A roundup of yarns from very assorted individuals--most of whom seem to have missed the point of the assignment. John C. Emery of air-freight fame recalls that his fledgling firm took wing only after REA's air arm was struck in 1948, while Gene Autry simply retells the breaks that took him from a railroad telegrapher's slot in Oklahoma to fame and fortune as an urban cowboy. And from Muhammed Ali we hear how he started acting up in order to stimulate lagging ticket sales to an early fight. Fewer than half of the 50, all told, have something to say on the subject of salesmanship--and their contributions vary wildly. Metals magnate David P. Reynolds, for instance, details how his marketing team convinced railroads to specify aluminum as well as steel for freight-car bodies; Governor Robert D. Ray reconstructs the merchandising effort it took to push a bottle bill through the Iowa legislature; Richard M. Hyman, Sales VP at Owens Brush Co., remembers how, during the Vietnam War, he persuaded the US Army to purchase a specially designed cleaning tool for malfunctioning M-16 rifles (reports of land-office toothbrush sales in the Saigon PX provided the impetus for his home-front campaign). On the brighter side is wordsmith Willard R. Espy, a PR man who ""always takes no for an answer""; he looks back in languor on his first sale of anagram verse to Punch, accomplished by leaving samples on the desk of the absent poetry editor in the course of a trip to London. Plus: the testimony of a Presbyterian minister (whose principal product seems to be faith), Muriel Siebert (first woman member of the NYSE), C. R. Davis (a Reader's Digest exec who quarterbacked the magazine's first non-smoking drive), a mail-order tycoon, an archetypal small-town insurance agent, and a host of lesser lights. Only for the most voracious readers of business success stories.