American Entrepreneur: The Fascinating Stories of the People Who Defined Business in the United States

American Entrepreneur: The Fascinating Stories of the People Who Defined Business in the United States

American Entrepreneur: The Fascinating Stories of the People Who Defined Business in the United States

American Entrepreneur: The Fascinating Stories of the People Who Defined Business in the United States

Synopsis

Ever since the first colonists landed in "The New World," Americans have forged ahead in their quest to make good on the promises of capitalism and independence. This book vividly illustrates the history of business in the United States from the point of view of the enterprising men and women who made it happen.


Weavingtogether vivid narrative with economic analysis, American Entrepreneur recounts fascinating successes and failures, including: how Eli Whitney changed the shape of the American business landscape... the impact of the Civil War on the economy and the subsequent dominance of Andrew Carnegie and J. P. Morgan... the rise of the consumer marketplace led by Asa Candler, W. K. Kellogg, Henry Ford, and J. C. Penny... and Warren Buffett's, Michael Milken's, and even Martha Stewart's experience in the "New Economy" of the 1990s and into today.


It is an adventure to start a business, and the greatest risk takers in that adventure are entrepreneurs. This is the epic story of America's entrepreneurs and the economy they created.

Excerpt

Few, if any, books attempt to combine a comprehensive business history of the United States with basic economic history. Moreover, those that do approach either business or economic history do so from an “institutional” perspective, focusing on big corporations and, oddly, government actions. In American Entrepreneur, our aim is not only to combine business and economic history, but to tell it in an entertaining and informative way by focusing on the individuals who made America's economy the greatest in the world.

This sweeping story begins with the logical and yet exceptional development of early merchants such as Thomas Hancock, who then became owners of textile mills and other established businesses. Those mill owners—people like Samuel Slater and Francis Cabot Lowell— soon needed financing, giving rise to America's early banks. Bankers and politicians, seeing the need for “internal improvements,” provided the infrastructure for such marvels as the Erie Canal, but also the opportunity for extraordinary businessmen like Cornelius Vanderbilt. “The Commodore,” as Vanderbilt was called, soon stretched his steamship lines across the oceans, and then began linking American cities by rail. With the advent of the railroads, business in the United States entered a “managerial revolution” where professional managers began to make the key decisions in major companies.

As the railroads grew, they became intertwined with other largescale industries, such as Andrew Carnegie's steel company, John D. Rockefeller's refining business, and, of course, the banking businesses of J. P. Morgan. At the turn of the century, the owner-operated firm was disappearing, replaced by “managerial hierarchies.” This form of business brought new advantages, including the ability to expand almost . . .

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