What’s Andrew Carnegie’s Number One Secret For Succeeding In Business?


Saturday, 10.56pm

Sheffield, U.K.

I don’t know how you go about writing your blog, if you have one, but my approach is quite random.


If you were to get some advice from a marketing person on blogging, you’d probably start by having a goal, understanding your target audience, coming up with a list of topics they’d find useful, getting a schedule set up, crafting headlines and spending a lot of time promoting what you’re doing.

That’s how it should be. Perhaps.

What I do is start with an idea – something random I’ve read. Say it’s about the Rule Of Frequency – which I’ll cover in a separate post.

This particular article is associated with GNU/Linux, so that gets me searching and gets me to the O’Reilly Open Books site. Which talks about the Open Library project.

A lot of what I learn and write about wouldn’t be possible without people putting time and effort into sharing what they know.

And since that seems a good thing – the fact that there is an Open Library project is also very interesting.

Because it seems to me that people create stuff for one of two reasons. They think it will help them in some way. Or they need to put down what they know before they burst.

The ones who do it for the second reason create much more interesting stuff. Stuff that’s actually useful.

And those are the books and articles that are worth reading. So, it makes sense to spend time hunting them down.

Wandering through the Open Library finally has me stumbling over Andrew Carnegie’s book “The Empire Of Business”, printed by Doubleday, Page & Co. in 1902.

The first chapter is a talk to young men – young people if we bring it up to date – where Carnegie tells you what he’s learned over a long business career.

His success secrets…

It’s good to start at the bottom, he says. If you’ve started there, you’ll be motivated to get ahead and much less likely to be led astray by the temptations available to those with more money than you.

Then there are three things you shouldn’t do. The first two? Don’t drink or speculate.

The third one… this is out of left field…

Don’t “indorse”. This means lending your name to support someone else. Perhaps as a favour to a friend – or as an influencer in these modern times. Probably “endorse” today.

In essence, be very careful who you lend your reputation to, because if things go wrong, you’ll be dragged down as well.

Then… what should you do?

Instead of looking at what you are asked to do – what you must do – for an employer, look for what you can do.

You’re paid a wage to do what you must do. To make more, you must do more.

Future millionaires have one sure habit, Carnegie goes on. “Their revenues exceed their expenditures”.

If you can save, if you can show that you can hold on to money – others will lend you hundreds and thousands what you have when you need capital.

And then… we come to his final secret – the big one…

You can make money in any business – in any legitimate one making or dealing in a product that people want.

If you want to make money you need to do one thing. “Concentrate your energy, thought and capital exclusively” on that business.

Stick to it, fight it out, resolve to lead, be the best, have the best and know the most.

In other words, he says, “Put all your eggs in one basket, and then watch that basket”.

And finally… be patient. You’ll get there.


Karthik Suresh

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