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July 23, 2008


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The Chinese are right to fatalistic. Do you know what is the highest correlating data point for economic success in life? Inherited wealth. Not intelligence, not education, not good old gumption, but who your parents were and how much money they made.

Whether an individual is likely to be successful or not (or even whether it is possible for most people) depends on how you define success.

You may be right, Jing. But that sounds more deterministic than fatalistic.

Should China import some snake oil salesmen like this guy to change the Chinese fatalistic mentality? Why do you need intelligence when you have good salemanship and ready audiance...

A Preacher’s Credo: Eliminate the Negative, Accentuate Prosperity

But people involved in the negotiations have said that the contract is a co-publishing deal that gives Mr. Osteen a smaller advance, but a 50-50 split on profits from the book. (The author’s usual royalty is 15 percent of sales.) The new deal is potentially richer than the $10 million or more that former President Bill Clinton was advanced for his autobiography, “My Life.”

Not bad for a college dropout who seven years ago was manning the television cameras at his father’s church and was too nervous to ascend the pulpit until succeeding him in 1999. “I feel God has put big things in me,” he said.

Again and again in the first book, Mr. Osteen exhorts readers to shun negativity and develop “a prosperous mindset” as a way of drawing God’s favor. He tells the story of a passenger on a cruise ship who fed himself on cheese and crackers before realizing that sumptuous meals were included. “Friend, I don’t know about you, but I’m tired of those cheese and crackers!,” Mr. Osteen writes. “It’s time to step up to God’s dining table.”

Or, as he also puts it: “God wants you to be a winner, not a whiner.”

He is not shy about calling on the Lord. He writes of praying for a winning basket in a basketball game, and then sinking it; and even of circling a parking lot, praying for a space, and then finding it. “Better yet,” he writes, “it was the premier spot in that parking lot.”

To millions of Americans, Mr. Osteen is already ubiquitous. Lakewood’s weekend services — one on Saturday night and three on Sunday, including one in Spanish — draw up to 40,000 attendees and are taped for broadcast in all 210 American markets, with an estimated seven million viewers a week.

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