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By Russell H Conwell

Russell H Conwell is an American orator, philanthropist, lawyer and writer (1843-1925)

Khidki (Window)

–Read India Initiative—

This is only an attempt to create interest in reading. We may not get the time to read all the books in our lifetime. But such reviews, talk and synopsis will at least convey what the book is all about

    ‘Acres of Diamond’ is a distinguished book by Russell Conwell. Reason why he is referred as a penniless millionaire? His appropriate findings will change you adequately to seek new opportunities. To find true wealth right in your backyard. The same principles had even transformed Russel Conwell into one of the most charitable millionaires of his time. I’m sure the book will also revolutionise your life as you read the timeless homilies contained in those rich pages. It is divided in chapters.

    CHAPTER 1: There was once a wealthy man by the name Ali Hafed who lived not far from river Indus. ‘He was contented because he was wealthy and wealthy because he was contented.’ One day a priest visited Ali Hafed and told him all about diamonds. Ali Hafed patiently heard him. Including how much they were worth, and went to his bed at night as a poor man. He had not lost anything. Yet he was poor because he was discontented, and discontented because he feared he was poor. And as an aftermath, Ali Hafed sold his farm. Left his family and travelled to Palastine and then to Europe in search of diamonds. But he could not find them.

    In the meanwhile both his health and wealth failed him. Dejected, he cast himself into the sea and died. One day. The man who had purchased Ali Hafed’s farm found a curious sparkling stone in a stream that cut through his land. It was a diamond. He got excited and started digging and that produced more diamonds—acres of diamonds. This according to the parable was the discovery of the famed diamonds of Golconda.

    So, are you among those who look for diamonds in faraway places? Is the grass really green on the other side and not this side? And, is there an opportunity that has been in front of your eyes all this while? Have you taken stock of your life of late? Perhaps, there are diamonds sitting just outside your backdoor. Now I’m not suggesting. You physically go and start digging your backyard, as the story says. But yes you can find ‘acres of diamonds’ in your backyard too.

    Each of us, are in the middle of our own ‘acres of diamonds.’ If only we could visualise it, and focus on the ground we are standing on. Before, charging off, to greener pastures elsewhere. Opportunity does not just come along. It is there all the time. We just have to notice it. In life when we go searching for ‘something’ we should know what that ‘something’ looks like. How it smells and tastes like, so that we can recognize it, when we find it. Before we give up what we already have, make sure what we’re getting is better than what we already have.


    Holy Bible does not say, ‘Money is the root cause of all evil.’ Conwell rejects the common belief that in order to be pious or virtuous one must be poor. He insists that, ‘Ninety-percent out of hundred rich men of America are honest.’ To attain wealth is a noble thing because, ‘you can do more good with it than you could do without it.’

    A student challenges Conwell, when he is certain that the scriptures state, ‘Money is the root of all evils.’

    ‘Go out … into the chapel and get the bible and show me the page.’ Conwell tells him.’ The young man returns with the Bible. Turns the pages and reads: ‘The love of money is the root cause of all evil.’

    ‘Not money, but the love for money is evil. That man who hugs the dollar until the eagle squeals has in him the root of all evil.’ Conwell says.


    In order to be successful in business, get to know your customers well. Conwell challenges business owners who insist that they cannot get rich in their own town. He asks them about their neighbours. Where are they from? What do they do in their spare time? What do they want and what do they need?

    To the man who does not care about the answers, he replies: ‘If you had cared about him, your neighbour. Taken interest in his affairs, to find out what he needed, you would have been rich.’


    It is criminal not to make profit on what you sell. The overly pious insist that it is sinful to profit on a transaction. Conwell replies, ‘you cannot trust a man with your money. Who, cannot take care of his own.’ You have no right to injure your own business for charity. In order to serve your own community and customers you need to be a strong and stable institution yourself. You are no good to anyone if you cannot take care of yourself.


    To inherit a great amount is a curse. To be born with plenty and therefore be without the drive to make something out of your own efforts is a handicap. He pities the children of the wealthy. They will never know the best of things in life. ‘One of the best things in our life is when a young man has earned his own living.’ Much better than money is to leave your children with education, a noble character, a wide circle of friends and an honourable name. Quite regularly he rebukes those who believe, capital is a must to become rich. He responds with a story about a man who began whittling toys from firewood, and by observing what his own children wanted, he became a millionaire.


    ‘How fortunate that young man is who loses the first time he gambles.’ Failure is the best teacher. To make a risky move and lose, teaches one to act with more caution and wisdom. He tells the tale of a man. Who spends half of his tiny amount of money, on things no one wants. After that he searches, until he has found a demand then commits his capital to supplying that on this principle. The man turned 62.5 cents into 40 million dollars.


    Success comes to the observant. Conwell details the story of John Jacob Astor who was renting out a store to bonnet (hat) makers who could not pay their rent bills. Astor started a partnership with the same people in the same store. He went across the street, sat on a park bench and watched the women walk by. When he saw one walking with a confident posture and a smile on her face, he took note of her bonnet, asked them to make more just like it and put them in the store’s window. They could not make a single bonnet until Astor told them what to make. The store blossomed to success thereafter.


    Truly speaking great people never appear great. The greatest of people are plain, straightforward, earnest, sober and even practical. You’d never know how great they are until you see them doing something. Their neighbours never see greatness in them. They call them by their first names and treat them the same no matter what heights they reach.

    The author remembers the time he met Abraham Lincoln, just days before his death. Initially he was intimidated by the importance of him. But quickly he was put at ease by the ordinary, comfortable farmer like quality of the president.


    Apply yourself wholeheartedly, to the task, till it is complete. Was the other lesson Conwell learnt from Lincoln: ‘Whatever he had to do at all, he put his whole mind in it and held it all there until that was all done.’ Once, when, Conwell was taken to the President’s office for a meeting. Lincoln was inundated with official papers. And he remained in that limbo for sometime while Conwell anxiously waited. Then he tied up his documents and focused fully on his guest: ‘I am a very busy man and have only a few minutes to spare. Now tell me in the fewest of words what is it you want?’

    When their business was concluded, Lincoln gave a crisp ‘good morning’ and went on to the next set of papers. Conwell excused himself.


     An office will not make you great. ‘You think you are going to be made great by an office. But remember that if you are not great before you get the office, you won’t be great when you secure it.’ An elected official is the representative of great people and therefore can only be as great as his constituents. Conwell says, when too many great people get elected to an office, we will have the makings of an empire, rather than democracy. Title and position is no replacement for character.

    The truly great people go about their daily business with honour and integrity. Whereas, the proud and egotistical man, ‘is nothing but a puffed up balloon held down by his big feet.’

    So the challenge is. In a nutshell how can you find acres of diamonds in your own backyard? For that maintain a ready mind. Be open to possibilities around you. Don’t let preconceived notions cloud your judgment. We often overlook the value of something because we believe we already know it.

    Look at the familiar in new ways. Conwell lists some important inventions—the snap button, the cotton gin, the mowing machine—and notes that these were created by everyday people who found new approaches and new uses for common place objects.

    Explore what people want. Then give it to them. Discover a market, and then provide a product or a service. Too many people do this the other way round. They develop a product or a service and then try to market it. Try to manufacture desire. You’ll have more success if you have desire and then try and meet it.

    Knowledge is more important than capital. Lack of capital is a common excuse for not starting a business venture. How often have you heard, ‘you need money to make money.’ Nonsense, says Conwell. He gives anecdotes of wealthy people who started with nothing but an idea.

   He further says. Don’t put yourself down and don’t belittle your environment. Don’t compare yourself with others. ‘Believe in the great opportunities that are right here and not in New York or Boston, but here for business, for everything that is worth living for on earth. There was never an opportunity greater. Find the best in what’s around.’


Synopsis by Kamlesh Tripathi




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Shravan Charity Mission is an NGO that works for poor children suffering from life threatening diseases especially cancer. Should you wish to donate for the cause. The bank details are given below:


Account no: 680510110004635 (BANK OF INDIA)

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(The book is about a young cancer patient. Now archived in 7 prestigious libraries of the US, including, Harvard University and Library of Congress. It can also be accessed in MIT through Worldcat.org. Besides, it is also available for reading in Libraries and archives of Canada and Cancer Aid and Research Foundation Mumbai)  


(Is a book on ‘singlehood’ about a Delhi girl now archived in Connemara Library, Chennai and Delhi Public Library, GOI, Ministry of Culture, Delhi)


(Is a fiction written around the great city of Nawabs—Lucknow. It describes Lucknow in great detail and also talks about its Hindu-Muslim amity. That happens to be its undying characteristic. The book was launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival of 2014)


(Co-published by Cankids–Kidscan, a pan India NGO and Shravan Charity Mission, that works for Child cancer in India. The book is endorsed by Ms Preetha Reddy, MD Apollo Hospitals Group. It was launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival 2016)


(Is a story of an Indian salesman who is, humbly qualified. Yet he fights his ways through unceasing uncertainties to reach the top. A good read not only for salesmen. The book was launched on 10th February, 2018 in Gorakhpur Lit-Fest. Now available in Amazon, Flipkart and Onlinegatha









Kamlesh Tripathi



  • Mind without heart, intelligence without conduct, cleverness without goodness are tools, but only for mischief.
  • Behave the way you can always behave—Annonymous.
  • Who is rich? He that is content. Who is that? Nobody—Benjamin Franklin
  • I would not wish any companion in the world but you—Shakespeare.
  • The Rig Veda tells us: “Let noble thoughts come to us from everywhere.”
  • “Nobody can tell what I suffer! But it is always so. Those who do not complain are never pitied.”
    ― Jane AustenPride and Prejudice
  • “The wound is the place where the Light enters you.”
    ― Jalaluddin Rumi
  • “One thing you can’t hide – is when you’re crippled inside.”
    ― John Lennon
  • Justice as Lord Atkin said is “no cloistered virtue”
  • Sometimes words that fail to make their effect at the time are remembered later—Agatha Christie
  • Give your clients the earliest delivery consistent with quality—whatever the inconvenience to us—Arthur Nielson
  • Opportunities present themselves every day. You just have to be alert and ready to act.—MARK OSTROFSKY, US ENTREPRENEUR
  • Sometimes it’s worse to win a fight than to lose—Billie Holiday
  • The best of us must sometimes eat our words—JK Rowling
  • The only thing that will redeem mankind is cooperation—BERTRAND RUSSELL
  • What is a cynic? A man who knows the price of everything and value of nothing—Oscar Wilde
  • Slow down and steady up—annonymous
  • All work and no play/makes Jack a dull boy. To which the cautionary response goes ‘All play and no work/ Makes Jack a mere toy.’ TOI Editorial
  • Don’t talk about yourself; it will be done when you leave—Wilson Mazner, US playwright
  • Never hate your enemies. It affects your judgement- Mario Puzo- Godfather
  • We’ve seen over time that countries that have the best economic growth are those that have good governance- Ramez Naam US writer
  • A conversation is a dialogue, not a monologue, That’s why there are so few good conversations- Truman
  • History does not repeat itself exactly but, as Mark Twain put it, it often rhymes.
  • If you have built castles in the air … now put the foundations under them—Henry David Thoureau
  • Margaret Thatcher’s warning that those standing in the middle of the road get run over.
  • The way to crush the bourgeoisie is to grind them between the millstones of taxation and inflation—Vladmir Lenin.
  • Carlyle- the history of the world is but biography of great men.’ Some so called great men have their hands deep in blood.
  • Boris Pasternak author of Dr Zhivago called silence the best sound on earth’
  • The greatest obstacle to excellence is you! A caddy once told a champion golfer, “There’s a perfect shot waiting out there. All you have to do is to get yourself out of the way.”
  • In short, I will part with anything for you but you- Mary Wortley Montagu, Writer.
  • There are good times and there are bad times, but one must never forget the hard times—Annonymous.
  • When a father gives to his son, both laugh; when a son gives to his father, both cry—William Shakespeare.
  • Kritam Lokham Purushoabhijayte- Man himself builds his own world.
  • The boxer Muhammad Ali refused to wear his seat-belt on a plane. “Superman doesn’t need a belt,” he insisted. Tying his belt for him, the stewardess replied, “Superman doesn’t need a plane either.”
  • Exhibitionists: at a wedding they want to be the bride. At a funeral the corpse. Julius Caesar who was an incorrigible egotist, was kidnapped when he was a child. He was held for a ransom of 11,000 gold pieces. Horrified exhorted his captors to raise the sum to 250,000 gold pieces so as to preserve his prestige.
  • You only find out who is swimming naked when the tide goes out—Warren Buffet
  • The whole of western science has developed from Greek philosophy. It stands on the foundations of Greek Philosophy, and one of Greek philosophy’s basic beliefs is that time travels in a straight line.
  • The bread that falls off your plate nearly always lands on the buttered side.
  • Evil manners live in brass, but our virtues we write in water.
  • There is a Mexican saying that we die three deaths: the first time we die is when our bodies die. The second is when our bodies are lowered into the earth, out of sight. The third time we die is when our loved ones forget us.
  • Being different and thinking different makes a person unforgettable. History does not remember the forgettable.- Suzy Kassem, US writer.







    ‘I’m feeling low, sad or depressed’ is something we all hear almost on a daily basis from friends, colleagues, peer groups, relatives and even close family members. You may call it depression, a state of mind, a dejected syndrome, life style occurrence or all in one, as it is difficult to delineate? So, for the time being let’s call it a ‘Sad State of Mind (SSOM). The frequency in some may be high and in some low. However, it spares no one, except children up to a certain age group. Does it therefore mean, that as soon as you start facing life you encounter SSOM?

    Perhaps yes, and it transcends all age groups, sex and even professions. Where, it encounters everyone in the journey of life. I too have suffered from SSOM. It comes uninvited, and at odd hours like an unwanted guest, not knowing how long it will stay. One day when I got frustrated. I decided to cross check with some of my colleagues and friends if they too were infested by SSOM and most of them said yes. I wasn’t surprised. As it leaves you hapless, makes you lethargic and impedes you from doing even your normal chores at home and routine work at office. And, in this manner it also affects India’s GDP and leads to a negative trail. So, I decided to do something about it.

    First, I thought of ways and means to prevent it, if not cure it. Or, find a sound way to dispel it but failed in doing so. So, I decided to survey some men, women, students, professionals, academicians and politicians with just one startling question:



    Sample size was two hundred. And to my astonishment no one sulked at the very question. In fact, everyone just promptly replied in a one-liner, which I am writing below as quote-unquote or verbatim. Results showed that every person had a way of resolving his or her own SSOM but broadly preferred to stay under the nine sub-headings mentioned below.

SURRENDER TO #ALMIGHTY … He will take care

    I talk to God. I visit the temple. I chant verses from holy Ramayana. I read a few pages out of my handy Gita. I flip through my Holy Quran. I go to the Gurudwara. I pray to Goddess Durga. I read a few pages of Holy Bible. I watch a devotional channel on TV. I recite Hanuman Chalisa. I ponder over my equation with God. Mind you, I didn’t find anyone telling me that I go to a powerful person to resolve my SSOM.

INTROSPECTION & MEDITATION … helps you in rediscovering yourself.

  I meditate. I introspect. I ponder over my past. I start worrying about my future. When did I help someone last? I try and remember. Why did I hurt someone? I think. Why did I make fun of someone? I regret. Perhaps it’s a reminder for some noble deed.

TO SERVE … gives a feeling of soul cleansing.

    I donate. I feed my cat to some milk. I feed ants. I feed a cow. I feed a street dog. I feed my pet dog. I feed an old beggar.

PHYSICAL EXERTION … refreshes you to take on the world.

    I take my dog for a walk. I go for a swim. I jog for a while. I go cycling. I go golfing. I go swimming. I go to the gym. I go to the spa. I do indoor exercises. I do deep breathing, it helps. I go fishing.

ENTERTAINMENT … rejuvenates you.

    I open my bottle to have a swig. I read a novel. I switch on the TV. I go for a movie. I watch cricket. I start playing computer games. I read jokes. I play indoor games. I laugh in my toilet, as you would in the laughing club. I sing in my bathroom. I watch a cartoon channel. I Play with my Pet. I listen to music. I play my keyboard. I smoke a cigarette. I eat excessively.

MIND DIVERSION … helps you forget.

    I read anything just anything lying around. I start writing. I start painting. I go and sit in the lawn amidst plants. I call up my girlfriend. I call up my boyfriend. I call up Dad. I call up Mom. I call up my daughter. I call up my son. I call up my daughter-in-law. I call up my wife. I call my up husband. I call up my best friend. I speak to my boss, he gives me some sound advice. I start thinking of pending work in office. I speak to my mentor. I flip through a magazine. I read newspaper. I go for a drive.

KILLING SSOM … with other powerful thoughts.

    I think of my last holiday and the pleasant moments with my family. I build determination to confront the situation that makes me feel low. I recall, ‘No matter how bad things are they could be worse.’ ‘Nothing is permanent’ I say to myself. I think of the best surprise of my life. I think of the best episode of my life. I think of an ugly episode of my life. I still have a healthy body and soul so why worry. I have a loving family so why feel low. I have a bright career so why feel low.

DOING NOTHING … just another way of handling by not reacting.

I sulk. I just shut my mind for some time. I know something good is coming next so I don’t bother. I just doze off. I take a small break from work. I just have a cup of tea. I do nothing and wait for the mood swing to be over. I stop eating. I fiddle with my mobile. I consider it to be like common cold, so I just move on. I believe in- no matter how bad things are something is going right and no matter how good things are something is going wrong; this balances life. Even the President of the US suffers from SSOM so who am I? Feeling low is cyclic, so why worry. Once in a while we all feel low, perhaps it’s the order of the nature. Chalta hai- don’t be too serious about life, let life be serious about you.
    The moral of the story is we all feel low at times, and many a times during a lifetime. Whilst, such occurrences happen, we should not feel isolated and down beaten as it happens to most human beings on the planet. Life is not a bed of roses but a constant struggle and more the struggle is shared more life becomes easy to take on and this is a small attempt towards that.


By Kamlesh Tripathi


Share if you like it


    Shravan Charity Mission is an NGO that works for poor children suffering from life threatening diseases. Should you wish to donate for the cause the bank details are given below:


Account no: 680510110004635 (BANK OF INDIA)

IFSC code: BKID0006805


Our publications