Acres of Diamonds by Russell H. Conwell

Acres of Diamonds by Russell H. Conwell was published in the late 1800’s. Coming from a Baptist minister, Russell Conwell’s Acres of Diamonds may be the most famous bit of speechmaking in the history of the American lecture platform.

Conwell had a unique method of lecturing.  He would arrive in the town in which he was to lecture, as early as possible; he would visit the postmaster, the school principal, the ministers, the factory workers at their benches, and ring a few doorbells to talk with the local housewives.  That was done that he might find out something about the town – its history, its people (“what opportunities they had, and what they had failed to do”), and then he would get up on the rostrum and point to the acres of diamonds in their own back yards.

He gave 1,600 lectures and created the Temple University from the money raised.

The sermon was from a story he was told by an Arab leading the camel Conwell was ridding.  Seems there was a rich man who had been told of wealthier men making their fortunes in the Diamond mines.  He immediately sold his farm – left his family and friends to go in search of greater gain.  Years later he returned a broke and broken man only to find that the man who had purchased his farm had discovered diamonds in the back yard.

The point being – that we need to pay attention to those friends and family closest to us.  Look for the silver lining in all you have.

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