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The Key to Success   By:

The Key to Success by Russell H. Conwell

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The Key to Success

Observation: The Key to Success Who the Real Leaders Are Mastering Natural Forces Whom Mankind Shall Love Need of Orators Woman's Influence




597 Fifth Avenue, New York


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


People are thinking, but they can think much more. The housewife is thinking about the chemical changes caused by heat in meats, vegetables, and liquids. The sailor thinks about the gold in sea water, the soldier thinks of smokeless powder and muffled guns; the puddler meditates on iron squeezers and electric furnaces; the farmer admires Luther Burbank's magical combinations in plant life; the school girl examines the composition of her pencil and analyses the writing paper; the teacher studies psychology at first hand; the preacher understands more of the life that now is; the merchant and manufacturer give more attention to the demand. Yes, we are all thinking. But we are still thinking too far away; even the prism through which we see the stars is near the eyes. The dentist is thinking too much about other people's teeth.

This book is sent out to induce people to look at their own eyes, to pick up the gold in their laps, to study anatomy under the tutorship of their own hearts. One could accumulate great wisdom and secure fortunes by studying his own finger nails. This lesson seems the very easiest to learn, and for that reason is the most difficult.

The lecture, "The Silver Crown," which the author has been giving in various forms for fifty years, is herein printed from a stenographic report of one address on this general subject. It will not be found all together, as a lecture, for this book is an attempt to give further suggestion on the many different ways in which the subject has been treated, just as the lecture has varied in its illustrations from time to time. The lecture was addressed to the ear. This truth, which amplifies the lecture, is addressed to the eye.

I have been greatly assisted, and sometimes superseded, in the preparation of these pages by Prof. James F. Willis, of Philadelphia. Bless him!

My hope is by this means to reach a larger audience even than that which has heard some of the things herein so many times in the last forty five years. We do not hope to give or sell anything to the reader. He has enough already. But many starve with bread in their mouths. They spit it out and weep for food. Humans are a strange collection. But they can be induced to think much more accurately and far more efficiently. This book is sent out as an aid to closer observation and more efficient living.


September 1917.


An autobiography! What an absurd request! If all the conditions were favorable, the story of my public life could not be made interesting. It does not seem possible that any will care to read so plain and uneventful a tale.

I was a young man, not yet of age, when I delivered my first platform lecture. The Civil War of 1861 65 drew on with all its passions, patriotism, horrors, and fears, and I was studying law at Yale University. I had from childhood felt that I was "called to the ministry." The earliest event of memory is the prayer of my father at family prayers in the little old cottage in the Hampshire highlands of the Berkshire Hills, calling on God with a sobbing voice to lead me into some special service for the Saviour. It filled me with awe, dread, and fear, and I recoiled from the thought, until I determined to fight against it with all my power. So I sought for other professions and for decent excuses for being anything but a preacher... Continue reading book >>

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