Andrew Carnegie On Business and Wealth

Andrew Carnegie was a brilliant businessman. He sold his steel company to JP Morgan in 1901 for $480 million and back then, that was a lot of money. He gave it all away during his lifetime. Much of it went to building libraries.

He had a very strong belief that money was for using.

“Surplus wealth is a sacred trust which its possessor is bound to administer in his lifetime for the good of the community.”

“The man who dies thus rich dies disgraced.”

He had another thought on business

While not quite wrong, I would quibble with it.

“The first one gets the oyster the second gets the shell”

The world doesn’t really work like that. Maybe the order is more like, the first one gets nothing and possibly hurt, the second gets the pearl, the third the oyster and the fourth the shell.

A wise business manager once told me he had no interest in being first. He did however want to be the first to be right.

His vision paralleled comedian Stephen Wright, “The second mouse gets the cheese.”

The Takeaway

Being first is not as a simple as it looks. There are many other factors needed to build a business. Many of them very difficult. People think discovering gold would make them wealthy. They forget building the road building in, the mine building, financing, hiring a labour force, building a business supervisory structure, finding a market, controlling costs, and a dozen other things.

Having an idea or discovering the gold might be the easiest part.

Take this thought to heart. There is ample proof of its validity.

“Ideas are a commodity. Execution of them is not.” Michael Dell

Like Carnegie, understand how businesses work and be sure you can do the part that comes after the idea succeeds. Once you make your money, use it wisely.


I help people have more retirement income and larger, more liquid estates.

Call in Canada 705-927-4770, or email don@moneyfyi.com

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