Book Notes: The Greatest Salesman in the World

by Scott - 4 Comments

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I just finished The Greatest Salesman in the World. It’s a fantastic, fun read about the quest of a lowly cattle herder to become the greatest salesman in the world under the tutelage of non other than the current greatest salesman of the world!

His training comes in the forms of learning to embody the lessons within 10 scrolls given to him by his mentor.

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I read this book and it left me feeling so good. I honestly want to read it every day as just a general life guide to remind myself of principles for prosperity & success.

Below are my notes & commentary followed by summary of the 10 scrolls which a reader Alex Zozo showed me online.

Things I want to remember:

  • Principles stand the test of time. Always prioritize developing a core that withstands the ebbs and flows of external factors over the development of short term tactics – strengthen virtues like integrity, persistence, resilience, self-control.
    • “Furthermore, experience is comparable to fashion; an action that proved successful today will be unworkable and impractical tomorrow. Only principles endure and these I now possess, for the laws that will lead me to greatness are contained in the words of these scrolls.”
  • Repetition is the mother of skill. This is the key to making that which is difficult, easy.
    • “[Becoming the greatest salesman in the world], indeed, a simple task provided one is willing to pay the price in time and concentration until each principle becomes a part of one’s personality; until each principle becomes a habit in living.”
  • There is an opportunity to approach every circumstance with love which is the key to internal serenity and joy. This is how we are meant to live.
  • Self love means respecting your body and avoiding those things that retard your personal growth. Strive to exercise moderation and discipline (spicy tequila!).
    • “And most of all I will love myself. For when I do I will zealously inspect all things which enter my body, my mind, my soul, and my heart. Never will I overindulge the requests of my flesh, rather I will cherish my body with cleanliness and moderation. Never will I allow my mind to be attracted to evil and despair, rather I will uplift it with the knowledge and wisdom of the ages. Never will I allow my soul to become complacent and satisfied, rather I will feed it with meditation and prayer. Never will I allow my heart to become small and bitter, rather I will share it and it will grow and warm the earth.”

  • Always strive for constant improvement. Your greatest competition is your previous effort.
    • “When each day is ended, not regarding whether it has been a success or a failure, I will attempt to achieve one more sale. When my thoughts beckon my tired body homeward I will resist the temptation to depart. I will try again. I will make one more attempt to close with victory, and if that fails I will make another. Never will I allow any day to end with a failure. Thus will I plant the seed of tomorrow’s success and gain” an insurmountable advantage over those who cease their labor at a prescribed time.
    • “And if [today] is my last, it will be my greatest monument. This day I will make the best day of my life. This day I will drink every minute to its full. I will savor its taste and give thanks. I will maketh every hour count and each minute I will trade only for something of value. I will labor harder than ever before and push my muscles until they cry for relief, and then I will continue. I will make more calls than ever before. I will sell more goods than ever before. I will earn more gold than ever before. Each minute of today will be more fruitful than hours of yesterday.”

  • Habits and rituals should be employed as strategies in order to combat short term emotional volatility. I.e. Low energy -> cold shower. Contempt -> prayer. Anxiety -> verbal gratitude. #peakstate!
    • “Weak is he who permits his thoughts to control his actions; strong is he who forces his actions to control his thoughts. Each day, when I awaken, I will follow this plan of battle before I am captured by the forces of sadness, self-pity and failure— If I feel depressed I will sing. If I feel sad I will laugh. If I feel ill I will double my labor. If I feel fear I will plunge ahead. If I feel inferior I will wear new garments. If I feel uncertain I will raise my voice. If I feel poverty I will think of wealth to come. If I feel incompetent I will remember past success. If I feel insignificant I will remember my goals. Today I will be master of my emotions.”
    • “Four words I will train myself to say until they become a habit so strong that immediately they will appear in my mind whenever good humor threatens to depart from me.”
      • “These four words are: This too shall pass. I will laugh at the world.”
  • Good reminder to pray for guidance & wisdom, not outcomes.
    • “Never will I seek delivery of gold, love, good health, petty victories, fame, success, or happiness. Only for guidance will I pray, that I may be shown the way to acquire these things, and my prayer will always be answered. The guidance I seek may come, or the guidance I seek may not come, but are not both of these an answer? If a child seeks bread from his father and it is not forthcoming has not the father answered? I will pray for guidance, and I will pray as a salesman, in this manner.”

Here is a summary of the scrolls from the greatest salesman in the world someone shared with me.

Truly amazing words to live by.

Scroll I:
Everyday a person is reborn – he can forget the
failures of the past.  Habits are the difference between
success and failure.  Therefore in order to achieve success,
it is necessary to form good habits and become their slave.
This first scroll teaches the best way to learn the meaning
of the others.  Each successive scroll will contain a
principle enabling the reader to replace a bad habit with a
good one.  Each scroll must be read three times a day – the
last time a loud – for thirty consecutive days.  This way,
the scrolls’ wisdom becomes both a part of the active and
subconscious mind.

Scroll II:
Love can be the salesman’s greatest weapon, for
even if people reject many particulars concerning the
salesman’s wares, love will soften them.  Love can be
developed by always looking for the best in people.  Each
time we meet someone we should state silently, “I Love You.”
But in order to love others, we must love ourselves, treat
ourselves with respect, and not be satisfied with anything
but our finest efforts.

Scroll III:
“I will persist until I succeed.”  People are
born to succeed, not to fail.  Defeat will not be
considered, and word such as quit, cannot, unable, and
impossible are not part of the growing disciple’s
vocabulary.  Every failure moves a man closer to success.
When the day ends and the salesman wants to quit, he must
force himself to make one more sale; to end the day with
success.

Scroll IV:
People are nature’s greatest miracle.  Each
person is different in appearance as well as ability, and we
should capitalize on, rather than despise, these
differences.  We must concentrate on the task at hand, not
allowing ourselves to be preoccupied with problems of home
while in the marketplace, or of the marketplace while we are
at home.  We each have eyes to see, ears to hear, and a mind
with which to think.  This is everything we need to thrive.

Scroll V:
Live each day as if it were your last.  Dwelling
on the failures or misfortunes of the past is useless, for
we cannot change them.  Nor should we think about tomorrow.
The present hours and minutes, pass too quickly and are gone
forever, and so, they must be traded only for things of
value.  We should always treat our family and our friends as
if today were our last day together.

Scroll VI:
We are masters over our emotions.  Although we
daily pass through different moods, each of us has the power
to control them; to “create our own weather.”  If we bring
joy and enthusiasm and brightness to all that we do, others
will react in a similar manner.  “Strong is he who forces
his actions to control his thoughts.”  No matter how we feel
when we arise in the morning, we can sing or laugh and make
ourselves feel better.  No matter  what other people do or
how they react, we can decide to be positive and
understanding.

Scroll VII:
” … Cultivate the habit of laughter.”  Man is
the only creature who can laugh, and the best thing to laugh
at is ourselves.  Whenever things seem to serious or dismal,
repeat the word, “This too shall pass, ” and all troublesome
thoughts will seem lighter.  Laughers puts events –
successes as well as failures – into perspective.  Only with
laughter and gratitude can we enjoy the fruits of
prosperity.

Scroll VIII:
Seek out opportunities and experiences that
will multiply in value.  A grain of wheat has not choice as
to what it will become – whether it will be ground into
bread or planted in the earth to multiply – but each human
being has a choice – to grow or to perish.  In order to
“multiply in value,” we must set goals, short-term as well
as long-term.  We must not worry if we experience initial
failure in reaching our goals; we compete only with
ourselves.  Upon reaching goal, we multiply again by setting
another, and by striving to constantly make the next hour
better than the present one.

Scroll IX:
Our dream and plans are of no value without
action.  Procrastination comes from fear, and we overcome
fear only through action.  It is better to act now and risk
failure, than to refrain from action and certainly flounder.
Fireflies give light only when they fly.  Through doing, we
become like them, giving off light amid the darkness.  Only
action gives life significance.  If success is offered now,
we must act now.

Scroll X:
Almost everyone, in a moment of terror or
anguish, will turn to God for help.  But a true believer
will pray for guidance, not only for help.  He calls on God
not for material things, but for the knowledge to understand
the way to acquire what is needed.  Nevertheless, we must
realize that sometimes we will not be given the sort of
guidance we ask for – this, too, is an answer to prayer.
Pray for ability equal to the opportunity, for good habits,
for love, to use words well, to humbly forge through all
obstacles, to reach worthwhile goals.

Current Reading List:

I also just finished Modern Romance, but I thought this book deserved its own post.

On the non-fiction side, I’m currently reading The Challenger Customer and about to start Hard Drive per the recommendation of smart VC!

Please share your thoughts and reactions to these notes from The Greatest Salesman in the World in the comments! I’d love to hear from you.

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