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March 24, 2006

P.T. Barnum on How to Get Rich

Project Gutenberg, which has published online many many texts the copyrights of which have expired, has a copy of P. T. (Phineas Taylor) Barnum's
"The Art of Money Getting (or Golden Rules for Making Money)"
which seems to include most of the same advice found in modern self-help seminars. Each chapter begins with an aphorism, which is then expounded upon.

1. DON'T MISTAKE YOUR VOCATION
2. SELECT THE RIGHT LOCATION
3. AVOID DEBT
4. PERSEVERE
5. WHATEVER YOU DO, DO IT WITH ALL YOUR MIGHT
6. DEPEND UPON YOUR OWN PERSONAL EXERTIONS
7. USE THE BEST TOOLS
8. DON'T GET ABOVE YOUR BUSINESS
9. LEARN SOMETHING USEFUL
10. LET HOPE PREDOMINATE BUT BE NOT TOO VISIONARY
11. DO NOT SCATTER YOUR POWERS
12. BE SYSTEMATIC
13. READ THE NEWSPAPERS
14. BEWARE OF "OUTSIDE OPERATIONS"
15. DON'T INDORSE WITHOUT SECURITY
16. ADVERTISE YOUR BUSINESS
17. BE POLITE AND KIND TO YOUR CUSTOMERS
18. BE CHARITABLE
19. DON'T BLAB
20. PRESERVE YOUR INTEGRITY

The University of Michigan has the text of another of Barnum's books,
The humbugs of the world.: An account of humbugs, delusions,impositions, quackeries, deceits and deceivers generally, in all ages.

I've only recently come to respect and appreciate the man known mostly for his quote, "There's a sucker born every minute" (though it appears that quote is apocryphal). It seems in this age of reality television and copious, unwanted advertising in every medium we know, that we can gain a lot from the lessons learned by the man who helped pioneer the traveling medicine show.

Posted by mslaybau at March 24, 2006 11:59 PM

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