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10 Books Over 50 Years Old That Will Still Change Your Life Today

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As advanced as society has become, some things haven’t changed at all. Wheels still roll and fire still burns. And humans still pass down their wisdom through the written word in the hopes they will be read for generations to come. These ten books have succeeded, by speaking to the part of us that wants to know more and better ourselves. All of them are more than 50 years old, some of them two millennia old. And they continue to be popular for a reason: because they can each, in their own way, still change your life.

The Art of Money Getting by P.T. Barnum
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From 1880: The Art of Money Getting by P.T. Barnum

Showman Phineas Taylor Barnum—promotor of hoaxes and co-founder of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey circus—never, apparently, said there’s a sucker born every minute. But he did believe in using whatever it took to attract customers to his shows. Just as long as they left satisfied. And he compiled what he learned into 20 golden rules on making money. Broken into short chapters you can read in one afternoon, he shares stories of farmers and shoemakers; those in boarding houses and on steamships.

He advises choosing the right work (“Unless a man enters upon the vocation intended for him by nature, and best suited to his particular genius, he cannot succeed”) and avoiding debt (“getting into debt for what you eat and drink and wear is to be avoided”). And that when you have a goal, to act on it. “If you hesitate,” writes Barnum, “some bolder hand will stretch out before you and get the prize.”


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