Orison Swett Marden was born in Thornton Gore, New Hampshire to Lewis and Martha Marden. When he was three years old, his mother died at the age of 22, leaving Orison and his two sisters in the care of their father, a farmer, hunter, and trapper. When Orison was seven years old, his father died from injuries incurred while in the woods, and the children were shuttled from one guardian to another, with Orison working as a “hired boy” to earn his keep. Inspired by an early self-help book by the Scottish author Samuel Smiles, which he found in an attic, Marden set out to improve himself and his life circumstances. He persevered in advancing himself and graduated from Boston University in 1871. He later graduated from Harvard with an M.D. in 1881 and an LL.B. degree in 1882. He also studied at the Boston School of Oratory (Emerson College) and Andover Theological Seminary.
According to Brian Tracy’s book “Flight Plan”, during the deep depression of the 1890’s, Marden lost the hotel he owned. With little money, but with lots of time on his hands, he decided to write a book. He took a room above a livery stable and worked night and day. The evening he finished the final page, tired and hungry, he decided to go out to a small café for dinner. While he was dining, the livery stable caught fire and burned to the ground. His entire manuscript – more than 1,000 pages, an entire year’s work – was destroyed by flames in a matter of minutes.
He was overwhelmed and heartbroken. But he picked himself up and started all over again. A year later, he had re-written his manuscript. He then tried to get it published. But with the depression being in its third year, no one was interested. He moved to Chicago, found a job and met someone who happened to know a publisher. The publisher read his book and said, “This is exactly what people should be reading in the middle of the depression or at any other time”.
“Pushing to the Front” became the single greatest runaway classic in the history of personal development books at that time. People like Henry Ford, Thomas Edison, Harvey Firestone and J.P. Morgan cited it as inspiration. Marden went on to write more than twenty other inspirational books.
“There are two essential requirements for success. The first is “go-at-it-iveness” and the second is “stick-to-it-iveness” – Orison Swett MardenShare on Facebook