Did this genial-looking fellow write the most valuable self-improvement book of the twentieth century?
I think there is a case to be made that he did.
For those of you who don't know him, let me introduce you to Wallace D. Wattles, and the book I refer to is The Science of Getting Rich, which he published in 1910.
The gist of the book is this:
"THERE is a Science of getting rich, and it is an exact science, like algebra or arithmetic. There are certain laws which govern the process of acquiring riches; once these laws are learned and obeyed by any man, he will get rich with mathematical certainty.
The ownership of money and property comes as a result of doing things in a certain way; those who do things in this Certain Way, whether on purpose or accidentally, get rich; while those who do not do things in this Certain Way, no matter how hard they work or how able they are, remain poor.
It is a natural law that like causes always produce like effects; and, therefore, any man or woman who learns to do things in this certain way will infallibly get rich."
And in roughly 60 pages he lays out the Certain Way, which begins with the concept of the Law of Attraction (though that term wouldn't be coined for some time), and describes a full program for getting rich. It's clearly written, and applicable by anyone, anywhere. It's complete, and unadorned with unnecessary extras. It eliminates any excuses for not following the program, but doesn't sugar coat the discipline required to succeed. Here is the entire program in a nutshell (also known as Chapter 17):
"THERE is a thinking stuff from which all things are made, and which, in its original state, permeates, penetrates, and fills the interspaces of the universe.
A thought in this substance produces the thing that is imaged by the thought.
Man can form things in his thought, and by impressing his thought upon formless substance can cause the thing he thinks about to be created.
In order to do this, man must pass from the competitive to the creative mind; otherwise he cannot be in harmony with the Formless Intelligence, which is always creative and never competitive in spirit.
Man may come into full harmony with the Formless Substance by entertaining a lively and sincere gratitude for the blessings it bestows upon him. Gratitude unifies the mind of man with the intelligence of Substance, so that man's thoughts are received by the Formless. Man can remain upon the creative plane only by uniting himself with the Formless Intelligence through a deep and continuous feeling of gratitude.
Man must form a clear and definite mental image of the things he wishes to have, to do, or to become; and he must hold this mental image in his thoughts, while being deeply grateful to the Supreme that all his desires are granted to him. The man who wishes to get rich must spend his leisure hours in contemplating his Vision, and in earnest thanksgiving that the reality is being given to him. Too much stress cannot be laid on the importance of frequent contemplation of the mental image, coupled with unwavering faith and devout gratitude. This is the process by which the impression is given to the Formless, and the creative forces set in motion.
The creative energy works through the established channels of natural growth, and of the industrial and social order. All that is included in his mental image will surely be brought to the man who follows the instructions given above, and whose faith does not waver. What he wants will come to him through the ways of established trade and commerce.
In order to receive his own when it shall come to him, man must be active; and this activity can only consist in more than filling his present place. He must keep in mind the Purpose to get rich through the realization of his mental image. And he must do, every day, all that can be done that day, taking care to do each act in a successful manner. He must give to every man a use value in excess of the cash value he receives, so that each transaction makes for more life; and he must so hold the Advancing Thought that the impression of increase will be communicated to all with whom he comes in contact.
The men and women who practice the foregoing instructions will certainly get rich; and the riches they receive will be in exact proportion to the definiteness of their vision, the fixity of their purpose, the steadiness of their faith, and the depth of their gratitude."
There are several online texts of the book (such as the linked one from Rick Cockrum at Shards of Consciousness), since the copyright has now expired in the United States and the book is in the public domain. I like to use my commuting time to listen to audiobooks, but didn't find a corresponding free audio version. So I created one. Now anyone with an internet connection and a set of speakers (or an MP3 player) can listen to the book. Have a listen, and I hope you enjoy and learn from this great book!
Table of Contents
Chapter 1: The Right to Be Rich
Chapter 2: There Is a Science of Getting Rich
Chapter 3: Is Opportunity Monopolized?
Chapter 4: The First Principle in the Science of Getting Rich
Chapter 5: Increasing Life
Chapter 6: How Riches Come to You
Chapter 7: Gratitude
Chapter 8: Thinking in the Certain Way
Chapter 9: How to Use the Will
Chapter 10: Further Uses of the Will
Chapter 11: Acting in the Certain Way
Chapter 12: Efficient Action
Chapter 13: Getting Into the Right Business
Chapter 14: The Impression of Increase
Chapter 15: The Advancing Man
Chapter 16: Some Cautions, and Concluding Observations
Chapter 17: Summary of the Science of Getting Rich
Note: Any comments or suggestions are always appreciated!
posted by Mike at 12:57 PM