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Andrew Carnegie - King of U.S. Steel & Philanthropist (1835-1919)

  • "The man who dies rich dies disgraced."  - Andrew Carnegie

Key Work

Andrew Carnegie was a Scottish industrialist. He was the founder of Pittsburgh's Carnegie Steel Company which later became U.S. Steel. Carnegie is known for having built one of the most powerful  US corporations in history, and, later in his life, giving away most of his wealth to fund the establishment of many libraries, schools, and universities in countries throughout the world.

From growing up poor to becoming one of the wealthiest men in the world, Andrew Carnegie pioneered industrial growth and built the largest steel company in the United States. 

By the 1860s, he had investments in railroads, railroad sleeping cars, as well as bridges and oil derricks, and he built wealth as a bond salesman raising money in Europe for American enterprises. Carnegie found his fortune in Steel. In the 1870s, he founded the Carnegie Steel Company, by the 1890s, the company was the largest and most profitable industrial enterprise in the world. in 1901 he sold it to J.P. Morgan's US Steel and devoted the remainder of his life to large-scale philanthropy, with special emphasis on local libraries, world peace, and scientific research.

Key Milestones

  • Took a job in a cotton mill, at age 12
  • Built first blast furnace and opened steel furnace at Braddock
  • Reorganized the company as Carnegie Bros. & Co.
  • Carnegie acquired Henry C. Frick.
  • Frick and J. Pierpont Morgan bought the Carnegie Company for $500 million.
  • Started a trust fund "for the improvement of mankind."  thus building the Carnegie Institute of Pittsburgh, the Carnegie Institute of Technology, the Carnegie Institution of Washington, and 3000 public libraries.
  • Gave away $350 million of his fortune to charity.

Carnegie wrote The Gospel of Wealth, in which he stated his belief that the rich should use their wealth to help enrich society.

The following is taken from one of Carnegie's memos to himself:

“Man does not live by bread alone. I have known millionaires starving for lack of the nutriment which alone can sustain all that is human in man, and I know workmen, and many so-called poor men, who revel in luxuries beyond the power of those millionaires to reach. It is the mind that makes the body rich. There is no class so pitiably wretched as that which possesses money and nothing else. Money can only be the useful drudge of things immeasurably higher than itself. Exalted beyond this, as it sometimes is, it remains Caliban still and still plays the beast. My aspirations take a higher flight. Mine be it to have contributed to the enlightenment and the joys of the mind, to the things of the spirit, to all that tends to bring into the lives of the toilers of Pittsburgh sweetness and light. I hold this the noblest possible use of wealth. ”

Carnegie believed that achievement of financial success could be reduced to a simple formula, which could be duplicated by the average person. In 1908, he commissioned (at no pay) Napoleon Hill, then a journalist, to interview more than 500 high and wealthy achievers to find out the common threads of their success. Hill eventually became a Carnegie collaborator, and their work was published in 1928, after Carnegie's death, in Hill's book The Law of Success (ISBN 0-87980-447-5) and in 1937, Think and Grow Rich (ISBN 1-59330-200-2). The latter has not been out of print since it was first published and has sold more than 30 million copies worldwide. In 1960, Hill published an abridged version of the book containing the Andrew Carnegie formula for wealth creation. For years it was the only version generally available. In 2004, Ross Cornwell published Think and Grow Rich!: The Original Version, Restored and Revised (Second Printing 2007), which restored the book to its original content, with slight revisions, and added comprehensive endnotes, an index, and an appendix.

Books & References:

  • Andrew Carnegie. The Empire of Business. New York: Doubleday, Doran, & Co, 1902.
  • Andrew Carnegie. The Autobiography of Andrew Carnegie (1920, 2006). ISBN 1-59986-967-5.
  • Andrew Carnegie. "The Gospel of Wealth " (1888, 1998). ISBN 1-55709-471-3
  • Andrew Carnegie,  Triumphant Democracy(1886),
  • Andrew Carnegie, An American Four-in-Hand in Britain(1883),
  • Andrew Carnegie, Round the World(1884),
  • Andrew Carnegie, James Watt (1905) and
  • Andrew Carnegie, Problems of To-Day: Wealth, Labor, Socialism (1907).
  • Josephson; Matthew. Robber Barons: The Great American Capitalists , 1861-1901 (1938, 1987). ISBN 99918-47-99-5.
  • Morris, Charles R. The Tycoons: How Andrew Carnegie, John D. Rockefeller, Jay Gould, and J. P. Morgan Invented the American Supereconomy (2005). ISBN 0-8050-7599-2.
  • Livesay, Harold C. Andrew Carnegie and the Rise of Big Business (2nd Edition)(1999). short biography ISBN 0-321-43287-8.
  • Lorenzen, Michael. (1999). Deconstructing the Carnegie libraries: The sociological reasons behind Carnegie's millions to public libraries. Illinois Libraries 81, no. 2, 75-78.
  • Nasaw, David. Andrew Carnegie (New York: The Penguin Press, 2006), along with Wall the most detailed scholarly biography
  • Ritt Jr., Michael J., and Landers, Kirk. A Lifetime of Riches: The Biography of Napoleon Hill. ISBN 0-525-94146-0.
  • Wall, Joseph Frazier. Andrew Carnegie (1989). ISBN 0-8229-5904-6. along with Nasaw the most detailed scholarly biography

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