Secret of Success


Samuel Smiles was a Scottish author and physician. He dropped out of school at 14 years of age but returned to finish the study of medicine at the University of Edinburgh. His most famous work, Self-Help, which Ya’qub Sarrūf here translates into Arabic, made him a best-selling author and celebrity. Sarrūf was one of the earliest graduates of the American University in Beirut. He was a significant figure in what is called the Arab renaissance of the second half of the 19th century and was awarded an honorary doctorate from his alma mater in 1890. As a publisher, Ṣarrūf founded the general interest magazines al-Muqtaṭaf in 1876 and al-Muqaṭṭam in 1889. He was an active translator. Secret of Success advocates self-reliance as the key to a life of advancement and prosperity. It includes biographies of notable personalities and their success stories. In this edition, he adds commentary and pertinent Arabic proverbs. Also included are indexes and a glossary of English terms. The book was first published in Beirut in 1880. This second revised edition, printed at Muqtataf Press in Cairo in 1886, added proverbs, quotations, and biographies of inspiring personalities from East and West.

Date Created

Subject Date

Publication Information

Muqtataf Press, Cairo

Title in Original Language

سر النجاح

Type of Item

Physical Description

326 pages ; 21 centimeters


  1. Donald M. Reid, “Syrian Christians, the Rags-to-Riches Story, and Free Enterprise,” International Journal of Middle Eastern Studies 1, number 4, October 1970.

Last updated: July 21, 2014