Andrew Carnegie Part 1

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Andrew Carnegie doesn’t need much of an introduction, but here goes.  Inventor and builder of the companies that became US Steel. Richest man in the world for a time.  He became the biggest philanthropist. Ever.

The book was written by David Nasaw and published in 2006.  Another long book like 700 pages. (Honestly, I read the book for business smarts, so I skipped the personal stuff like his mother and his lady loves.  Pretty dull as far as I could tell, he was married to his businesses.)

Born in Scotland in 1835, he grew to only be 5′. He was a wee lad.  He moved to America when he was 13. He looked like a garden gnome as he grew older. He had to grow a beard as a young man because he was taken for a child even in his twenties.

STOP. I want to clear up something about these reports.  I will write several separate reports on some of these longer books.  I will tell you why I liked it.

5 things you need to know about him

  1. I already told you he was really short and of course, broke when he got here.
  2. He always knew he wanted to be a capitalist.  (You need to check what that means.)
  3. He was manically positive in his outlook.  (His initial success was based on good handwriting.)
  4. He was a big reader and memorizor.
  5. He didn’t think work for work’s sake was noble.

When he arrived in America it couldn’t have been easy for him.  He was short and young (and looked younger) and didn’t have any money.   He also was Scottish, which made his accent painful I am sure. He overcame everything with effort and a cheery attitude.  I think generally he was what you would call competent. He made things happen and got things done. He always won the trust of much older and successful men.  (Women were not around, except his mother)

His competence lead him to the Railroad industry.  I think his first job was writing down the messages from the telegraph machine.  His handwriting, clear head and attitude got him noticed, so he moved up. He went from a sort of clerk all the way the manager of something  for the railroad in only a few years. He learned about equity and investing in partnerships. Again, the older men trusted him and included him in these schemes.  So he became an investor, even before he had money. He “held” shares for other capitalists.

This was what he thought of as a “capitalist”.  People coming together to own businesses.

He was always looking to reinvest, his capital and in him self.  I don’t think he needed to work directly for anyone by the time he was 26 years old.  He had lots of money by then.

I can’t find an actual account of his positivity in my notes, but the book talks about his boundless energy.

He also did not think working was noble.  He believed in working efficiently for a few hours in the morning. The rest of the time was spent thinking reading, writing and mostly traveling and entertaining.

In Part 2, I will get into more details, but he was a fascinating man, a fascinating historical figure.


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