Nearly twenty years ago in a Chicago parking lot, Og Mandino met a man who changed his life and who inspired millions of readers in the pages of Mandino’s classic bestseller The Greatest Miracle in the World. The man’s name was Simon Potter and he called himself a ragpicker—because he had devoted his life to rescuing people who had ended up on life’s refuse pile. But just as suddenly and mysteriously as Simon Potter entered Og Mandino’s life, so did he leave it—his work apparently done.
Three years ago, however, Simon Potter walked back into Mandino's life. Ninety-five years old and going strong, the ragpicker knew his work was not yet finished; the world was still mired in frustration and despair, plagued by drugs, crime, broken families, and broken dreams. And so, he and Og Mandino vowed to deliver a precious new gift to humankind: a life guide to renewed strength, courage, wisdom, and faith for all.
|Publisher:||Random House Publishing Group|
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About the Author
Read an Excerpt
A Special Message from Og Mandino
The mysterious old ragpicker, Simon Potter, who disappeared at the end of my book, The Greatest Miracle in the World …
Did I ever expect to be writing about him again, in some future book?
For more than fifteen years, my response to hundreds of interviewers and thousands of letters was always the same … “not likely.”
And so, you are now holding a book that I had never planned to write. If life is a series of surprises, as Emerson wrote, then the book you are about to read certainly ranks as a major surprise in a career that has been filled with them.
During the past quarter century my life has also been blessed with more good fortune and honors than any human being deserves.
I have shared both hunger and wealth, pain and joy with the woman I love by my side, and I have watched proudly as my two sons grew to manhood, married happily, and embarked on promising careers.
I have been inducted into the International Speakers Hall of Fame, received the Napoleon Hill Gold Medal for literary excellence, and read my biography, with pride, in Who’s Who in the World.
Most important was the fulfillment of my childhood dream and that of my late, beloved mother … to become a writer. That I stumbled along life’s often-rutted highways, plus a gutter or two, until I had passed the age of forty before reaching our cherished goal, was my fault and mine alone.
In retrospect, those early years of failure, despair, and poverty were far more valuable than any college education could have been. Since 1966, the fourteen books I have written, all dealing with the true meaning of success and happiness and how to capture those two elusive songbirds, have managed to sell more than twenty-five million copies in eighteen languages, from Tokyo to Rome, from Johannesburg to Sydney, from Mexico City to Stockholm! And one of them, The Greatest Salesman in the World, has ascended to especially rarified atmosphere by becoming the best-selling book of all time, in the entire world, in the field of sales! Dream fulfilled!
And yet, despite all those book sales and all the attention that The Greatest Salesman, both Part I and Part II, has received through the years, another of my books, The Greatest Miracle in the World, has consistently generated far more mail, since its publication in 1975, than all the other works combined!
The Greatest Miracle in the World is the story of my special friendship with a long-haired, giant old man, Simon Potter, who called himself a ragpicker because he spent all his time rescuing humans who had ended up on life’s refuse pile. Our accidental first meeting was in the dingy parking lot behind my office building, during the years when I headed Success Unlimited magazine in Chicago, and soon I was stopping by his tiny, book-filled apartment across the street almost nightly before driving to my suburban home. Over several memorable months he shared his sherry, his wisdom, and his compassion with me, and his kindly advice and counsel changed my life forever … for the better. Then, one morning, he vanished without a trace. Amazingly, no one living in his apartment building recognized or admitted to knowing the old man from my description, even including the family residing in what had been his apartment, which they insisted they had occupied for four years! It was almost as if Simon had never existed … except to me! His parting gift, discovered later on my desk, was a powerful piece he had written called “The God Memorandum,” a document containing four principles one must follow in order to enjoy a more fulfilling life. I shared the “Memorandum” with all my readers in the book … and they responded!
The essence of their messages to me in what has continued, through the years, to be a never-ending avalanche of letters about The Greatest Miracle, is best contained in the following few excerpts from actual letters received:
“Just one year ago, at this time, I was preparing to commit suicide. Your words, and those of your friend, the ragpicker in Greatest Miracle, saved my life. Today, I can honestly tell anyone that I am a miracle. Not just to be sober, but alive. Today I have serenity and joy in my life and your words helped carry me through all my days of hell.…”
“I owe you so much. In the summer of ’83, shortly after my divorce, I sat on a California beach reading The Greatest Miracle in the World with tears rolling down my cheeks. You and that wonderful ragpicker, Simon Potter, were my life support.…”
“For the past twelve years I have been working with dependent, neglected, and delinquent boys, ages ten to seventeen, so I have been able to be one of God’s ragpickers, like Simon Potter in your precious book.…”
“I am writing to express my gratitude to you for the inspiration and love you project in all of your books. I turn to The Greatest Miracle in the World whenever I get down on myself. I need only read those magnificent words to know that I can make it through any crisis and often I will give copies to friends who are burdened with life’s problems.…”
“I am only 12 and already my life felt like it was coming apart. Thank you very much for your book about the old rag-humans picker. I think I got my life back together now, with the help of your book, and almost all the people I know like me. This makes me feel really good.…”
“I shall remember the ragpicker forever.…”
An old Texas friend, praising my work several years ago over dinner, proudly announced that he had finally discovered the secret to my success. He said I had reinvented the parable … those precious short fictitious stories of old that always illustrated a moral attitude or religious principle. He was probably closer to the truth than all the book reviews.
Did the old ragpicker, Simon Potter, ever actually exist, or was that story, too, a modern parable like so many of my other books? To all those who have raised that question, in one form or another, either during radio, television, or newspaper interviews or in letters, my response has always been and always will be the same, “Turn to John 4:48.”
Then said Jesus unto him, Except ye see signs and wonders, ye will not believe.
There has never been, nor will there ever be, any follow-up explanation … either for The Greatest Miracle in the World or for this sequel that you are now holding.
Whether your first encounter with Simon Potter was in The Greatest Miracle in the World, many years ago, or still lies in the pages ahead, I welcome you with a loving embrace plus a gentle whisper in your ear. Please waste none of your precious time searching any New Hampshire map for the town of Langville, the setting for this book, because you will seek in vain. Out of respect for the proud, stubborn, and hard-working Yankee townspeople who have a tough enough time tolerating “summer folks,” much less “curiosity seekers,” I have altered the descriptions of all easily identifiable landmarks as well as changed the name of that lovely green and granite hamlet that is the locale of my story.
By the time you have read the final sentence on the last page of this volume, it is my fervent hope that you, too, will sigh a little and say …
“I shall remember the ragpicker forever.…”
Who could ask for more?