Business lessons to be learned from a business giant: Andrew Carnegie (1835-1919)

In the latest volume of his 50 Classics series, Tom Butler-Bowdon provides what he characterizes as “a mix of intriguing theories, real-life examples, and salutary stories aimed at getting you thinking more deeply about business. From genuine historical classics that still carry meaning, to the best of business writings, the aim is to pick out the most important ideas that can help you come up with a worthy idea, turn it into a business, and strategize your way to success.”

All of the 50 Business Classics were written by or about great entrepreneurs from whom timeless lessons of great value can be learned. You probably won’t agree with all of the selections and omissions (I certainly don’t) but the book is an invaluable resource nonetheless. Here two brief excerpts.

Andrew Carnegie: “Born in Scotland in 1935, Carnegies ednjoyed his childhood in Dunfermline in the bosom of an extended family. His father moved the family to the United States when Carnegie was in his early teens. His first job, at 13, was in a cotton mill,followed bywsork as a telegraphist and a railroad clerk. He quickly rose through the ranks at the Pennsylvania Railroad Company before launching himself as an iron manufacturer in Pittsburgh.”

For additional biographical information, please click here.

Butler-Bowdon recalls a key moment: “One evening in 1868, aged 33, Carnegie wrote a memorandum to himself while living in the Saint Nicholas Hotel, New York. He began the memo with a goal: ‘Thirty three and an income of $50,000 per annum!’ He would organize his business affairs so as to bring in the same sum annually, while spending the surplus on benevolent purposes.’ Getting mor philosophical, he wrote of his intention to retire at 35 and henceforth devote his life to reading and study. He did no such thing, but in these words, you have the seeds of his later philanthropy. Knowledge gained from reading and study represented real value; a good life was one that truly opened the mind. Money alone was worthless.”

Three Important Lessons

l.  Set specific goals, state them in writing, and review them frequently.
2. Outwork everyone else, whatever that may take.
3. Nourish your mind and help others to nourish theirs.

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Tom Butler-Bowdon‘s mission is “more people knowing more”. His bestselling 50 Classics series aims to expand your mind, leading you to discover people, ideas and books you may not have found otherwise. Each 50 Classics book consists of fifty insightful, engaging commentaries on the key writings in a subject, along with key quotes and biographies of the authors. By distilling the essence of major books for you, Tom saves you precious time and money.

To learn more about Tom Butler-Bowdon and his brilliant work, please click here.


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