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Excerpts from

Fourfold development, stand tall, think tall,
smile tall,
[and] live tall

by William H. Danforth

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"I Dare You"
Unabridged AudioBook

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or click here to order in printed form from Amazon.com for $14.87

Book Contents & Description
Fourfold development. Think tall, stand tall, smile tall, live tall. I Dare You; You can be bigger than your are; Are you one of the priceless few? I dare you to adventure; I dare you to do things; Now for the start; I dare you to be strong, think creatively, develop a magnetic personality, build character, to share; Launch out into the deep; I dare and share.

This self-empowerment classic is specifically written for the young and young at heart. This book encourages young readers to "dare" themselves to do things they should be doing, but fear or dislike doing. Things like getting up in the morning, doing their homework, trying out for the team, going to the dentist, etc.

This book is a classic in motivation and success that ranks right up there among such titles as "Think and Grow Rich", by N. Hill, "How to Win Friends and Influence People", by D. Carnegie, "The Power of Positive Thinking", by N. V. Peale, and "The Geatest Salesman in the World" by O. Mandino. This is truly a message that is just as valuable today as it was the day it was written. This is a wonderful book for both the young and not so young. The advice is invaluable for helping anyone achieve a positive and "can do" attitude.

"I Dare You is for the daring few who are headed somewhere. Those afraid to Dare might as well pass it up. It will weary the lazy because it calls for immediate action. It will bore the sophisticated, and amuse the skeptics. It will antagonize others. Some will not even know what it is all about. It will not be over-popular because it calls for courage, swift and daring. But in the eyes of you, one of the priceless few, I trust will come a renewal of purpose as you read on. You can be a bigger person than you are and I am going to prove it to you". -  The author


IT IS DIFFICULT to put a challenge on paper. I would rather look you straight in the eye and say, "I dare you!" In my mind that's exactly what I am doing. I am on one side of a table. You are on the other. I am looking across and saying "I dare you!"

I Dare You, young man, you who come from a home of poverty—I dare you to have the qualities of a Lincoln.

I Dare You, heir of wealth and proud ancestry, with your generations of worthy stock, your traditions of leadership—I dare you to achieve something that will make the future point to you with even more pride than the present is pointing to those who have gone before you.

I Dare You, young mother, to make your life a masterpiece upon which that little family of yours can build. Strong women bring forth strong men.

I Dare You. boys and girls, to make life obey you, not you it. It is only a shallow dare to do the foolish things. I dare you to do the uplifting, courageous things.

I Dare You, young executive, to shoulder more responsibility joyously, to launch out into the deep, to build magnificently.

I Dare You, young author, to win the Nobel prize.

I Dare You, young researcher, to become a Microbe Hunter.

I Dare You, boy on the farm, to become a Master Farmer—A Hunger Fighter.

I Dare You, man of affairs, to have a "Magnificent Obsession."

I Dare You, Grandfather, with your roots deep in the soil and your head above the crowd, catching the rays of the sun, to plan a daring program to crown the years of your life.

I Dare You, who think life is humdrum, to become involved. I dare you who are weak to be strong; you who are dull to be sparkling; you who are slaves to be kings.

I Dare You, whoever you are, to share with others the fruits of your daring. Catch a passion for helping others and a richer life will come back to you!

"Ye are the salt of the earth;
Ye are the light of the world."
—from the Sermon on the Mount


As a small boy, before the time of drainage ditches, I lived in the country surrounded by swamp lands. Those were days of chills and fever and malaria. When I came to the city to school, I was sallow-cheeked and hollow-chested. One of my teachers, George Warren Krall, was what we then called a health crank. We laughed at his ideas. They went in one ear and came out the other. But George Warren Krall never let up. One day he seemed to single me out personally. With flashing eye and in tones that I will never forget, he looked straight at me and said, "I dare you to be the healthiest boy in the class."

That brought me up with ajar. Around me were boys all stronger and more robust than I. To be the healthiest boy in the class when I was thin and sallow and imagined at least that I was full of swamp poisons!—the man was crazy. But I was brought up to take dares. His voice went on. He pointed directly at me. "I dare you to chase those chills and fevers out of your system. I dare you to fill your body with fresh air, pure water, wholesome food, and daily exercise until your cheeks are rosy, your chest full, and your limbs sturdy."

As he talked something seemed to happen inside me. My blood was up. It answered the dare and surged all through my body into tingling finger tips as though itching for battle.

I chased the poisons out of my system. I built a body that has equaled the strongest boys in that class, and has outlived and outlasted most of them. Since that day I haven't lost any time on account of sickness. You can imagine how often I have blessed that teacher who dared a sallow-cheeked boy to be the healthiest in the class.

Several years later, Henry Woods, one of our promising boys, pushed through the door of my office early one morning and stood facing me defiantly.

"I'm quitting," he said.

"What's the trouble, Henry?"

"Just this, I'm no salesman. I haven't got the nerve. I haven't got the ability, and I'm not worth the money you are paying me."

There was something splendid about the courage of a man who would so frankly admit failure to his boss. He couldn't do that without nerve. Suddenly my mind recalled the boyhood scene when a teacher dared a hollow-chested youngster to be strong. To Henry's surprise, instead of accepting his resignation, I looked him squarely in the eye and said:

"If I know how to pick men, you have sales stuff in you. I dare you, Henry Woods, to get out of this office, right now, and come back tonight with more orders than you have ever sold in any one day in your whole life."

He looked at me dumfounded. Then a flash came into his eyes. It must have been the light of battle—the same something that had surged through me years before in answer to the teacher's dare. He turned and walked out of my office.

That night he came back. The defiant look of the early morning was replaced by the glow of victory. He had made the best record of his life. He had beaten his best—and he has been beating his best ever since. Incidentally, I'll give you a secret of his life. In his quiet way he is one of the best helpers of young salesmen I ever knew. He thrives by giving his experience to others. The world is full of men like Henry Woods just waiting for a Dare.

In the American Youth Foundation Camps each summer I come into contact with hundreds of young people who possess qualities of leadership. A few years ago a young fellow, who was working as a mechanic in a large electrical firm, came to me much perplexed. He had been forced to go to work when he had finished high school. Later he saw boys with technical college training outstrip him. Sensing he had ability to be much more than a mechanic, I dared him to leave his job and go back to school. Again I saw that priceless light of battle leap into the eyes of a fighter. He had no money, but, somehow, he got to college, was graduated with honors, and today the might-have-been mechanic is a prominent electrical engineer. I can tell you one of the secrets of his life, too. . . he keeps on growing by sharing, because now he has a mania for helping others get an education.

These are brief pages taken from the book of my practical experiences. There are scores of other pages like them. Unfortunately, however, there are many pages that would tell that other story of those who have been dared to do the super thing, but in whose eyes the light to battle failed to gleam. But the "I Dare You" plan has worked with thousands. It will work with you. As your first step, I Dare You to read this book through tonight before YOU go to bed. Don't stop. Hurry through just to get its feel. Then if you are determined to be one of those priceless few leaders who are destined to reach the top, take this book as a program for adventuring toward your highest possibilities.


I am on a voyage of discovery. I search for those of you who will go on a great adventure. I am looking for you, one of the audacious few, who will face life courageously, ready to strike straight at the heart of anything that is keeping you from your best; you intrepid ones behind whom the world moves forward. To you, I am going to unfold a secret power that but few know how to use—the secret power of daring and sharing which carries with it tremendous responsibilities. Once you have it, you can never be the same again. Once it is yours, you can never rest until you have given it to others. And the more you give away the greater becomes your capacity to give.

Deep down in the very fibre of your being you must light an urge that can never be put out. It will catch this side of your life, then that side. It will widen your horizon. It will light up unknown reserves and discover new capacities for living and growing. It will become, if you don't look out, a mighty conflagration that will consume your every waking hour. And to its blazing glory a thousand other lives will come for light and warmth and power.

It is going to take courage to let this urge possess you. My life in business and my contacts with young people have convinced me that the world is full of unused talents and latent ability. The reason these talents lie buried is that the individual hasn't the courage to dig them up and use them. Everybody should be doing better than he is, but only a few dare. Prospectors for gold tell us that gold is where they find it. It may be in the bed of a river or on the mountain top. And prospectors for courage tell us the same thing. The one who dares may be found in a cottage or in a castle. But wherever you live, whoever you are, whatever you have or have not—if you dare, you are challenged to enlist in a great cause.

H. G. Wells tells how every human being can determine whether he has really succeeded in life. He says: "Wealth, notoriety, place, and power are no measure of success whatever. The only true measure of success is the ratio between what we might have done and what we might have been on the one hand, and the thing we have made and the thing we have made of ourselves on the other."

I want you to start a crusade in your life—to dare to be your best. I maintain that you are a better, more capable person than you have demonstrated so far. The only reason you are not the person you should be is you don't dare to be. Once you dare, once you stop drifting with the crowd and face life courageously, life takes on a new significance. New forces take shape within you. New powers harness themselves for your service.

Who wants to do unimportant and uninteresting things? Who even wants to gratify an ambition that has grown into a passion for fame and fortune? To desire something permanent in life, to develop your gifts to the largest possible use—that's your dare. You have a wealth of possibilities, but maybe up to this time you have lacked a definite aim. You have a gun and plenty of ammunition. Now I dare you to aim at something worthy of the best that is in you.

My practical experience has convinced me that inner growth and broadening personality come from daring and sharing. You dare to use the talents you have. You find yourself growing stronger-physically, mentally, socially and spiritually. You, multiply your daring a hundred-fold by sharing its fruits. You give your life away and, behold! a richer life comes back to you. This principle works through all of life: Our most valuable possessions are those which can be shared without lessening: those which, when shared, multiply. Our least valuable possessions are those which, when divided, are diminished.

Old or young, rich or poor, man or woman, if you are one of those audacious few willing to dare and then to share - then come with me. This book is written for you. I promise you adventure. I promise you a more abundant life.

"I Dare You"
Unabridged AudioBook

Order the complete book in Adobe PDF eBook or printed form for $5.95 (+ printing charge)


or click here to order from Amazon.com for $14.87