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It’s All About One’s Attitude

Posted on March 10 2010 12:00 pm
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by Liz Davis

When William Clement Stone was just 3, his father died, leaving nothing but gambling debts and a widow and son in poverty.

Living with his mother and relatives in an apartment on Chicago’s rough South Side, 6-year-old Stone sold newspapers to help support the family. In this hardscrabble environment of the early 1900s, he had to compete with older boys for street-corner territory. But the young Stone was adaptable and resourceful. He began concentrating on restaurants as better places to peddle papers.

In what he later recalled as his first experience “turning a disadvantage into an advantage,” he returned repeatedly to one restaurant to try to sell papers, only to be thrown out each time by the owner. Finally, through audacity and tenacity, Stone persuaded the owner to let him set up shop. The owner soon became a great friend, and Stone continued to grow his humble newspaper enterprise. By 13, he owned his own newsstand.

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