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The New Stuff

The Law of Success

During the winter of 1883 a slim, studious young man was working as assistant foreman in a greasy little machine shop at Aurora, Illinois. He was saving money with a view to spending the next year at the State University, and he was devoting every minute of his spare time to thought and reading. He was not making much of a stir in the world, and only a few of his close friends ever gave a second thought to his ambitions or prospects.
One of these friends was a newspaper reporter, a recent Harvard graduate. He, too, was interested in study, especially of financial questions, and he found it a pleasure to guide the reading of the young foreman. Many an evening the two friends spent in the discussion of great economic and financial problems. Though both men had their ambitions and dreams, it did not occur to either one that he would ever play a big part in solving these problems.
A few years later the Harvard graduate became financial editor of the Chicago Tribune and brought in the younger man as his assistant. 8During their years of newspaper work together they continued to study and think, and their knowledge of business principles and methods gradually broadened. They were fitting themselves almost without knowing it to step forward into positions of leadership.
Today, the former reporter is the head of a great university school of commerce; the assistant foreman became the president of the largest bank in the United States. One of these men is Joseph French Johnson, now Dean of the New York University School of Commerce, Accounts and Finance. The other is Frank A. Vanderlip, the great financier.
The life histories of most men who have succeeded in a large way are equally simple. They have looked ahead, they have planned, they have equipped themselves with all the business knowledge available, and success has followed. Success must follow. The law of success is as definite as the law of gravity. Here it is:
Prepare in advance for opportunities.
It is not the dramatic moments of life that count. It is the quiet planning and reading of the man who is getting ready now for what is going to happen two, five or ten years from now.