He Can Who Thinks He Can

And Other Papers on Success in Life
by Orison Swett Marden | Thomas Y. Crowell & Co. © 1908 · 245 pages

Do you think you can or do you think you can't? As Henry Ford told us, either way you're right. Orison Swett Marden (who created Success magazine) walks us thru some old-school no-nonsense mojo in this great little book. In the Note, we'll look at the power of being a functional dreamer and bringing ourselves to a 212 degree boil!

Trust thyself; every heart vibrates to that iron string.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Much of President Roosevelt’s success has been due to his colossal self-confidence. He believes in Roosevelt, as Napoleon believed in Napoleon. There is nothing timid or half-hearted about our great president. He goes at everything with gigantic assurance, with that tremendous confidence, which half wins the battle before he begins. It is astonishing how the world makes way for a resolute soul, and how obstacles get out of the path of a determined man who believes in himself. There is no philosophy by which a man can do a thing when he thinks he can’t. What can defeat a strong man who believes in himself and cannot be ridiculed down? Poverty cannot dishearten him, misfortune deter him, or hardship turn him a hair’s breadth from his course. Whatever comes, he keeps his eye on the goal and pushes ahead.”

~ Orison Swett Marden from He Can Who Thinks He Can

Orison Swett Marden.

He created Success magazine and wrote this little book (really a collection of essays) when Teddy Roosevelt was President in 1908. (<— That’s awesome.)

This is the second Note I’ve done on his work. Check out the Note on An Iron Will for more of his old school goodness.

Orison leans on Ralph Waldo Emerson and reminds me a bit of James Allen. I just love the no-nonsense, solid old-school wisdom he shares.

The theme of this book, as the title suggests, is the fact that “He can who thinks he can.” (And, equally importantly, he can’t who thinks he can’t.)

Let’s take a quick look at some of my favorite Big Ideas and get our minds right so we can get out there and do the work we’re here to do!

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About the author


Orison Swett Marden

Founder of Success Magazine