Cosmos-conceived. Earth-incarnated. District of Columbia-born. Maryland-raised. Storyteller. Taurus. Writer. Podcaster. Television producer. Foodie. Filmmaker.
Og Mandino’s “University of Success”
Let me tell you about a gentleman who was born nearly 100 years ago (in Framingham, Massachusetts) to Italian immigrant parents. He was the editor of his high school newspaper and had plans to study journalism in college, only his mother died of a heart attack and his college plans were sidetracked. Instead, he went to work, for a time, in a paper factory, and he soon joined the United States Army Air Corps, became a military officer and a bombardier in World War II. After leaving the military, he became an insurance salesman. His life eventually brought him to the state of Ohio, to the city of Cleveland, to alcoholism and on one winter morning, standing outside of a pawn shop, in the most dangerous and dirty and sleazy part of Cleveland, with the rain falling on his shoulder-length hair, this 30-something-year-old man peered through the window into a pawn shop and saw a gun for sale, on the shelf, for sale $29. And as he looked at that gun, he thought about how his drinking had cost him everything that really mattered: his wife, his daughter, his job, his home, his self-esteem. And he reached into his rain-soaked pocket and pulled out three soggy ten-dollar bills. And he bought that gun. On his way to the small room he was renting, he happened into the local library, and he sat there, getting dry, continuing to contemplate the taking of his own life. This man had come to a place in his heart and in his mind and maybe even in his soul where he sought to end it all; his body and his spirit were weary and he just wanted to kill himself. As he walked through the library that morning, contemplating suicide, he passed by the “self-help” section and pulled down a few titles from the shelf. He sat in a chair at a nearby desk and began thumbing through the books in front of him, and something – some word, some phrase, some idea, some concept, some sentence, some possibility, some notion of an inkling of something more and something better – some indescribable and very real energy rose up in him, enough to keep him from killing himself in that hour. And so he visited another library, on another day. And he kept reading. And after that, he visited yet another library, this time in another city. And he kept reading. And it wasn’t long before he had visited libraries all across this country, and he had read hundreds of success books by many authors. And all of this reading and absorbing and studying and researching all of those “positive thinking” ideas found in those many books – the sum total of all of that hope and inspiration, all those tips and strategies eventually alleviated this man’s need and desire to drink. And his dependence on alcohol slowly and steadily faded into his past. And still, over even more time, this voracious reader of other writers, became a prolific author himself.
His first name was Augustine and people called him Og for short. His last name was Mandino. Og Mandino (1923-1996). I first heard the name Og Mandino from listening to a lecture given by Mr. Les Brown, who was one of my early mentors. And that was years ago, back in the late 80s-early 90s, when I first heard from Les Brown the name Og Mandino. I never looked him up. I never read any of his books, but because I continued to follow Mr. Les Brown, I often heard the name Og Mandino, because Les Brown would often bring up the name during one of his speeches. Og Mandino was one of Les Brown’s mentors. I was looking to Les Brown and Les Brown was looking to Og Mandino.
On September 3, 1996, best-selling author Og Mandino made his transition from this world on to the next plane of existence. He lived here on earth for 72 years. I ran across a Periscope of a brother named Jay Morrison. In one of his lectures, he mentioned the name Og Mandino, and he recommended reading Og Mandino’s book – University of Success. So I got the book.