It is true that not a few men kill themselves by overwork; but the proportion of such is small to the number who die from violating the laws of health; and death from excessive activity is far preferable to death from rust. The spirits may be exhausted by employment, but they are utterly destroyed by idleness.
-from "Choice of a Profession"
William Mathews may have been the perfect 19th-century source for advice on personal achievement: in his long, busy life; he was a successful lawyer, newspaper publisher, university professor, and journalist.
This collection of essays on making one's way in the world began as an 1871 series of articles for the Chicago Tribune that were reconsidered and expanded for this 1872 book.
Mathews shares his still pertinent wisdom on such success-minded topics as:
. the concept of luck, and how it is abused
. why concentration and focus are key
. the importance of maintaining physical health
. how to cultivate self-reliance
. why originality is vital to success
. the necessity of practical talent and knowledge
. being economical with your time
. being smart about money
. and much more.
American writer WILLIAM MATHEWS (1818-1909) also wrote Words, Their Use and Abuse (1876), Hours with Men and Books (1877), and Monday-Chats (1877).
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Read an Excerpt
CHAPTER III. CHOICE OF A PROFESSION. It ii an uncontroverted truth, that no man ever made an ill-figure wh understood his own talents, nor a good one who mistook them. Swift. The crowning fortune of a man is to be born with a bias to some pursuit, which finds him in employment and happiness. R. W. Emerson. Be what nature intended you for, and you will succeed ; be anything else, and you will be ten thousand times worse than nothing. Sydney Smith. I cannot repeat too often that no man struggles perpetually and victoriously against his own character ; and one of the first principles of success in life is so to regulate our career as rather to turn our physical constitution and natural inclinations to good account, than to endeavor to counteract the one or oppose the other.Sir H. L. Bulwer. IT is almost a truism to say that the first thing to be done by him who would succeed in life is to make a wise choice of a profession. Of the thousands of men who are continually coming upon the stage of life, there are few who escape the necessity of adopting some profession or calling; and there are fewer still who, if they knew the miseries of idleness, tenfold keener and more numerous than those of the most laborious profession, would ever desire such an escape. In this age of intense activity, when hundreds of men in every community are killing themselves by overwork, it is hardly necessary to show that there can be no genuine happiness without labor. All sensible men admit, and none more readily than those who have tried the experiment of killing time in a round of amusements, that the happiest life is made up of alternations of toil and leisure, of work and play. So necessary is labor ofsome kind to make existence tolerable, that those men who attempt to live a li...