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The Price of Success

Success came late for golf pro Harvey Penick. His first golf book, Harvey Penick's Little Red Book, has sold more than a million copies, which makes it one of the biggest things in the history of sports books. His second book, And If You Play Golf, You're My Friend, has already sold nearly three-quarters of a million copies. But anyone who imagines that Penick wrote the books to make money didn't know the man.

In the 1920s Penick bough a red spiral notebook and began jotting down observations about golf. He never showed the book to anyone except his son until 1991, when he shared it with a local writer, Bud Shrake, and asked if he thought it was worth publishing. Shrake read it and told him yes. He left word with Penick's wife the next evening that Simon & Schuster had agreed to an advance of ninety thousand dollars.

When Shrake saw Penick later, the old man seemed troubled. Finally Penick came clean. With all his medical bills, he said, there was just no way he could advance Simon & Schuster that much money. The writer had to explain that Penick would be the one to receive the ninety thousand dollars.

By Terry Todd
from Chicken Soup for the Golfer's Soul
by Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen, Jeff Aubery
and Mark & Chrissy Donnelly
copyright 1999 Hansen and Canfield

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