Me, Og Mandino & The Wonderful World Of Books

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Nearly two decades ago I was introduced to the writings of Og Mandino. Immediately I fell in love with the style of his writing and the mystical atmosphere that seemed to surround me as I entered his imaginary world. Many times his books were a great comfort to me.

So when I went to my local library the other day to see what I could find on its shelves, and having just released my latest offering The Creator, to my blog audience, I was surprised to stumble across a book written by Og that I had never heard of before this day. Its title: Secrets For Success & Happiness.

Og had been challenged to keep a journal by a friend of his so that his readers could obtain a greater insight into the life of this great writer. So from 1991 until 1994(two years before his death) that is what he did.

Once again I was being enveloped by the same feelings that I experienced all those years before – but here was Og sharing from his daily ‘real’ life.

The Journey Of The Journals

As one who has kept a journal since 1979 – not so consistently at first in the early years – but the other day, when I was cleaning out my office, I carefully stored 52 journals that I have filled to date throughout the years.

Og was inspired by another hero of mine – Henry David Thoreau – who wrote in his tenth journal (he apparently had 39) on October 21, 1857 – ‘Is not the poet bound to write his own biography? Is there any other work for him but a good journal? We do not wish to know about his imaginary hero but how he, the actual hero, lived from day to day.’

In this journal, that he knew he would publish, we watch as he produces his last two books, his method of responding personally by letter to those of his readers who wrote to him from all around the world, his care for his farm, his love of nature, his garden and the wildlife that visited him from time to time, his method of giving speeches, his frustrations expressed when people didn’t respect him, even after all his success, his wisdom, his love of collecting checks signed by famous individuals, his observation of a world at times gone mad, his fight with health challenges, his love of family, and of people. His sadness, his happiness, his attention to detail, his speeches and his audiences.

But Please Allow Me To Introduce You To My Friend Og Mandino…

Og Mandino was born December 12, 1923. According to the 1930 U.S. Census, he was named after his paternal grandfatherHe was once the editor of a high school paper and planned to attend the University of Missouri’s journalism school. But in the summer of 1940, before he was able to enter college, his mother died suddenly from a massive heart attack. This happened while Mandino’s mother was in the kitchen preparing his lunch.

After the incident, Og decided to work in a paper factory until 1942. Afterwards, he joined the United States Army Air Corps where he became a military officer and a bombardier. He flew for thirty bombing missions over Germany on board a B-24 Liberator during World War II. It was also during this time that he flew with fellow pilot and movie star, James Stewart. Og kept a personalized 8 X 10 photograph of Stewart. This photograph hung on the wall of his home office where he wrote his books.

After his military duties, he discovered that many companies were not hiring many former bomber pilots. As a result, he became an insurance salesman. Traveling on the road and sitting in bars at night, he became an alcoholic. He was unable to keep a job. As a result, his wife, Miriam “Mimi” Stidstone, together with their only child, left him.

One wintry November morning in Cleveland, Og almost tried to commit suicide. But as he sorted through several books in a library, volumes of self-help, success and motivation books captured his attention. He selected some titles, went to a table and began reading. He followed his visit to the library with more visits to many other libraries around the United States. He read hundreds of books that dealt with success, a pastime that helped him alleviate his alcoholism. It was in a library in Concord, New Hampshire, where he found W. Clement Stone’s classic, Success Through a Positive Mental Attitude, a book that changed Og for the better.

Og Mandino eventually became a successful writer and speaker. His works were inspired by the Bible and influenced by Napoleon Hill, W. Clement Stone, and Emmet Fox. He was inducted into the National Speakers Association Speaker Hall of Fame. His most well know books is The Greatest Salesman in the World which contains the “time-tested wisdom of the ancients distilled into ten simple scrolls” which, if followed for the prescribed ten months, will as Og says, “seep into my other mind, that mysterious source which never sleeps, which creates my dreams, and often makes me act in ways I do not comprehend. As the words of these scrolls are consumed by my mysterious mind I will begin to awake, each morning, with a vitality I have never known before. My vigor will increase, my enthusiasm will rise, my desire to meet the world will overcome every fear I once knew at sunrise, and I will be happier than I ever believed it possible to be in this world of strife and sorrow.” (Scroll I)

Og Mandino’s main philosophical message is that every person on earth is a miracle and should choose to direct their life with confidence and congruent to the laws that govern abundance. He wrote in Scroll I, “I will not fail as the others, for in my hands I now hold the charts (the Ten Scrolls) which will guide me through perilous waters to shores which only yesterday seemed but a dream.” Og was also a proponent of taking action now. In Scroll IX, the phrase I will act now is written 18 times. He recognized that all successful people take on their own lives by “charting” or consciously choosing both the desired destination and the path to reach it. Mandino’s philosophical messages have Christian undertones. They are encouragements to build good habits, to live according to the laws that govern abundance and to find a vigor and joy in life as we learn to stand at the helm of our ship charting its course into the safety of the harbor instead of just waiting for someone else to bring it in. He wrote a total of 19 books, the first being The Greatest Salesman in the World.

‘…Through Perilous Waters To Shores Which Only Yesterday Seemed But A Dream.’

As I now leave the shores of self-publishing and embark upon my own journey into the world of literary agents and publishers, it is comforting to have my dear old friend, one of the great men who inspired me to explore and express my own creativity in writing, close beside me cheering me on after all these years.

Who are your mentors?


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