A few weeks ago a book by the Brazilian language entrepreneur and LDS Church member Carlos “Wizard” Martins, who started the massive Wizard Language Schools chain (similar to Berlitz), reached the bestseller lists in Brazil. I’m fairly sure that the book Desperte o milionário que há em você (Awake the Millionaire Inside of You) is the first by a Brazilian Mormon to reach the bestseller list.
I first heard of his book just before it was launched in April, and I didn’t give it much thought then—I’m not really in the book’s the target audience of those seeking a financial fortune and I suspect I could just as easily get a copy of the book that started this genre, Napoleon Hill’s 1937 self-help classic Think and Grow Rich, to say nothing of the various similar books penned by Mormons here in the U.S. But now that Martins has achieved a Mormon milestone in Brazil, I have to wonder if he is the first Mormon to reach the best seller list with a book not originally written in English?
I have never heard of any other Mormon author who has done this, but that clearly doesn’t mean that it didn’t happen. But other than my own impressions, I don’t know how to research it. To be honest, I don’t even know of very many Mormon authors getting published in other languages.
There are, of course, a lot of Mormon authors translated from English into other languages. I know that both Orson Scott Card and Stephen Covey have reached the best seller lists in Brazil and elsewhere. There are also Mormons from outside the U.S. who have made the best seller lists in English and in other languages in translation—Anne Perry, for example. But these authors, to my knowledge, have all originally written in English.
Is Martins the first? It seems likely to me, but I can’t say for sure. We might start by trying to put together a list of Mormon authors who write in languages other than English. I assume that there aren’t many. If some other Mormon author writing outside of English has reached a bestseller list, perhaps such a list will lead us to that author.
Until then, I will assume that Martins is the first.
[Comments on this can be made on the version of this post on A Motley Vision.]