The book is composed of both practical advice on universal matters like work ethic, productivity, self esteem, economy, perseverance, focus, diligence... it's everything in here.
Here are a few samples of Smile's clear and elegant style:
"There is a Russian proverb which says that Misfortune is next door to Stupidity"
"(...) in business affairs, it is the manner in which even small matters are transacted, that often decides men for or against you."
"Do instantly whatever is to be done, and take the hours of recreation after business, never before it. When a regiment is under march, the rear is often thrown into confusion because the front do not move steadily, and without interruption."
"Debt makes everything a temptation."
"I have often known what it was to be in want of money, but I never got into debt."
"What waste, what misery, what bankruptcy, come from all this ambition to dazzle others with the glare of apparent worldly success, we need not describe."
"It was not enough that an officer should be able to fight; that any bull-dog could do. But did he hold his word inviolate, - did he pay his debts?"
"Every person has two educations, one which he receives from others, and one, more important, which he gives to himself - Gbbon."
"(...) we often imagine we are being educated while we are only being amused."
"There is no more personal merit attaching to the possession of naturally superior intellectual powers than in the succession to a large estate. It is the use which is made of the one as of the other, which constitutes the only just claim to respect."
"Nobody knows what he can do till he has tried; and few try their best till they have been forced to do it. "If I could do such and such a thing," sighs the desponding youth. But he will never do, if he only wishes."
"Nothing is easy, but was difficult at first, - not even so simple an act as walking."
"Only the poor in spirit are really poor. He who has lost all, but retains his courage, cheerfulness, hope, virtue, and self-respect, is still rich."
Smiles accompanies these pearls of thought with beautiful true stories, like the humanity of the Austrian emperor during the cholera epidemycs, the sailor who taught himself grammar, having no spare time and taking the money for paper from his food, the perseverance of James Watts, inventor of the steam machine, or the breathtaking heroism of a group of soldiers during the wreck of the Birkenhead, to save women and children.
An immortal book that everybody can profit of.