named after a lecture he gave thousands of times, one that people found so interesting that they listened to it multiple times. The book doesn't reveal what exactly he spoke about, but rather explains some of the principles by which this modest man lived. I have seen that some people described it as “life-changing” and this was enough to make me want to read it. I almost forgot about it, until I saw it in the Project Gutenberg archive of free books. It's worth a read and even rereading might reveal a new perspective.

Here is a mix of some of the ideas I found interesting about it:

“ Money is power and you need to be reasonably ambitious to have it. Always use what is given to you in the best possible way. Don't idolize money; think for the purposes it should be used. […] Poor people are mostly made poor by their own shortcommings. […] A man can judge well what he is worth by what he receives, by what he is to the world at this time. […] Your wealth is too near to you. You are looking right over it. There's wealth right within the sound of your voice. […] Carry your religion into business. […] You cannot trust a man with your money who cannot take care of his own. […] Live as you go along, every day. […] Inherited money isn't helpful; it will curse you through the years. The best thing in life is to earn your own living. […] Rich people's sons rarely die rich. […] What you need is common sense, not copper cents. […] First know the demand, know what people need, then invest yourself where you're most needed. A.T. Stewart became rich this way. Only invest yourself or your money in something people need. […] Richest people most often live in small towns. If you cannot get rich in a small town, you can't do it in bigger one too. […] Customized products can create the biggest stores. […] When big businesses lose on trust, the smaller people get great opportunities. […] If you know what people need, you have gotten more knowledge of a fortune than any amount of capital can give. Then it doesn't matter that you lack the starting capital. […] You increase the amount you make gradually over time, not in a day. […] Where there's a human need, there's a great fortune. […] Great action requires great willingness for action. […] The great innovator sits next to you or you are the person yourself. […] You never see anything great over your back fence. Greatness often stays unrecognized. […] Whatsoever Abraham Lincoln had to do at all, he put his whole mind into it and held it all there until that was all done. […] “I am a very busy man and have only a few minutes to spare. Now tell me in the fewest words what it is you want... I've heard about it and you don't need to say more” – Abraham Lincoln […] There's no greatness in a puffied balloon, held down by his big feet. […] The worst thing that can happen to a city is to talk all proposed improvements down. Instead, begin to talk things up before anyone else. Get this into the overall spirit of the people and talk up your own city. […] It is a prima facie evidence of littleness to hold office under your own form of government. Best nations are governed by the people for the people. […] The servant cannot be greater than the master. 'He that is sent cannot be greater than Him who sent Him' – The Bible […] When people rule, noone needs the bigger man in the office. […] Countries aren't run by votes, they are governed by influence. With one vote, you'll remain unknown. […] You're not going to be made great by an office. If you're not great before going into it, you won't be great too when you secure it. Greatness consists not in holding an office, but in doing great deeds with little means and the accomplishment of vast purposes from the private ranks of life. Good deeds are also known from a far. […] To be great at all, one must be great here, now. Begin where you are and what you are now. Be a blessing for those around you. […] Great people are great in everything they do. They are a constant inspiration. They are dreamers, visualizing their dreams, planning great things that seem impossible to achieve, being very practical, intensely efficient, powerful, skillful, patient, earnest, developing their dreams into realities. […] Realize people's unusual capabilities early on and develop on them. […] True friendship is eternal. 'Come and make an acquintance that will last for eternity.' — Russell Conwell […] Work not only for yourself, but for others too. […] Being yourself is better than being a minister. […] Try many things and see what works. […] Draw doubters and weaklings into line, stir those who have given up. […] Triumph comes not only from putting enthusiasm in yourself, but in others too. […] A little girl couldn't go to Sunday school, because there was no more room. She cried. A man saw her , asked why she was crying, lifted her in his shoulders, went through the crowd of people, brought her in and said that one day they should have a room big enough for all who should come. The girl decided to save money to help build the bigger church that this man wanted. Her parents left her do little tasks to earn pennies. Few weeks later the girl suddenly became ill and died. At her funeral, the father has given her savings—57 cents—to the man who helped her to continue her cause. He was deeply moved to do so. Having heard of the story, the man who owned the land on which the church was built was deeply touched and decided to take a first payment of 57 cents, leaving a mortgage of 5% only. Seing how construction was now possible, more people gathered and decided to surprise the man with the cause and his wife in their home, announcing that they raised the entire 10000$ required. The “Temple Baprist Church” opened in 1891 and everyone who gave money had his name inscribed in wood. If the church was small, it wouldn't have been debt‐free. There's an advantage of aiming at big things. […] Clear‐cut articulation is the charm of eloquence. But avoid elocution. Speak in your natural voice, don't break words. Control of the speech makes the orator. A speaker must possess a lighthearted regard for the welfare of the audience. Humour captivates it. Each point is a hammer in which you drive home a truth. A man has no right to use words carelessly. People are more impressed by illustration than by argument. Save at least one soul with every sermon. When giving a speech, people should feel like they are listening to a friend. […] Enthusiasm invites more of it. […] Elias Howe didn't invent the sewing machine. He tried for 14 years, but then his wife felt that something needs to be done and invented it in hours. We are in touch with everybody and everything. […] We are in the world to do all the good we could possibly do; not a moment of opportunity must be lost. […] Lead the singing. Imbue others with your happiness. Make everybody feel happy. Move and touch every heart. It's a special opportunity to do good. […] While doing big things, keep an eye on the details too. Do things simply and naturally. […] Even most enthusiastic people get doubtful and depressed. It will all come out right some time. […] Dream big dreams. This goes hand‐in‐hand with winning superb results. It is just as easy to do a large thing as a small one, and in fact, a little easier. Don't be satisfied with the small things in life. […] Let patience have her perfect work. Self‐control is needed to avoid anger of impatience and over‐haste. […] Forget your pride, be modest and look at every phase in your life from the perspective of the people who helped you to get there. Always give credit. […] Hitch your chariot to a star. […] Speak to the forgotten people rather than the rich and comfortable. […] Don't permit illness to interfere with your plans. Ignore suffering and act from a position of strength. […] As a teacher, cultivate a taste for the higher and most useful branches of learning. […] The realization of the students is the highest reward for a university. […] Try to open the view of life for others, to broaden it. […] See and be able to describe vividly. […] Seek people who are devoted to your ideas and ideals by their own choice. […] Every brook has its own song. […] Never initiate a talk about religion. […] Work hard and all your life will work hard. Time is precious. You'll forget the hours you didn't sleep, but not the intelligent faces. […] Quiet charity is more noble. […] Never give up, never forget what you previously decided/discussed. […] In work, we forget our sadness, loneliness, age. Work till the shadows grow longer. Die in harness. […] Leave people behind you that will do even more work. […] Help without trying to increase the sense of obligation in others. […] Lectures can uplift/inspire others and do more than what money can. […] An autobiography is the point where you need to think what others have done for you. ”

Russell Conwell in "Acres of diamonds"

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