Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Book Review: Acres of Diamonds

Author: Russel H. Conwell and Robert Shackleton
Title of the Book: "Acres of Diamonds"
Year of Publication: 1915
Place of Publication: U.S.A.
Publisher: Harper & Brothers Publishers
Number of Pages: 171
Price: Free   

This book is very inspiring and apt for those who want to find the inner treasure in their lives. There were several stories or anecdotes related by Dr. Conwell but in this review, let me focus on the main story.

It started with his voyage in 1870 at Baghdad where they hired a local tourist guide to bring them to Persepolis, Nineveh and Babylon, and the ancient countries of Assyria as far as the Arabian Gulf. That local tourist guide told them a story of a wealthy man named Al Hafed who owned a large parcel of land.

One day, Al Hafed was visited by an ancient Buddhist priest who told him how the world was created and how granite, silver, gold and diamond were formed. The priest declared that “diamond is the last and highest of God's mineral creations.”  He further said that if he had a handful of diamonds he can buy an entire country and he can put his children to thrones because of his wealth. Having learned of that, he went to sleep feeling poor even though he had not lost a fortune. He stayed awake all night and thought of how he can acquire a diamond mine.

The following morning, he consulted the priest of where is the possible location of diamonds. The priest told him that it is in the river running through white sands between high mountains. So he decided to find that place and sold his farm and left his family to a neighbor.

In his search for diamonds, he reached as far as Europe and he had spent all his money. When he reached Spain, he was so poor. Until he found himself in the shore and cast himself into the incoming tide and sank beneath the seas.

The other side of the story was about the man who purchased Al Hafed’s land. He had his camel drink water from the shallow stream found in that land. As the camel put its nose on the stream, there was a strange flash of light from a black pebble. They took that pebble home and left it on the table. A few days after, the same priest visited the house and recognized the pebble as a diamond. In his amazement, he supposed that Al Hafed already came back home but the purchaser of the land said that he had not come back yet. After that, they went to the garden and dug the place where the pebble was found. There, they found even higher quality diamonds.

As this story would teach us, sometimes we look too far to find our “real treasure.” We should also look for treasures within ourselves or sphere of influence. For sometimes, it is camouflaged in less obvious ways.

The second part of the book discusses the achievements of Dr. Conwell and how he was as a person. Robert Shackleton portrayed Dr. Conwell vividly with his first-hand account as a member of his congregation. He said that Dr. Conwell is such an inspiring person who can brush up people to achieve certain goals. He did this as a lawyer, soldier, educator and preacher. 

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