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W Clement Stone (W stands for William) was born in Chicago, on May 4, 1902. Stone's family where thrown into poverty on Chicago's South Side, after his father died when Stone was only three years old and had left behind huge gambling debts.
By the time Stone was six he was hawking newspapers around Chicago's South Side. Driven away from the best sites by older kids he moved his operation to restaurants where he gained new customers. Such was his entrepreneurial drive that by the time he was thirteen he had his own newsstand.
At sixteen Stone moved to Detroit where his mother had set up an insurance agency in the city. Stone touted for business from office to office selling casualty insurance. It wasn't long before he was making $100 a week, a substantial sum in those days.
Stone was able to increase the amount of policies he sold by limiting the amount of time spent on sales effort. If a customer couldn't make a commitment and buy a policy in the set time then Stone would simply move onto the his next client.
Eventually Stone began concentrating on building his own sales team. Stone became an innovator in this area so much so that when the Great Depression came about he developed a sales training program to improve the effectiveness of his team, even developing new custom insurance policies that where easier to sell and renew.
Stone was a great believer in the power of optimism and through this and his experience in the insurance business developed his philosophy of Positive Mental Attitude (PMA) which he considered to be the cornerstone of this success.
In 1919 Stone formed the Combined Insurance Company of America. Stone drove the business from success to success and by 1979 the business exceeded $1 billion in assets. It later went on in 1987 to merge with Patrick Ryan Group and form the Aon Corporation.
Along with his wife Jessie he formed the Stone Foundation to promote PMA and gave out grants for needy causes, created self-improvement projects for prisons and positive mental attitude training for non-profit organizations.
Stone's conviction that anyone can become successful no matter how poor his start in life, lead him to write three hugely successful books: Success Through a Positive Mental Attitude (co-authored with Napoleon Hill), The Success System That Never Fails, and The Other Side of the Mind (co-authored with Norma Lee Browning).
W Clement Stone died in September 2002 but his legacy still lives on in his books and Foundation.
Some source material researched from Wikipedia with thanks.
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Self Help Books by W Clement Stone
Success Through a Positive Mental Attitude
The Success System That Never Fails
Believe and Achieve: W. Clement Stone's 17 Principles of Success
The Other Side of the Mind
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