Thursday, July 23, 2009

Armstrong, Herbert

The Mystery of MELCHIZEDEK Solved!
"And Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine; he was priest of God Most High. And he [Melchizedek] blessed him [Abraham] and said, 'Blessed be Abram by God Most High, maker of heaven and earth; and blessed be God Most High, who has delivered your enemies into your hand!' And Abram gave him [Melchizedek] a tenth of everything" that is, a tithe of all, for a tithe means a tenth (Genesis 14:18-20, RSV).

This world says the cause of racial problems is segregation, when in fact the opposite is the case.

Just What Do You Mean...Kingdom of God?
Is it the CHURCH? Is it something "setup in the hearts of men"? Is it the British Empire? Is it "the good within you"? Is it "the Millennium"? Each of these is widely taught - yet none is right!

Herbert W. Armstrong Was Ahead of His Time!
Mr. Armstrong was ahead of his time. The principles of prophecy he spoke of remain absolutely true: a final revival of the unholy Roman Empire is prophesied and the EU is forging ahead with that Frankenstein Monster now.

The Plain Truth About Herbert W. Armstrong and the Worldwide Church of God
Herbert W. Armstrong was courageously teaching the plain truth around the world, announcing the good news of the Wonderful World Tomorrow, the Kingdom of God that will soon be established with the return and reign of Christ.

Was Herbert W. Armstrong Elijah?
Was Herbert W. Armstrong the prophesied individual to come in the power and spirit of Elijah, as taught by the former Worldwide Church of God and still believed by many of the branches of the Sabbath-keeping Church of God?

Herbert W. Armstrong and the Worldwide Church of God Mentioned in Israeli Newspaper
One of the Worldwide Church of God beliefs is that there will be a politico-military mess that will take place by next year. In their opinion, Germany, and maybe even Italy, will attempt to conquer the world. That attempt will ignite a world war that will take two thirds of the world's population, but that afterwards there will begin a true peace for planet Earth. The members of the Worldwide Church of God will be among those that survive and they believe that eventually their beliefs will be accepted by all the Earth.

Is All Animal Flesh Good Food?
Were all animals made clean? What about the unclean animals shown to Peter in a vision? Here is a straightforward Bible answer, giving the New Testament teaching. This subject is important to your health and well-being!

Accusations Against Herbert W. Armstrong
Those who truly are Christians understand that the Christian thing to do, especially in light of the fact that the worst accusations against Herbert W. Armstrong would be thrown out of court, dismissed for lack of evidence, is to give Herbert W. Armstrong the benefit of the doubt, as we would want, knowing we're to love our neighbor as ourselves...

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Becoming a Publishers’ Representative (Chapt. 8 - Autobiography of Herbert W. Armstrong, Vol. 1)

It was now the fall of 1915. By this time I had a considerable amount of valuable experience behind me.

I had reached the age when most students had graduated from college—twenty-three. All this time I had continued my studies, delving into many subjects, including philosophy and psychology, but my “major,” of course, had been journalism, advertising, selling, and merchandising, along with business management. This study had been combined with intensive “field experience” in contacts and dealings with businessmen over most of the United States, discussing business methods and problems with them.

Practical vs. Theoretical Education

This education was far more practical than theoretical classroom instruction out of textbooks usually written by professors utterly lacking in practical experience. Nevertheless, I frequently wondered, in those days, how my education would stack up with that of most college graduates. Later I was to find out.

You will remember, as recounted in the earlier part of this autobiography, that at age eighteen I had faced, and answered, the question of going to college. I had chosen the advertising profession. There were no worthwhile courses available in advertising in the colleges and universities at that time.

On the advice of my uncle, Frank Armstrong, leading advertising man in Iowa, I had decided on a course of self-study combined with active experience. I had, except for deviations from my goal, chosen the jobs that would provide the training I needed for the future, rather than the jobs which paid the most.

Then I purchased books, and borrowed books from public libraries, beside subscribing to the trade journals in the advertising field, Printers Ink, and Advertising & Selling. I read a great deal of Elbert Hubbard’s writings, and continually studied and analyzed the best advertisements in newspapers and leading magazines. Also, I read a great deal in certain general magazines, such as the Quality Group of those days, especially World’s Work. I confined my reading in magazines to informative and thought-provoking articles, resisting fiction almost altogether. Fiction is the lazy man’s reading. Like the movies, and today’s TV programs, it is merely a ready-made daydream, inducing habits of mind-drifting.

These years of self-assigned study enforced mental activity, contacts with successful men in many varied fields, coupled with the practical experience that had been mine, had produced an education and training superior to the average college education.

As president of a liberal arts college with three campuses on two continents today, I can say that this intensive education from the university of hard knocks and practical experience in application has made possible a college offering today’s students a sound and practical education acquiring the true values! And supplying the “missing dimension” in education.

Moving to Chicago

My work on the one issue special bank building number of the Northwestern Banker had been converted into a regular job as advertising solicitor, on a 40% commission basis, with a drawing account.

Right here I hope I may interject a success principle of which the vast majority seem totally unaware. Here was a temporary job, doing a special one month edition of a small class journal. But it offered larger opportunities. Those greater possibilities were visualized, and acted upon! The temporary job was turned into a steady job as advertising solicitor for one sectional bank journal. And it led from these to establishing a successful business as Publishers’ Representative in Chicago.

This is the quality, rare among people (but why should it be?), called vision. This job on one sectional journal later was developed into a business as publishers’ representative for nine bank magazines. Most men are never able to see any possibilities of expanding their present jobs. They do merely what they are told—what someone higher up thought out and laid before them. Or they use deceit to jerk the rug out from under the man above them.

The Bible says that if we do only what we are commanded—what is expected of us—we are “unprofitable servants” to be cast out “into outer darkness.”

Most people go to one extreme or the other. While the big majority never think beyond their present jobs—never think out ways to do the job better, or to develop or expand their own job into something bigger, or to be preparing themselves for the better jobs ahead and promotions to them, a minority go to the opposite extreme. They are always trying to do the job ahead—or the boss’s job—without adequate ability, preparation or experience, and only throw monkey wrenches into the gears, causing damage, lacking wisdom and judgment.

Most men never seem to realize how the application of some of these principles makes all the difference between employee and employer; between mediocrity or failure and success.

Back to the story. I had now developed the opportunity into a job. But the field in Iowa was too limited. The nation’s advertising headquarters centered in two cities—New York and Chicago. After a month or two of developing a few accounts in Iowa, chief of which had been the Lytle Company and the Fisher Company, I moved into Chicago.

I made my home at the old Hotel Del Prado, a southside residential hotel on the Midway, adjacent to the University of Chicago. The one personal friend I had in Chicago at the time was Ralph G. Johnson, manager of the Merchant’s Trade Journal’s Chicago office, and I moved into the Del Prado because he lived there.

The old Del Prado has long since been torn down, and a new skyscraper Del Prado erected over on the lake shore. The old one was a sprawling three or four-story frame building, well maintained as a first class residential hotel. Most cities have residential hotels, and I learned that they are a most satisfactory type of residence for single people, whether young or old.

Very soon I came to know most of the residents of the Del Prado. The hotel provided a weekly Wednesday night dance for all guests. The dining room was cleared to provide the dance floor. There were spacious lobbies and lounge rooms. There was a sort of unwritten law among guests which dictated that if one desired social contact, he would find almost any of the other guests receptive and friendly; or, if he preferred privacy, or to sit alone in the lobby, no one would intrude.

I lived at the Del Prado almost two years—until a certain Iowa girl came to Chicago to become my wife. This privilege of living in a large metropolitan residential hotel was one of the cultural and valued experiences of all those formative years. It supplied one of those social-cultural influences which many college students receive by residence in a fraternity house—but without some of the evils of frat life.

I soon observed that the most popular girl at the Wednesday night dances—or chatting in the lobbies at any other time—was Miss Lucy Cunningham. Miss Lucy, as everybody called her, was a white-haired maiden lady in her seventies. She was especially popular with all the single young men. A few University of Chicago co-eds lived at the Del Prado with their mothers. But often these attractive and intelligent young co-eds were forced to play the role of wallflowers during a dance, while Miss Lucy was always in demand!

She was a charming conversationalist, witty, intelligent, well educated. We fellows spent many an exhilarating evening hour chatting with her in one of the lobby rooms—usually three or four young men around Miss Lucy. That was long before cigarette smoking became habitual with the female sex. In those days it was not generally accepted as being “nice” for a lady to smoke. Prostitutes smoked, but not “nice” women. Miss Lucy, however, was a “nice” woman who was a little ahead of her time. She was “nice” all right, but she dared to do what she wanted. Miss Lucy smoked cigarettes! Whenever another guest walked past the grouping of sofas and lounge chairs where we were sitting with her, she would casually hand her cigarette over to one of the fellows, who would hold it until the way was clear again. Probably not many, except a number of the young men residents, ever knew her addiction to smoking.

I didn’t like to see her smoke. It has always seemed disgusting to me to see any woman smoke. But, remember, I was young then, and fancied I was quite “broad-minded” about such things. I was not naive. No one is wholly good or bad, and I liked Miss Lucy for the things that were good about her.

Besides, I myself smoked in those days. You’ll remember how I “swore off chewing” tobacco at age 5. But I had taken up pipe smoking during those long and frantic night hours at Wiggins, Mississippi, as an aid to staying awake while I worked over the books. I had smoked, moderately, ever since. However, I will say that I was never a heavy smoker. Never more than one cigar a day, or three or four cigarettes in a day. That’s the reason I did not have the battle many men have had in breaking the habit, when I saw that it had to be broken. My battles with myself were in other directions.

An Office of My Own

The first time in my life I had an office of my own was in Chicago. On arriving there from Iowa, now representing the Northwestern Banker, I opened an office in the Advertising Building, at 123 West Madison Street, in the heart of Chicago’s Loop. This location was only a half block off South LaSalle Street, which is the “Wall Street” of Chicago. Most of the great banks and investment houses (of Chicago) are located on this street.

The Advertising Building was occupied solely by advertising agencies, publishing firms, publishers’ representatives, or those of allied lines in the advertising field. The Ad Club, a division of the Chicago Association of Commerce, had its club rooms there.

The name of this tall but slender skyscraper has been changed at least twice since then. Not many would remember it as the Advertising Building today.

Actually, I did not quite open an office, as yet. The fourth floor of this building consisted of one large general room, with a tier of private offices forming an “L” around the far side and the rear of the floor. This large general room was filled with a number of desks. At first, I rented merely desk space in this open room. It was about two years before my business expanded to the point where I required, and was able to afford, a private office; and then I rented one on that same floor. Altogether I maintained office facilities on that same floor for seven years.

At the entrance of this desk-space room was a telephone switchboard and a receptionist. She served all tenants on that floor, taking telephone messages when tenants were out. Through this entire seven years of my tenancy there, the same alert, quick-thinking receptionist remained at that switchboard. Her name was Olive Graham. She had an astonishingly remarkable faculty. She could remember every telephone number that had been given to her for days, and precisely when the call had come in.

On one occasion, a man attempted to alibi his failure to call me by claiming that he had called, and left his telephone number for me to call. I took his telephone and called our switchboard—Randolph 2-100.

“Olive,” I said, “Mr. Blank says he called me three days ago, when I was out, and left his number, Blank 8-693, for me to call.”

“No, Mr. Armstrong,” replied Olive promptly. “No Mr. Blank called three days ago, and no one left the number Blank 8-693.”

That was positive proof. Olive was never mistaken. Mr. Blank was forced to admit he had not made the call. How that girl could carry hundreds of telephone numbers in her mind I could never understand. I never knew her to miss.

Advertising Tractors to Bankers

Some little time after setting up my own headquarters in Chicago, I had what might appear to be a most absurd “brainstorm.” Those on our present staff and our architects well know that these “brainstorms” have a way of continuing, even today.

They may seem ridiculous or absurd at first thought. But more often than not they have proven to be very practical and worthwhile ideas. You see, while I was touring the country as the “Idea Man” for the Merchants Trade Journal, my job was to look for ideas—practical ideas—ideas that had been put to work, and had proven successful. That experience taught me the value of ideas.

In the aptitude tests given prospective employees by one large corporation, one of the questions was: “Do you ever daydream?” 99 out of 100 applicants, if they were putting down the answers they supposed the company wanted, rather than the actual truth, would most surely have answered “No!” Actually, the company was looking for men who do daydream in a certain manner. Not the kind of daydreaming that lets the mind stagnate and drift without thinking—but the kind of thinking daydreaming that utilizes imagination—that thinks up ideas, and then mentally puts them to every test to see whether they will work!

To climb the ladder of ultimate success in accomplishment, one must exercise vision, and, supplementary to it, imagination—the kind of active, practical thinking that produces sound and workable ideas! The college in which I was trained taught me these things. The average college education, however, fails to inculcate anything of this nature.

This “brainstorm”—or idea—was the selling of large advertising space in the bank journals to farm tractor manufacturers. Certainly no one had ever heard of such an apparently preposterous idea before. But it worked, and it paid the farm tractor industry in a big way—and, incidentally, it put me above the $50,000- a-year income class (in terms of today’s dollar) while still a youth in my twenties.

However, that idea required time to develop.

At first, my work in Chicago confined me primarily to the solicitation of advertising from banks and investment houses which had not previously used space in the Northwestern Banker. Although I was required to call on, and render any desired service to the financial institutions which were already advertising in the Northwestern Banker, I received no commission from any of this, but only on such new accounts as I developed myself.

This journal was already carrying the advertising of many of Chicago’s large banks and bond houses. But there were still others.

What a “Correspondent” Bank Is

One might wonder why the larger Chicago banks should carry advertising in journals read only by other bankers. The answer is that these larger banks in Chicago and New York do have something to sell to other banks.

They are, in a sense, bankers’ banks. Virtually every bank in Iowa, Minnesota, North and South Dakota, and Nebraska kept a goodly sum of money on deposit in at least one Chicago bank. This was a system used by banks to facilitate the clearing of checks.

Have you ever wondered how checks you send to people in other states are cleared?

Suppose, for example, you live in Ft. Dodge, Iowa. You owe a bill to a concern in Muncie, Indiana. You mail the Muncie firm a check on your local Ft. Dodge bank. The Muncie firm deposits the check in its local bank in Muncie. The Muncie bank either pays the Muncie firm the amount, thus cashing your check, or it credits the amount to the firm’s account in the bank.

But, now, how is that bank in Muncie, Indiana, going to get the amount of the check from you? When you wrote out your check, drawn on your Ft. Dodge bank, you represented that you had that amount of money on deposit in the bank in Ft. Dodge. The check is merely an order for your bank in Ft. Dodge to pay to the firm in Muncie, Indiana, the amount of your money written on the check. Now when a bank over in Muncie, Indiana, pays this amount of money to this Muncie firm, the Muncie bank must have a way to collect your money from your bank in Ft. Dodge. How?

Banking procedures have undergone some change, and today the Federal Reserve system is used by member banks to a great extent in the clearing of checks, and the correspondent system to a lesser degree.

But in those days it was done primarily through this correspondent system. Most banks scattered over such states as Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Wisconsin have a Chicago Correspondent. That is, they keep a sum of money on deposit in a Chicago bank, for the very purpose of clearing checks. So the Muncie bank has a Chicago Correspondent. Also the Ft. Dodge bank has a Chicago Correspondent, although it may be a different Chicago bank.

Here is how the system works. The Muncie bank sends your check to its Chicago Correspondent bank. On receipt of your check, this Chicago bank credits the amount of your check to the account of the Muncie bank. Now the Muncie bank has been reimbursed for cashing your check. If your check was for the amount of $100, it has $100 added to the amount it has on deposit in the Chicago bank. Now this Chicago bank must be reimbursed. Through the Chicago Clearing House system, it sends your check to the Chicago bank which is the correspondent of your Ft. Dodge bank, which has an adequate amount of money on deposit with its Chicago Correspondent bank. This bank in Chicago thereupon debits the account of your Ft. Dodge bank $100. In plainer words, it takes the $100 out of the money on deposit by your Ft. Dodge bank, which is paid through the Chicago Clearing House system to the other Chicago bank which is the Correspondent of the Muncie bank. And finally, the Chicago Correspondent of the Ft. Dodge bank sends your check back to your bank in Ft. Dodge, notifying your bank that it has taken this $100 out of the money they had on deposit. Your bank stamps your check paid, taking your $100 which it had on deposit, thus reimbursing itself for the $100 which its Chicago Correspondent took out of its money on deposit there. And at the end of the month you receive a statement from your bank showing they have deducted this $100 from your balance on deposit, and enclosing the canceled check.

This is all not so complicated as it probably sounds. I have taken space to explain it so simply that a little child can understand it. But I thought it might be interesting to my readers, most of whom probably never had any understanding of how checks are cleared from one part of the country to another.

Attending Bankers’ Conventions

My work now brought me into contact with many of the nation’s leading bankers. Solicitation among Chicago’s larger banks and security firms made it necessary to cultivate personal acquaintance with those officers directly connected with the correspondent accounts. This often included one of the vice presidents, and in some instances the presidents.

Certain phases of the banking business are not generally known by the public. One of these is the personal acquaintances and contacts maintained among men of the banking fraternity.

Each state has its state Bankers’ Association, with its annual Bankers’ Convention. These state conventions are well attended by presidents, vice presidents, cashiers, and even some assistant cashiers, especially those whose jobs are connected with the correspondent business. Each state is divided into groups, and each group holds its annual group meeting.

Then on the national level, there is the national A.B.A. (American Bankers’ Association) convention each year, well attended by presidents and top-ranking vice presidents of the nation’s largest banks.

At these annual conclaves, bankers, so dignified and formal at home and before customers in their own banks, really “let down their hair,” as the saying goes. They familiarly call each other by their first names.

To a large extent, this correspondent business between banks is conducted on a personal acquaintance basis. Although there were two outstanding national magazines in the banking field, these localized sectional bank journals maintained a personal contact and hold on their banker subscribers that was not possible for a national magazine.

There were seven principal sectional or regional journals, all published by men of outstanding personality. These publishers attended most of the group meetings, and all of the state and national conventions. They mixed personally with the bankers of their districts—who were the readers of their publications. The most eagerly read pages of these monthly journals were the personal gossip pages. All these sectional journals published a great deal of personal news about individual bankers in their districts. The bankers of each section, who knew most of the other bankers personally, were naturally eager to read any personal news items about bankers they knew—and about themselves!

Since I was now the advertising representative of perhaps the leading one of these sectional bank journals, I began to attend several of the state bankers’ conventions, and most of the A.B.A. (American Bankers’ Association) conventions.

In this manner I began to form personal acquaintance with hundreds of prominent bankers—another important factor in my education which had some influence in preparing me for the real job ahead.

In Chicago were many manufacturers of products sold to banks. Of course I solicited advertising from these.

The Tractor Brainstorm

I do not remember just how this idea came to mind about selling large-space advertising to the manufacturers of farm tractors. But in some manner, through personal contacts with scores of small-city and country bankers, I had come to realize that tractors, in those days, were sold for cash—there were no easy-payment plans, or financing terms offered. The farmers were forced to borrow the money from their bankers in order to purchase tractors. My conversations with bankers had indicated that bankers were not, as yet, “sold” on the idea of the farm tractor.

So, in order to get all the facts, I made an extensive survey. That experience in conducting the surveys at Richmond, Kentucky, and Lansing, Michigan, had shown the value of fact-finding by survey, obtaining information from a representative portion, based on the law of average.

This farm tractor survey was made primarily by mail through questionnaires. These questionnaires were sent to a thousand or more bankers, and a representative number of farmers, and a third questionnaire to scattered local dealers who sold tractors. Simultaneously, I went out on a personal tour of several states, personally interviewing bankers, tractor dealers, and farmers.

This survey unearthed some startling facts, which tractor manufacturers had never realized about their business.

The officers of the average bank in the Northwestern Banker territory owned eight farms. Many had come into this farm ownership through foreclosure of mortgages. Of course they did not farm, themselves. These bankers either employed managers to operate them, or rented them out. Multiplying our circulation by eight, I learned that I had a farm-owner circulation to sell at a lower cost per page per thousand circulation than the farm papers.

But the principal reason farm tractor manufacturers needed to buy advertising space in a banking journal was to win the favor of bankers so that they would readily loan money to their farmer customers for the purchase of tractors. The bankers were proving a very serious sales-resistance factor. Whenever a farmer would come into a bank to borrow money for the purchase of a tractor, the banker, calling him by his first name, would ask:

“What do you want the money for, John?”

And when he learned John was about to buy a tractor, he discouraged John. At first, when I presented these facts to tractor manufacturers, they scoffed.

“Why, Mr. Armstrong,” they would object, “if the bank they do business with refuses the loan, the farmers simply go across the street to another bank and borrow it there.”

“Apparently,” I replied, “you do not realize the personal relationship between country bankers and their farmer customers. The country banker is a sort of ‘father confessor’ to his farmer customers. They come to him with their problems—ask his advice. Do you suppose these bankers are so stupid that they would turn down a loan in such a manner that their farmer customer would be offended, and go to a competitive bank? I have interviewed scores of bankers on this point. The banker who feels his farmer customer ought not to spend the money for a tractor doesn’t refuse the loan—he merely talks the farmer out of wanting it. He will talk to farmer John something like this:

“‘Well, John, my advice would be to go a little slow before you go into debt to buy that tractor. As you know, John, I own eight farms myself. And I’m not at all sold on the practicality of tractor farming. In my opinion, the tractor hasn’t arrived yet. It’s still in the experimental stage. Now I know, John, that tractor salesman has probably put up a pretty slick argument. Of course he’s interested in getting a big fat commission for himself. But I’m interested in your welfare, John. Now, of course, if you decide to let that salesman talk you into it, we’ll loan you the money, but my advice is, don’t do it! You raise your own feed for your horses. But you’ll have to buy gasoline to feed the tractor. I don’t think it would pay.’”

In soliciting the advertising of tractor manufacturers, I soon found that their advertising managers could not buy it, because they were given a definite appropriation for definite fields—the farm journals, and the farm dealer trade papers. They had no appropriation for bank magazines, and they lacked authority to change company policies.

It became necessary for me to go direct to the presidents of factories in the tractor industry.

This, again, was an experience that afforded personal contacts with several multimillionaires. Among them was the president of J. I. Case, Mr. Wallis; Mr. Brantingham of the Emerson-Brantingham Company; George N. Peak, president of Moline Plow Works, who later became prominent in President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s N.R.A.; Gen. Johnson, vice president of John Deere & Company, also later head of one of President Roosevelt’s N.R.A. activities.

Representing Nine Magazines

My one biggest obstacle in this farm tractor field—and also in soliciting manufacturers of items sold to banks—was the limitation of our circulation to one five-state region. These big advertisers in the Chicago district advertised on a national basis.

Also, because of this, I encountered stiff opposition from the advertising agencies. Advertising agencies serve the advertiser, who is their client, but they are not paid by their clients. They are paid by the publishers, on the basis of a 15% agency commission on all billings.

The Agency position was this: It took just as much time, and effort, for them to prepare a page ad for our little sectional bank journal with some 2,000 circulation and an advertising rate of $40 per page, as for a page ad in the Saturday Evening Post with a page rate, in those days, of $5,000 (much higher, in later years!). The Agency would make only $6 for its work on a page for us, compared to $750 for the same amount of effort for a page in the Post.

I began to realize that I could sell big-space advertising much easier for a large national circulation than for one small sectional journal.

This brought about another “brainstorm.” Although there were two leading national magazines in the banking field, they did not provide a sufficiently complete national coverage. The seven leading sectional journals completely dominated their respective fields. The only possible complete national circulation in the banking field could come only by using these nine—the seven leading sectional journals, and the two national magazines.

But there was still a major difficulty. These various bank magazines had various page sizes. Agencies usually send ads out in plate form—already set to type. The necessity of making plates of so many sizes would discourage agencies.

So, about a year or a year and a half after moving to Chicago, I had worked out a proposition to set myself up as an independent publishers’ representative in the bank field.

These publications, by whatever methods, had found it cost them 40% to get business. I proposed to represent all nine magazines, and myself to finance all solicitation, and send them advertising at a reduction to them of 25% in cost of obtaining business. In other words, I was to have exclusive representation, on a 30% commission basis, but the magazines were to pay me the entire year’s commission in advance on all 12-time yearly contracts, upon receipt of signed contract from the advertiser. They were all to adopt a standard magazine page size.

But there arose one overpowering obstacle in my path.

Clifford DePuy, about this time, had acquired a second of these seven leading sectional bank journals—the old St. Louis Banker, the name of which he changed to the Midcontinent Banker. He objected in loudest tones to my representation of any other publications. I had been his exclusive Chicago representative, and he was determined to keep it that way.

I, on the other hand, had become determined to expand my field. I maintained that I could send Cliff a great deal more business as the representative of a complete national circulation. He didn’t think so. We really clashed on this issue.

But, before this issue was finally settled, I had met a certain very attractive young lady out in Iowa.

I think the time has come to relate a different phase of these life experiences—my dating girls, and the romantic side of life from the beginning up to the time of marriage.

How to Put Resourcefulness into Practice (Chapt. 7 - Autobiography of Herbert W. Armstrong, Vol. 1)

As I mentioned, there were no national or state highways in those days, late spring of 1915. These pioneer cross-country highways were privately promoted with the cooperation of civic bodies. They were merely graded and gravelled. A paved highway between cities was as yet unheard of. I do not remember how the funds were provided, but probably by popular subscription from property owners along the right of way. I do remember we had to get all the farmers along the way signed up for it.

The South Bend Chamber of Commerce had endorsed this Dixie Highway project. But the promoters had run into a provoking snag. The farmers of the northern township of Marshall County, next south of St. Joseph County of which South Bend is County Seat, were refusing to sign up. They were stubborn. One little township might block the entire project from the Gulf of Mexico to Canada. A chain is no stronger than its weakest link.

It was my job, among other things, to sign up these adamant farmers.

For some little time, however, probably the first three or four months at South Bend, my activities were bent on selling memberships in the new St. Joseph County Motor Club. This brought me into close personal contact with some of South Bend’s prominent millionaires. I worked fairly closely with Mr. E. Louis Kuhns, a millionaire capitalist. I believe he was Vice President of the Chamber of Commerce.

Several times I went out to the Studebaker works to chat with the sole remaining member of the famous Studebaker Brothers. Mr. J. M. Studebaker was then 84 years of age, hale and hearty, still somewhat active, and arrived at his office precisely at eight every morning. He arrived always with a rose or a carnation in his lapel. Two or three times, on my visits to his office, he removed his carnation from his lapel and stuck it in mine. I remember Mr. Studebaker as a very kindly man, and I always counted it a rare privilege to have been able to spend a while in conversation with him. He and his brothers originally founded the Studebaker Brothers Wagon Works, long before the days of the automobile. But by 1915 they were one of the leading automobile makers.

Also I knew Mr. A. R. Erskine, at that time president of the Studebaker works. I believe Mr. Studebaker was Chairman of the Board.

Mr. L. P. Hardy, head of the L. P. Hardy Company, which I believe was the country’s largest sales-book manufacturer, also was very active in Chamber work and I knew him well. The last time I passed through South Bend, driving a new car home from the factory, I looked in the telephone directory and failed to find the L. P. Hardy Company listed. They must have moved elsewhere or gone out of business.

Most of these prominent and wealthy men bought multiple blocks of Motor Club memberships, which sold for $2 each.

Frugality of the Wealthy

The one man reputed to be the wealthiest of all South Bend’s multimillionaires at that time was Mr. J. D. Oliver, head of the Oliver Chilled Plow Works. He was reputed to be worth one hundred and ten million dollars.

Here, I thought, was a man who could easily afford to purchase even a few thousand memberships. I began to count my commission in advance. As explained previously, Mr. Spaulding had not been able to create a salary job for me, and I was promoting this Motor Club on a commission basis of 25%.

In order to psychologically build up to my one biggest order of multiple memberships, I had planned first to contact all the other prominent men. I felt it would have a good effect on J. D. Oliver to be able to tell him how many memberships the others had taken. He, I figured, would want to outdo them.

I had a nice talk with Mr. Oliver. He listened to my entire explanation of the purposes of the Motor Club—the need of better roads—the benefit that would accrue to the community and every business in South Bend. He listened to the explanation of how generously the other prominent businessmen of South Bend had purchased multiple memberships. He seemed quite interested. My hopes for a big commission rose.

“Mr. Armstrong, I think this Motor Club is a splendid activity. It will be a fine thing for the community. Yes, you may surely count me in. I want to join!”

Man! Now my hopes soared!

“That’s certainly splendid, Mr. Oliver. How many memberships shall I put you down for?”

“Just one single membership. Two dollars!” came the businesslike reply.

Did you ever have a bucket of ice water thrown in your face at the moment of greatest anticipation?

It was incredible! A man who had $110,000,000—and he took one little, tiny, measly membership—just $2—just the poor widow’s two mites! But that’s what he said.

“Maybe,” I thought, as I left the Oliver Chilled Plow plant, “that’s why Mr. Oliver has a hundred and ten million dollars. He holds on to what he gets.” I was a disappointed young man. But I still had a job to do.

Learning to Drive

After selling Motor Club memberships to most of the important businessmen, I went after those running smaller businesses, and even citizens who were employed. I needed to get out into the country and neighboring suburbs.

I suppose the dealers who handled some of the leading automobile makes might have loaned me a car for this civic-betterment work, but they didn’t. It remained for the dealer of the smallest, lowest priced of all to offer me the free use of a car.

No—it wasn’t a Model-T Ford. It was a smaller and lower-priced car—a little baby Saxon. Not many of my readers today will remember the Saxon, and my memory of it is pretty dim, but I believe it was smaller than today’s German Volkswagen. I had never before driven a car. This is where I first learned—with a baby Saxon in South Bend, at age 23.

While I was there Ralph DePalma, then the world’s most famous automobile racing driver, came to South Bend with his famous racing car. I don’t remember much of the occasion, but I do remember DePalma—he made quite an impression on me.

Also while I was in South Bend two then famous movie stars came through. They had soared to the top in a serial thriller, “The Million Dollar Mystery.” It created about the same national sensation in that day that the TV show “The $64,000 Question” did in 1955. These two actors told me that they had personally made very little money out of it. No one knew how it was going to catch fire with the public before it started, and they were employed on straight salary by contract. It made a big fortune for its owners, not its actors. Then, in an effort to cash in on their popularity, these two actors put all the money they had into promoting the sequel, titled “The Hundred Million Dollar Mystery.”

But, as they should have known, had they been better psychologists, the sequel was a total dud. They lost all they had. A million dollars seemed like an unheard-of amount of money, and those words in the title coupled with the magic word “mystery” captured the fascination and interest of the American public back in the early “silent” days. But it was like a child with a new toy. Once the glamor and excitement of the toy wears off, it becomes “old stuff.” Give the child another toy just like it, only bigger, and he won’t be interested.

The star of these serials was James Cruze. The other actor was Sid Bracey.

Cracking the Adamant

It must have been about mid-summer or a little later that the time came when the Dixie Highway project could not be delayed any longer.

The farmers to the south of us, in the north township of Marshall County, were adamant. The road was approved through Marshall County up to this township line, and again as soon as it entered St. Joseph County. This little three- or four-mile strip of road was the only link incomplete along the entire length of the highway from Mobile to Canada.

It was now my job to crack through that human stone wall.

I had been quite intrigued in watching the strategy Mr. Spaulding had employed in “selling” the Motor Club idea, and a job for me, to the Board of Directors of the Chamber.

One morning we received a telegram at the Chamber of Commerce from the Director of the Dixie Highway project in Atlanta, Georgia. It stated tersely that he would be in South Bend in a few days, and unless we had the highway completed through this county south of us, the entire highway would be re-routed by way of Chicago, and South Bend would lose out altogether.

This was the ammunition I needed.

This was the signal to spring to action, in high gear!

I decided our only chance was to utilize the same principle of psychology Mr. Spaulding had used in putting the Motor Club through with the Chamber directors. But this was tougher. I decided it needed a big show—a real “whoop and hurrah!” The only way to break through the obduracy of those farmers was through their emotions. I had learned, as an advertising principle, that you can move people to action easier and quicker through their emotions than through their reason.

I decided we had to appeal to both—with terrific impact!

Hurriedly I called Mr. Hardy and Mr. Kuhns. I told them I planned to stage a big rally that night at the little town of Lapaz, in the very center of this reluctant township. I asked them if they would come down and make an impassioned speech to the farmers in favor of the Dixie Highway. When they had agreed to this, I asked them if they would approve the expense, to be paid by the Chamber of Commerce, of a big brass band to help get out the crowd at Lapaz. Having agreed to speak, they couldn’t well refuse to approve the expense of the band. Mr. Spaulding agreed to call other Board members and get the band approved.

Then I arranged for a big platform to be built during the afternoon at Lapaz. These arrangements made, I borrowed my little Saxon car and drove to Plymouth, county seat of Marshall County. There I arranged with the telephone company to put through a “general ring” on every rural party line in that township, and notify all the people that there was to be a big rally that night at Lapaz—with a big brass band and noted speakers from South Bend.

Excitement of this kind was a very rare thing in such rural areas in those days. I knew this would get all the people out. In Plymouth I went first to the hotel, and wrote out the message I wanted the telephone operators to announce over all their telephone lines in that northern township. You may be sure I put all the advertising punch I knew in that message.

This accomplished, I went to the office of the county attorney. I explained my mission, and what the South Bend Chamber was trying to do, and its value to Plymouth and Marshall County. Then I asked him to draw up for me a legal petition for the completion of the road improvements through this northern township, with several sheets attached for signatures. He dictated the legal document and his secretary typed it while I waited.

Armed with this, I drove back to the vicinity of Lapaz. I had previously obtained the names of four leading farmers in this township, thought to be less hostile than most to the new highway.

Now my real task began. I had to “sell” these four men on the project in person, and I didn’t dare fail on a one. I was armed also with the telegram from Atlanta received that morning. I had facts and figures on how the new highway would increase the value of their farms, bring more trade to the towns of the community, and in every way benefit the farmers.

The Big Show

With necessity as a prod, I succeeded. One by one these four key farmers were won over. I explained that they would have to appear enthusiastic. All four finally agreed to act according to my plan.

Now the stage was all set—and not a bit too soon—it was by that time sundown.

The crowd began to arrive. The platform had been erected. The delegation from South Bend arrived, and took its place on the platform. I simply do not remember, now, whether I myself acted as Master of Ceremonies or who, but it seems that this was done by a leading businessman from South Bend.

The band struck up lively tunes, designed to whip up emotional fervor. We got the crowd to singing, laughing, dancing, shouting. It was a real show. Then the men selected as the best public speakers in the South Bend Chamber of Commerce, Mr. Hardy and Mr. Kuhns, gave their stirring impassioned speeches, reading the telegram, telling the farmers it was their last chance—tonight or never!—and the advantages to them, their community, and probable increased value of their land that the new highway would bring.

“Now, gentlemen, step right on up here and sign this petition right now! Who’ll be the first?” shouted all six feet four of E. Louis Kuhns.

This was the signal. I shoved my number one farmer forward.

“I want to sign that petition right now!” shouted my first farmer.

“I’m for it! I want to sign it!” shouted out my number two farmer, crowding forward to the platform.

“Me, too!” barked my third man. “This is just what this community has been needing!”

“Hey! Let me through!” roared my number four farmer. “We all want in on this! Come on, men—let’s all sign it!

And they all did. They all crowded forward and signed to put the highway through! Every farmer who had been bitterly opposed was carried away with the emotion of things, and was convinced that everybody else was for it, so he might as well go along, too!

I had negotiated one more experience in learning to apply the fifth law of success—resourcefulness—in meeting problems and handling obstacles.

The adamant wall was cracked!

The Dixie Highway was built—today known as U.S. 31, now a major paved highway from Canada to the Gulf. And, to my readers who live along U.S. Highway 31, this is the story of how the last link of your highway was put through, and how it finally came into being! Arriving in Danville “Broke” The two to four months spent in Chamber of Commerce work in South Bend had been valuable experience as part of the groundwork for later accomplishments—but far from profitable as immediate financial return.

Arriving in Danville “Broke”

The two to four months spent in Chamber of Commerce work in South Bend had been valuable experience as part of the groundwork for later accomplishments—but far from profitable as immediate financial return.

It seemed that I was doing as well as could be expected. Many multiple memberships had been sold. But I was running behind financially. I was living in a small room with an alcove bed in the YMCA. I ate mostly either at the “Y” cafeteria or the coffee shop in the Oliver Hotel, inexpensively. Yet I was running into debt. And the “cream”—the multiple memberships sold to leading businessmen and Chamber members—had all been skimmed off, and it had become a matter of soliciting single memberships at $2 per person. My commission of 25% was not sufficient to keep me going.

Finally the decision had to be made to leave. I should have taken this problem up with Mr. Spaulding, or Mr. Kuhns, but I was too embarrassed to go to them about a personal financial problem. Actually I took the more embarrassing course, as I was to learn later. It is always best to face a problem and solve it. Running away from it is never the solution. I left debts behind in South Bend. Later, when they became very pressing and I was still unable to pay them, I wrote to Mr. Kuhns.

I had by then learned that the standard rate of commission on activities similar to mine in South Bend was 50%. Actually I had been only half paid. I wrote to Mr. Kuhns about this, to see whether the Chamber of Commerce could rectify the mistake and pay me the additional 25% which I actually had earned. He replied that, on investigation, he had confirmed my contention that the commission should have been 50%. But he maintained it was then too late. Had I come to him about it before leaving South Bend, he said, something might have been done to adjust the commission properly. Of course he was a millionaire, and without missing the change he could have paid these small debts and cleared the good name of a barely 23-year-old chap, who had, in this instance, been the victim of an unintentional injustice. But that did not seem to be the way millionaires get to be millionaires!

A year or more before I had come to South Bend, the Chamber had employed an assistant secretary, whose name, I believe, was Vaughn. He had visited South Bend while I was there, was about my age, and I had become acquainted with him. He was now secretary of the Chamber at Danville, Illinois.

Why I took the train from South Bend directly to Danville I do not remember. Apparently I had thought, or Mr. Spaulding had thought, that Vaughn might be able to turn up something for me to do in Danville. And I had to get something else to do immediately! I had barely enough money to get me to Danville.

Arriving in Danville one morning, stone-”broke,” not even a dime, I went first to call on Vaughn, but he had absolutely nothing for me—not even any ideas.

I walked back down on the street. I had no money for lunch. I had no money for a place to sleep that night. I was too proud to beg. Actually, that thought didn’t even occur to me—I’m merely stating it now. My experience indicates that no honest man ever begs. I have given to many beggars on the street, and have put many of them to many different tests to see if I could find an honest one. Some had a “line” that sounded real sincere. But not one ever proved honest. I think the police will tell you there is no such thing as an honest beggar.

Perhaps some are like one I knew of in Vancouver, Washington—though most are not as successful. This fellow could throw his body into a pitiful-appearing contortion, put a pleading, pity-arousing expression on his face, hold up his hat with some cheap pencils in it from his squatting position on a busy corner, and wring the hearts of passers-by. Then every evening he would get up, limp a few blocks to his Cadillac parked on a back side street, unkink his legs and spine, and gingerly hop into his car and drive home to his wife who wore an expensive mink coat!

King David knew human nature. He said, “I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread” (Ps. 37:25). No, honest people just never do beg!

Enforced Resourcefulness

Perhaps I should never have come to realize that resourcefulness is one of the seven laws of success, or to have acquired any of that ingredient, had circumstances not forced it upon me!

If so, I’m grateful for the dilemma!

Here I was, almost 2,000 miles away from my parents, with no place I could call home, just arrived in a strange city, “broke!”

I had to think!—and think fast!!

One thing came to my mind in this emergency. The surveys of retail business conditions I had made in Richmond, Kentucky, and in Lansing, Michigan, had been sensational in what they had uncovered. They had been of very great value to the merchants of those cities. While I had been in Des Moines, after resigning from the Merchants Trade Journal, Mr. Boreman and I had talked about the idea that there ought to be some way of selling these surveys to merchants so that such investigations might be made everywhere.

But no way to sell the idea had occurred to us. Unfortunately men will not pay money to hire an investigator to find out what’s wrong about them—to discover and show them their faults and mistakes, and to criticize them.

The thought came that Danville was an ideal size city for such a survey. But how could I induce anyone to pay me a fee to unearth the mistakes the local retailers were making?

“I’ve got it!” The idea flashed to mind. “I’ll sell the idea to the local newspaper. Why, this kind of information I dig up in a survey is just the ammunition the advertising department of the newspaper needs to sell bigger advertising space to the merchants! It’s just the information they need to show the merchants how to write their copy—what individual merchants need to do inside their stores to make their advertising bring in better results! Why didn’t I ever think of this before?”

With brisk and confident steps, I walked into the office of the business manager of Danville’s daily newspaper. Enthusiastically I told him of the surveys I had made—the national sensation they had created in The Journal—the value to the merchants—and how this information could be used to perhaps double the advertising revenue of his paper.

I’ll buy it!” exclaimed the business manager without a moment’s hesitation. “How much is it going to cost?”

Caught Flat-footed

He snapped out his decision as if he was afraid I might change my mind about being willing to do the investigation if he delayed.

His answer came so suddenly it caught me flat-footed!

The fee? I hadn’t thought of that! I was so bent on solving my dilemma and getting some money into my pocket before lunch time that I had not thought the idea quite that far through. I had no time to think.

“Why,” I blurted out, “Fifty dollars, I guess.”

Again I had far underestimated the value of my services. As I found out later, I should have said $500, and he would have paid it just as readily! Actually I did later put on a number of surveys for $500 fees. These experiences will be covered in due time.

I had outlined to this newspaperman that I proposed to get at least 100 interviews with consumers, so selected as to be representative of the whole population, even out into the country and neighboring suburban towns; I was to obtain as much information as possible from local banks, the express company, post office, freight houses, etc., as to mail-order business and trading in Chicago stores. All my information was to be typewritten in detail, accurately tabulated and summarized, with separate private reports and recommendations for each major local store. The newspaper was to arrange a dinner at which all local retailers were to be invited, and I was to give a talk, revealing what I had found.

So, on blurting out the $50 fee, I added:

“I’d like a $10 advance right now, the privilege of drawing another $10 during the survey, and the balance when I turn over to you the complete typed report and summary on the night of the dinner.” This was to be either the third, or the fourth night.

Actually I had cheated myself out of $450! nevertheless, the predicament was solved. I walked out of his office with ten dollars in my pocket! I ate lunch! And I slept that night at the “Y”!

It certainly could have been worse! What I really did was to pay $450 to learn another lesson. Experience is a dear teacher! But, truly, “the laborer is worthy of his hire!” This experience helped me to learn that it is not wrong to charge a fair and just price for services or commodities, and that an employer should not underpay employees.

The business manager of that newspaper must have realized, at least after receiving my 40- or 50-page typed report and analysis, that the professional effort and “know-how” that went into that investigation was worth several times the little fee I had spontaneously blurted out. But, in the business world, “business is business!” He paid what he agreed. No more!

This world’s way is based on selfishness, greed, competition—getting all you can, giving as little as possible—the profit principle. Our world-girding enterprises of today have been based on the giving, serving principle—and this way of doing things has built a major-sized organization that has been eminently successful—serving and benefitting millions worldwide.

A New Job

The merchandising survey was completed, typed, summarized, data tabulated and analyzed in some three or four high-pressure days.

The dinner given by the newspaper for the merchants of Danville was well attended. My report of the investigation, as had been the case at Richmond and Lansing, was something of a bombshell. It really shook up the merchants to learn existing facts about their own businesses and their own town of which they had been totally unaware.

Nevertheless, a young man barely twenty-three is still just a “young man” to others of senior maturity. I didn’t realize it then, but even the brilliancy of this report did not conceal the obvious fact that I was a youngster, and probably in need of a job. I do think, however, that this investigation and the revelations it disclosed gave these businessmen the impression that I was a fairly “live” young man who would be a valuable employee, because four or five of them tried to employ me. And I was in no position to turn down a job.

I took the job that appeared, at the time, to be most promising. It was with the Benjamin Piano Company, selling pianos. I devoted a month or two in determined effort, and never sold a single piano!

This perfect goose-egg record reminds me of the “punch line” of old “Lightnin’ Bill Jones” in a play that broke all records on Broadway some 38 or 40 years ago. Old “Lightnin’ Bill” was a likable good-for-nothing old codger who knew all, and had done all.

“Yep,” he exclaimed at the climax of the show, “I was in the bee business once. Drove a swarm of bees clear across the desert, and never lost a bee!”

I managed to get pianos in many houses, on trial, and never sold a piano!

I learned something about the piano business. It was not conducted like other businesses. The method was to work through piano teachers. The piano teachers always had prospective customers—homes where a child was at the age for learning to play the piano. The company had a number of piano teachers working for it in Danville, and over its entire trade territory. The teachers supplied us with the names of prospects they had already approached with the idea of lessons for their children. Then I would call and try to talk the parents into giving the child lessons—which necessitated the purchase of a piano. I would induce them to let me put a new piano in the home on trial—without any obligation to buy. Then I would notify the teacher, and she would “accidentally” happen to be passing by, and drop in for a friendly call—discover the piano, play it, tell the people it had a wonderful tone, and a perfect action, and highly recommend that they buy it.

Unfair Competition

This seemed like a “sure fire” method of selling pianos.

There was just one thing wrong with this setup.


I soon found that our competitors also had piano teachers working for them! I knew, of course, that our store paid a commission to their piano teachers if the sale was made. What I didn’t know was that our competitors paid a commission to their teachers if they could knock the sale of a Benjamin piano, once it had been moved into a home on trial.

When I called back at a home a few days after placing a trial piano in it, I usually found the woman angry.

“Why did you talk me into letting you bring that old tin pan into my home?” she would demand. “I want you to send your truck and get this out of here at once! Miss Anderson is a music teacher, and she happened to call on us, and she tried out this piano and told us it was no good!”

I had been successful selling advertising space, but as a piano salesman I was a total flop. That kind of competition seemed to me so absolutely rotten, foul, and unfair I simply refused flatly to try to combat it. Getting a local music teacher to recommend a good piano, which I knew was worth recommending, and paying her a commission, seemed legitimate. But employing a teacher to go into homes and lie about competitors’ pianos was a dishonest method I refused to engage in. Instead I permitted disgust and resentment to discourage me on the entire dirty business. Also I found there was no honesty in pricing pianos. They were usually far overpriced at the start, and the salesman was expected to keep cutting the price until he sold the instrument. This is not necessarily true of the best quality pianos. And I am talking about 1915 practices.

I never believed in price-cutting. A product or a service ought to be fairly and honestly priced in the first place, and then the price maintained.

I have learned that men fall into two classifications, so far as salesmanship is concerned. Some men are born to be salesmen—others are not. Even the man with the hereditary aptitude for it must learn. But salesmen are of two kinds. One can sell a commodity, the other can sell an idea. I was of this latter type. As a piano salesman I was a square peg in a round hole.

Back Into Advertising

Of course I had been keeping in touch with my uncle, Frank Armstrong, by occasional letter. He realized I had become sidetracked again, and came to my rescue.

About the time it became evident to me, and also to Mr. Benjamin, that I was not headed for an overwhelming success as a piano salesman, I received a letter from Uncle Frank saying he had lined up a temporary job for me, putting on a special “Bank Building” number for The Northwestern Banker. This publication was a leading sectional bank journal, read by bankers in Iowa, Minnesota, North and South Dakota and Nebraska.

Without delay I landed back in Des Moines. At that time a large number of banks, especially small country banks, had been erecting new bank buildings—some were small bank buildings occupied solely by the bank—some were multiple-story office buildings, with the bank occupying the ground floor.

The magazine had conceived the idea of a special number devoted to the subject of new buildings. I was to sell ads to as many as possible of those banks who had constructed new buildings, showing a picture of the new buildings in the ads.

Newspapers are always working up special issues, with the purpose of selling special one-time advertising space. I did not believe in these special issues—and I detested them, after this experience, to the point that thereafter I always refused to take part in them.

Actually there was no benefit to be gained by the bank in buying a page or a half-page in this special bank building number, except to enjoy the vanity of seeing a picture of their new building in this trade journal, with the knowledge that most of the other bankers in these five states would see it also. But, that’s the way business is done. One of the strongest advertising appeals is vanity. You’ll see it constantly on TV commercials, and especially in all the women’s magazines and the newspapers, utilized by cosmetics manufacturers, automobile and cigarette companies, and many other industries. Advertising men appeal to human weaknesses a great deal in order to sell goods.

I started with a trip through the southern half of Iowa. I was making very disappointing headway. The truth is, my heart wasn’t really in it, for I realized I was selling nothing more valuable than flattery.

Selling a Sales Manager

One incident occurred on this trip which might contain some interest. At Red Oak, in Southwestern Iowa, was a nationally prominent calendar factory. What idea I had in mind as to how they could profitably use advertising space in a sectional bank journal I do not remember. But I do remember that I called to see the sales manager. He refused to see me.

This only made me determined. Of all people, I felt a sales manager had no right to refuse to see a salesman.

I went to my hotel room, and wrote him a brief and very pointed letter. I reminded him that he sent salesmen all over the United States to call on customers and sell his company’s product. Also I reminded him that if his salesmen met with the kind of treatment he accorded me, his factory would soon be covered over with rustimania instead of the beautiful green ivy vines that covered it then. I didn’t mind being turned down if what I had to sell did not fit in with his program or prove profitable to use. But I did demand at least a hearing!

I rushed with the letter to the post office, registered it, and mailed it special delivery, to be delivered to and signed by addressee only. I knew the special delivery mail carrier would get in to him.

This strategy got me the interview. As I remember it, I did not sell him any advertising space. But I did have the satisfaction of gaining the interview. That cockiness and conceit that pervaded my personality in those days was full of persistent determination, and a difficult thing for another to turn down.

I guess the lesson that came to mind on Goat Island at Niagara Falls on December 25, 1913, had its effect. Obstacles were things to find a way around, or over, or through, or under. Resourcefulness, coupled with determined drive, remember, are two of the seven laws of success. “Where there’s a will there’s a way!” I hope some of this will rub off on my readers. Not the egotistic conceit—but the determination, resourcefulness, and right principles of a true success.

Success Out of Failure

This swing through Southern Iowa was anything but a success.

Clifford DePuy (pronounced DePew), publisher of The Northwestern Banker, was discouraged. I think he was willing to call it “quits” and write off the expenses and advanced drawing account of my efforts so far as a loss. But again Uncle Frank came to the rescue.

“I’ve always noticed,” he said, “that salesmen who fail in Southern Iowa usually succeed in the northern part of the state. I don’t think you’d better give up yet. My advice, Cliff, is to send Herbert up into Northern and Northwestern Iowa, and see if the results are not different.” Mr. DePuy agreed to one more trial.

In the northern half of the state I began to sell ads, and it soon became apparent that we would publish the special bank building number, after all.

Several of the new bank buildings I visited had been constructed by The Lytle Company, of Sioux City. I was especially impressed by the fact that officers of these Lytle-built banks were far more than ordinarily enthusiastic about this company and its methods. They worked on the cost-plus basis. Most bankers told me they considered this the most economical way to build, provided one is certain he is dealing with a fully competent and thoroughly honest contractor. This construction company was headed by Mr. J. A. Raven, and all bankers who had dealt with the company spoke highly of him. I jotted down their comments.

An idea was beginning to perk in my mind.

Arriving in Sioux City, I waited outside the Lytle Company office building at noontime until I saw Mr. Raven go out to lunch. I was not ready to see him—yet! Then I walked in, and from his secretary obtained all his catalogs, circulars, printed matter, and especially photographs or cuts of several of these bank buildings I had visited.

Next I proceeded to a stationery store and procured a large sheet of good quality drawing paper, somewhere near 14 x 26 inches in size. The next three days were spent in my hotel room.

Down in Des Moines, Cliff DePuy was getting grey-haired wondering what had happened to his new salesman. I had nothing to report, until I had completed my idea. I did put on the pressure, but it had to be just “right,” and it took time.

At the end of three days, I had produced a very forceful complete four-page advertisement, with attractive layout sketched and carefully designed on this large sheet of drawing paper, replete with cuts of several bank buildings. It contained statements from these bankers, which I had jotted down while in their banks, expressing their full satisfaction with Mr. Raven’s system of building construction. It even contained the endorsement of The Northwestern Banker, which I felt safe in offering, based on such unanimous approval from so many banks. The ad, of course, invited banks and bankers to write for catalog and a consultation with Mr. Raven with a view to constructing a new bank home for them.

Selling a BIG Ad

At last I was ready to see Mr. Raven. When I walked in and showed him this big layout of a four-page insert, he almost fainted. It happened he was a regular advertiser in The Northwestern Banker—he ran a tiny sixteenth-of-a-page card every month!

The audacity of trying to jump him from a sixteenth of a page to four full pages seemed incredibly preposterous! Of course, I knew it would. I was prepared for that.

Mr. Raven was a calm, steady, conservative type of man.

“Why!” he exclaimed, “we couldn’t afford to run an ad anywhere near that big!”

“On the contrary, Mr. Raven,” I rejoined, “you can’t afford not to run it. Now let me read this ad to you. I want you to hear it, before you decide. Here! You hold this layout, and see with your eyes where each bit of text matter will be printed, among these big headlines and pictures of banks you’ve built.”

Of course, he wanted to hear it. But he was convinced he didn’t want to buy it.

One thing I had learned at the Merchants Trade Journal was the effective method of selling advertising copy. There must be a well-designed and very attractive dummy, or layout, with the headlines sketched in, the pictures or illustrations showing, and boxes or horizontal lines showing where the smaller text matter will be printed. The idea was to let the prospective advertiser hold and look at this attractive dummy, while I held and read the typed text matter, putting into it all the emphasis where it belonged, and the proper tone of enthusiasm and drive.

This layout was very attractive—Mr. Raven had to admit that! The ad certainly sounded convincing! He admitted that! Running in this special number, devoted to new bank buildings, it ought to have a terrific impact. He couldn’t get around that!

“Yes,” he said, “that’s all true enough. But—four pages! Why, that’s unheard of! We can’t afford anything like that!”

“Yes,” I agreed, remembering John R. Patterson’s sales strategy, “it is certainly unheard of! The bankers of these five states have never seen anything as audacious, as important looking, as a four page ad! And that’s the very reason you can afford it, Mr. Raven! Now look! This entire four-page ad is going to cost only $160. The very smallest country bank jobs you get run around $8,000, and your bigger jobs into the hundreds of thousands. You construct on a 10% fee basis for yourself. Your profit on just one tiny little $8,000 country bank building is $800. If this big ad results in bringing you only one little $8,000 job, it will have paid you, won’t it?”

“Well, yes, I suppose it would,” he replied thoughtfully. “I never thought of advertising in that way, I guess.”

“And, be honest, now,” I pursued. “How many new construction jobs do you think you really ought to get as a result of a dominating ad like that?”

“Why, I should think it ought to bring us several new jobs,” he admitted. “Mr. Armstrong, I guess you’ve shown me a new and more effective way to advertise. But I, myself could never have designed and written an ad like that. Yes, I think that ad will really pay! All right, we’ll run it, and see what happens!”

Paying for Vanity

Leaving the Lytle Company office, I literally ran back to the Hotel Martin, and from my room called Cliff DePuy in Des Moines.

“Where have you been? What in the world’s happened to you?” he demanded on hearing my voice. “Have you sold any space yet?”

“Have I!” I exclaimed. “I’ve spent the past three days writing up an entire four page insert for this special number, and I sold it to Mr. Raven of the Lytle Company!”

“What!” he gasped, unbelievingly. “Say that again!”

I learned later that Cliff forgot momentarily that he was a grown man, all 6 feet 3 of him, and all 28 or 30 years of him, as his age was at that time, and that he jumped up and down for glee like a little boy, and then took off a half holiday and ran out to tell every banker in the city that we were running a whole four page ad in the next issue! Never had anything that big been heard of!

Before describing the result of that ad, I must recount, here, an incident that occurred at this same time while I was in Sioux City.

Mr. Raven told me he knew where I could sell a full page to a bank. He grinned as he explained. Up in Royal, Iowa, a little town of perhaps less than 500 population about 80 miles northeast of Sioux City, he had built two small bank buildings. On completion of the first one, the bank across the street called him in. The president said he had watched the Lytle Company’s work, had checked up on them and was convinced of their reliability and honesty, and had decided to employ them to build a new building for his bank.

“Now, can you tell me how much that little new building across the street cost?” he asked.

Mr. Raven said it had cost $8,000. (Remember, this was 1915. The same building would cost immensely more today.)

“Well, Mr. Raven, we want you to draw up plans right away to build a $16,000 bank for us.”

It was going to take an entire day to go to Royal and back, on the slow branch line railroads in that country. But I decided a sure-fire page ad was worth it.

I arrived in Royal and went immediately to this larger bank. I had a full page ad designed, with a picture of the building, which I had obtained from Mr. Raven. Also I had a layout of another full page with a picture of the smaller bank across the street, which I managed carelessly to permit this banker to see.

“Well, that ad looks nice,” commented this bank president, “but Mr. Armstrong there’s no reason for us to advertise in the Northwestern Banker. We have nothing to sell to other banks.”

This was only too true. Today my conscience would not let me sell such an ad. There was only one reason for him to buy it—vanity. And, perhaps, spite, or competitive spirit to prevent his competitor across the street from getting it. But I was prepared with the answer.

“Well,” I said, “in that case, I suppose I’ll have to see the bank across the street. You see, this is an exclusive proposition. Just one ad is sold in each town. If you take it, the other bank can’t run their ad. If they do, then you can’t. And it really is too bad—for now I suppose all your fellow bankers you know and meet at the group meetings and state conventions will see the picture of that little bank across the street, and they won’t even know that you have a building twice as big and fine.”

I emphasize, I would refuse to use such a sales appeal to vanity and jealousy today. It was almost pitiful, when he asked, like a whipped dog, “How much did you say this page is going to cost?” as he reached for a pen and signed the one time space contract without another word.

Yes, I learned that there is jealousy and a spirit of competition among dignified and conservative bankers, just as there is between other humans.

Result-Getting Ads

After this Sioux City episode, I worked my way, selling a few page and half-page ads to banks which had constructed new buildings along the way, on over to Charles City, Iowa. In Charles City was another company which ran regular but small ads in the Northwestern Banker, The Fisher Company, manufacturers of bank fixtures and interiors.

They worked to some extent with the Lytle Company, since they installed most of the interior of a bank, including the cages and counters.

Here, again, I took a couple days or so, first getting their catalog, with illustrations of many of their interiors of banks, and designed and wrote a double-page spread for them. By the same method used with Mr. Raven, this double spread was sold to Mr. Fisher.

Both this two-page ad, and the Lytle Company four-page ad produced unexpected results, and each sold a number of new jobs.

Before the next issue of the trade paper went to press, I called again at both Sioux City and Charles City, and each company signed up on a yearly basis, the Lytle Company for a full page or more each issue, and the Fisher Company for a half page or more each issue.

Actually, through the following seven years each company never used less than this minimum space, but many, many times the Lytle Company used double pages, and the Fisher Company full pages, and, I believe, a few more double page ads. These ads, which I continued to write for them over a span of the next seven years, proved very profitable to them, and expanded their businesses.

For a few months I continued to work around in Iowa, using the procedure of selling advertising space for ads I had already written before calling on prospective advertisers.

Developing a Business

By this process a temporary one-month special-issue job was converted into not only a steady job, but a developing and growing business of my own.

I had taken this special issue job on a commission basis, with a drawing account of, I believe, $40 per week, as an advance from the publication to cover expenses. This drawing account was deducted from commissions earned. The commission basis, common for all publications of this class, was 40%.

In other words, publishers of bank journals and similar publications had found that it actually cost them 40% of the sell space, regardless of the method used in paying—whether salary and expense, commission, or what.

Clifford DePuy had, at that time, been the publisher of the Northwestern Banker only a comparatively short time—possibly two or three years. His father had been editor and publisher before him. But when the elder DePuy had died suddenly, the entire responsibility came crushing down on Cliff’s shoulders. His father had been most highly respected by the bankers of the Central Northwest, and very popular personally.

Clifford DePuy had been attending an art school or something of the kind. He had not established any great reputation as a success. But now he held a serious and a frank conference at the bank which held the publication’s account.

Actually he and the elder DePuy’s family were shocked to learn the magazine had been left heavily in debt. But on condition Cliff would make a real fight to save the publication, the bank offered to back him as long as his efforts remained promising for the future. He agreed to roll up both sleeves, plunge into the business, do everything in his power to preserve the publication. The bankers of the Northwest had a real love for this journal. They didn’t want to see it suspend publication. Although Cliff was inexperienced in this field, they agreed to back him.

I recount this experience here because it is one that frequently occurs and it illustrates a principle. The sudden plunging of heavy responsibility on one often brings him to an awakening, provides heretofore lacking incentive, arouses dormant abilities. This new responsibility suddenly descending on Clifford DePuy stirred him to intensive and dynamic action, and brought out dormant qualities and abilities. In a few short years he had developed the publication into a very profitable enterprise with adequate reserves. Later he expanded, purchasing other publications. He became a successful publisher.

Cliff and I had a business relationship together for the next seven years. He was tall, about six feet three as I remember, aggressive—a human dynamo. I respected his abilities, and I’m sure he respected mine. Later, in Chicago, he periodically came in, once or twice a year, and we would spend a couple or three days calling on prospective advertisers together. We flattered ourselves in those days that we were an unbeatable team. We both worked at a terrific pace, and we fancied prospective advertisers found us almost impossible to turn down. I think we did pack quite a persuasive wallop at that!

After a month or two of soliciting advertising accounts for the Northwestern Banker over the state of Iowa, it seemed advisable for me to go in to Chicago.

Discovering Rules of Success (Chapt. 6 - Autobiography of Herbert W. Armstrong, Vol. 1)

Following the original survey of business conditions in Richmond, Kentucky, instructions came from the home office of The Merchants Trade Journal to do another investigation. They wanted this one from a larger town. Lansing, Michigan, was suggested.

So, leaving Richmond, Kentucky, I proceeded north through Cincinnati and other towns and cities in Ohio.

I am reminded at this point of a visit to the National Cash Register Company plant in Dayton. Again, I am not sure whether it was on this particular tour. But I learned there of an incident which has always been remembered.

A Sales Lesson

At that time NCR, as this company was familiarly called, had something of a reputation of being the most aggressive sales organization in American business. And its president, John R. Patterson, was more or less generally reputed to be the country’s most successful sales genius.

This is what I learned: Mr. Patterson’s mind had caught a sudden sales inspiration. Immediately he did a sensational and unprecedented thing. He sent telegrams to every NCR salesman in the United States, ordering them to come to the factory in Dayton immediately—at company expense. I was shown, while touring the plant, a large auditorium in the company’s office building. Here, I was told, the hundreds of salesmen assembled, filled with curiosity. Mr. Patterson addressed them.

“Men,” he began, “you are wondering why I called all of you here. Now I will tell you. Every one of you loses sales because your prospects put up objections you are unable to overcome. An idea flashed into my mind the other day that will enable you to turn every objection into your strongest selling point. It’s so simple you’ll all wonder why you never thought of it. Whatever the objection, you are to answer immediately, with a smile of complete assurance: ‘Why, certainly—and that’s the very reason you need this National cash register!’”

Then Mr. Patterson asked a few salesmen to come to the platform and pretend they were prospective customers, putting up to him the objections that each salesman had failed to overcome.

One said, “I simply can’t afford to buy a cash register.”

“Exactly!” responded Mr. Patterson, “and that’s the very reason you need this National Cash Register. When you have all the records this register will give you—when it protects you from losses—pays for itself and saves you money, then you can afford things!”

One by one John R. Patterson answered every sales objection which his salesmen had been unable successfully to answer.

I have found this principle of salesmanship effective, perhaps hundreds of times.

A Disappearing American Institution

At this point I must indulge another digression. I had written this chapter of the Autobiography in our bedroom of a Pullman car on a train. Mrs. Armstrong and I were en route to Texas, on the Dallas car of the streamlined “Sunset Limited.” At El Paso our car was switched onto a “T & P” train for Dallas.

We had just returned from the dining car. Between our streamliner car and the diner we passed through one of the old-time Pullman cars. I had not seen one in some time. The modern Pullmans are all-room cars. But these older models contained mostly open Pullman seats that make up into berths in sections at night. This is the kind of sleeping cars I rode constantly on these “Idea Man” trips.

The newer streamliner cars provide private toilets in every room, but these old-timers provided one large men’s washroom at one end and a ladies’ rest room at the other end. These men’s washrooms contained a long leather lounging seat at one end, and a chair or shorter seat on the side. They were also the men’s smoking rooms. With the disappearance of men’s washrooms on Pullman cars has departed a real American institution! I suppose few women know anything about it.

In these washrooms, especially on long trips, men would sit or stand and talk by the hour. In these washrooms no introduction was needed. Conversations were opened as a matter of course. Men conversed familiarly, as if they had been acquainted for years, rarely introducing themselves by name. And what would you women suppose they talked about? Their wives? Laughing at dirty stories? Not at all! I don’t believe I ever heard one off-color story being told in a Pullman washroom. Men always had something more important to discuss than idle gossip about their wives. The discussions were always impersonal.

It was here, in this great but vanishing American institution that the political, economic and social problems of the nation and the entire world were “solved!” Questions of religion were usually avoided. Heated arguments or angry controversy were rarely, if ever, indulged.

If only the heads of state of the world’s great nations could have had the Pullman washrooms wired, and the conversations tape-recorded, they could have had the solutions to all their knotty and perplexing problems! Too bad! Tape recording came in after this honored American institution went out!

I spent many an hour in thought-provoking conversation in this “institution” of a bygone day, from the days of these “Idea Man” tours, until the modern streamliners relegated this meeting place of business men to a vintage of the past.

But in all seriousness, this digression about washroom conversations truly belongs in this story of formative life experiences. For I verily believe that these hours of contacts over the years with many important, thoughtful and successful men contributed their share in the preparation for the responsibilities of today, and for the years still ahead of us. We are influenced by every person with whom we come in contact. The most successful men—the leaders—the men of accomplishment—rode the Pullman cars. These washrooms afforded a meeting place where I was privileged to enter invigorating, stimulating, and often enlightening conversation with men I could never have contacted otherwise. Here was a place where men were free and relaxed, always willing to converse with other men on a social parity, regardless of social distinctions outside the Pullman washrooms. Contacts and conversations with scores and scores of prominent and important men—many of them in Pullman washrooms, are among my most treasured experiences.

WHY Men Fail

On all these “Idea Man” trips, one assignment had been to observe, and to question businessmen, in all parts of the country, to try to learn why one man succeeds and another fails. An alarmingly large percentage of retail merchants over the nation were operating “in the red”—on their way to failure and bankruptcy. Why?

Two men might start out in business under almost identical conditions. One would succeed in building a thriving and profitable business, while the other would “go to the wall.” The Merchants Trade Journal wanted to know why!

I had questioned literally hundreds of businessmen, as to their ideas or opinions on this question. The majority gave the same answer—lack of ability.

While in Detroit on this trip I had a nice interview with the manager of Detroit’s large department store, the J. L. Hudson Company. He, with a minority of other businessmen I interviewed, insisted that the main reason for failure in business was lack of sufficient capital.

Of course both of these were factors. But, based on observation, getting at the facts that led either to success or failure in hundreds of businesses, I found a third important cause of failures was the fitting of the proverbial square peg in the round hole—in other words, so many men are misplaced—in the wrong line of business, for them; this, coupled with the fact that the seven laws of success are not known or followed by most people.

One Sad Experience

I remember a perplexed and frustrated merchant in southern Indiana. He was coming out on the short end, without any profit, and he couldn’t figure why.

“I have figured to the very penny every item of cost in doing business,” he explained. “It costs me exactly 20% to do business—including every expense—salaries, rent, utilities, advertising, even cost for wrapping paper and string—and it runs exactly 20 cents on each dollar of sales. Now I have figured that a 5% profit is fair. So I add the 5% profit to my 20% cost of doing business, and I mark up all my goods 25% above wholesale price. But at the end of the year my 5% profit just simply isn’t there—it has vanished, clean as a whistle! I can’t figure where it went!”

“I think I can,” I replied. “Suppose you buy a certain item at a cost of $12 per dozen. What are you going to retail that item for?”

“Why, $1.25, of course. $12 per dozen is $1 each. I add an overall of 25%—to cover 20% cost of doing business and 5% profit, and mark the selling price at $1.25.”

“I thought so!” I exclaimed. “That’s where you’ve made your mistake. Now look! You say your expenses run 20% of your sales—right?”

“Sure!” he said.

“All right. Now I want you to figure 20% of that $1.25 selling price, and subtract it from the $1.25.”

He did, and couldn’t believe his eyes!

“Let’s see—20% of $1.25 is 25 cents. Why, when I subtract my expenses from the selling price, I am right back to my cost price! Where did my 5% profit go?

I felt like laughing, but it was no joke—it was too tragic!

“You see,” I explained, “you figure your cost of doing business as a percentage of your sales—not of your buying price. But when you figured your markup, you figured it on the buying price, instead of the selling price. Actually, you should have marked your price up 33 1/3% above the buying price, in order to sell the item at a price to allow you 20% on the selling price for expenses, and 5% for profit.”

I left this merchant in a rather dazed condition. Why was he failing? Lack of capital? Lack of ability? Square peg in a round hole? Or, perhaps, lack of proper education, the second law of success!

I found many retail merchants in small towns who were former farmers. It seemed that many farmers in those days had a habit of grumbling and complaining. They knew they worked hard. It seemed to them that the merchant in town had it mighty easy, compared to their lot. The mail order houses kept telling them how the retail merchants gouged them and took big profits. It looked like running a store was a luxurious easy life, with big profits.

So, many farmers sold their farms and bought retail stores. Then they began to learn that a merchant had worries a farmer never thought of. They were untrained and unskilled in merchandising, advertising, selling, cost accounting, shrewd buying. Salesmen from manufacturers and wholesalers overloaded them with the wrong goods. They didn’t know how to figure markups. They didn’t know how to meet the public, or sell goods. They didn’t know how to manage clerks, if they hired any. They were misfits—square pegs in round holes!

Then, there are those seven laws of success!

Most people—men and women alike—probably do not think of, or apply a single one of these seven laws. These are of such importance that we have issued an attractive free booklet on the subject which the reader may receive upon request.

The Lansing Survey

I continued on to Lansing, state capital of Michigan, to put on the second survey of retail business conditions.

Here conditions were found to be very much like those in the smaller town of Richmond, Kentucky. Although Lansing was much larger than Richmond, and had better and larger stores, yet I found, on actual investigation by house-to-house and farm-to-farm interview and reports from banks, post office, etc., that the Lansing merchants were losing untold thousands of dollars’ worth of business to the mail order houses and the larger stores and exclusive shops of Detroit and Chicago.

I had one very good interview with the superintendent of the Reo automobile plant in Lansing. He explained in detail why his plant, and all others, were unable to compete with Ford’s new wage plan. They were not yet on the assembly-line production basis.

Somehow, I do not remember so much about this particular survey. It was mostly a repetition of the Richmond investigation, only on a larger scale. It was the Richmond survey which shocked its way into memory, because it was a new revelation to us.

Hiring Myself Another Job

My next definite memory, after concluding the Lansing investigation, was an interview with the secretary of the Chamber of Commerce in South Bend, Indiana.

I have mentioned that, in addition to interviewing retail merchants, I usually interviewed also the secretaries of Chambers of Commerce, for The Journal was interested in general community activity and betterment, as well as successful business methods.

Of all the Chamber of Commerce secretaries I had interviewed, this man, whose name was Spaulding—I do not remember his given name or initials—impressed me by far the most. He is the only one still retained vividly in memory. He impressed me as being the most able and resourceful of any chamber secretary I had met.

After leaving South Bend, I had jogged back east as far as Ft. Wayne, Indiana. From there I was scheduled to cut southwest toward Indianapolis, and then on back to Des Moines. My biggest “Idea Man” tour was now nearing its end.

The imminence of the return to Des Moines brought back to mind the fear of being “fired.” The thought of the disgrace of this now mounted to a mighty crescendo. I felt I had to “beat them to it,” by resigning, avoiding the stigma of being discharged.

So on the impulse of the moment, I entered a telephone booth and got Mr. Spaulding at South Bend on long distance. Once again, I “hired myself a job.”

“Hello, Mr. Spaulding!” I said. “Since I was in South Bend, I’ve been thinking a lot about you and your Chamber there. I’ve decided I want to get into Chamber of Commerce work for a while. I’ve decided to resign from The Merchants Trade Journal and come back to South Bend as Assistant Secretary of your Chamber of Commerce.”

“You have!” exclaimed Mr. Spaulding incredulously. “Well, I don’t know what we’d have you do, or how I could manage to pay any salary.”

“Oh, that’s all right,” I responded with the usual cocky confidence. “I’ll have to go on out to Des Moines, and check out finally with The Journal, and you’ll have a couple weeks or so to figure it out before I return.”

This self-assurance and positive approach must have been difficult to resist, for Mr. Spaulding said he’d try to think of something.

Thereupon I sent in to Mr. Boreman a letter of resignation, saying I would finish this trip and then would leave immediately to return to South Bend.

My First Big-League Game

It was about this time, or on one of my “Idea Man” trips through Chicago, that I saw my first major-league baseball game. Ralph Johnson, manager of The Journal’s Chicago office, and I went together.

The Detroit Tigers were playing the Chicago White Sox in an American League game at Comiskey Park. I had seen a number of minor league games. I had played a great deal of baseball as a boy, between ages eleven and eighteen. But it seemed to me that this major-league brand of baseball was the most monotonous and least exciting of all.

Then I began to understand the reason. They were better players. There was no wasted motion. When a shortstop picked up a hot grounder, he didn’t get all excited, and wildly wind up before throwing to first. He scooped up the ball as his throwing arm was smoothly moving into throwing position, and effortlessly it was thrown with speed straight to the first baseman. The players were not making as many motions, but actually the ball was traveling faster.

It’s the same in all branches of athletics. The novice makes work of it—goes to unnecessary effort. The champion does it smoothly, with precision.

The same is true with workmen. A greenhorn beginner as a carpenter wastes a lot of motions with his hammer, plane or saw, and quite frequently his hammer misses the nail altogether. The experienced carpenter does it smoothly, effortlessly to all appearances, but he is getting the job done faster.

This particular baseball game really was a monotonous, dull, unexciting game. Even the experienced regular customers were talking about it. We endured the game down to the last half of the ninth inning. The White Sox led, 3 to 1. Detroit was at bat. There were two outs, none on, and one strike on the batter, who happened to be the famous Ty Cobb. We arose trying to get out of the stands before the rush.

A regular “dyed-in-the-wool” fan, sitting in front of us, turned around and said earnestly, “Please take my advice and don’t go yet. No baseball game is over until the last out. Ty Cobb hasn’t failed to get a hit in any game this year. Don’t worry—he’ll get a hit.”

Why Ty Cobb was Famous

We sat down again, a little dubiously. “Ball one!” droned the umpire.

“Ball tuh!”

Foul ball! Strike tuh!” the umpire’s drone continued.

“Ball three!”

“This is it!” exclaimed the fan in front of us, excitedly. “Now watch what happens! Old Ty Cobb won’t miss getting that hit!”

He didn’t! The next pitched ball cracked squarely off Cobb’s bat, driven like a bullet straight between left field and center. It was a two-bagger at least—maybe a triple, if Cobb rounded the bases fast enough!

But Cobb didn’t! To our utter amazement, he jogged leisurely to first, sat down on the bag, stretched, and yawned drowsily!

But as soon as the ball was thrown back to the pitcher, he was up and alert, dancing friskily at a dangerous distance off first, beginning a taunting, razzing line of chatter at the pitcher.

“Hey you pitcher! Thanks for that two-bagger you handed me! Yea! Thanks for nuthin! I didn’t want it as a gift! I’d rather steal it from ya! Come on, now! I’m goin’ a steal second. Try and catch me! Ya can’t throw straight enough to catch me!”

The pitcher whirled and whipped the ball to first. But Ty slid back under the ball safely. Now he razzed the pitcher more than ever, taunting him, telling him he was no good—he was going to pieces—daring him to catch Cobb off base.

The pitcher threw a ball and a couple of strikes at the batter, meanwhile whipping the ball a couple more times to first trying vainly to catch Cobb off base.

Then Cobb dashed off and stole second.

The batter finally connected. This, too, might have been good for two bases. But the batter was forced to stop on first. Ty Cobb lay down on second, feigning sleep, snoring loudly. But as soon as the ball was again in the pitcher’s mitt, he was up and dancing wildly far off second, his torrent of contempt for the pitcher pouring violently from his mouth.

Two or three times the pitcher made a vain attempt to snap the ball to second in time to nail Cobb off base and end the game with the third out. But each time only brought a fresh outburst of contemptuous discouragement from Cobb. This strategy was beginning to have its effect on the pitcher. Before the next batter could get a hit, strike out, or a base on balls, Ty had stolen third. There, again, he sat down and continued taunting the pitcher.

Why didn’t Cobb race, on his own hit, for second, third, or even to stretch his hit into a home run? Why when he was on second, and the next batter cracked out a line drive, didn’t he race on to round third and score a run? Usually a single drives in a run if a man is on second.

The answer is that the score was 3 to 1 against Detroit. One run was not enough. Had Cobb scored a run on either his own hit, or that of the batter following him, the White Sox probably would have put out the next man, and the game would have ended 3 to 2 for Chicago. Cobb’s strategy was to exasperate the pitcher psychologically until he “went to pieces” so that following batters might succeed in driving in a total of three runs needed for a Detroit win. As long as Cobb remained on base, he was allowed to taunt and razz the pitcher.

So he remained on third, shouting ridicule at the pitcher, who now walked a batter, filling the bases. The pitcher now was thoroughly rattled, nervous, his confidence gone.

The next batter drove out a double, scoring all three men on bases. Thus the game ended. Score, Tigers 4, White Sox 3!

This game turned out to be one of those rare, once-in-a-lifetime thrills most people never see, though they may attend ball games regularly. It was the topic of conversation of all Chicago next day.

On arriving in Des Moines I learned, to my dismay, that Mr. Boreman had had no thought of “firing” me, but merely wrote the letter I had received at Lake Charles, Louisiana, in an effort to snap me out of a slump and prod me on to better effort. I gathered the impression that he was genuinely sorry to see me leave The Journal.

Actually, now, having been myself an employer for several years, I think I can better understand. The almost three years I had spent with The Journal had been largely preparatory years, and Mr. Boremen probably figured they had invested quite a little time, instruction, supervision and money toward developing a man who had some slight promise of becoming a really valuable man in the organization some day. And to see me quit and drop out, just as I was beginning to be worth something—beginning to be able to write articles and advertising copy professionally—meant the investment was now wasted and a total loss, except for whatever value I had been while there.

While with The Journal my salary had been raised a number of times. The raises had never been large, but they were fairly constant, as frequently as I deserved, and I probably was in line for another raise about the time I resigned. I was then getting $20 a week, which was not a high salary, but with the expense account, travelling most of the time, the salary was mostly clear. There was no room or board to pay out of it.

I must have had another conference with my Uncle Frank Armstrong while in Des Moines this trip, but do not remember his reaction to my latest detour from the main track. But even though it was another sidetrack, nevertheless it was to provide valuable experience and training for the later big job.

Building a Highway

Leaving Des Moines this time was destined to be leaving it as “home” forever. I had been born and reared there. But now I was almost twenty-three. Perhaps it was time to fly the home nest.

I arrived, I believe, one evening in South Bend and obtained a room at the YMCA which was to be my home for some three or four months. Next morning I reported to Mr. Spaulding at the Chamber of Commerce.

Actually there had been no need of an Assistant Secretary, so there was no salaried job awaiting me. But, as I had detected on my one interview with him, Mr. Spaulding was a resourceful man, and he did come up with something for me.

The automobile was just beginning to come into its own in America in 1915. Of course most families did not, as yet, own automobiles, but the number was increasing annually. And the cross-country highway idea was just beginning to make its first bit of headway. Of course all roads outside of towns and cities were unpaved. But a great deal of work had been done on the Coast-to-Coast “Lincoln Highway” (now U.S. 30), and this already had been built—in the manner they were then built—routed through South Bend.

This manner of building consisted of doing considerable additional grading, and surfacing of already existing roads. Few if any of the old “horse and buggy” square corners were straightened out. Surfacing consisted, at best, of a certain amount of graveling—but few even dreamed, as yet, of paving or hard-surfacing highways between cities.

At this particular time the highway activity centered on getting through the new “Dixie Highway,” from Canada to the Gulf. As planned by its promoters, this north-south highway was to pass through South Bend. But the right-of-way, and cost of road improvements had to be approved by, and paid by, each township and county. The Federal Government had not, apparently, gotten into the highway business as yet. Nor were there any State highways.

Mr. Spaulding explained to me that they were running into a snag. Although there was a Dixie Highway Association, more or less privately promoted but endorsed, as nearly as I remember the set-up, by civic groups such as Chambers of Commerce, the right-of-way over existing roads or for any new roads, if necessary, had to be voted and approved by a majority of property owners of each township and county along its route. The big obstacle was the northern township of Marshall County, which was next south of St. Joseph County, of which South Bend was County Seat.

In order to hurdle this barrier, and to promote the construction of the new highway generally, Mr. Spaulding had conceived the idea of forming a local Motor Club. It was in no sense like the AAA, or associated automobile clubs of today. Its primary aim and purpose was good roads, and the promotion of this Dixie Highway.

One idea we had was to name or number every country road in St. Joseph County. I am not sure now whether this was Mr. Spaulding’s idea or mine. It was very difficult for a farmer to direct anyone unfamiliar with the neighborhood to his farm. He would have to direct one to go about a mile and a quarter in a certain direction to a certain windmill; then turn left to a road where he would see a red barn; then right until he came to a certain cow in a pasture, then to the fourth house on the left—or some such crazy and incomprehensible direction. Our idea was to name and number country roads like city streets, with road signs plainly designating the name or number of each road.

Mr. Spaulding’s idea was for the Chamber of Commerce to sponsor the Motor Club, which I believe we named the St. Joseph County Motor Club, and memberships were to be sold to automobile owners for $2 each, with the more prominent citizens expected to purchase the multiple block of memberships.

How to Swing a Group

When I arrived, Mr. Spaulding had the germ of the idea, but it remained for me to “put it over.” First, we had to propose the idea to the Chamber’s Board of Directors, and win their approval.

One of the first lessons learned in this new school of Chamber of Commerce activity was how to swing a group of hard headed businessmen to vote the way you want them to. Mr. Spaulding had the know-how. It was an interesting experience.

First, he selected three of the more prominent and influential Board members whom he felt sure of winning to the idea. He and I went to these men, and “sold” them on the Motor Club idea privately. He arranged for one of them to spring to his feet in the Board meeting as soon as Mr. Spaulding had presented the general idea, and enthusiastically endorse it, saying he was most definitely in favor of this idea. The other two men were to follow suit, rising promptly before any other Board members could rise to object, and heartily endorse the idea.

Then, at the Board meeting, after Mr. Spaulding had outlined his proposal for the Motor Club and these three members in rapid-fire succession had generated enthusiasm by their vigorous endorsements, Mr. Spaulding exclaimed that it seemed useless to ask for more discussion—and brought it to an immediate vote before any member could object.

In this meeting were several multimillionaires. South Bend was home of a number of very prominent industries, including the Studebaker automobile factory, Oliver Chilled Plow Works, L. P. Hardy sales book manufacturers, and many others. It was a new experience to me to see the psychological effect of this strategy on these supposedly hardheaded businessmen. Like all humans, they had the “sheep” instinct. The impression had been created in the mind of every Board member that every other member, except possibly himself, was enthusiastically in favor of this proposition, and not wishing to be on the losing side, or a lone dissenter, each one voted yes—it was unanimous!

So the Motor Club became a reality. My commission was to be 25%. I learned later—too late—that the proper rate of commission on a thing of that kind should have been 50%. But the whole idea was a new one to all of us. Actually, my work was very successful, but I was only half paid, and was unable to “hold body and soul together” as they say, on what I was making—so after a few months I was forced, of necessity, to move on.

But there were some exciting experiences in putting through this Dixie Highway during those few months.