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The Triumph of the Man Who Acts


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The Triumph of the Man Who Acts

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Its author, Edward Earle Purinton, was the early twentieth century's leading health and efficiency expert, a best-selling author, and advisor to titans of industry. Indeed, this essay collection sold over 700,000 copies within months of its initial 1916 release. Purinton shows you how to: - Maintain the wellness of your body, heart, mind, and soul - Stay motivated and banish procrastination meet life's challenges with courage, conviction, and action - Live productively, efficiently, and happily This book will allow you to uncover your greatest self. Discover the transformative wisdom contained within this self-improvement classic today.



Edward Earl Purinton (1878-1943) was a leading American health and efficiency expert during the early twentieth century. His books and manuals sold over 10 million copies in 20 countries.

His work was endorsed by F.W. Woolworth, John D. Rockefeller Jr., the Archbishop of Canterbury, and countless others. Purinton used his methods to advise leading industrialists on optimal efficiency and teach the common person how to be productive, healthy, happy, and successful.

Edward Earle Purinton

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Experience the First Pages

This is the day of the man who acts.

The world wants him, well knowing that he is bound to forge ahead and achieve what compels rightful admiration.

We respect a man because he has taken what we had, or acquired what we haven’t. We respect the man who acts because he displays control over crises. This spells opportunity, this makes history, this creates destiny. For to see what should be done — then do it on the instant, caring nothing for appearance, precedent or preachment, is the common mark of the great of all time.

The man who acts possesses courage, promptness, faith, quick-wittedness, farsightedness, a huge will, a holy zeal, and the power to mass his forces on a set point at a set time for a set purpose. Such traits are rare, worth money, and a meed of praise. They command the rewards of the world, they summon the gifts of the gods. If any boon to you be lacking, see why it goes to the man who acts.

Health attends the man who acts, Wisdom guides him, Hope frees him, Joy helps him, Power moves him, Progress marks him, Fame follows him, Wealth rewards him, Love chooses him, Fate obeys him, God blesses him, Immortality crowns him.

Loss of health is, first, loss of initiative. Disease attacks inert bodies. Germs feed on dead tissue. Every sick man has begun to die; and conversely, no man thoroughly alive can be sick. To be energized from head to foot — body, brain, heart and soul — is to be radio-active and hence immune. Never blame or fear a germ — typhoid, rheumatic, catarrhal or tubercular — blame your own negligence, fear your own ignorance, and make friends with the germs so they will do their work more eagerly. If a house-holder left a pile of garbage in his dining-room, then were driven to despair by rats and flies, who would pity him? We should say to him, “You are lazy, shameless and reckless — clean up or go to jail!” Yet we pity the invalid — who also has garbage in his dining-room or elsewhere in his body — and we say to him, “The way to be well is to fill, up on more poison from the drug store!” When pills are used for pillars, health is bound to topple.

The finest remedy in the world is for a sick man to realize that he himself must do something. He must eat less and exercise more; learn to breathe to the bottom of his lungs; find what water will do for him inside and out; smash the fripperies and follies of custom and expediency; understand what life means and get a real object for living; cultivate faith in himself and his fellows; work and play all over; study the birds and the trees and the stars, and be as frank and free as they — in short, get down to first principles, back to Nature, on to Destiny, up to God. Nothing is “incurable” save lack of courage. Many a man doomed to die has outlived his doctor, first by willing to have health, then by working to secure it. For perfect health is only a by-product of efficiency; whoever does things and delights in the doing thereby unconsciously grows deep-chested, lithe-limbed, red-blooded, stout-hearted, clear-eyed, strong-nerved, calm-visaged, clean-souled.

No book contains wisdom. A book merely echoes what a man learned by doing things. Hence most of our pedagogues are busily engaged telling the young how to follow echoes. The crime in popular education lies in regarding the mind as a memory-box instead of as a motor. The only hopeless fool is a highly educated fool. Many a “fool” who knew nothing but dared all became the world’s idol. You see we begin to have real education only as we long and dare to plan and execute our own adventures in life. What if we err? We have been honest. What if we suffer? We have been bold. What if we come to disaster? We have chosen the path of our heart, and though our possessions vanish, our principles rise immortal.

No man has mounted the first step to achievement who has not learned to make mistakes nobly and retrieve them gracefully. The child walks by trusting his muscles despite his falls. The man wins by trusting his aspirations, desires and hopes despite his failures. Civilization throttles instinct, doubts intuition, denies inspiration, attempting to substitute logic or policy or mob-rule for the deeper, higher, finer voices of the soul. Not by heeding the warnings of timid friends or the mutterings of rabid enemies but by forgetting, and if need be defying, the words and habits of others, choosing to heed the inner voices and follow to the end, do we grow apace in wisdom.

The chick is a timorous bird, the eagle a valiant. Why? Because the eagle knows the strength of his wings, by his action he overcomes his fear; whereas the chick, feeling his wings helpless, merely squawks and flutters at the approach of danger. Most men, and the vast majority of women, have had their wings clipped. Freedom in action they know not, hence they fear. What do they fear? Poverty, illness, enmity, old age, solitude, night, sorrow, unpopularity — countless things that lie in the shadows of ignorance and indolence. Fear is but chronic inability to act. And what we fear, we invite. If the business of being a desperado were as moral as it is hygienic, we might all profit by a course in brigandage. No man fears himself; hence the way to rout fear is to be oneself so thoroughly and constantly that no outer shadow may intrude. Fears are the centipedes and lizards of the mind, hopes are the butterflies and larks. Hopes lead when we do as impulse or inspiration prompts; fears haunt as we lie prone. When a man despairs call him a drone. At least that will anger him — and ire gets action!

The pessimist is always a theorist — never a practical man. From the nagging housewife, lacking system, love and tact, to the magazine “muckraker,” lacking a job and envious of men with good ones, the preacher of woe is always a person with an unsolved problem. But to the earnest and the energetic, life is a splendid game; and he who knows the game and “plays fair” is always expecting a victory. Men and women need to limber up; they are too dignified, too conventional, too timid, too expressionless, too unreal — and too rheumatic. A little boy in mischief is always contented. We may not like the mischief, but the action of him is ideal, also the courage that defies a rule-of-thumb. And in mature life, the youngest, cheeriest, soundest man is he who always delves in something new. A destiny, like a diamond, is a matter of digging. Happiness lies at the heart of some herculean task. And the mere act of stretching our mental and spiritual muscles creates a physical buoyancy, to thrill and impel and renew us. Woe is merely a blind wish of a weakling. The lion, fettered and bound in his cage, presents a sorry countenance; the lion, speeding from his lair to the open, grapples with his foe and mightily exults in life.

From the new science of experimental psychology we learn that the average man uses only a small fraction — a third to a tenth — of his inherent brain-power. The rest lies dormant. Why? Because original thought is lacking, and that is the only kind that really builds the cells of the brain. Now original thought and independent action are closely related. All discoveries and inventions, all great commercial undertakings, all humane projects and philanthropic institutions, were the outcome of the brain of a man who had a new idea, recognized its value, became absorbed in it, worked it out for himself, and by proving it challenged the world’s attention. The human brain is an electric battery, Universal Spirit the power house, and personal ambition the set of wires on which the current runs. Seldom is the battery connected aright, with the source of power above, or with the channels of power in human life. Great deeds are the product of great desires. And most human beings are so trivial, so unattractive, so commonplace, because whatever desires they had in childhood have been crushed in the world’s routine of repression, monotony and apathy.

The next time you feel a conviction, inspiration or desire that seems unusual or even untenable — act on it, fully, promptly and implicitly. If the result seems a mistake, never mind — a new channel of power will have been opened in your brain, and as you grow familiar with this, you will be astonished at the increase in efficiency.

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