(The following is a transcription of one of the last ads written by legendary copywriter, Robert Collier. Yours Free A Gift from the Richest Man in the World, the Late J. Paul Getty.)
My friend, I’m getting old and I don’t have much longer to live. Unless I do this now, when I go the secret goes with me.
What I’m about to give with knowledge, the knowledge that men have been searching for since time began.
I used to be an ordinary man, I spent the early part of my life stumbling in the dark, trying to find a way to make all the dreams that I had as a young man come true. I wanted like most young people to be wealthy, admired, respected, I wanted love and happiness, I also had many questions about life and I wanted some answers. Yet, no matter how hard I tried everything always seemed to be kept for me. As though it was all hidden in the very next room, a room whose door was impenetrable without the right key.
After years of being kept from those things that I wanted most in my world, my spirit could have easily broken. If I allowed myself to become consumed with failure and rejection. Little did I know then how lucky I was for this to have had happen to me. For something grew inside me that would not let me rest until I found the answers that we’re bring me all the things that I so desperately wanted.
This was the beginning of a search that would become an obsession, to find the knowledge that I so desperately longed for and knew must of existed somewhere. The inspiration of the great men in the past took much of the torment away. The multi-millionaire and recluse billionaires that seem to have the world at their beck and call. The men that were able to control the very destiny’s of nations. How they respect and admiration, how they were rich and powerful, but not me, never me. When did all these these great men have that I don’t? I knew there must be an answer and I dedicated my life to finding it; because I knew there could be no true life for me until I did.
I started to read, To Do Research Into The Past. I spoke with and studied of the richest, the most powerful, as well as the wisest men of my time. I read every possible piece of literature that I thought would hold a clue. I delved into the oldest recorded writings of the ancient civilizations. Trying almost insanely to put all the pieces of this great puzzle together. I kept asking myself, what did these men have? What did they have that I didn’t, and how could I get it?
I involved myself in all sorts of situations, trying to put into practice what I had learned. I traveled with the hope that the answers might somehow lie beyond the horizon, and though I didn’t find them there, I know now that the proverb, seek and ye shall find, couldn’t be more true. For one, the answers were finally revealed to me. They came in a way that I could not directly attribute to any place I had been or any individual effort. I had made define them. It was as though my mind had crossed into a new frontier, a frontier I was certain relatively few men had ever gone into before. Suddenly, I saw the whole world differently, what seemed confusing before I could easily understand, what was unobtainable before suddenly became easy to get. The things that people saw one way, I saw differently, as though I could detect more aspects of the same thing, and thereby see it more clearly, or as it truly was. I had an undefined power that gave me an advantage over everything I did. After awhile, I realized that I was very different from before, I was at last the way I wanted to be, I had learned what I wanted to learn, and I was at long last able to live the way I had dreamed and knew it was possible for a man to live.
It is written, “Once in a thousand years, a man lives a dream.” For the last third of my life, that is exactly what I have done. I have lived with more wealth and power than any man could ever want. I have done almost everything that I have set out to do. I doubt if there has been a man who has lived a more fulfilled life than I, but now I have only memories. This, in my opinion, next to life itself, was the greatest gift that a man could be given. But, not have come to realize that if I don’t share this knowledge now, I may never get another chance to do so. I now know that I am obligated to share it, and in the end this was the way that fate had destined it to be.
I would like you to have my secret, but you will have to realize that this ad will be read by many people, many whom I do not know, but a few will be chosen to carry on for me after I am gone. I have written what I have learned and published in a special limited edition book that contains only 344 pages. I have titled it “The Secret of The Ages.” I want you to own a copy of this book that is specially bound in library-type binding, but I want you to pay for it. I want you to send me a check for $20 that you may even post date up to 30 days to eliminate any doubt as to its value, and to give it a chance to prove its worth to you.
The reason that I am asking you to pay $20 is that I want to make sure that you read it, and I feel that if you pay $20 for it, then it will be read.
With my book, I will also send you a book written by the man who was renowned as the richest man in the world, a man whom I have had great respect and admiration for, the late J. Paul Getty . His book is “The Golden Age.” I have bought, at great expense, the rights to publish this great book after John Paul’s recent and sad departure from this world. I have also printed it in very limited quantities. The book is bound in special library-type binding that should allow it to last for many generations to come. I feel that it is essential you read, along with my book, the message that John Paul wanted you to learn, and acquire the truth that took the richest man in the world his entire lifetime to learn.
Therefore, I am making you the following offer. If you feel that, after reading my book, it is not worth many times more than the mere $20 you paid for it, then send it back to me and I will return your uncashed check immediately. Not only that, you can keep J. Paul Getty’s book, the Golden Age, for your trouble. You can lose only if you do nothing. If you want to own these two books, write on a blank piece of paper, send me the books, along with your name and address. Mail it along with your check, that may be post-dated up to 30 days, to me:
Robert G. Collier,
In care of: Collier Book Corporation, Department B
531 Wyckoff Avenue
Ramsey, New Jersey 07446
P.S. – If you have any questions, my number is 201-744-3777. If busy, call 744-3815 or 744-3784. New Jersey residents, add 5% sales tax.