I CALL THAT MAN IDLE WHO MIGHT BE BETTER EMPLOYED.
“You Can Do It if You Believe You Can!”
IMAGINATION is the workshop of the human
mind wherein old ideas and established facts may be
reassembled into new combinations and put to new
uses. The modern dictionary defines imagination as
“The act of constructive intellect in grouping the
materials of knowledge or thought into new, original
and rational systems; the constructive or creative
faculty; embracing poetic, artistic, philosophic,
scientific and ethical imagination.
“The picturing power of the mind; the formation
of mental images, pictures, or mental representation of
objects or ideas, particularly of objects of sense
perception and of mathematical reasoning! also the
reproduction and combination, usually with more or
less irrational or abnormal modification, of the images
or ideas of memory or recalled facts of experience.”
Imagination has been called the creative power of
the soul, but this is somewhat abstract and goes more
deeply into the meaning than is necessary from the
viewpoint of a student of this course who wishes to
use the course only as a means of attaining material or
monetary advantages in life.
If you have mastered and thoroughly understood
the preceding lessons of this Reading Course you
know that the materials out of which you built your
definite chief aim were assembled and combined in
your imagination. You also know that self-confidence
and initiative and leadership must be created in your
imagination before they can become a reality, for it is
in the workshop of your imagination that you will put
the principle of Auto-suggestion into operation in
creating these necessary qualities.
This lesson on imagination might be called the
“hub” of this Reading Course, because every lesson of
the course leads to this lesson and makes use of the
principle upon which it is based, just as all the
telephone wires lead to the exchange office for their
source of power. You will never have a definite
purpose in life, you will never have self-confidence,
you will never have initiative and leadership unless
you first create these qualities in your imagination
and see yourself in possession of them.
Just as the oak tree develops from the germ that
lies in the acorn, and the bird develops from the germ
that lies asleep in the egg, so will your material
achievements grow out of the organized plans that you
create in your imagination. First comes the thought;
then, organization of that thought into ideas and
plans; then transformation of those plans into reality.
The beginning, as you will observe, is in your
The imagination is both interpretative and
creative in nature. It can examine facts, concepts and
ideas, and it can create new combinations and plans
out of these.
Through its interpretative capacity the
imagination has one power not generally attributed to
it; namely, the power to register vibrations and
thought waves that are put into motion from outside
sources, just as the radio-receiving apparatus picks up
the vibrations of sound. The principle through which
this interpretative capacity of the imagination
functions is called telepathy; the communication of
thought from one mind to another, at long or short
distances, without the aid of physical or mechanical
appliances, in the manner explained in the
Introductory Lesson of this course.
Telepathy is an important factor to a student who
is preparing to make effective use of imagination, for
the reason that this telepathic capacity of the
imagination is constantly picking up thought waves
and vibrations of every description. So-called “snap-
judgment” and “hunches,” which prompt one to form
an opinion or decide upon a course of action that is
not in harmony with logic and reason, are usually the
result of stray thought waves that have registered in
The recently developed radio apparatus has
enabled us to understand that the elements of the ether
are so sensitive and alive that all manner of sound
waves are constantly flying here and there with
lightning-like speed. You have only to understand the
modern radio outfit to understand, also, the principle
of telepathy. So well has this principle been
established, through psychological research, that we
have abundance of proof that two minds which are
properly attuned and in harmony with each other may
send and receive thought at long distances without the
aid of mechanical apparatus of any sort. Rarely have
two minds become so well attuned that unbroken
chains of thought could be registered in this manner,
but there is evidence sufficient to establish the fact
that parts of organized thought have been picked up.
That you may understand how closely interwoven
are the fifteen factors upon which this Reading Course
is based, consider, for example, what happens when a
salesman who lacks confidence in himself, and in his
goods, walks in to see a prospective buyer. Whether
the prospective buyer is conscious of it or not, his
imagination immediately “senses” that lack of
confidence in the salesman’s mind. The salesman’s
own thoughts are actually undermining his efforts.
This will explain, from another angle, why self-
confidence is one of the most important factors
entering into the great struggle for success.
The principle of telepathy and the law of
attraction, through which like attracts like, explain
many a failure. If the mind has a tendency to attract
from the ether those thought vibrations which
harmonize with the dominating thoughts of a given
mind, you can easily understand why a negative mind
that dwells upon failure and lacks the vitalizing force
of self-confidence would not attract a positive mind
that is dominated by thoughts of success.
Perhaps these explanations are somewhat abstract
to the student who has not made any particular study
of the functioning processes of the mind, but it seems
necessary to inject them into this lesson as a means of
enabling the student to understand and make practical
use of the subject of this lesson. The imagination is
too often regarded merely as an indefinite,
untraceable, indescribable something that does
nothing but create fiction. It is this popular disregard
of the powers of the imagination that has made
necessary these more or less abstract references to one
of the most important subjects of this course. Not only
is the subject of imagination an important factor in
this course; but, it is one of the most interesting
subjects, as you will observe when you begin to see
how it affects all that you do toward the achievement
of your definite chief aim.
You will see how important is the subject of
imagination when you stop to realize that it is the
only thing in the world over which you have absolute
control. Others may deprive you of your material
wealth and cheat you in a thousand ways, but no man
can deprive you of the control and use of your
imagination. Men may deal with you unfairly, as men
often do; they may deprive you of your liberty, but
they cannot take from you the privilege of using your
imagination as you wish.
The most inspiring poem in all literature was
written by Leigh Hunt, while he was a poverty-
stricken prisoner in an English prison, where he had
been unjustly confined because of his advanced views
on politics. This poem is entitled Abou Ben Adhem,
and it is here re-printed as a reminder that one of the
great things a man may do, in his own imagination, is
to forgive those who have dealt unjustly with him:
Abou Ben Adhem (may his tribe increase)
Awoke one night from a deep dream of peace,
THE MAN WHO SLANDERS HIS FELLOWMAN UN-WITTINGLY UNCOVERS THE REAL NATURE OF HIS INNER SELF.
And saw within the moonlight of his room,
Making it rich and like a lily in bloom,
An angel writing in a book of gold,
Exceeding peace had made Ben Adhem bold,
And to the presence in the room he said:
“What writest thou?” – the vision raised its head,
And, with a look made of all sweet accord,
Answered, “The names of those who love the Lord.”
“And is mine one?” said Abou. “Nay, not so,”
Replied the angel, – Abou spoke more low,
But cheerily still; and said, “I pray thee, then,
Write me as one that loves his fellow men.”
The angel wrote, and vanished. The next night
It came again, with a great wakening light,
And showed the names whom love of God had blessed,
And, lo! Ben Adhem’s name led all the rest!
Civilization, itself, owes its existence to such
men as Leigh Hunt, in whose fertile imaginations have
been pictured the higher and nobler standards of
human relationship. Abou Ben Adhem is a poem that
will never die, thanks to this man who pictured in his
imagination the hope of an ideal that is constructive.
The major trouble with this world today lies in
our lack of understanding of the power of
imagination, for if we understood this great power we
could use it as a weapon with which to wipe out
poverty and misery and injustice and persecution, and
this could be done in a single generation. This is a
rather broad statement, and no one understands better
than the author of this course how useless such a
statement would be if the principle upon which it is
founded were not explained in terms of the most
practical, workaday nature; therefore, let us proceed
to describe what is meant.
To make this description understandable we must
accept as a reality the principle of telepathy, through
the operation of which every thought we release is
registering itself in the minds of other people. We
need devote no time to proving that telepathy is a
reality, for the reason that this lesson on imagination
cannot be of the slightest value to the student who has
not sufficiently informed himself to understand and
accept telepathy as an established principle. We will
take it for granted that you are one who accepts and
understands this principle.
You have often heard of “mob psychology,”
which is nothing more nor less than some strong,
dominating idea that has been created in the mind of
one or more persons and registers itself in the minds
of other persons, through the principle of telepathy.
So strong is the power of mob psychology that two
men fighting in the street will often start a “free-for-
all” fight in which by-standers will engage each other
in battle without even knowing what they are fighting
about, or with whom they are fighting.
On armistice day, 1918, we had evidence in
abundance to prove the reality of the principle of
telepathy, on a scale such as the world had never
before witnessed. I remember, distinctly, the
impression made on my mind on that eventful day. So
strong was this impression that it awakened me at
about 3:00 o’clock in the morning, just as effectively
as if someone had aroused me by physical force. As I
sat up in bed I knew that something out of the
ordinary had happened, and so strange and impelling
was the effect of this experience that I got up, dressed
myself and went out in the streets of Chicago, where I
was met by thousands of others who had felt the touch
of the same influence. Everyone was asking: “What
has happened? ”
What had happened was this:
Millions of men had received instructions to
cease fighting, and their combined joy set into motion
a thought wave that swept the entire world and made
itself felt in every normal mind that was capable of
registering this thought wave. Perhaps never in the
history of the world had so many millions of people
thought of the same thing, in the same manner, at the
same time. For once in the history of the world
everybody felt something in common, and the effect of
this harmonized thought was the world-wide “mob
psychology” that we witnessed on armistice day. In
connection with this statement it will be helpful if you
recall what was said about the method of creating a
“Master Mind,” through the harmony of thought of two
or more persons, in the Introductory Lesson of this
We will bring the application of this principle a
little nearer home by showing how it may be made to
make or break the harmonious working relationship of
a business or industry. You may not have satisfied
yourself that it was the harmony of thought of
millions of soldiers that registered in the minds of the,
people of the world and caused the “mob”
psychological condition that was everywhere in
evidence on armistice day, but you will need no proof
that a disgruntled person always disturbs everyone
with whom he comes in contact. It is a well
established fact that one such person in a place of
employment will disrupt the entire organization. The
time is almost at hand when neither the workers nor
the employers will tolerate the typical “grouch” inside
of a place of employment, for the reason that his state
of mind registers itself in the minds of those about
him, resulting in distrust, suspicion and lack of
harmony. The time is near at hand when the workers
in a place of employment will no more tolerate one of
their own rank and file who is a typical “grouch” than
they would a poisonous snake.
Apply the principle in another way: Place among
a group of workers one person whose personality is of
the positive, optimistic type, and who makes it his
business to sow the seeds of harmony around the place
where he works, and his influence will reflect itself in
every person who works with him.
If every business is “the extended shadow of one
man” as Emerson stated, then it behooves that one
man to reflect a shadow of confidence and good cheer
and optimism and harmony, that these qualities may,
in turn, reflect themselves in all who are connected
with the business.
In passing to the next step in our application of
the power of imagination in the attainment of success
we will cite some of the most recent and modern
examples of its use in the accumulation of material
wealth and the perfection of some of the leading
inventions of the world.
In approaching this next step it should be borne
ill mind that “there is nothing new under the sun.”
Lift, on this earth may be likened to a great
kaleidoscope before which the scenes and facts and
material substances are ever shifting and changing,
and all any man can do is to take these facts and
substances and re-arrange them in new combinations.
The process through which this is done is called
We have stated that the imagination is both
interpretative and creative in its nature. It can receive
impressions or ideas and out of these it can form new
As our first illustration of the power of
imagination in modern business achievement, we will
take the case of Clarence Saunders, who organized the
Piggly-Wiggly system of self-help grocery stores.
Saunders was a grocery clerk in a small southern
retail store. One day he was standing in a line, with a
tin tray in his hands, waiting his turn to secure food in
a cafeteria. He had never earned more than $20.00 a
week before that time, and no one had ever noticed
anything about him that indicated unusual ability, but
something took place in his mind, as he stood in that
line of waiting people, that put his imagination to
work. With the aid of his imagination he lifted that
“self-help” idea out of the cafeteria in which he found
it (not creating anything new, merely shifting an old
idea into a new use) and set it down in a grocery
store. In an instant the Piggly-Wiggly chain-store
grocery plan had been created and Clarence Saunders
the twenty-dollar-a-week grocery clerk rapidly became
the million-dollar chain-store groceryman of America.
Where, in that transaction, do you see the
slightest indication of a performance that you could
IT will make a big difference to you
whether you are a person with a
message or a person with a grievance.
Analyze this transaction and measure it by the
previous lessons of this course and you will see that
Clarence Saunders created a very definite purpose. He
supported this purpose with sufficient self-confidence
to cause him to take the initiative to transform it into
reality. His imagination was the workshop in which
these three factors, definite purpose, self-confidence
and initiative were brought together and made to
supply the momentum for the first step in the
organization of the Piggly-Wiggly plan.
Thus are great ideas changed into realities.
When Thomas A. Edison invented the
incandescent electric light bulb he merely brought
together two old, well known principles and
associated them in a new combination. Mr. Edison and
practically all others who were informed on the
subject of electricity, knew that a light could be
produced by heating a small wire with electricity, but
the difficult problem was to do this without burning
the wire in two. In his experimental research Mr.
Edison tried out every conceivable sort of wire,
hoping to find some substance that would withstand
the tremendous heat to which it had to be subjected
before a light could be produced.
His invention was half completed, but it was of
no practical value until he could find the missing link
that would supply the other half. After thousands of
tests and much combining of old ideas in his
imagination, Edison finally found this missing link. In
his study of physics he had learned, as all other
students of this subject learn, that there can be no
combustion without the presence of oxygen. He of
course knew that the difficulty with his electric light
apparatus was the lack of a method through which to
control the heat. When it occurred to him that there
could be no combustion where there was no oxygen he
placed the little wire of his electric light apparatus
inside of a glass globe, shut out all the oxygen, and
lo! the mighty incandescent light was a reality.
When the sun goes down tonight you step to the
wall, press a button and bring it back again, a
performance that would have mystified the people of a
few generations ago, and yet there is no mystery back
of your act. Thanks to the use of Edison’s
imagination, you have simply brought together two
principles both of which were in existence since the
beginning of time.
No one who knew him intimately ever accredited
Andrew Carnegie with unusual ability, or the power of
genius, except in one respect, and that was his ability
to select men who could and would co-operate in a
spirit of harmony, in carrying out his wishes. But what
additional ability did he need in the accumulation of
his millions of dollars?
Any man who understands the principle of
organized effort, as Carnegie understood it, and knows
enough about men to be able to select just those types
that are needed in the performance of a given task,
could duplicate all that Carnegie accomplished.
Carnegie was a man of imagination. He first
created a definite purpose and then surrounded
himself with men who had ‘the training and the vision
and the capacity necessary for the transformation of
that purpose into reality. Carnegie did not always
create his own plans for the attainment of his definite
purpose. He made it his business to know what he
wanted, then found the men who could create plans
through which to procure it. And that was not only
imagination, it was genius of the highest order.
But it should be made clear that men of Mr.
Carnegie’s type are not the only ones who can make
profitable use of imagination. This great power is as
available to the beginner in business as it is to the
man who has “arrived.”
One morning Charles M. Schwab’s private car was
backed on the side-track at his Bethlehem Steel plant.
As he alighted from his car he was met by a young
man stenographer who announced that he had come to
make sure that any letters or telegrams Mr. Schwab
might wish to write would be taken care of promptly.
No one told this young man to be on hand, but he had
enough imagination to see that his being there would
not hurt his chances of advancement. From that day
on, this young man was “marked” for promotion. Mr.
Schwab singled him out for promotion because he had
done that which any of the dozen or so other
stenographers in the employ of the Bethlehem Steel
Company might have done, but didn’t. Today this same
man is the president of one of the largest drug
concerns in the world and has all of this world’s goods
and wares that he wants and much more than he needs.
A few years ago I received a letter from a young
man who had just finished Business College, and who
wanted to secure employment in my office. With his
letter he sent a crisp ten-dollar bill that had never
been folded. The letter read as follows
“I have just finished a commercial course in a
first-class business college and I want a position in
your office because I realize how much it would be
worth to a young man, just starting out on his business
career, to have the privilege of working under the
direction of a man like you.
“If the enclosed ten-dollar bill is sufficient to pay
for the time you would spend in giving me my first
week’s instructions I want you to accept it. I will work
the first month without pay and you may set my wages
after that at whatever I prove to be worth.
“I want this job more than I ever wanted anything
in my life and I am willing to make any reasonable
sacrifice to get it. Very cordially,”
This young man got his chance in my office. His
imagination gained for him the opportunity that he
wanted, and before his first month had expired the
president of a life insurance company who heard of
this incident offered the young man a private
secretary-ship at a substantial salary. He is today an
official of one of the largest life insurance companies
in the world.
Some years ago a young man wrote to Thomas A.
Edison for a position. For some reason Mr. Edison did
not reply. By no means discouraged on this account
the young man made up his mind that he would not
only get a reply from Mr. Edison, but what was more
important still, he would actually secure the position
he sought. He lived a long distance from West Orange,
New Jersey, where the Edison industries are located,
and he did not have the money with which to pay his
railroad fare. But he did have imagination. He went to
West Orange in a freight car, got his interview, told
his story in person and got the job he sought.
Today this same man lives in Bradentown,
Florida. He has retired from active business, having
made all the money he needs. His name, in case you
wish to confirm my statements, is Edwin C. Barnes.
By using his imagination, Mr. Barnes saw the
advantage of close association with a man like Thomas
A. Edison. He saw that such an association would give
him the opportunity to study Mr. Edison, and at the
same time it would bring him in contact with Mr.
Edison’s friends, who are among the most influential
people of the world.
These are but a few cases in connection with
which I have personally observed how men have
climbed to high places in the world and accumulated
wealth in abundance by making practical use of their
Theodore Roosevelt engraved his name on the
tablets of time by one single act during his tenure of
office as President of the United States, and after all
else that he did while in that office will have been
forgotten this one transaction will record him in
history as a man of imagination.
He started the steam shovels to work on the
Every President, from Washington on up to
Roosevelt, could have started the canal and it would
have been completed, but it seemed such a colossal
undertaking that it required not only imagination but
daring courage as well. Roosevelt had both, and the
people of the United States have the canal.
At the age of forty – the age at which the average
man begins to think he is too old to start anything new
– James J. Hill was still sitting at the telegraph key, at
a salary of $30.00 per month. He had no capital. He
THE reason most people do not like to
hear the story of your troubles is that they
have a big flock of their own.
He had no influential friends with capital, but he
did have that which is more powerful than either –
In his mind’s eye he saw a great railway system
that would penetrate the undeveloped northwest and
unite the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. So vivid was his
imagination that he made others see the advantages of
such a railway system, and from there on the story is
familiar enough to every school-boy. I would
emphasize the part of the story that most people never
mention – that Hill’s Great Northern Railway system
became a reality in his own imagination first. The
railroad was built with steel rails and wooden cross
ties, just as other railroads are built, and these things
were paid for with capital that was secured in very
much the same manner that capital for all railroads is
secured, but if you want the real story of James J.
Hill’s success you must go back to that little country
railway station where he worked at $30.00 a month
and there pick up the little threads that he wove into a
mighty railroad, with materials no more visible than
the thoughts which he organized in his imagination.
What a mighty power is imagination, the
workshop of the soul, in which thoughts are woven
into railroads and skyscrapers and mills and factories
and all manner of material wealth.
“I hold it true that thoughts are things;
They’re endowed with bodies and breath and wings;
And that we send them forth to fill
The world with good results or ill.
That which we call our secret thought
Speeds forth to earth’s remotest spot,
Leaving its blessings or its woes,
Like tracks behind it as it goes.
We build our future, thought by thought,
For good or ill, yet know it not,
Yet so the universe was wrought.
Thought is another name for fate;
Choose, then, thy destiny and wait,
For love brings love and hate brings hate.”
If your imagination is the mirror of your soul,
then you have a perfect right to stand before that
mirror and see yourself as you wish to be. You have
the right to see reflected in that magic mirror the
mansion you intend to own, the factory you intend to
manage, the bank of which you intend to be president,
the station in life you intend to occupy. Your
imagination belongs to you! Use it! The more you use
it the more efficiently it will serve you.
At the east end of the great Brooklyn Bridge, in
New York City, an old man conducts a cobbler shop.
When the engineers began driving stakes and marking
the foundation place for that great steel structure this
man shook his head and said “It can’t be done!”
Now he looks out from his dingy little shoe-repair
shop, shakes his head and asks himself: “How did they
He saw the bridge grow before his very eyes and
still he lacks the imagination to analyze that which he
saw. The engineer who planned the bridge saw it a
reality long before a single shovel of dirt had been
removed for the foundation stones. The bridge became
a reality in his imagination because he had trained
that imagination to weave new combinations out of
Through recent experiments in the department of
electricity one of our great educational institutions of
America has discovered how to put flowers to sleep
and wake them up again, with electric “sunlight.” This
discovery makes possible the growth of vegetables and
flowers without the aid of sunshine. In a few more
years the city dweller will be raising a crop of
vegetables on his back porch, with the aid of a few
boxes of dirt and a few electric lights, with some new
vegetable maturing every month of the year.
This new discovery, plus a little imagination,
plus Luther Burbank’s discoveries in the field of
horticulture, and lo! the city dweller will not only
grow vegetables all the year around, within the
confines of his back porch, but he will grow bigger
vegetables than any which the modern gardener grows
in the open sunlight.
In one of the cities on the coast of California all
of the land that was suitable for building lots had been
developed and put into use. On one side of the city
there were some steep hills that could not be used for
building purposes, and on the other side the land was
unsuitable for buildings because it was so low that the
back-water covered it once a day.
A man of imagination came to this city. Men of
imagination usually have keen minds, and this man
was no exception. The first day of his arrival he saw
the possibilities for making money out of real estate.
He secured an option on those hills that were
unsuitable for use because of their steepness. He also
secured an option on the ground that was unsuitable
for use because of the back-water that covered it
daily. He secured these options at a very low price
because the ground was supposed to be without
With the use of a few tons of explosives he turned
those steep hills into loose dirt. With the aid of a few
tractors and some road scrapers he leveled the ground
down and turned it into beautiful building lots, and
with the aid of a few mules and carts he dumped the
surplus dirt on the low ground and raised it above the
water level, thereby turning it into beautiful building
He made a substantial fortune, for what?
For removing some dirt from where it was not
needed to where it was needed! For mixing some
useless dirt with imagination!
The people of that little city gave this man credit
for being a genius; and he was-the same sort of genius
that any one of them could have been had he used his
imagination as this man used his.
In the field of chemistry it is possible to mix two
or more chemical ingredients in such proportions that
the mere act of mixing gives each of the ingredients a
tremendous amount of energy that it did not possess.
It is also possible to mix certain chemical ingredients
in such proportions that all the ingredients of the
combination take on an entirely different nature, as in
the case of H 2 0, which is a mixture of two parts
hydrogen and one part oxygen, creating water.
Chemistry is not the only field in which a
combination of various physical materials can be so
assembled that each takes on a greater value, or the
result is a product entirely foreign in nature to that of
its component parts. The man who blew up those
useless hills of dirt and stone and removed the surplus
from where it was not needed over to the low-land,
where it was needed, gave that dirt and stone a value
that it did not have before.
A ton of pig-iron is worth but little. Add to that
pig-iron carbon, silicon, manganese, sulphur and
phosphorus, in the right proportions, and you have
transformed it into steel, which is of much greater
value. Add still other substances, in the right
proportion, including some skilled labor, and that
same ton of steel is transformed into watch-springs
worth a small fortune. But, in all these transformation
processes the one ingredient that is worth most is the
one that has no material form – imagination!
Here lie great piles of loose brick, lumber, nails
and glass. In its present form it is worse than useless
for it is a nuisance and an eye-sore. But mix it with
the architect’s imagination and add some skilled labor
and lo! it becomes a beautiful mansion worth a king’s
On one of the great highways between New York
and Philadelphia stood an old ramshackle, time-worn
barn, worth less than fifty dollars. With the aid of a
little lumber and some cement, plus imagination, this
old barn has been turned into a beautiful automobile
supply station that earns a small fortune for the man
who supplied the imagination.
Across the street from my office is a little print-
shop that earns coffee and rolls for its owner and his
helper, but no more. Less than a dozen blocks away
stands one of the most modern printing plants in the
world, whose owner spends most of his time traveling
and has far more wealth than he will ever use.
I KNOW I am here. I
know I had nothing to
do with my coming, and
I shall have but little, if
anything, to do with my
going, therefore I will
not worry because
worries are of no avail.
Twenty-two years ago those two printers were in
The one who owns the big print-shop had the
good judgment to ally himself with a man who mixed
imagination with printing. This man of imagination is
a writer of advertisements and he keeps the printing
plant with which he is associated supplied with more
business than it can handle by analyzing its clients’
business, creating attractive advertising features and
supplying the necessary printed material with which to
make these features of service. This plant receives
top-notch prices for its printing because the
imagination mixed with that printing produces a
product that most printers cannot supply.
In the city of Chicago the level of a certain
boulevard was raised, which spoiled a row of beautiful
residences because the side-walk was raised to the
level of the second story windows. While the property
owners were bemoaning their ill-fortune a man of
imagination came along, purchased the property for a
“song,” converted the second stories into business
property, and now enjoys a handsome income from his
As you read these lines please keep in mind all
that was stated in the beginning of this lesson;
especially the fact that the greatest and most
profitable thing you can do with your imagination is
the act of rearranging old ideas in new combinations.
If you properly use your imagination it will help
you convert your failures and mistakes into assets of
priceless value; it will lead you to discovery of a truth
known only to those who use their imagination;
namely, that the greatest reverses and misfortunes of
life often open the door to golden opportunities.
One of the finest and most highly paid engravers
in the United States was formerly a mail-carrier. One
day he was fortunate enough to be on a street car that
met with an accident and had one of his legs cut off.
The street railway company paid him $5,000.00 for his
leg. With this money he paid his way through school
and became an engraver. The product of his hands,
plus his imagination, is worth much more than he
could earn with his legs, as a mail-carrier. He
discovered that he had imagination when it became
necessary to re-direct his efforts, as a result of the
street car accident.
You will never know what is your capacity for
achievement until you learn how to mix your efforts
with imagination. The products of your hands, minus
imagination, will yield you but a small return, but
those selfsame hands, when properly guided by
imagination, can be made to earn you all the material
wealth you can use.
There are two ways in which you can profit by
imagination. You can develop this faculty in your own
mind, or you can ally yourself with those who have
already developed it. Andrew Carnegie did both. He
not only made use of his own fertile imagination, but
he gathered around him a group of other men who also
possessed this essential quality, for his definite
purpose in life called for specialists whose
imagination ran in numerous directions. In that group
of men that constituted Mr. Carnegie’s “master mind”
were men whose imaginations were confined to the
field of chemistry. He had other men in the group
whose imaginations were confined to finances. He had
still others whose imaginations were confined to
salesmanship, one of whom was Charles M. Schwab,
who is said to have been the most able salesman on
Mr. Carnegie’s staff.
If you feel that your own imagination is
inadequate you should form an alliance with someone
whose imagination is sufficiently developed to supply
your deficiency. There are various forms of alliance.
For example, there is the alliance of marriage and the
alliance of a business partnership and the alliance of
friendship and the alliance of employer and employee.
Not all men have the capacity to serve their own best
interests as employers, and those who haven’t this
capacity may profit by allying themselves with men of
imagination who have such capacity.
It is said that Mr. Carnegie made more
millionaires of his employees than any other employer
in the steel business. Among these was Charles M.
Schwab, who displayed evidence of the soundest sort
of imagination by his good judgment in allying
himself with Mr. Carnegie. It is no disgrace to serve
in the capacity of employee. To the contrary, it often
proves to be the most profitable side of an alliance
since not all men are fitted to assume the
responsibility of directing other men.
Perhaps there is no field of endeavor in which
imagination plays such an important part as it does in
salesmanship. The master salesman sees the merits of
the goods he sells or the service he is rendering, in his
own imagination, and if he fails to do so he will not
make the sale.
A few years ago a sale was made which is said to
have been the most far-reaching and important sale of
its kind ever made. The object of the sale was not
merchandise, but the freedom of a man who was
confined in the Ohio penitentiary and the development
of a prison reform system that promises a sweeping
change in the method of dealing with unfortunate men
and women who have become entangled in the meshes
of the law.
That you may observe just how imagination plays
the leading part in salesmanship I will analyze this
sale for you, with due apologies for personal
references, which cannot be avoided without
destroying much of the value of the illustration.
A few years ago I was invited to speak before the
inmates of the Ohio penitentiary. When I stepped upon
the platform I saw in the audience before me a man
whom I had known as a successful business man, more
than ten years previously. That man was B_, whose
pardon I later secured, and the story of whose release
has been spread upon the front page of practically
every newspaper in the United States. Perhaps you
will recall it.
After I had completed my address I interviewed
Mr. B_ and found out that he had been sentenced for
forgery, for a period of twenty years. After he had
told me his story I said:
“I will have you out of here in less than sixty
With a forced smile he replied: “I admire your
spirit but question your judgment. Why, do you know
that at least twenty influential men have tried every
means at their command to get me released, without
success? It can’t be done!”
I suppose it was that last remark – It can’t be done
– that challenged me to show him that it could be
done. I returned to New York City and requested my
wife to pack her trunks and get ready for an indefinite
stay in the city of Columbus, where the Ohio
penitentiary is located.
I had a definite purpose in mind! That purpose
was to get B_ out of the Ohio penitentiary. Not only
did I have in mind securing his release, but I intended
to do it in such a way that his release would erase
from his breast the scarlet letter of “convict” and at
the same time reflect credit upon all who helped to
bring about his release.
Not once did I doubt that I would bring about his
release, for no salesman can make a sale if he doubts
that he can do it. My wife and I returned to Columbus
and took up permanent headquarters.
The next day I called on the governor of Ohio and
stated the object of my visit in about these words:
“Governor: I have come to ask you to release B_
from the Ohio penitentiary. I have sound reason for
asking his release and I hope you will give him his
freedom at once, but I have come prepared to stay
until he is released, no matter how long that may be.
“During his imprisonment B has inaugurated a
system of correspondence instruction in the Ohio
penitentiary, as you of course know. He has
influenced 1729 of the 2518 prisoners of the Ohio
penitentiary to take up courses of instruction. He has
managed to beg sufficient textbooks and lesson
materials with which to keep these men at work on
their lessons, and has done this without a penny of
expense to the state of Ohio. The warden and the
chaplain of the penitentiary tell me that he has
carefully observed the prison rules. Surely a man who
can influence 1729 men to turn their efforts towards
IF you have been wise and successful
I congratulate you; unless you are unable to
forget how successful you have been, then I pity you
their efforts toward self-betterment cannot be a very
bad sort of fellow.
“I have come to ask you to release B_ because I
wish to place him at the head of a prison school that
will give the 160,000 inmates of the other
penitentiaries of the United States a chance to profit
by his influence. I am prepared to assume full
responsibility for his conduct after his release.
“That is my case, but, before you give me your
answer, I want you to know that I am not unmindful of
the fact that your enemies will probably criticize you
if you release him; in fact if you release him it may
cost you many votes if you run for office again.”
With his fist clinched and his broad jaw set
firmly Governor Vic Donahey of Ohio said:
“If that is what you want with B_ I will release
him if it costs me five thousand votes. However,
before I sign the pardon I want you to see the
Clemency Board and secure its favorable
recommendation. I want you also to secure the
favorable recommendation of the warden and the
chaplain of the Ohio penitentiary. You know a
governor is amenable to the Court of Public Opinion,
and these gentlemen are the representatives of that
The sale had been made! and the whole
transaction had required less than five minutes.
The next day I returned to the governor’s office,
accompanied by the chaplain of the Ohio penitentiary,
and notified the governor that the Clemency Board,
the Warden and the Chaplain all joined in
recommending the release. Three days later the pardon
was signed and B walked through the big iron gates, a
I have cited the details to show you that there was
nothing difficult about the transaction. The
groundwork for the release had all been prepared
before I came upon the scene. B_ had done that, by his
good conduct and the service he had rendered those
1729 prisoners. When he created the world’s first
prison correspondence school system he created the
key that unlocked the prison doors for himself.
Why, then, had the others who asked for his
release failed to secure it?
They failed because they used no imagination!
Perhaps they asked the governor for B’s release
on the ground that his parents were prominent people,
or on the ground that he was a college graduate and
not a bad sort of fellow. They failed to supply the
governor of Ohio with a sufficient motive to justify
him in granting a pardon, for had this not been so he
would undoubtedly have released B_ long before I
came upon the scene and asked for his release.
Before I went to see the governor I went over all
the facts and in my own imagination I saw myself in
the governor’s place and made up my mind what sort
of a presentation would appeal most strongly to me if
I were in reality in his place.
When I asked for B’s release I did so in the
name of the 160,000 unfortunate men and women
inmates of the prisons of the United States who would
enjoy the benefits of the correspondence school
system that he had created. I said nothing about his
prominent parents. I said nothing about my friendship
with him during former years. I said nothing about his
being a deserving fellow. All these matters might have
been used as sound reasons for his release, but they
seemed insignificant when compared with the bigger
and sounder reason that his release would be of help
to 160,000 other people who would feel the influence
of his correspondence school system after his release.
When the governor of Ohio came to a decision I
doubt not that B_ was of secondary importance as far
as his decision was concerned. The governor no doubt
saw a possible benefit, not to B_ alone, but to 160,000
other men and women who needed the influence that
B_ could supply, if released.
And that was imagination!
It was also salesmanship! In speaking of the
incident after it was over, one of the men who had
worked diligently for more than a year in trying to
secure B’s freedom, asked:
“How did you do it?”
And I replied: “It was the easiest task I ever
performed, because most of the work had been done
before I took hold of it. In fact I didn’t do it B_ did it
This man looked at me in bewilderment. He did
not see that which I am here trying to make clear;
namely, that practically all difficult tasks are easily
performed if one approaches them from the right
angle. There were two important factors entering B’s
release. The first was the fact that he had supplied the
material for a good case before I took it in charge; and
the second was the fact that before I called on the
governor of Ohio I so completely convinced myself
that I had a right to ask for B’s release that I had no
difficulty in presenting my case effectively.
Go back to what was stated in the beginning of
this lesson, on the subject of telepathy, and apply it to
this case. The governor could tell, long before I had
stated my mission, that / knew I had a good case. If
my brain did not telegraph this thought to his brain,
then the look of self-confidence in my eyes and the
positive tone of my voice made obvious my belief in
the merits of my case.
Again I apologize for these personal references
with the explanation that I have used them only
because the whole of America was familiar with the
B_ case that I have described. I disclaim all credit for
the small part I played in the case, for I did nothing
except use my imagination as an assembly room in
which to piece together the factors out of which the
sale was made. I did nothing except that which any
salesman of imagination could have done.
It requires considerable courage to prompt one to
use the personal pronoun as freely as it has been used
in relating the facts connected with this case, but
justification lies in the value of application of the
principle of imagination to a case with which nearly
everybody is familiar.
I cannot recall an incident in my entire life in
connection with which the soundness of the fifteen
factors that enter into this Reading Course was more
clearly manifested than it was in securing the release
It is but another link in a long chain of evidence
that proves to my entire satisfaction the power of
imagination as a factor in salesmanship. There are
endless millions of approaches to every problem, but
there is only one best approach. Find this one best
approach and your problem is easily solved. No matter
how much merit your goods may have, there are
millions of wrong ways in which to offer them. Your
imagination will assist you in finding the right way.
In your search for the right way in which to offer
your merchandise or your services, remember this
peculiar trait of mankind:
Men will grant favors that you request for the
benefit of a third person when they would not grant
them if requested for your benefit.
Compare this statement with the fact that I asked
the governor of Ohio to release B_, not as a favor to
me, and not as a favor to B_, but, for the benefit of
160,000 unfortunate inmates of the prisons of
Salesmen of imagination always offer their wares
in such terminology that the advantages of those wares
to the prospective purchaser are obvious. It is seldom
that any man makes a purchase of merchandise or
renders another a favor just to accommodate the
salesman. It is a prominent trait of human nature that
prompts us all to do that which advances our own
interests. This is a cold, indisputable fact, claims of
the idealist to the contrary notwithstanding.
To be perfectly plain, men are selfish!
To understand the truth is to understand how to
present your case, whether you are asking for the
release of a man from prison or offering for sale some
commodity. In your own imagination so plan your
presentation of your case that the strongest and most
impelling advantages to the buyer are made plain.
This is imagination!
I NEVER see a person trying to disclose the scarlet
letter on another’s breast that I do not wonder if
he doesn’t carry some mark of disgrace which would
have ruined him had he been overtaken by justice.
A farmer moved to the city, taking with him his
well trained shepherd dog. He soon found that the dog
was out of place in the city, so he decided to “get rid
of him.” (Note the words in quotation.) Taking the dog
with him he went out into the country and rapped on
the door of a farm-house. A man came hobbling to the
door, on crutches. The man with the dog greeted the
man in the house in these words
“You wouldn’t care to buy a fine shepherd dog,
that I wish to get rid of, would you?”
The man on crutches replied, “No!” and closed the
The man with the dog called at half a dozen other
farm-houses, asking the same question, and received
the same answer. He made up his mind that no one
wanted the dog and returned to the city. That evening
he was telling of his misfortune, to a man of
imagination. The man heard how the owner of the dog
had tried in vain to “get rid of him.”
“Let me dispose of the dog for you,” said the man
of imagination. The owner was willing. The next
morning the man of imagination took the dog out into
the country and stopped at the first farm-house at
which the owner of the dog had called the day before.
The same old man hobbled out on crutches and
answered the knock at the door.
The man of imagination greeted him in this
“I see you are all crippled with rheumatism. What
you need is a fine dog to run errands for you. I have a
dog here that has been trained to bring home the cows,
drive away wild animals, herd the sheep and perform
other useful services. You may have this dog for a
“All right,” said the crippled man, “I’ll take him!”
That, too, was imagination!
No one wants a dog that someone else wants to
“get rid of,” but most anyone would like to own a dog
that would herd sheep and bring home the cows and
perform other useful services.
The dog was the same one that the crippled buyer
had refused the day before, but the man who sold the
dog was not the man who had tried to “get rid of him.”
If you use your imagination you will know that no one
wants anything that someone else is trying to “get rid
Remember that which was said about the Law of
Attraction through the operation of which “like
attracts like.” If you look and act the part of a failure
you will attract nothing but failures.
Whatever your life-work may be, it calls for the
use of imagination.
Niagara Falls was nothing but a great mass of
roaring water until a man of imagination harnessed it
and converted the wasted energy into electric current
that now turns the wheels of industry. Before this man
of imagination came along millions of people had seen
and heard those roaring falls, but lacked the
imagination to harness them.
The first Rotary Club of the world was born in
the fertile imagination of Paul Harris, of Chicago,
who saw in this child of his brain an effective means
of cultivating prospective clients and the extension of
his law practice. The ethics of the legal profession
forbid advertising in the usual way, but Paul Harris’
imagination found a way to extend his law practice
without advertising in the usual way.
If the winds of Fortune are temporarily blowing
against you, remember that you can harness them and
make them carry you toward your definite purpose,
through the use of your imagination. A kite rises
against the wind – not with it!
Dr. Frank Crane was a struggling “third-rate”
preacher until the starvation wages of the clergy
forced him to use his imagination. Now he earns
upward of a hundred thousand dollars a year for an
hour’s work a day, writing essays.
Bud Fisher once worked for a mere pittance, but
he now earns seventy-five thousand dollars a year by
making folks grin, with his Mutt and Jeff comic strip.
No art goes into his drawings, therefore he must be
selling his imagination.
Woolworth was a poorly paid clerk in a retail
store – poorly paid, perhaps, because he had not yet
found out that he had imagination. Before he died he
built the tallest office building in the world and
girdled the United States with Five and Ten Cent
Stores, through the use of his imagination.
You will observe, by analyzing these
illustrations, that a close study of human nature
played an important part in the achievements
mentioned. To make profitable use of your
imagination you must make it give you a keen insight
into the motives that cause men to do or refrain from
doing a given act. If your imagination leads you to
understand how quickly people grant your requests
when those requests appeal to their self-interest, you
can have practically anything you go after.
I saw my wife make a very clever sale to our baby
not long ago. The baby was pounding the top of our
mahogany library table with a spoon. When my wife
reached for the spoon the baby refused to give it up,
but being a woman of imagination she offered the
baby a nice stick of red candy; he dropped the spoon
immediately and centered his attention on the more
That was imagination! It was also salesmanship.
She won her point without using force.
I was riding in an automobile with a friend who
was driving beyond the speed limit. An officer rode up
on a motorcycle and told my friend he was under
arrest for speeding. The friend smiled pleasantly at
the officer and said: “I’m sorry to have brought you
out in all this rain, but I wanted to make the ten
o’clock train with my friend here, and I was hitting it
up around thirty-five miles an hour.”
“No, you were only going twenty-eight miles an
hour,” replied the officer, “and as long as you are so
nice about it I will let you off this time if you will
watch yourself hereafter.”
And that, too, was imagination! Even a traffic
cop will listen to reason when approached in the right
manner, but woe unto the motorist who tries to bully
the cop into believing his speedometer was not
There is one form of imagination against which I
would caution you. It is the brand which prompts
some people to imagine that they can get something
for nothing, or that they can force themselves ahead in
the world without observing the rights of others.
There are more than 160,000 prisoners in the penal
institutions of the United States, practically every one
of whom is in prison because he imagined he could
play the game of life without observing the rights of
his fellow men.
There is a man in the Ohio penitentiary who has
served more than thirty-five years of time for forgery,
and the largest amount he ever got from his
misapplication of imagination was twelve dollars.
There are a few people who direct their
imaginations in the vain attempt to work out a way to
show what happens when “an immovable body comes
in contact with an irresistible force,” but these types
belong in the psychopathic hospitals.
There is also another form of misapplied
imagination; namely, that of the young boy or girl
who knows more about life than his or her “Dad.” But
this form is subject to modification with time. My own
boys have taught me many things that my “Dad” tried,
in vain, to teach me when I was their age.
Time and imagination (which is often but the
product of time) teach us many things, but nothing of
more importance than this:
That all men are much alike in many ways.
If you would know what your customer is
thinking, Mr. Salesman, study yourself and find out
what you would be thinking if you were in your
Study yourself, find out what are the motives
which actuate you in the performance of certain deeds
and cause you to refrain from performing other deeds,
and you will have gone far toward perfecting yourself
in the accurate use of imagination.
The detective’s biggest asset is imagination. The
first question he asks, when called in to solve a crime
is: “What was the motive?” If he can find out the
WE all like commendation
and many of us like
flattery, but it is a
debatable question as to
whether the indulgence of
these tendencies builds
character and strength
motive he can usually find the perpetrator of the
A man who had lost a horse posted a reward of
five dollars for its return. Several days later a boy
who was supposed to have been “weak-minded” came
leading the horse home and claimed the reward. The
owner was curious to know how the boy found the
horse. “How did you ever think where to look for the
horse?” he asked, and the boy replied, “Well, I just
thought where I would have gone if I had been a horse
and went there, and he had.” Not so bad for a “weak-
minded” fellow. Some who are not accused of being
weak-minded go all the way through life without
displaying as much evidence of imagination as did
If you want to know what the other fellow will
do, use your imagination, put yourself in his place and
find out what you would have done. That’s
Every person should be somewhat of a dreamer.
Every business needs the dreamer. Every industry and
every profession needs him. But, the dreamer must be,
also, a doer; or else he must form an alliance with
someone who can and does translate dreams into
The greatest nation upon the face of this earth
was conceived, born and nurtured through the early
days of its childhood, as the result of imagination in
the minds of men who combined dreams with action!
Your mind is capable of creating many new and
useful combinations of old ideas, but the most
important thing it can create is a definite chief aim
that will give you that which you most desire.
Your definite chief aim can be speedily translated
into reality after you have fashioned it in the cradle of
your imagination. If you have faithfully followed the
instructions set down for your guidance in Lesson
Two you are now well on the road toward success,
because you know what it is that you want, and you
have a plan for getting that which you want.
The battle for the achievement of success is half
won when one knows definitely what is wanted. The
battle is all over except the “shouting” when one
knows what is wanted and has made up his mind to get
it, whatever the price may be.
The selection of a definite chief aim calls for the
use of both imagination and decision! The power of
decision grows with use. Prompt decision in forcing
the imagination to create a definite chief aim renders
more powerful the capacity to reach decisions in other
Adversities and temporary defeat are generally
blessings in disguise, for the reason that they force
one to use both imagination and decision. This is why
a man usually makes a better fight when his back is to
the wall and he knows there is no retreat. He then
reaches the decision to fight instead of running.
The imagination is never quite so active as it is
when one faces some emergency calling for quick and
definite decision and action.
In these moments of emergency men have reached
decisions, built plans, used their imagination in such a
manner that they became known as geniuses. Many a
genius has been born out of the necessity for unusual
stimulation of the imagination, as the result of some
trying experience which forced quick thought and
It is a well known fact that the only manner in
which an overpampered boy or girl may be made to
become useful is by forcing him or her to become self-
sustaining. This calls for the exercise of both
imagination and decision, neither of which would be
used except out of necessity.
The Reverend P. W. Welshimer is the pastor of a
church in Canton, Ohio, where he has been located for
nearly a quarter of a century. Ordinarily pastors do
not remain at the head of one church for so great a
length of time, and Reverend Welshimer would have
been no exception to this rule if he had not mixed
imagination with his pastoral duties.
Three years constitute the usual time that one
pastor may remain in a given pastorate without
wearing out his welcome.
The church of which Reverend Welshimer is the
leader has a Sunday School of over 5,000 members –
the largest membership enjoyed by any church in the
No pastor could have remained at the head of one
church for a quarter of a century, with the full consent
of his followers, and have built up a Sunday School of
this size, without employing the Laws of Initiative and
Leadership, a Definite Chief Aim, Self-confidence and
The author of this course made it his business to
study the methods employed by Reverend Welshimer,
and they are here described for the benefit of the
students of this philosophy.
It is a well known fact that church factions,
jealousy, etc., often lead to disagreements which make
a change in leaders essential. Reverend Welshimer has
steered around this common obstacle by a unique
application of the Law of Imagination. When a new
member comes into his church he immediately assigns
a DEFINITE task to that member – one that suits the
temperament, training and business qualifications of
the individual, as nearly as possible – and, to use the
minister’s own words, he “keeps each member so busy
pulling for the church that there is no time left for
kicking or disagreeing with other members.”
Not a bad policy for application in the field of
business, or in any other field. The old saying that
“idle hands are the devil’s best tools” is more than a
mere play upon words, for it is true.
Give any man something to do that he likes to do,
and keep him busy doing it, and he will not be apt to
degenerate into a disorganizing force. If any member
of the Sunday School misses attendance twice in
succession a committee from the church calls to find
out the reason for the failure to attend. There is a
“committee” job for practically every member of the
church. In this way Reverend Welshimer delegates to
the members, themselves, the responsibility of
rounding up the delinquents and keeping them
interested in church affairs. He is an organizer of the
highest type. His efforts have attracted the attention
of business men throughout the country, and times too
numerous to be mentioned he has been offered
positions, at fancy salaries, by banks, steel plants,
business houses, etc., that recognized in him a real
In the basement of the church Reverend
Welshimer operates a first-class printing plant where
he publishes, weekly, a very creditable church paper
that goes to all the members. The production and
distribution of this paper is another source of
employment which keeps the church members out of
mischief, as practically all of them take some sort of
an active interest in it. The paper is devoted
exclusively to the affairs of the church as a whole,
and those of the individual members. It is read by
each member, line by line, because there is always a
chance that each member’s name may be mentioned in
the news locals.
The church has a well trained choir and an
orchestra that would be a credit to some of the largest
theaters. Here Reverend Welshimer serves the double
purpose of supplying entertainment and at the same
time keeping the more “temperamental” members who
are artists employed so they, also, remain out of
mischief, incidentally giving them a chance to do that
which they like best.
The late Dr. Harper, who was formerly president
of the University of Chicago, was one of the most
efficient college presidents of his time. He had a
penchant for raising funds in large amounts. It was he
who induced John D. Rockefeller to contribute
millions of dollars to the support of the University of
It may be helpful to the student of this philosophy
to study Dr. Harper’s technique, because he was a
Leader of the highest order. Moreover, I have his own
word for it that his leadership was never a matter of
chance or accident, but always the result of carefully
The following incident will serve to show just
how Dr. Harper made use of imagination in raising
money in large sums:
He needed an extra million dollars for the
WE cannot sow thistles and reap clover.
Nature simply does not run things that
way. She goes by cause and effect.
construction of a new building. Taking inventory of
the wealthy men of Chicago to whom he might turn for
this large sum, he decided upon two men, each of
whom was a millionaire, and both were bitter enemies.
One of these men was, at that time, the head of
the Chicago Street Railway system. Choosing the noon
hour, when the office force and this man’s secretary,
in particular, would be apt to be out at lunch, Dr.
Harper nonchalantly strolled into the office, and,
finding no one on guard at the outer door, walked into
the office of his intended “victim,” whom he surprised
by his appearance unannounced.
“My name is Harper,” said the doctor, “and I am
president of the University of Chicago. Pardon my
intrusion, but I found no one in the outer office
(which was no mere accident) so I took the liberty of
walking on in.
“I have thought of you and your street railway
system many many times. You have built up a
wonderful system, and I understand that you have
made lots of money for your efforts. I never think of
you, however, without its occurring to me that one of
these days you will be passing out into the Great
Unknown, and after you are gone there will be nothing
left as a monument to your name, because others will
take over your money, and money has a way of losing
its identity very quickly, as soon as it changes hands.
“I have often thought of offering you the
opportunity to perpetuate your name by permitting you
to build a new Hall out on the University grounds, and
naming it after you. I would have offered you this
opportunity long ago had it not been for the fact that
one of the members of our Board wishes the honor to
go to Mr. X_ (the street car head’s enemy). Personally,
however, I have always favored you and I still favor
you, and if I have your permission to do so I am going
to try to swing the opposition over to you.
“I have not come to ask for any decision today,
however, as I was just passing and thought it a good
time to drop in and meet you. Think the matter over
and if you wish to talk to me about it again, telephone
me at your leisure.
“Good day, sir! I am happy to have had this
opportunity of meeting you.”
With this he bowed himself out without giving the
head of the street car company a chance to say either
yes or no. In fact the street car man had very little
chance to do any talking. Dr. Harper did the talking.
That was as he planned it to be. He went into the
office merely to plant the seed, believing that it would
germinate and spring into life in due time.
His belief was not without foundation. He had
hardly returned to his office at the University when
the telephone rang. The street car man was on the
other end of the wire. He asked for an appointment
with Dr. Harper, which was granted, and the two met
in Dr. Harper’s office the next morning, and the check
for a million dollars was in Dr. Harper’s hands an hour
Despite the fact that Dr. Harper was a small,
rather insignificant-looking man it was said of him
that “he had a way about him that enabled him to get
everything he went after.”
And as to this “way” that he was reputed to have
had – what was it?
It was nothing more nor less than his understanding
of the power of Imagination. Suppose he had gone
to the office of the street car head and asked for an
appointment. Sufficient time would have elapsed
between the time he called and the time when he
would have actually seen his man, to have enabled the
latter to anticipate the reason for his call, and also to
formulate a good, logical excuse for saying, “No!”
Suppose, again, he had opened his interview with
the street car man something like this:
“The University is badly in need of funds and I
have come to you to ask your help. You have made
lots of money and you owe something to the
community in which you have made it. (Which,
perhaps, was true.) If you will give us a million
dollars we will place your name on a new Hall that we
wish to build.”
What might have been the result?
In the first place, there would have been no
motive suggested that was sufficiently appealing to
sway the mind of the street car man. While it may
have been true that he “owed something to the
community from which he had made a fortune,” he
probably would not have admitted that fact. In the
second place, he would have enjoyed the position of
being on the offensive instead of the defensive side of
But Dr. Harper, shrewd in the use of Imagination
as he was, provided for just such contingencies by the
way he stated his case. First, he placed the street car
man on the defensive by informing him that it was not
certain that he (Dr. Harper) could get the permission
of his Board to accept the money and name the Hall
after the street car man. In the second place, he
intensified the desire of the street car man to have his
name on that building because of the thought that his
enemy and competitor might get the honor if it got
away from him. Moreover (and this was no accident,
either), Dr. Harper had made a powerful appeal to one
of the most common of all human weaknesses by
showing this street car man how to perpetuate his own
All of which required a practical application of
the Law of Imagination.
Dr. Harper was a Master Salesman. When he
asked men for money he always paved the way for
success by planting in the mind of the man of whom
he asked it a good sound reason why the money should
be given; a reason which emphasized some advantage
accruing to the man as the result of the gift. Often this
would take on the form of a business advantage. Again
it would take on the nature of an appeal to that part of
man’s nature which prompts him to wish to perpetuate
his name so it will live after him. But, always, the
request for money was carried out according to a plan
that had been carefully thought out, embellished and
smoothed down with the use of Imagination.
While the Law of Success philosophy was in the
embryonic stage, long before it had been organized
into a systematic course of instruction and reduced to
textbooks, the author was lecturing on this philosophy
in a small town in Illinois.
One of the members of the audience was a young
life insurance salesman who had but recently taken up
that line of work. After hearing what was said on the
subject of Imagination he began to apply what he had
heard to his own problem of selling life insurance.
Something was said, during the lecture, about the
value of allied effort, through which men may enjoy
greater success by co-operative effort, through a
working arrangement under which each “boosts” the
interests of the other.
Taking this suggestion as his cue, the young man
in question immediately formulated a plan whereby he
gained the co-operation of a group of business men
who were in no way connected with the insurance
Going to the leading grocer in his town he made
arrangements with that grocer to give a thousand
dollar insurance policy to every customer purchasing
no less than fifty dollars’ worth of groceries each
month. He then made it a part of his business to
inform people of this arrangement and brought in
many new customers. The groceryman had a large
neatly lettered card placed in his store, informing his
customers of this offer of free insurance, thus helping
himself by offering all his customers an inducement to
do ALL their trading in the grocery line with him.
This young life insurance man then went to the
leading gasoline filling station owner in the town and
made arrangements with him to insure all customers
who purchased all their gasoline, oil and other motor
supplies from him.
Next he went to the leading restaurant in the town
and made a similar arrangement with the owner.
Incidentally, this alliance proved to be quite
profitable to the restaurant man, who promptly began
CHARLES CHAPLIN makes
a million dollars a year out
of a funny, shuffling walk
and a pair of baggy
trousers, because he does
something different.” Take
the hint and “invidualize
yourself with some
an advertising campaign in which he stated that his
food was so pure, wholesome and good that all who
ate at his place regularly would be apt to live much
longer, therefore he would insure the life of each
regular customer for $1,000.00.
The life insurance salesman then made
arrangements with a local builder and real estate man
to insure the life of each person buying property from
him, for an amount sufficient to pay off the balance
due on the property in case the purchaser died before
payments were completed.
The young man in question is now the General
Agent for one of the largest life insurance companies
in the United States, with headquarters in one of the
largest cities in Ohio, and his income now averages
well above $25,000.00 a year.
The turning-point in his life came when he
discovered how he might make practical use of the
Law of Imagination.
There is no patent on his plan. It may be
duplicated over and over again by other life insurance
men who know the value of imagination. Just now, if I
were engaged in selling life insurance, I think I
should make use of this plan by allying myself with a
group of automobile distributors in each of several
cities, thus enabling them to sell more automobiles
and at the same time providing for the sale of a large
amount of life insurance, through their efforts.
Financial success is not difficult to achieve after
one learns how to make practical use of creative
imagination. Someone with sufficient initiative and
leadership, and the necessary imagination, will
duplicate the fortunes being made each year by the
owners of Five and Ten Cent Stores, by developing a
system of marketing the same sort of goods now sold
in these stores, with the aid of vending machines. This
will save a fortune in clerk hire, insure against theft,
and cut down the overhead of store operation in many
other ways. Such a system can be conducted just as
successfully as food can be dispensed with the aid of
automatic vending machines.
The seed of the idea has been here sown. It is
yours for the taking!
Someone with an inventive turn of the mind is
going to make a fortune and at the same time save
thousands of lives each year, by perfecting an
automatic railroad crossing “control” that will reduce
the number of automobile accidents on crossings.
The system, when perfected, will work somewhat
after this fashion: A hundred yards or so before
reaching the railroad crossing the automobile will
cross a platform somewhat on the order of a large
scale platform used for weighing heavy objects, and
the weight of the automobile will lower a gate and
ring a gong. This will force the automobile to slow
down. After the lapse of one minute the gate will
again rise and the car may continue on its way.
Meanwhile, there will have been plenty of time for
observation of the track in both directions, to make
sure that no trains are approaching.
Imagination, plus some mechanical skill, will
give the motorist this much needed safe-guard, and
make the man who perfects the system all the money
he needs and much more besides.
Some inventor who understands the value of
imagination and has a working knowledge of the radio
principle, may make a fortune by perfecting a burglar
alarm system that will signal police headquarters and
at the same time switch on lights and ring a gong in
the place about to be burglarized, with the aid of
apparatus similar to that now used for broadcasting.
Any farmer with enough imagination to create a
plan, plus the use of a list of all automobile licenses
issued in his state, may easily work up a clientele of
motorists who will come to his farm and purchase all
the vegetables he can produce and all the chickens he
can raise, thus saving him the expense of hauling his
products to the city. By contracting with each motorist
for the season the farmer may accurately estimate the
amount of produce he should provide. The advantage
to the motorist, accruing under the arrangement, is
that he will be sure of direct-from-the-farm produce,
at less cost than he could purchase it from local
The roadside gasoline filling station owner can
make effective use of imagination by placing a lunch
stand near his filling station, and then doing some
attractive advertising along the road in each direction,
calling attention to his “barbecue,” “home-made
sandwiches” or whatever else he may wish to
specialize on. The lunch stand will cause the motorists
to stop, and many of them will purchase gasoline
before starting on their way again.
These are simple suggestions, involving no
particular amount of complication in connection with
their use, yet it is just such uses of imagination that
bring financial success.
The Piggly-Wiggly self-help store plan, which
made millions of dollars for its originator, was a very
simple idea which anyone could have adopted, yet
consider able imagination was required to put the idea
to work in a practical sort of way.
The more simple and easily adapted to a need an
idea is, the greater is its value, as no one is looking
for ideas which are involved with great detail or in
any manner complicated.
Imagination is the most important factor entering
into the art of selling. The Master Salesman is always
one who makes systematic use of imagination. The
outstanding merchant relies upon imagination for the
ideas which make his business excel.
Imagination may be used effectively in the sale of
even the smallest articles of merchandise, such as ties,
shirts, hosiery, etc. Let us proceed to examine just
how this may be done.
I walked into one of the best known
haberdasheries in the city of Philadelphia, for the
purpose of put chasing some shirts and ties.
As I approached the tie counter a young man
stepped forward and inquired:
“Is there something you want?”
Now if I had been the man behind the counter I
would not have asked that question. He ought to have
known, by the fact that I had approached the tie
counter, that I wanted to look at ties.
I picked up two or three ties from the counter,
examined them briefly, then laid down all but one
light blue which somewhat appealed to me. Finally I
laid this one down, also, and began to look through
the remainder of the assortment.
The young man behind the counter then had a
happy idea. Picking up a gaudy-looking yellow tie he
wound it around his fingers to show how it would look
when tied, and asked:
“Isn’t this a beauty?”
Now I hate yellow ties, and the salesman made no
particular hit with me by suggesting that a gaudy
yellow tie is pretty. If I had been in that salesman’s
place I would have picked up the blue tie for which I
had shown a decided preference, and I would have
wound it around my fingers so as to bring out its
appearance after being tied. I would have known what
my customer wanted by watching the kinds of ties that
he picked up and examined. Moreover, I would have
known the particular tie that he liked best by the time
he held it in his hands. A man will not stand by a
counter and fondle a piece of merchandise which he
does not like. If given the opportunity, any customer
will give the alert salesman a clue as to the particular
merchandise which should be stressed in an effort to
make a sale.
I then moved over to the shirt counter. Here I was
met by an elderly gentleman who asked:
“Is there something I can do for you today?”
Well, I thought to myself that if he ever did
anything for me it would have to be today, as I might
never come back to that particular store again. I told
him I wanted to look at shirts, and described the style
and color of shirt that I wanted.
The old gentleman made quite a hit with me when
he replied by saying:
THE man who is afraid to
give credit to those who
help him do a piece of
creditable work is so
small that Opportunity
will pass by without
seeing him some day.
“I am sorry, sir, but they are not wearing that style
this season, so we are not showing it.”
I said I knew “they” were not wearing the style
for which I had asked, and for that very reason, among
others, I was going to wear it providing I could find it
If there is anything which nettles a man –
especially that type of man who knows exactly what
he wants and describes it the moment he walks into
the store – it is to be told that “they are not wearing it
Such a statement is an insult to a man’s
intelligence, or to what he thinks is his intelligence,
and in most cases it is fatal to a sale. If I were selling
goods I might think what I pleased about a customer’s
taste, but I surely would not be so lacking in tact and
diplomacy as to tell the customer that I thought he
didn’t know his business. Rather I would prefer to
manage tactfully to show him what I believed to be
more appropriate merchandise than that for which he
had called, if what he wanted was not in stock.
One of the most famous and highly paid writers in
the world has built his fame and fortune on the sole
discovery that it is profitable to write about that
which people already know and with which they are
already in accord. The same rule might as well apply
to the sale of merchandise.
The old gentleman finally pulled down some shirt
boxes and began laying out shirts which were not even
similar to the shirt for which I had asked. I told him
that none of these suited, and as I started to walk out
he asked if I would like to look at some nice
Imagine it! To begin with I do not wear
suspenders, and, furthermore, there was nothing about
my manner or bearing to indicate that I might like to
look at suspenders.
It is proper for a salesman to try to interest a
customer in wares for which he makes no inquiry, but
judgment should be used and care taken to offer
something which the salesman has reason to believe
the customer may want.
I walked out of the store without having bought
either shirts or ties, and feeling somewhat resentful
because I had been so grossly misjudged as to my
tastes for colors and styles.
A little further down the street I went into a
small, one-man shop which had shirts and ties on
display in the window.
Here I was handled differently!
The man behind the counter asked no unnecessary
or stereotyped questions. He took one glance at me as
I entered the door, sized me up quite accurately and
greeted me with a very pleasant “Good morning, sir!”
He then inquired, “Which shall I show you first,
shirts or ties?” I said I would look at the shirts first.
He then glanced at the style of shirt I was wearing
asked my size, and began laying out shirts of the very
type and color for which I was searching, without my
saying another word. He laid out six different styles
and watched to see which I would pick up first. I
looked at each shirt, in turn, and laid them all back on
the counter, but the salesman observed that I
examined one of the shirts a little more closely than
the others, and that I held it a little longer. No sooner
had I laid this shirt down than the salesman picked it
up and began to explain how it was made. He then
went to the tie counter and came back with three very
beautiful blue ties, of the very type for which I had
been looking, tied each and held it in front of the
shirt, calling attention to the perfect harmony between
the colors of the ties and the shirt.
Before I had been in the store five minutes I had
purchased three shirts and three ties, and was on my
way with the package under my arm, feeling that here
was a store to which I would return when I needed
more shirts and ties.
I learned, afterwards, that the merchant who owns
the little shop where I made these purchases pays a
monthly rental of $500.00 for the small store, and
makes a handsome income from the sale of nothing but
shirts, ties and collars. He would have to go out of
business, with a fixed charge of $500.00 a month for
rent, if it were not for his knowledge of human nature
which enables him to make a very high percentage of
sales to all who come into his store.
I have often observed women when they were
trying on hats, and have wondered why salespeople
did not read the prospective buyer’s mind by watching
her manner of handling the hats.
A woman goes into a store and asks to be shown
some hats. The salesperson starts bringing out hats
and the prospective buyer starts trying them on. If a
hat suits her, even in the slightest sort of way, she
will keep it on a few seconds, or a few minutes, but if
she does not like it she will pull it right off her head
the moment the salesperson takes her hands off the
Finally, when the customer is shown a hat that
she likes she will begin to announce that fact, in terms
which no well informed salesperson will fail to
understand, by arranging her hair under the hat, or
pulling it down on her head to just the angle which
she likes best, and by looking at the hat from the rear,
with the aid of a hand-mirror. The signs of admiration
are unmistakable. Finally, the customer will remove
the hat from her head, and begin to look at it closely;
then she may lay it aside and permit another hat to be
tried on her, in which event the clever salesperson
will lay aside the hat just removed, and at the
opportune time she will bring it back and ask the
customer to try it on again.
By careful observation of the customer’s likes and
dislikes a clever saleswoman may often sell as many
as three or four hats to the same customer, at one
sitting, by merely watching what appeals to the
customer and then concentrating upon the sale of that.
The same rule applies in the sale of other
merchandise. The customer will, if closely observed,
clearly indicate what is wanted, and, if the clue is
followed, very rarely will a customer walk out without
I believe it a conservative estimate when I say
that fully seventy-five per cent of the “walk-outs,” as
the non-purchasing customers are called, are due to
lack of tactful showing of merchandise.
Last Fall I went into a hat store to purchase a felt
hat. It was a busy Saturday afternoon and I was approached
by a young “extra” rush-hour salesman who
had not yet learned how to size people up at a glance.
For no good reason whatsoever the young man pulled
down a brown derby and handed it to me, or rather
tried to hand it to me. I thought he was trying to be
funny, and refused to take the hat into my hands,
saying to him, in an attempt to return his compliment
and be funny in turn, “Do you tell bed-time stories
also?” He looked at me in surprise, but didn’t take the
cue which I had offered him.
If I had not observed the young man more closely
than he had observed me, and sized him up as an
earnest but inexperienced “extra,” I would have been
highly insulted, for if there is anything I hate it is a
derby of any sort, much less a brown derby.
One of the regular salesmen happened to see what
was going on, walked over and snatched the brown
derby out of the young man’s hands, and, with a smile
on his face intended as a sort of sop to me, said,
“What the hell are you trying to show this gentleman,
That spoiled my fun, and the salesman who had
immediately recognized me as a gentleman sold me
the first hat he brought out.
The customer generally feels complimented when
a salesman takes the time to study the customer’s
personality and lay out merchandise suited to that
I went into one of the largest men’s clothing
stores in New York City, a few years ago, and asked
for a suit, describing exactly what was wanted, but not
HOT HEADS” with “cold feet.”
He who loses his temper
is usually a bluffer and
when “called’ is a quitter.
mentioning price. The young man, who purported to
be a salesman, said he did not believe they carried
such a suit, but I happened to see exactly what I
wanted hanging on a model, and called his attention to
the suit. He then made a hit with me by saying, “Oh,
that one over there? That’s a high-priced suit!”
His reply amused me; it also angered me, so I
inquired of the young man what he saw about me
which indicated that I did not come in to purchase a
high-priced suit? With embarrassment he tried to
explain, but his explanations were as bad as the
original offense, and I started toward the door,
muttering something to myself about “dumb-bells.”
Before I reached the door I was met by another
salesman who had sensed by the way I walked and the
expression on my face that I was none too well
With tact well worth remembering, this salesman
engaged me in conversation while I unburdened my
woes and then managed to get me to go back with him
and look at the suit. Before I left the store I purchased
the suit I came in to look at, and two others which I
had not intended purchasing.
That was the difference between a salesman and
one who drove customers away. Moreover, I later
introduced two of my friends to this same salesman
and he made sizable sales to each of them.
I was once walking down Michigan Boulevard, in
Chicago, when my eye was attracted to a beautiful
gray suit in the window of a men’s store. I had no
notion of buying the suit, but I was curious to know
the price, so I opened the door, and, without entering,
merely pushed my head inside and asked the first man
I saw how much the suit in the window was.
Then followed one of the cleverest bits of sales
maneuvering I have ever observed. The salesman knew
he could not sell me the suit unless I came into the
store, so he said, “Will you not step inside, sir, while
I find out the price of the suit?”
Of course he knew the price, all the time, but that
was his way of disarming me of the thought that he
intended trying to sell me the suit. Of course I had to
be as polite as the salesman, so I said, “Certainly,”
and walked inside.
The salesman said, “Step right this way, sir, and I
will get the information for you.”
In less than two minutes I found myself standing
in front of a case, with my coat off, getting ready to
try on a coat like the one I had observed in the
After I was in the coat, which happened to fit
almost perfectly (which was no accident, thanks to the
accurate eyes of an observing salesman) my attention
was called to the nice, smooth touch of the material. I
rubbed my hand up and down the arm of the coat, as I
had seen the salesman do while describing the
material, and, sure enough, it was a very fine piece of
material. By this time I had again asked the price, and
when I was told that the suit was only fifty dollars I
was agreeably surprised, because I had been led to
believe that it might have been priced much higher.
However, when I first saw the suit in the window my
guess was that it was priced at about thirty-five
dollars, and I doubt that I would have paid that much
for it had I not fallen into the hands of a man who
knew how to show the suit to best advantage. If the
first coat tried on me had been about two sizes too
large, or a size too small, I doubt that any sale would
have been made, despite the fact that all ready-to-wear
suits sold in the better stores are altered to fit the
I bought that suit “on the impulse of the
moment,” as the psychologist would say, and I am not
the only man who buys goods on that same sort of
impulse. A single slip on the part of the salesman
would have lost him the sale of that suit. If he had
replied, “Fifty dollars,” when I asked the price I
would have said, “Thank you,” and have gone my way
without looking at the suit.
Later in the season I purchased two more suits
from this same salesman, and if I now lived in
Chicago the chances are that I would buy still other
suits from him, because he always showed me suits
that were in keeping with my personality.
The Marshall Field store, in Chicago, gets more
for merchandise than does any other store of its kind
in the country. Moreover, people knowingly pay more
at this store, and feel better satisfied than if they
bought the merchandise at another store for less
Why is this?
Well, there are many reasons, among them the
fact that anything purchased at the Field store which
is not entirely satisfactory may be returned and
exchanged for other merchandise, or the purchase
price may be refunded, just as the customer wishes.
An implied guarantee goes with every article sold in
the Field store.
Another reason why people will pay more at the
Field store is the fact that the merchandise is
displayed and shown to better advantage than it is at
most other stores. The Field window-displays are truly
works of art, no less than if they were created for the
sake of art alone, and not merely to sell merchandise.
The same is true of the goods displayed in the store.
There is harmony and proper grouping of merchandise
throughout the Field establishment, and this creates an
“atmosphere” that is more – much more – than merely
an imaginary one.
Still another reason why the Field store can get
more for merchandise than most other merchants is
due to the careful selection and supervision of
salespeople. One would seldom find a person
employed in the Field store whom one would not be
willing to accept as a social equal, or as a neighbor.
Not a few men have made the acquaintance of girls in
the Field store who later became their wives.
Merchandise purchased in the Field store is
packed or wrapped more artistically than is common in
other stores, which is still another reason why people
go out of their way and pay higher prices to trade
While we are on the subject of artistic wrapping
of merchandise I wish to relate the experience of a
friend of mine which will not fail to convey a very
definite meaning to those engaged in the business of
selling, as it shows how imagination may be used even
in wrapping merchandise.
This friend had a very fine silver cigarette case
which he had carried for years, and of which he was
very proud because it was a gift from his wife.
Constant usage had banged the case up rather
badly. It had been bent, dented, the hinges warped,
etc., until he decided to take it to Caldwell the
jeweler, in Philadelphia, to be repaired. He left the
case and asked them to send it to his office when it
About two weeks later a splendid-looking new
delivery wagon with the Caldwell name on it drew up
in front of his office, and a nice-looking young man in
a neat uniform stepped out with a package that was
artistically wrapped and tied with a ribbon tape string.
The package happened to be delivered to my
friend on his birthday, and, having forgotten about
leaving the cigarette case to be repaired, and
observing the beauty and size of the package that was
handed to him, he naturally imagined that someone
had sent him a birthday present.
His secretary and other workers in his office
gathered around his desk to watch him open up his
“present.” He cut the ribbon and removed the outer
covering. Under this was a covering of tissue paper,
fastened with beautiful gold seals bearing the
Caldwell initials and trade-mark. This paper was
removed and behold! a most beautiful plush-lined box
met his eyes. The box was opened, and, after removing
the tissue paper packing, there was a cigarette case
which he recognized, after careful examination, as the
one he had left to be repaired, but it did not look like
the same case, thanks to the imagination of the
E. M. STATLER BECAME THE MOST SUCCESSFUL HOTEL
MAN IN THE WORLD BY RENDERING MORE SERVICE and
BETTER SERVICE THAN HIS GUESTS WERE ASKED TO PAY FOR.
Every dent had been carefully straightened out.
The hinges had been trued and the case had been
polished and cleaned so it shone as it did when it was
Simultaneously a prolonged “Oo-o-o-o-o-o-Oh!”
of admiration came from the onlookers, including the
owner of the cigarette case.
And the bill! Oh, it was a plenty, and yet the
price charged for the repair did not seem too high. As
a matter of fact everything that entered into the
transaction from the packing of the case, with the fine
tissue paper cover, the gold seals, the ribbon tape
string, the delivery of the package by a neatly
uniformed boy, from a well appointed new delivery
wagon, was based upon carefully calculated
psychology which laid the foundation for a high price
for the repair.
People, generally, do not complain of high prices,
providing the “service” or embellishment of the
merchandise is such as to pave the way for high
prices. What people do complain of, and rightly so, is
high prices and “sloppy” service.
To me there was a great lesson in this cigarette
case incident, and I think there is a lesson in it for any
person who makes a business of selling any sort of
The goods you are selling may actually be worth
all you are asking for them, but if you do not carefully
study the subjects of advantageous display and artistic
packing you may be accused of overcharging your
On Broad Street, in the city of Philadelphia, there
is a fruit shop where those who patronize the store are
met at the door by a man in uniform who opens the
door for them. He does nothing else but merely open
the door, but he does it with a smile (even though it
be a carefully studied and rehearsed smile) which
makes the customer feel welcome even before he gets
inside of the store. This fruit merchant specializes on
specially prepared baskets of fruit. Just outside the
store is a big blackboard on which are listed the
sailing dates of the various ocean liners leaving New
York City. This merchant caters to people who wish
baskets of fruit delivered on board departing boats on
which friends are sailing. If a man’s sweetheart, or
perhaps his wife or a very dear friend, happens to be
sailing on a certain date he naturally wants the basket
of fruit he purchases for her to be embellished with
frills and “trimmings.” Moreover, he is not necessarily
looking for something “cheap” or even inexpensive.
All of which the fruit merchant capitalizes! He
gets from $10.00 to $25.00 for a basket of fruit which
one could purchase just around the corner, not more
than a block away, for from $3.00 to $7.50, with the
exception that the latter would not be embellished
with the seventy-five cents’ worth of frills which the
This merchant’s store is a small affair, no larger
than the average small fruit-stand store, but he pays, a
rent of at least $15,000.00 a year for the place and
makes more money than half a hundred ordinary fruit
stands combined, merely because he knows how to
display and deliver his wares so they appeal to the
vanity of the buyers. This is but another proof of the
value of imagination.
The American people – and this means all of
them, not merely the so-called rich – are the most
extravagant spenders on earth, but they insist on
“class” when it comes to appearances such as
wrapping and delivery and other embellishments
which add no real value to the merchandise they buy.
The merchant who understands this, and has learned
how to mix IMAGINATION with his merchandise,
may reap a rich harvest in return for his knowledge.
And a great many are doing it, too.
The salesman who understands the psychology of
proper display, wrapping and delivery of merchandise,
and who knows how to show his wares to fit the
whims and characteristics of his customers, can make
ordinary merchandise bring fancy prices, and what is
more important still, he can do so and still retain the
patronage of his customers more readily than if he
sold the same merchandise without the “studied”
appeal and the artistic wrapping and delivery service.
In a “cheap” restaurant, where coffee is served in
heavy, thick cups and the silverware is tarnished or
dirty, a ham sandwich is only a ham sandwich, and if
the restaurant keeper gets fifteen cents for it he is
doing well; but just across the street, where the coffee
is served in dainty thin cups, on neatly covered tables,
by neatly dressed young women, a much smaller ham
sandwich will bring a quarter, to say nothing of the
cost of the tip to the waitress. The only difference in
the sandwiches is merely in appearances; the ham
comes from the same butcher and the bread from the
same baker, whether purchased from the former or the
latter restaurant. The difference in price is very
considerable, but the difference in the merchandise is
not a difference of either quality or quantity so much
as it is of “atmosphere,” or appearances.
People love to buy “appearance” or atmosphere!
which is merely a more refined way of saying that
which P. T. Barnum said about “one being born every
It is no overstatement of fact to say that a master
of sales psychology could go into the average
merchant’s store, where the stock of goods was worth,
let us say, $50,000.00, and at very slight additional
expense make the stock bring $60,000.00 to
$75,000.00. He would do nothing except coach the
salespeople on the proper showing of the merchandise,
after having purchased a small amount of more
suitable fixtures, perhaps, and re-packed the
merchandise in more suitable coverings and boxes.
A man’s shirt, packed one to the box, in the right
sort of a box, with a piece of ribbon and a sheet of,
tissue paper added for embellishment, can be made to
bring a dollar or a dollar and a half more than the
same shirt would bring without the more artistic
packing. I know this is true, and I have proved it more
times than I can recall, to convince some skeptical
merchant who had not studied the effect of “proper
Conversely stated, I have proved, many times,
that, the finest shirt made cannot be sold for half its
value if it is removed from its box and placed on a
bargain counter, with inferior looking shirts, both of
which examples prove that people do not know what
they are buying – that they go more by appearances
than they do by actual analysis of the merchandise
This is noticeably true in the purchase of
automobiles. The American people want, and
DEMAND, style in the appearance of automobiles.
What is under the hood or in the rear axle they do not
know and really do not care, as long as the car looks
Henry Ford required nearly twenty years of
experience to learn the truth of the statement just
made, and even then, despite all of his analytical
ability, he only acknowledged the truth when forced to
do so by his competitors. If it were not true that
people buy “appearances” more than they buy “reality”
Ford never would have created his new automobile.
That car is the finest sort of example of a psychologist
who appeals to the tendency which people have to
purchase “appearance,” although, of course, it must be
admitted that in this particular example the real value
of the car actually exists.
GREAT ACHIEVEMENT IS USUALLY BORN OF GREAT
SACRIFICE, AND IS NEVER THE RESULT OF SELFISHNESS.