The Greatest Salesman in the World

by Og Mandino, Bantam Books, New Yorks, N.Y., 1968

Hafid is a master salesman and a traders; a very wealthy man. He lives in an elegant palace equipped with every possible comfort. One day towards the end of his life, he requests a meeting with Erasmus, his trusted servant and friend. He asks Erasmus how much money is in the treasury and tells him to estimate the worth of his property. It is a large sum. Hafid then directs Erasmus to sell all his possessions in exchange for gold, and alludes to his long practice of distributing half his annual profit to the poor. Now, says the salesman, he wishes to divide all his riches with the most needy, keeping only enough to live out his remaining days in peace. He requests that Erasmus turn over each of his emporiums to the person who manages it, together with a reward of 5,000 talents and bequeaths upon him his palace and warehouse. Though Erasmus can hardly comprehend this , Hafid again orders him to do as he has asked, assuring the servant that on his return he will share with Erasmus a long-kept secret he has imparted to no one except his wife.

When Erasmus arrives back at the palace after distributing Hafid's property, he is led to a room kept boiled for a long as anyone can remember. The only object within the room is an old chest. Hafid unlocks the chest - empty, except for some tattered scrolls. Hafid then speaks: "All the success, happiness, love , peace of mind, and wealth that I have enjoyed is directly traceable to what is contained in these few scrolls. My debt to them, and to the wise one who entrusted them to my care, can never be repaid."

Hafid explains that each of the ten scrolls contains a principle, or law, that together will enable their possessor to accumulate all the wealth he desires. Long ago he was commissioned by the one who gave him the scrolls to share them only with one person, and was told he would be given a sign to know who that person was. He petitions Erasmus to stay with him until he receives this sign. The faithful servant agrees to do so.

The story then shift back in time:

Young Hafid, a camel boy traveling with a caravan, beseeched the leader of the caravan, Pathros, to grant him the chance to be a merchant. After some argument, Pathros gave him approval and agreed to allow Hafid to sell a finely woven robe. However, he warned the boy that he would be confronted with temptations, and that his handling of these temptations would determine his success, both in life and as a salesman. Pathros then dispatched that would-be merchant to a poor settlement - Bethlehem - to sell the garment.

For three days Hafid worked to peddle the robe, but without success. On the night before he was to rejoin the caravan, Hafid sought out a stable to tend to his donkey. There he discovered a young couple with a shivering newborn baby. Both husband and wife had wrapped their own cloaks around the infant, trying to warm him, but to little avail. Hafid gave the worried parents back their cloaks and wrapped Pathros's fine robe around the beautiful child. The boy then commenced his trek back to the caravan, considering himself a failure and trying to find an excuse, some story to cover up what had done.

When Hafid reached the caravan, Pathros was waiting outside his tent. He had observed a bright star that followed Hafid back to the camp. Something extraordinary had taken place. Hafid, in tears, blurted out the story of the robe; but instead of chiding the boy, Pathros assured Hafid that he had not failed. He would explain everything, said the merchant, once they returned to their headquarters.

There, the dying Pathros summoned the lad to him. He told how he once had rescued a traveler, and how this grateful traveler had insisted that Pathros come to live with him and his family. During this sojourn, the traveler conferred upon Pathros a chest containing ten scrolls, some money and a letter. For a year Pathros memorized the scrolls, incorporating their wisdom into his life. After leaving the traveler's home, the opened the letter, which instructed him to forever share with the poor half of his wealth, but never to divulge the information in the scrolls, except when he received a sign telling him of the person who would next guard the scrolls. As he watched the star following Hafid home that night, Pathros had come to realize that his was indeed the awaited sign.

Pathros's story ended, whereupon he instructed Hafid to go to Damascus and purchase a small supply of rugs. Hafid was to open the scroll, study it until he fully understood its contents, and begin selling the rugs. He must proceed to study each scroll thoroughly in the same way, applying the principles one by one as he learned them. Finally, he was not to share with others the knowledge contained in the scrolls, nor show the scrolls to anyone, until he himself was given a sign.

Hafid set out to inquire of the scrolls as he sold the rugs, and was taught the keys to prosperous and triumphant living:

Scroll I:  
 Everyday a person is reborn - he can forget the
failures of the past.  Habits are the difference between
success and failure.  Therefore in order to achieve success,
it is necessary to form good habits and become their slave.
This first scroll teaches the best way to learn the meaning
of the others.  Each successive scroll will contain a
principle enabling the reader to replace a bad habit with a
good one.  Each scroll must be read three times a day - the
last time a loud - for thirty consecutive days.  This way,
the scrolls' wisdom becomes both a part of the active and
subconscious mind.

Scroll II:  
 Love can be the salesman's greatest weapon, for
even if people reject many particulars concerning the
salesman's wares, love will soften them.  Love can be
developed by always looking for the best in people.  Each
time we meet someone we should state silently, "I Love You."
But in order to love others, we must love ourselves, treat
ourselves with respect, and not be satisfied with anything
but our finest efforts.

Scroll III:  
 "I will persist until I succeed."  People are
born to succeed, not to fail.  Defeat will not be
considered, and word such as quit, cannot, unable, and
impossible are not part of the growing disciple's
vocabulary.  Every failure moves a man closer to success.
When the day ends and the salesman wants to quit, he must
force himself to make one more sale; to end the day with

Scroll IV:  
 People are nature's greatest miracle.  Each
person is different in appearance as well as ability, and we
should capitalize on, rather than despise, these
differences.  We must concentrate on the task at hand, not
allowing ourselves to be preoccupied with problems of home
while in the marketplace, or of the marketplace while we are
at home.  We each have eyes to see, ears to hear, and a mind
with which to think.  This is everything we need to thrive.

Scroll V:  
 Live each day as if it were your last.  Dwelling
on the failures or misfortunes of the past is useless, for
we cannot change them.  Nor should we think about tomorrow.
The present hours and minutes, pass too quickly and are gone
forever, and so, they must be traded only for things of
value.  We should always treat our family and our friends as
if today were our last day together.

Scroll VI:  
 We are masters over our emotions.  Although we
daily pass through different moods, each of us has the power
to control them; to "create our own weather."  If we bring
joy and enthusiasm and brightness to all that we do, others
will react in a similar manner.  "Strong is he who forces
his actions to control his thoughts."  No matter how we feel
when we arise in the morning, we can sing or laugh and make
ourselves feel better.  No matter  what other people do or
how they react, we can decide to be positive and

Scroll VII:  
 " ... Cultivate the habit of laughter."  Man is
the only creature who can laugh, and the best thing to laugh
at is ourselves.  Whenever things seem to serious or dismal,
repeat the word, "This too shall pass, " and all troublesome
thoughts will seem lighter.  Laughers puts events -
successes as well as failures - into perspective.  Only with
laughter and gratitude can we enjoy the fruits of

Scroll VIII:  
 Seek out opportunities and experiences that
will multiply in value.  A grain of wheat has not choice as
to what it will become - whether it will be ground into
bread or planted in the earth to multiply - but each human
being has a choice - to grow or to perish.  In order to
"multiply in value," we must set goals, short-term as well
as long-term.  We must not worry if we experience initial
failure in reaching our goals; we compete only with
ourselves.  Upon reaching goal, we multiply again by setting
another, and by striving to constantly make the next hour
better than the present one.

Scroll IX: 
 Our dream and plans are of no value without
action.  Procrastination comes from fear, and we overcome
fear only through action.  It is better to act now and risk
failure, than to refrain from action and certainly flounder.
Fireflies give light only when they fly.  Through doing, we
become like them, giving off light amid the darkness.  Only
action gives life significance.  If success is offered now,
we must act now.

Scroll X: 
 Almost everyone, in a moment of terror or
anguish, will turn to God for help.  But a true believer
will pray for guidance, not only for help.  He calls on God
not for material things, but for the knowledge to understand
the way to acquire what is needed.  Nevertheless, we must
realize that sometimes we will not be given the sort of
guidance we ask for - this, too, is an answer to prayer.
Pray for ability equal to the opportunity, for good habits,
for love, to use words well, to humbly forge through all
obstacles, to reach worthwhile goals.

It is now three years since Hafid has sold all his goods. Together with his wife and Erasmus, he lives a simple life. One day on unkempt traveler comes to see him. It is Paul, follower of Jesus. Paul relates to Hafid his conversion to Christ, tells about Jesus' life, and declare that Jesus has sent him to find the greatest salesman in the world and ask him to share his miraculous secrets for converting others. At last the man to whom Hafid can confer the sacred instructive scrolls, has arrived.
The following is informational only in case anyone wishes to acquire the text in book form:
The executive summary you've just read was taken from
Compact Classics Volume I, ISBN 1-880184-01-X, Lan C.
England, Publisher, Stevens W. Anderson, Editor, Compact
Classics, Inc.  P.O. Box 526145, Salt Lake City, Utah 84152-
6145, 1-800-755-9777.