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Every Man His Own University   By:

Every Man His Own University by Russell H. Conwell

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Every Man His Own University


Every Man's University Animals and "The Least Things" The Bottom Rung Thoughtfulness Instincts and Individuality



597 Fifth Avenue, New York


Copyright, 1917, by Harper & Brothers Printed in the United States of America



A distinct university walks about under each man's hat. The only man who achieves success in the other universities of the world, and in the larger university of life, is the man who has first taken his graduate course and his post graduate course in the university under his hat. There observation furnishes a daily change in the curriculum. Books are not the original sources of power, but observation, which may bring to us all wide experience, deep thinking, fine feeling, and the power to act for oneself, is the very dynamo of power.

Without observation, literature and meditation are shower and sunshine upon unbroken soil. Only those schools and colleges are true schools and colleges which regard it as the chief business of all their teaching to persuade those under their charge to see more perfectly what they are looking at, to find what they should have been unable to observe had it not been for their school instruction. You can't make a good arrow from a pig's tail, and you can seldom get a man worth while out of one who has gone through the early part of his life without having learned to be alert when things are to be seen or heard. John Stuart Blackie says that it is astonishing how much we all go about with our eyes wide open and see nothing, and Doctor Johnson says that some men shall see more while riding ten miles upon the top of an omnibus, than some others shall see in riding over the continent.

How to observe should be the motto, not only in the beginning of our life, but throughout our career. With the same intellectual gifts, interested in the same ideas, two men walk side by side through the same scenery and meet the same people. One man has had much inspiration from the country traversed, and has been intent upon all that he has seen and heard among the people. The other has caught no inspiration from beauty or bird or blossom, and only the trivialities of the people have amused him.[1]

A traveler in Athens or Rome, Paris or London, may be shown these cities by a professional guide, and yet gain only a smattering of what these cities hold in store for him, and remember little of what he has seen. Another traveler, unattended by a guide, but observant of everything that comes to his eyes and ears, will carry away stores from his visit to those cities, which shall be of life long interest and be serviceable to all who shall travel his way. The solitary but observant stranger in a country almost always profits most from his travels. He is compelled to notice boulevards and buildings, parks and people; and every day of his travels is a lesson in observation that accustoms him to remember all he has once seen. The newspaper correspondents of other days had no guide books or guides, and they were entire strangers in the places they visited. They relied entirely upon themselves to find their way, and to discover everything that was valuable and interesting. They found much that the modern guide either overlooks or disregards, and wrote for the papers at home what would most interest and instruct their readers.

When Henry M. Stanley first visited Jerusalem he insisted that the dragoman in charge of his party should keep all guides and guide books out of his sight. In two days Stanley knew the streets and the location of the Temple and the Holy Sepulcher and all the notable places in that old city. If Stanley is to day known as one of the most intelligent of travelers, it is mainly because he excelled in daily observation , which every one who thinks for himself recognizes as the supreme acquisition of a liberal education... Continue reading book >>

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