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Inspiration from Andrew Carnegie

Estimated Lesson Time: 2 minutes

Andrew Carnegie (1835–1919) helped build the formidable American steel industry, a process that turned a poor young man into one of the richest entrepreneurs of his age.

Success is desiring knowledge. As a boy, Andrew attended Rolland School and developed a love for learning from his teacher that he carried with him for the rest of his life.

Success is sharing. Carnegie was perhaps the first person of great wealth to state publicly that the rich have a moral obligation to give away their fortunes. In 1889 he wrote The Gospel of Wealth, in which he asserted that all personal wealth beyond that required to supply the needs of one’s family should be regarded as a trust fund to be administered for the benefit of the community.

Success is making the right contacts. Carnegie joined Mr. Woodruff, inventor of the sleeping car, in organizing Woodruff Sleeping Car Company. This would be the beginning of Mr. Carnegie’s fortune.

Success begins in the mind. “The man who acquires the ability to take full possession of his own mind may take possession of anything else to which he is justly entitled.”

Success is being a trend spotter, not a trend fighter. Young Andrew was expected to follow in his father’s footsteps as a weaver. But Andrew chose to play a big part in the industrial revolution instead, ironically putting most of the weavers out of business in the process with the introduction of steam-powered looms.

Success is seeking responsibility, not avoiding it. Young Andrew advanced very quickly in his career as a result of doing each job to the best of his ability and seizing every opportunity to take on new responsibilities.

Success is picking your battles. At the turn of the twentieth century, J.P. Morgan mounted a major challenge to Carnegie’s steel empire. The then 64-year-old was confident he could fight Morgan off in a legal battle that would most likely last for several years; however, Carnegie chose to accept a very large sum of money and spend the rest of his days with his wife and daughter.

Success is seeking the help of others. “No man will make a great leader who wants to do it all himself, or to get all the credit for doing it.”

[Sources: http://www.pbs.org, http://www.carnegie.org]


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