Andrew Carnegie

Andrew Carnegie November 25, 1835 – August 11, 1919 was a Scottish-American industrialist who led the enormous expansion of the American steel industry in the late 19th century. He was also one of the highest profile philanthropists of his era; his 1889 article “Wealth” (known more commonly-particularly in colloquial parlance-as “The Gospel of Wealth”) remains a formative advisory text for those who aspire to lead philanthropic lives.

He earned most of his fortune in the steel industry. In the 1870s, he founded the Carnegie Steel Company, a step which cemented his name as one of the “Captains of Industry”. By the 1890s, the company was the largest and most profitable industrial enterprise in the world. Carnegie sold it in 1901 for $480 million to J. P. Morgan, who created U. S. Steel. Carnegie devoted the remainder of his life to large-scale philanthropy, with special emphasis on local libraries, world peace, education and scientific research. His life has often been referred to as a true “rags to riches” story.

Later in life, Carnegie’s firm opposition to religion softened. For many years he was a member of Madison Avenue Presbyterian Church. Napoleon Hill wrote that Carnegie asserted the importance of belief in “Infinite Intelligence”, a name Hill used to identify “God” or the “Supreme Being”.

Carnegie testified to Congress on February 5, 1915: “My business is to do as much good in the world as I can; l have retired from all other business.

The “Andrew Carnegie Dictum” was:

To spend the first third of one’s life getting all the education one can. To spend the next third making all the money one can. To spend the last third giving it all away for worthwhile causes.

Carnegie was involved in philanthropic causes, but he kept himself away from religious circles.The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.

He wanted to be identified by the world as a “positivist”.

Hill considered the turning point in his life to have occurred in the year 1908 with his assignment, as part of a series of articles about famous and successful men, to  interview the industrialist Andrew Carnegie. At the time, Carnegie was one of the most powerful men in the world.

Hill discovered that Carnegie believed that the process of success could be outlined in a simple formula that anyone would be able to understand and achieve. Impressed  with Hill, Carnegie asked him if he was up to the task of putting together this information, to interview or analyze over 500 successful men and women, many of them millionaires, in order to discover and publish this formula for success.

Carnegie gave $50 million to build over 2,800 libraries. Forty three of Carnegie’s employees became millionaires while working for him. Asked how he found 43 millionaires who were willing to work for him he said it was like mining he went looking for 43 people who would work for him who wanted to be millionaires. And he developed them.

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