The Book of Business Success | Podcasts for Entrepreneurs

Podcast Transcript: Welcome to the Inspirational Living podcast, brought to you in part by Book of Zen, makers of inspirational fashion and gift ideas. Visit them online at BookofZen.com. Today’s podcast has been edited and adapted from The Book of Business by Elbert Hubbard, published in 1913.

Genius is only the power of making continuous effort. The line between failure and success is so fine that we scarcely know when we pass it— so fine that we are often on the line and do not know it. How many a person has thrown up their hands at a time when a little more effort, a little more patience, would have achieved success. As the tide goes clear out, so it comes clear in. In business, sometimes, prospects may seem darkest when really they are on the turn.

A little more persistence, a little more effort, and what seemed hopeless failure may turn to glorious success. There is no failure except in no longer trying. There is no defeat except from within, no really insurmountable barrier save our own inherent weakness of purpose.

Humankind is under the domain of Natural Law as much as bees. We succeed only by working with others and for others. Success lies in mutual service. This great truth concerning the solidarity of humanity marks a mental epoch in the onward and the upward march. It was hinted at pretty strongly in 1776, and carried into business as an experiment about 1876. It is no longer an experiment.

The Spirit of the Times — the Zeitgeist, to borrow a word from our German friends — is a constantly progressing entity. The present Spirit of the Times is of a kind unequaled in history. We have thousands upon thousands of men and women who are thinking great and noble thoughts and doing great and splendid work.  Increasing numbers of entrepreneurs regard themselves as public servants. Our Zeitgeist is sensitive, restless, alert, impressionable, progressive, and is making for a better future.

The entrepreneur who can imagine a better future than now exists is able to throw their vision on computer screens around the world, and the individual who can formulate a better government than we now have is not hanged for their pains, but is allowed to express their dreams.

Public opinion rules. No law that is contrary to the Zeitgeist can be enforced. Judges construe, translate, and interpret the laws to suit the Spirit of the Times. Every person who speaks out loud and clear is impacting the Zeitgeist. Every person who expresses what they honestly think is true is changing the Spirit of the Times.

Thinkers help other people think, for they formulate what others are thinking. No person writes or thinks alone: thought is in the air; but its expression is necessary to create a tangible Spirit of the Times. The value of a thinker who writes, or a writer who thinks, or an entrepreneur who acts, is that they supply arguments for the people, and confirm all who share their opinions, often before unexpressed.

The Brotherhood and Sisterhood of Humanity is an idea now fully appreciated in business. Commerce today stands for Mutuality — Reciprocity. Technology has increased efficiency, and given the people better goods at a lower price. It has been inevitable, because it does the greatest good for the greatest number of people. It has worked for economy and productivity.

In today’s business, every purchaser should be pleased. The customer should be made to feel that they are at home, that they are with strong and influential friends, that their interests are safeguarded. This matter of faith between buyer and seller is a new thing in the world. But to give the people the things they want is not enough. You must show them what they want.

The great 21st century retailer must be a leader in taste. They are an educator. They stand for economy, color, proportion, harmony and increased happiness. They inspire the imagination by bringing from the far comers of the earth the products of the loom, work-shop, farm, mine, and studio. They display these goods so that the public may examine them — compare, weigh, analyze, sift, decide and make them their own if they wish.

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