Wisdom from the Robber Barons: Enduring Business Lessons from Rockefeller, Morgan, and the First Industrialists

Wisdom from the Robber Barons: Enduring Business Lessons from Rockefeller, Morgan, and the First Industrialists

Wisdom from the Robber Barons: Enduring Business Lessons from Rockefeller, Morgan, and the First Industrialists

Wisdom from the Robber Barons: Enduring Business Lessons from Rockefeller, Morgan, and the First Industrialists

Synopsis

At the turn of the last century, the men who dared to think big changed the business landscape forever -- and grew fabulously wealthy in the process. Today, as the forces of technological and social change are giving rise to a new breed of business pioneer, the insights of the first industrialists have never been more relevant or compelling. In this unique book, noted business historians George David Smith and Frederick Dalzell showcase the best writings and statements of America's legendary "robber barons" -- Rockefeller, Morgan, Vanderbilt, Ford, Carnegie, Armour, Du Pont, and others -- on such timeless topics as risk taking and innovation, growth strategies, workplace design, and leadership. Featuring lively commentary from Smith and Dalzell as well as period illustrations, Wisdom from the Robber Barons will capture the imagination of any business reader who aspires to make a mark on the world.

Excerpt

We knew that compiling a handy reference of quotable wisdom from the "Robber Barons" would be fun, but also tricky. The great entrepreneurs of the industrial age -- John D. Rockefeller, J.R. Morgan, and Henry Ford, for example -- were the Shakespeares, Rembrandts, and Mozarts of industry. They laid the groundwork for the modern world economy, after all, and many of their ideas about entrepreneurship, organizational design, and leadership were not only original and compelling when they were first articulated, they've stood the test of time.

We wanted to do something different with their words. What differentiates this volume from prior books on business quotations is that we have taken what we think are the principal players' most important insights and have threaded them through a running commentary, in order to make clearer the larger social and economic implications of their ideas.

We thank Nick Philipson, our editor, for helping us understand what we needed to do to make this book vivid as well as edifying. We thank our colleagues at The Winthrop Group, Inc., serious historians all, for supporting our effort with their suggestions about themes and insights. In the end, we hope that this volume entertains, and in the process whets an appetite for further reading into the lives and ideas of the great business leaders who created the world we live in today.

G.D. Smith F. Dalzell . . .

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