Gold in Chaos, or, Finding Old Books Under Thick Dust

I’m neck deep in the de-construction of my office so the remodellers can come in this Wednesday and construct my luxurious new office, complete with two hanging monitors, glass-door bookcases, wooden filing cabinets, floor to ceiling shelving, and much more. The end result will be a work of art I can sit in.

For now, though, my office is chaos.

I haven’t completely cleaned out my office yet, but so far there are piles of books and papers all over the floor right outside the French doors. I’m moving stuff from the inner office to the outer library area. What a mess. I didn’t even start moving books for an entire week because the thought of it was so overwhelming. Now that I’m working at this cleaning and moving a little every day, it’s totally overwhelming.

How did I accumulate so much stuff?

Nerissa reminded me that most geniuses have messy offices. I thought back to guys I knew in college who never cleaned their rooms. They weren’t geniuses. Not even close. Of course, leaving your clothes and beer bottles on the floor isn’t exactly what I’m doing in my office. So maybe there is a difference.

I do know that since my world is books, it’s only natural that I would have a lot of them. I used to go to the library when I was broke. Now I built my own library right here. I have huge collections of books on marketing, fitness, hypnosis, psychology, metaphysics, and magic. Thousands of them. I’d like to say I’ve read all of them. I haven’t. I often read enough to get the gist of a book, and then put it aside. Sometimes I never get to a book, though I long to one day.

There’s gold here, of course. I have rare books, signed books, limited edition books; I have books signed by P.T. Barnum, the great showman and circus promoter. I have one copy of his autobiography with a news release he typed up and signed still stuck in it. It’s a treasure.

There are many treasures here. Another favorite is How to Turn People into Gold by Kenneth Goode. He wrote numerous books and was well known in the 1930s or so. His book on Showmanship in Business is wonderful. I often wonder what happened to him.

My all time favorite book is The Magic of Believing by Claude Bristol. I have two signed copies of the very early editions of the book, which apparently was first self-published. That classic is still in print today, while Mr. Bristol is long gone.

Of course, anyone who knows my work knows I love Robert Collier. I have every known book by him, including of course his legendary The Robert Collier Letter Book. I was an okay writer before that book; I was a Hypnotic Writer after it. I also have a rare brief biography of him that his daughter sent me decades ago.

Then there are the books by Walter Dill Scott, the early 1900s psychologist who wrote the first books on how the mind works, aimed at advertisers. I still love his classic The Psychology of Advertising.

I also love the old school publicists, such as Harry Reichenbach, who promoted movies with wild stunts in the early days of films. His unfinished auobiography is a real joy to read. It’s called Phantom Fame.

I have virtually every book by Alan Abel, a famous hoaxer who today is a friend of mine. He’s a true genius at getting publicity for events. Barnum would have loved him and his humbugs. He’s the brain behind the old movement to clothe animals — a fake organization that the media took seriously for five years. Abel wrote about that event in The Great American Hoax. I so respect Alan Abel that I just hired him to come up with a wild idea to promote the living daylights out of my next book (due out March 7th).

The list of gold goes on: I have many cherished signed books by Neville, the mystic who inspired my website at I even have one extrememely rare book by him, probably his first published work ever, signed, that I paid over $500 to grab on eBay. I later reprinted the book. It’s called At Your Command. (Amazon sells it.)

There are also dozens of audio packages here published by Nightingale-Conant, the company that produced my own program, The Power of Outrageous Marketing.

But by and large, the great population of things over-filling my office are books.

I love books. Obviously. But that’s not why I’m writing this post.

I’m writing this post because it’s a way to take a break from the chaos. It’s a way to escape.

Oh, I know the chaos is here. It’s at my feet, behind my back, whispering to me, calling me back…waiting for me to scream out…“I’m coming, already!”

No wonder I’m spending $166 on a bottle of hard booze.

This chaos is driving me to drink.

It’s also driving me to eat.

Nerissa and I went out for dinner last night and I had two bites of cheescake — my first dessert in a year and a half! I didn’t lose 80 pounds by eating desserts!

Breathe, Joe, just b-r-e-a-t-h-e.

A clean office reflects a clean mind.

That’s what I’m telling myself, anyway.

A clean office reflects a clean mind.

Though I think Einstein had a messy office.

Guess I better get back to cleaning this office, less I get drunk and fat and just keeping writing in this blog, forever delaying what needs to be done.



  1. Barbara Casey-Reply
    November 28, 2005 at 8:56 am

    Hi Joe:

    I understand both your angst and need for a bite of cheesecake over the holiday weekend. I just discovered (and enjoyed) a truly terrific chocolate mousse at this nifty French restaurant. And me with a Women Losing Weight blog.

    But I’m really writing to see if you had heard about a new concept called “blooks” – publishing your book on a blog – an example of which is at I heard about this from the Conversations with Experts folks, who are giving a free teleclass on blooks this Wednesday, Nov. 30:

  2. The 100 Grand A Month Club-Reply
    January 4, 2006 at 4:43 pm

    Dr. Vitale,

    Of course you’re a genius. And as much as you probably would not admit it, you are a hero, too.

    Not only that, but you have continued to inspire me with your writings, your posts, your emails — and now — your blog.

    My office is a mess! Here it is, Sunday evening, and 11 months later, and I’m no closer to my New Year’s resolution than I was on January 1!

    But I continue to be astounded…

    Last night I stayed up late, reading Walter Russell’s biography online at . He was truly an inspiration to this world and to me.

    I am presently reading an interesting biography of P.T. Barnum by Irving Wallace. You, most likely, have a copy of “The Fabulous Showman” in your own personal library. I was just lucky that I found a copy of it in our local library here in Blanco, Texas.

    Like Donald Trump, most people of genius have what appears to be a “messy” environment, but we know where everything is in that mess. Strange, though, that our lives are in much better order; contrary to our surroundings.

    I have your blog XML in my RSS feed now, and anytime you have a new post, I will immediately be notified. So, anytime you get a hankering to escape the chaos and write, know this: you’re sending inspiration to many.
    I read your article about your recent trip to L.A. and your seminar with Dr. Len. Truly amazing! As I read up on ho’oponopono I was reminded of the mystic fathers on Mount Athos in the Orthodox Church. So much similarity from a different angle, but still so profound. It is something I have been practicing for so long, but really didn’t know what to call it.

    I know you will “keep up the good work” so I need not tell you to do so. But know this: your words, your thoughts, your meditations are having a tremendous impact on this world.

    We are so glad to see you come public!

    Ernest O’Dell
    The 100 Grand A Month Club
    Blanco, Texas – USA

  3. Marc Rodill-Reply
    August 1, 2013 at 3:32 pm

    Can’t find the book by Kenneth Goode anywhere. You know, the good one about gold. Looked everywhere so far.

    Maybe you ought release it, surely it’s public domain.


  4. Marc Rodill-Reply
    August 1, 2013 at 3:46 pm

    UPDATE: Profitable Showmanship is in the public domain, but that’s the only book I can find by the guy.

    You can find him quotes in a ton of books and articles, but the actual book itself is MIA. Even on the little known book selling sites.


    • August 10, 2013 at 9:42 am

      I found another copy just a few weeks ago. It’s around.

  5. February 24, 2014 at 4:13 am

    Thanks for sharing some of the titles you treasure in your personal library of classic books Joe.

    Especially ‘How to Turn People into Gold’ and ‘Showmanship in Business both by Kenneth Goode’.

    It’s now 2014 – how’s that ‘cleaner’ office these days?

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