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Alger’s rags-to-riches success secrets

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in Leaders & Managers,Workplace Communication

You probably know that a “Horatio Alger story” is a tale about a young man who starts out with nothing and ends up a great success. But who was Horatio Alger, exactly?

The quick answer: one of 19th century America’s most prolific and successful novelists who overcame early hardships to live and write about “The American Dream.” A frail child, Alger didn’t start school until age 10. But he bettered himself and graduated from Harvard a Phi Beta Kappa. He then wrote nearly 400 novels that sold more than 200 million copies. His tales influenced generations of young Americans to pull themselves up by their bootstraps and win success.

With titles such as The Errand Boy or How Phil Brent Won Success, Alger’s novels sound corny. Yet, they teach success principles that are worth paying attention to today, including:
  • Long, hard work pays off.
  • Rely on the values you learned in your family and your faith.
  • Expect adversity.
  • Simple goodness wins out in the end.
  • Relying on yourself is more effective than relying on others.
  • Let your youthful dreams sustain you. If you can stay connected to them, you build a success that is uniquely your own.
  • For the best guidance in your adult life, stay in touch with the wise people who guided you in your youth.
— Adapted from Success Secrets of Horatio Alger, Barry Lenson, to be published next year.

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