There are three very good, comfortably quaint books on prosperity thinking that were written in the early part of the 20th century. They are
- It Works!
- The Magic of Believing and
- The Science of Getting Rich
Before The Secret came roiling out of the publicity mill all Hollywood and Mythology, these uncomplicated little volumes served up prosperity thinking with a positive, down to earth helpful simplicity, and originally were available in affordable paperbacks aimed at the masses.
Let’s start with my favorite, a 16 page booklet It Works!, by R.H. Jarrett, continually published by deVorss since 1923. In very succinct and simple steps, it outlines how to focus on what you want in your life. (You make your list, you hide it in your sock drawer and you keep it to yourself. That’s about it. The hard part is keeping it to yourself.) The book is deliberately very short and very affordable, so anyone can afford it and read it in about 20 minutes. (I’ve never seen it in a public library; it’s so small that shelving it would be perilous, not to mention the shelf tag pretty much covering the whole book.)
My mother’s sister gave her a copy of what they referred to as “The Little Red Book,” and Mom gave a copy to me when I graduated from college, and I began handing them out when I discovered I could buy them for a few bucks on Amazon. (A new tarted-up edition is available on Amazon for $4.) I still carry my original book with me.
Our “Lists” are sometime discussed with amazement – I’d achieved everything on mine within ten years of writing it, from riding a bike across country to going to film school, except for flying the Goodyear blimp.
Another favorite, The Magic of Believing by Claude Bristol, is another paperback I’ve had for decades. Written in 1948, it’s been spruced up with more attractive covers over the years but the content is the same. Bristol’s tone is friendly and intelligent, and packs the book with interesting examples and stories about how simple changes in thinking can alter the course of your life.
The Science of Getting Rich
Rebecca Fine unearthed a long lost 1910 book The Science of Getting Rich for Practical Geniuses by Wallace Wattles and created an online course on prosperity based on the book. The book download is free on her website. Wattles, like the Jarrett and Bristol, goes into some detail about the importance of what he calls a “Clear Mental Image.” His book is consumably short, as is It Works! and gives precise steps to articulate what it is you want.
Rebecca has created her “Name your own tuition” program of audio and pdf printouts to expand on the brief teachings of Wattles. There are a few worksheets as well, all geared to afix the concepts of visualizing through repetition. The material is good and not for the impatient, nor for browsing when you need a quick reminder.
The little books work because they’re little.