Did you read Dr. Seuss When You Were a Kid?
Did You Laugh at the Creatures Who Oftentimes Hid?
Well the Good Doctor’s back and he’s Hot Yet Again
“What Pet Should I Get” Tops the Charts My Dear Friend
Question: How often does a book hit the #1 spot written by an author who passed away 24 years ago?
In the early days of his career, Theodore Seuss Geisel (Seuss was his mother’s maiden name) received a rejection letter that stated, “Too different from other juvenile books on the market to warrant its selling.” Well odd they were, but 650 million of the quirky Dr. Seuss books have been sold, 450 million of them since his death in 1991 and he is the 9th best-selling fiction author of all time.
I’ve always had a fascination for the faux doctor since we share a birthday and I’ve made it a habit to buy at least one Dr. Seuss book as a baby gift for friends. So what is it that makes his books so popular and why? A large part of the allure is his drawings of strange and crazy made-up animals that inhabit the pages of his stories. And while he claimed to never begin writing a book with a moral in mind, a great many of those stories moralized about his views on consumerism, Hitler, racial inequality and the arms race.
I loved reading the books to my boys when they were young and still pick them up from time-to-time for their timeless wisdom and there are four I’m particularly fond of.
Keep Your Word: In “Horton Hatches the Egg” we find the Elephant Horton being conned by the lazy bird Mayzie to sit on her egg while she takes a short break. That short break is permanent as she’s flown the coup to Palm Beach so he sits on the egg often muttering, “I meant what I said and I said what I meant. An elephant’s faithful, 100%.” In business and all of life it’s important to keep your word; to do as you say and say as you do. That’s how relationships become long term and despite what some may say, sales is all about building positive relationships with your clients.
Gratitude and Starting Each Day Anew: “The Cat in the Hat” came out in 1957 and is the story of a conniving anthropomorphic cat that entertains a brother and sister on a rainy day in their house. Things go awry, but at the end of the day the cat fixes his messes with a machine and says, “Today was good. Today was fun. Tomorrow is another one.” Waking up with gratitude in our hearts each day creates a positive attitude that will carry us through the challenges and negativity that are bound to land in our path.
Be Open to New Experiences: I’m quick to say I don’t like something even though I may never have tried it before. But when you think about it, everything is new until you’ve tried it the first time. In “Green Eggs & Ham” Sam-I-Am urges the narrator to try the concoction named in the title and at one point says, “You do not like them. So you say. Try them! Try them! And you may!” At the end, the narrator does try them and proclaims, “I do so like green eggs and ham. Thank you, thank you Sam-I-Am.” Only by being open to new experiences will we learn our boundaries and those boundaries may be much larger than we ever imagined.
Persistence Shapes Your Destiny: Seuss’s last book, “Oh the Places You’ll Go” has an unseen person (“You”) leaving home and facing the obstacles life can throw at all of us. From slumps to wiggled roads and the “waiting place” where everyone is biding their time just waiting for something to happen. But Seuss tells us to be dexterous and deft and if so we’ll succeed, 98 ¾% guaranteed. And while persistence won’t always make one successful you see, the chances are better than not that you’ll wind up ecstatic beyond your wildest dreams.
The Seuss estate is a well-run machine that continues to promote his stories and books throughout the year and is headed by his widow, 94 year-old Audrey Geisel. “Dr. Seuss is a brand and our job is to keep growing it even though he’s been passed away quite a while,” says Barbara Marcus, president and publisher of Random House Children’s Books.
So should you need solace to keep yourself going
Make sure to read Seuss, it’s much better than rowing
There’s Sally, the Lorax, the Grinch and the Fish
You’ll always feel better when you wish for a dish!
Or as Dr. Seuss himself said it much better, “The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”