Frank Crane

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Dr. Frank Crane (1861–1928) was a Presbyterian minister, speaker, and columnist who wrote a set of ten volumes of "Four Minute Essays" which were published in 1919. Previously, in 1918, he published the book "21", from an article he had written for American Magazine, called "If I Were Twenty-One". He later penned a much longer treatise entitled "Everyday Wisdom", which was published in 1927. This leather-bound book was subtitled 'A page for every day of the year', and consisted of 365 Four Minute Essays and 52 Little Talks on How to Live. Only scarce remnants of his works on positive thinking and a populist political philosophy have survived for reflection by modern readers. However his 1921 syndicated column "Dr Crane Says" entitled "Just for Today", published May 29, 1921 in Boston Globe among other newspapers did survive has been modified and republished usually without correct attribution by Dale Carnegie, Alcoholics Anonymous, Al-Anon Family Groups and many others. [1] Dale Carnegie attributed Just for Today to Sybil Partridge, in his 1948 book How to Stop Worrying and Start Living. Ms. Partridge was the author of an unrelated song of that title. [2]Dr. Crane also wrote an Introduction to "The Lost books of the Bible", (also known as the "Apocryphal New Testament"); this introduction was included in the 1979 edition of "The Lost books of the Bible", issued by Bell Publishing Company in 1979.


  • You may be deceived if you trust too much, but you will live in torment if you do not trust enough
    • As quoted in Business Education World, Vol. 15 (1935) p. 172.

Four Minute Essays Vol. 5 (1919)[edit]

The Human Heart[edit]

  • The human heart is a wide moor under a dull sky, with voices of invisible birds calling in the distance.
  • The human heart is a lonely lane in the evening, and two lovers are walking down it, whispering and lingering.
  • The human heart is a great green tree, and many strange birds come and sing in its branches; a few build nests, but most are from far lands north and south, and never come again.
  • The human heart is a deep still pool; in it are fishes of gold and silver, darting playfully, and slow-heaving slimy monsters, and tarnished treasure hoards, the infinite animalcular life; but when you look down at it you see but your own reflected face.
  • The human heart is an undiscovered country; men and women are forever perishing as they explore its wilds.
  • The human heart is an egg; and out of it are hatched this world and heaven and hell.
  • The human heart is a tangled wood wherein no man knows his way.
  • The human heart is a roaring forge where night and day the smiths are busy fashioning swords and silver cups, mitres and engine-wheels, the tools of *labor, and the gauds of precedence.
  • The human heart is a garden, wherein grow weeds of memory and blooms of hope, and the snow falls at last and covers all.
  • The human heart is a meadow full of fireflies, a summer western sky of shimmering distant lightnings, a shore set round with flashing lighthouses, far-away voices calling that we cannot understand.
  • The human heart is a band playing in a park at a distance; we see the crowds listening, but we catch but fragments of the music now and again, and cannot make out the tune.
  • The human heart is a great city, teeming with myriad people, full of business and mighty doings, and we wander its crowded streets unutterably alone; we do not know what it is all about.
  • The human heart to youth is a fairy-land of adventure, to old age it is a sitting room where one knows his way in the dark.
  • The human heart is a cup of love, where some find life and zest, and some drunkenness and death.
  • The human heart is the throne of God, the council-chamber of the devil, the dwelling of angels, the vile heath of witches' Sabbaths, the nursery of sweet children, the blood-spattered scene of nameless tragedies.
  • Listen! You will hear mothers' lullabies, madmen's shrieks, love-croonings, cries of agonized terror, hymns of Christ, the roaring of lynch mobs, the kisses of lovers, the curses of pirates.
  • Bend close! You will smell the lily fragrance of love, the stench of lust, now odors as exquisite as the very spirit of violets, and now such nauseous repulsions as words cannot tell.
  • Nobilities, indecencies, heroic impulses, cowardly ravings, good and bad, white and black — the mystery of mysteries, the central island of nescience in a sea of science, the dark spot in the lighted room of knowledge, the unknown quantity, the X in the universal problem.

Clean Business[edit]

  • Better than big business is clean business.
    To an honest man the most satisfactory reflection after he has amassed his dollars is not that they are many but that they are all clean.
    What constitutes clean business? The answer is obvious enough, but the obvious needs restating every once in a while.
    "A clean profit is one that has also made a profit for the other fellow."
    This is fundamental moral axiom in business. Any gain that arises from another's loss is dirty.
    Any business whose prosperity depends upon damage to any other business is a menace to the general welfare.
    That is why gambling, direct or indirect, is criminal, why lotteries are prohibited by law, and why even gambling slot-machine devices are not tolerated in civilized countries. When a farmer sells a housekeeper a barrel of apples, when a milkman sells her a quart of milk, or the butcher a pound of steak, or the dry-goods man a yard of muslin, the housekeeper is benefited quite as much as those who get her money.
    That is the type of honest, clean business, the kind that helps everybody and hurts nobody.
    Of course as business becomes more complicated it grows more difficult to tell so clearly whether both sides are equally prospered. No principle is automatic. It requires sense, judgment, and conscience to keep clean; but it can be done, nevertheless, if one is determined to maintain his self-respect. A man that makes a habit, every deal he goes into, of asking himself, "What is there in it for the other fellow?" and who refuses to enter into any transaction where his own gain will mean disaster to some one else, cannot go for wrong.
    And no matter how many memorial churches he builds, nor how much he gives to charity, or how many monuments he erects in his native town, any man who has made his money by ruining other people is not entitled to be called decent. A factory where many workmen are given employment, paid living wages, and where health and life are conserved, is doing more real good in the world than ten eleemosynary institutions.
    The only really charitable dollar is the clean dollar.<brAnd the nasty dollar, wrung from wronged workmen or gotten by unfair methods from competitors, is never nastier than when it pretends to serve the Lord by being given to the poor, to education, or to religion. In the long run all such dollars tend to corrupt and disrupt society.
    Of all vile money, that which is the most unspeakably vile is the money spent for war; for war is conceived by the blundering ignorance and selfishness of rulers, is fanned to flame by the very lowest passions of humanity, and prostitutes the highest ideal of men; zeal for the common good; to the business of killing human beings and destroying the results of their collective work.

Four Minute Essays Vol. 7 (1919)[edit]

A School for Living[edit]

Here are the subjects in which a public-school pupil ought to be drilled:

  • How to control my temper.
  • How to use my imagination so as to strengthen me instead of making me weak.
  • How to improve and toughen my will.
  • How to find pleasure in common things.
  • How to get joy out of nature.
  • How to curb my selfishness and develop my altruism.
  • How to play fair.
  • How to work so as to make work a pleasure.
  • How to be a good fellow without being a fool.
  • How to get stimulation out of simple food and water drink, and not alcohol.
  • How to control my sex instinct so as to make it conduce my permanent happiness and not to disease, mental misery, and the wrecking of my career.
  • How to make friends and keep them.
  • How to handle enemies and those who wrong or offend me.
  • How to get along with relatives and all those persons with whom I come in contact.
  • How to value my own self-esteem more than the praise of others.

God's Whisper[edit]

  • God always whispers. At least to the soul. He may thunder to nations and speak to armies in the lightning. But to the individual His message is not in the mighty wind, nor the earthquake, nor the fire, but in the still, small voice.
  • Go into the silence. Give your soul time to calm. Let the hurly-burly die down, the crash of passion, the struggle of doubt, the pain of failure, the ranklings of wrong, the clamor of ambition. Cease from self. Be still.
  • No man can tell what the whisper says. Each soul must hear for itself.

Just for Today (1921)[edit]

  • Just for Today. I will try to live through this day only and not tackle my whole life-problem at once. I can do some things for twelve hours that would appall me if I felt I had to keep them up for a lifetime.
  • Just for Today. I will Adjust myself to what is, and not try to Adjust everything to my own desires. I will take my family, my business and my luck as they come and fit myself to them.

Fear (1921)[edit]

  • No one thought in all the world is of more value to put life and cheer and power into a man than the thought that the great Being who made this universe is FOR us and not AGAINST US.

Everyday Wisdom (1927)[edit]

  • THERE is a passage of Holy Writ that exhorts us that if there be any good things, such as love, virtue, truth, and so on, we ought to think on these things.
  • The fact that seems to underlie this exhortation is that we become what we think about.
  • Thoughts are given us, not only to chew over for ourselves, but to communicate to others. And if we can find a man that is ready to receive them, and a suitable occasion, there is nothing more pleasurable than giving them.

  • Preface.

See also[edit]


  • Frank Crane, Four Minute Essays, Volume V (New York: Wm. H. Wise & Co., Inc., 1919).
  • Frank Crane, Four Minute Essays, Volume VII (New York: Wm. H. Wise & Co., Inc., 1919).
  • Dr. Frank Crane, Dr Crane Says, "Just for Today" (Syndicated newspaper column published May 29, 1921)
  • Dr. Frank Crane, Fear (New York: The Man Message Corporation, 1921)
  • Dr. Frank Crane, Everyday Wisdom, (New York: Wm. H. Wise & Co., Copyright, 1927, Dr. Frank Crane).
  • Dr. Frank Crane: Life, quotes, and literature of a patriotic American.