Renowned leader of the steel expansion of the 19th century, philanthropist, and businessman, Andrew Carnegie was a Scottish-American industrialist with an inspirational rags to riches tale. Born in Scotland in 1835 to humble beginnings, Carnegie and his parents immigrated to the United States at the young age of 13. During his early work years, Carnegie began to make a number of shrewd investments into railroads and railroad operations, and he used the money he acquired from those investments to eventually form the Carnegie Steel Company in the late 19th century.
When J.P. Morgan purchased the Carnegie Steel Company in 1901 for a hefty $480 million (more than $300 billion in today’s currency), Carnegie became one of the wealthiest men on the planet. He used his newly acquired wealth for philanthropic endeavors including Carnegie Hall and the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, among many others. His benevolence inspired many others in similar situations to do the same.
Here are some of his most profound comments on entrepreneurship and philanthropy:
1. Do your duty and a little more and the future will take care of itself.
2. All human beings can alter their lives by altering their attitudes.
3. Concentrate: put all your eggs in one basket, and watch that basket.
4. No man will make a great leader who wants to do it all himself, or to get all the credit for doing it.
5. As I grow older, I pay less attention to what men say. I just watch what they do.”
6. People who are unable to motivate themselves must be content with mediocrity, no matter how impressive their other talents.
7. A 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.
8. No man becomes rich unless he enriches others.
9. Teamwork is the ability to work together toward a common vision. The ability to direct individual accomplishments toward organizational objectives. It is the fuel that allows common people to attain uncommon results.
10. It marks a big step in your development when you come to realize that other people can help you do a better job than you could do alone.
11. The man who dies rich, dies disgraced.
12. You cannot push anyone up a ladder unless he is willing to climb a little.
13. Perhaps the most tragic thing about mankind is that we are all dreaming about some magical garden over the horizon, instead of enjoying the roses that are right outside today.
14. Do real and permanent good in this world.
15. Success is getting what you want.
Happiness is wanting what you get.
16. A sunny disposition is worth more than fortune. Young people should know that it can be cultivated; that the mind, like the body can be moved from the shade into sunshine.
Andrew Carnegie passed away in 1919 due to complications from bronchial pneumonia. During his lifetime, he had given away upwards of 90% of his fortune, and upon his death, the remaining 30,000,000 was donated to various foundations and charities, as per his wishes.