Title and Author: That Something by William W. Woodbridge
Synopsis of Content:
This is a short story, only 34 pages, of a man who is down on his luck, needing a job and a place to live, but mostly needing some dignity and some clue on how to succeed. He is hopeless and has no idea where to begin. He encounters a man and asks him for some food, for he is exhausted and hungry. The man responds that it would do him no good to give him food. Instead the man says he will give him something much more valuable. He will give him “that something”. The hungry man does not understand and wants the something special handed to him right now. The other man explains he must find it himself.
The remainder of the book describes the man’s process of recognizing that he needs that special something, discovering what it is and putting it into practice. The man succeeds in the business world and discovers very clearly what That Something is. He has a hard time describing it, but knows he is using it.
This book is similar to many other success books and pamphlets of the early 20th century. Today it is easy to dismiss the relatively simplistic approach to success typified by Woodbridge’s work. That would be a mistake. While it is not terribly complex it contains grains of wisdom and truths that are as true today as they were a century ago. By using a short fictional story the author also makes the message more personal than if it were a dry lecture on the principles of success.
The fact is that hard work, diligence, persistence, accepting personal responsibility for one’s own fate, thinking creatively and all the other fundamentals in this book are still as essential to success as they were then.
You can sit down and read this little book in an hour. It will entertain you and will inform you. It will remind you of the truths about success that you may already know, but it is a reminder we all benefit from.
The well known and supremely successful self improvement teacher and writer, Paul J. Meyer, attributes some of his success to this book which he read many times and inspired him. Given all that Meyer has taught us about success that is reason alone to read this little book.
For a book from the first decade of the 20th century it is very readable. In fact all of Woodbridge’s writing is well done. It is simple enough for a grammar school child to read and yet inspiring enough to move an adult.
Notes on Author:
William Witherspoon Woodbridge was the author of a number of short classic self improvement books in the early 1900s. He also wrote That Something, Something More, and Scooting Skyward. His writings were endorsed by Thomas Edison among others. These little books and others like them were popular in the pre WWI era as they appealed to the common man and were written simply.
Paul J. Meyer is a renowned author and a pioneer in the modern self improvement industry.
Three Great Ideas You Can Use:
1. The secret to success is not found in other people nor can anyone give it to you. You must discover the secret to success yourself by your own effort and thought.
2. There is a certain something that successful people possess about their attitude and their action which separates them from the rest of humanity. Identify that something different and learn to apply it in your own life and you too will see success. That something is a synergistic combination of positive attitude, positive expectation for success, willingness to go out and do what is necessary to attain your goals, have a goal or objective to reach for, and continuously improve yourself and your contacts with others to attain these goals. While this is not an exhaustive list, it is an important part of that something.
3. A story, properly told, can convey a level of truth and understanding that may not be communicated through more traditional lectures. Look behind the events that led someone you know or a famous person whose biography you can read to success and you will find that something at work.
That Something by William W. Woodbridge.
Copyright: 2005 by Executive Books
General Rating: Very Good