"Ambition And Success" by Orison Swett Marden

Review by Borodutch

The author wrote this manuscript 18 years after the previous one — and you can tell how his way of representing information changed. The common theme of the previous book, "push through everything," has morphed into "check why you are pushing." Instead of a simple motivational work, the newer installment focuses on philosophical aspects of human life.

I don't think I agree with most of the points raised by the author, but I do resonate with a tiny subset. Here's what the author tries to teach the readers:

  1. People must be ambitious; otherwise, they waste their time and talents
  2. People should never be satisfied and should always crave more (questionable, especially according to stoicism)
  3. People are heavily influenced by their environment — if you're friends with successful, you become more successful
  4. Ambitions should be noble, not materialistic (don't crave expensive cars/jewelry/other toys)
  5. People shouldn't lose ambition even when they are old
  6. People should visualize themselves in better conditions to achieve

The author's philosophical shift appears on almost every page of the book. You can tell that he is coming to the end of his life (he died five years after writing the book) and is trying to pass his wisdom further. He discusses the reasons for action and uses multiple examples, like the grumpy older man he was. The usual "I know a woman, and she..."

"Ambition And Success" has more depth than "An Iron Will," but the author fails to convene the clever thoughts. Well, it was worth a try! Who knows how his story would be different had he given in the philosophical nature of thought sooner rather than later?

Worth a read? Nah, skip it. All the main points are outlined above.