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The Wisdom of Success: The Philosophy of Achievement by Andrew Carnegie and Napoleon Hill

Summary
  1. There are 17 major principles of success and one must first be aware of them, then embody them and then act and live by them to achieve success in any field and area of life – the principles of definiteness of purpose
Key Takeaways
  1. All success begins with a definiteness of purpose. Develop a definiteness of purpose which arouses a burning desire in you, one which never leaves your thoughts, one which you can devote your life to. A burning desire backed by a solid and actionable plan which excites and brings in other great minds (a mastermind group). A group of disciplined and sharp minded people can achieve multiples more than an individual ever could
  2. The first step from poverty to riches is the most difficult
  3. Every great endeavor and road to riches begins with a clear vision of what one seeks and when it evolves into an obsession, the subconscious mind works on it until it is realized. A positive mental attitude is what gives power to ones thoughts and plans
  4. There is a definite law between giving and getting and not understanding or appreciating this has disappointed and ruined many men and endeavors
  5. A burning desire is not enough if you do not bring forth a useful product or service rendered in the spirit of harmony
  6. The very best way to distribute wealth is to disturbe the means by which to achieve it. Money earned is far more powerful than money given
  7. Carnegie’s definition of success – the power with which to acquire whatever one demands of life without violating the rights of others
  8. Personal power is achieved through a combination por personal traits and habits. The 10 point rule of personal power
    1. The habit of definiteness of purpose
    2. Promptness of decision
    3. Soundness of character – intentional honesty
    4. Strict discipline over one’s emotions
    5. Obsessional desire to render useful service
    6. Thorough knowledge of one’s occupation
    7. Tolerance of all subjects
    8. Loyalty to one’s personal associates and faith in a supreme being
    9. Enduring thirst for knowledge
    10. Alertness of imagination
  9. Mastermind Group – an alliance of two or more minds working together in the spirit of perfect harmony for the attainment of a definite purpose
    1. Seems like a worthy mission statement for any organization
  10. The 9 key human motives (top 3 most powerful and should be in harmony for a successful mastermind group)
    1. The emotion of love – the gateway to one’s spiritual power
    2. The emotion of sex
    3. Desire for financial gain
    4. Desire for self preservation
    5. Desire for freedom of body and mind
    6. Desire for self expression leading to fame and recognition
    7. Desire for perpetuation of life after death
    8. The emotion of anger – often expressed as envy or jealousy
    9. The emotion of fear
  11. Mental attitude of the mastermind group, like for every other group or organization, is the most important characteristic which determines the success of the group
  12. One of the most beauitful sights on earth and one of the most inspiring is that of a group of men that work together in a spirit of perfect harmony. Each man only thinking in terms of what he can do for the group
  13. The relationship between the men in the mastermind group should be confidential. The alliance should never be discussed outside the ranks of the members
  14. A marriage may be the most important mastermind group you will ever form
  15. Who we surround ourselves with on a daily and intimate basis is therefore so important for our happiness, development and future achievement
  16. An educational alliance is also always important to have as continuous learning is key, especially when it comes to acquiring specialized knowledge. What we read and learn should be as carefully consumed as the food we eat. Public libraries, one’s associates, groups and clubs and other contacts which have exoertise relevant to your definite purpose are some of the greatest resources
  17. Attractive personality traits – positive mental attitude, flexibility, sincerity of purpose, promptness of decision, courtesy, tone of voice, smiling, expression of the face, tactfulness, tolerance, frankness of manner and speech, a keen sense of humor, faith in infinite intelligence, appropriateness of words, emotional control, alertness and presence, effective speech, versatility, genuine fondness of people, good showmanship, clean sportsmanship, personal magnetism (sex energy)
  18. Applied faith is of utmost importance and a prerequisite for any major undertaking
  19. Every failure has in it the seeds of a similar advantage. Is there is such thing as permanent failure until you accept it
  20. Adopting a definite plan and a burning desire to achieve it is the beginning of all success
  21. Mans arch enemy is fear – fear or poverty, ill health, criticism, loss of love, old age, loss of liberty, death; failure. Build faith by ridding the mind of these thoughts of fear
  22. The habit of going he extra mile – rendering more service and better service than is expected from you and that you are paid for
  23. Goodwill and confidence are necessary in every walk of life and going the extra mile is the best way to achieve both. The law of compensation is such that no many can truly do more work than he is paid for for he will eventually reap the rewards of his effort
  24. Use organized individual effort – planned action. initiative and action, never procrastination, is found in all successful men
  25. Found in all successful leaders – definite purpose, definite motive, mastermind alliance, self reliance, self discipline over head and heart, persistence, a well developed faculty of imagination, definite and prompt decisions, opinions made on fact and not hearsay, capacity to create enthusiasm at will and direct it, keen sense of fairness and justice, tolerance and open mind, going the extra mile, tactfulness and a keen sense of diplomacy, listening much and talking little, an observing nature, determination, capacity stand critisicm without resentment, temperance of appetites, loyalty to all who deserve it, frankness with those who have a right to it, familiarity of men’s desires (love, sex, other motives), attractive personality, effective salesmanship, concentrate full attention on one thing at a time, learning from ones own and others mistakes, willingness to take responsibility of ones subordinates, adequately recognizing merits of others, applying golden rule to all relationships, positive mental attitudes at all times, full responsibility for all take one undertakes, keen sense of values
  26. Knowledge is of little use until it is put into some form of useful service
  27. Creative and synthetic imagination
  28. Turn definite of purpose into consistent and emotional user thought to tap into power of subconscious. The two key driving emotions are love and sex
  29. 9 based motives printed out and worked into DCA
  30. Carbegues morive is to make men and not money
  31. It is ibky through mans partnership with woman that he dan reach his highest potential
  32. Ritualized positive thinking habits and strict use of time are key
  33. Learning from defeat and realizing it is temporary is necessary for success
  34. Causes of failure – the habit of drifting through life without a definite major purpose, unfavorable hereditary foundations (only cause of failure not subject to elimination and even this can be managed), habit of meddlesome curiosity in others affairs, inadequate preparation, lack of self discipline, indifference to opportunities towards self advancement, ill health, not aiming high enough, unfavorable environmental influences, habit of negative mental attitude, lack of emotional control, indecision and indefiniteness, succumbing to 7 basic fears, wrong selection of a mate, over caution, excess tendency towards chance, wrong choice of associates, wrong choice of vocation, lack of focus to main effort, indiscriminate spending, failure to budget and use time properly, lack of controlled enthusiasm, intolerance, failure to cooperate with others, desire for power not based on merit, lack of loyalty, egotism and vanity, exaggerated selfishness, opinions and plans not based on know facts, lack of vision and imagination, lack of a mastermind group, not aligning to forces of infinite intelligence, vanity of speech, speaking before thinking, covetousness, revenge, greed, procrastination, speaking slanderously of others, ignorance of the power of thought, lack of personal initiative, lack of self reliance, lack of a pleasing personality, lack of faith in oneself, of others and of God, insufficient power of will because of poor thought patterns
  35. Conjuring up willpower and enthusiasm and inspiration is an important skill to have
  36. Getting an outside perspective on self is always helpful
  37. Splitting ones energy and attention takes away from ones superpowers
  38. A well ordered life requires preparation, commitment and vision. They plan their life like they plan their business. 1/3 sleep, 1/3 work, 1/3 growth and healthy recreation – opportunity time
  39. The golden rule may cause temporary losses but massive permanent long term gains
  40. Conservative living and saving on a regular schedule is important for self discipline and any pote rial future issues
  41. A healthy body is as important as a healthy mind and healthy thought patterns. Eat so that you’re not too full, eat balanced meals, enough fruits and veggies, slow eating, no snacking between meals, no liquor, supplement with lacking vitamins and minerals, mind must be conditioned and grateful for the meal (no stress or fighting while eating)
  42. Relaxation by clearing the mind of all thoughts and stresses should be done for at least an hour per day
  43. 8 hours per sleep per night is required for a healthy body, mind, spirit and attitude
  44. At least one hour per day for a recreational sport should be worked into one’s schedule
  45. Hope inspires good health and good health inspires health
  46. Frequent flushing and detoxifying of the sewer system is required through healthy eating, fasts and plenty of water
  47. Avoid too many medicines and drugs. Listening to the body is often the best thing you can do
  48. Cosmic habit force – the particular application of energy with which nature maintains the relationships between all atoms of matter. It is what gives power to our thoughts. We are ruled by our habits which are formed by thoughts and experience. We control our destinies by the amount we control our thoughts. This law translates our thoughts into their physical equivalent through the most efficient means if we are dedicated and open to the opportunities the universe presents. This gets man to focus intensely on every way to translate his thoughts into reality. The power of the cosmic habit force is multiplied by the mastermind group as multiple people are purely focused on the same goal
  49. Everything worth having has its required price to pay. Nothing comes for nothing
What I got out of it
  1. The combination of a burning definiteness of purpose and a harmonious mastermind group is the keystone to all success

Andrew Carnegie by David Nasaw

Summary

  1. Nasaw sheds a different light on Carnegie than what we get through Carnegie’s autobiography. Nasaw reveals Carnegie’s more egotistical and bullheaded side but balances it by showing the good Carnegie he done for the world through the accumulation and dispersion of his wealth.
Key Takeaways
  1. Carnegie’s autobiography is good but lacks certain events, chronology is off at times and there are errors either by the author or the numerous editors
  2. Author has found evidence contrary to the very rational, moralistic man who brought civility to the industrial revolution that is portrayed in the autobiography. Much of his money came from shady business practices and he was not different from the men he competed with, simply different in how he used his new fortune. Recognition that the more he earned the more he could give the community made him an ever more ruthless business man
  3. By his early thirties had amassed great wealth through Pennsylvanian oil wells, iron manufacturing, bridge building and bond trading
  4. Moved to NY in 1870s and only worked a few hours per day. However, he accomplished more in these hours than most men do in a day. Spent rest of the day pursuing intellectual and philanthropic ventures
  5. Every business decision seemed to be spot on and soon saw he wouldn’t be able to give away all his wealth while still alive
  6. Focused on world peace towards the end of his life. Opposed US intervention in the Philippines. Realized at 80 that these efforts were in vain and spent remaining years alone and isolated, unable to return to Scotland
  7. Birthplace, Dunfermline, Scotland, was a center of industrial revolution and textiles
  8. Father was a good man but not a very hard worker. Mother was the savior and helped keep food on the table
  9. Moved to Allegheny City, PA in 1848 to escape a depression in Scotland. Father still couldn’t get a job so family relied on mother and Andrew got a job as a telegraph carrier
  10. His first dividend check from a private investment was an eye opening experience for him as it was the first money he made not from his direct, manual labor.
  11. Exaggerated his role in the sleeping car investment. He merely got a kickback and was not part of the negotiations with Woodruff
  12. Learned early on while at the Pennsylvania Railroad the importance of cutting per unit costs 
  13. Made his first fortune in oil drilling and then iron bridges
  14. Took 3 months off and went back to Scotland and traveled the world
  15. Avoided the draft and made a lot of money by supplying the Union army
  16. Took a year off to travel Europe in order to soak up culture and see railroads and iron/steel mills
  17. Spent lavishly on this trip and came back with some expensive investing mistakes
  18. Invested in some somewhat speculative railroad stocks which he would later reinvest into his steel mills. He left this crony capitalism out of his autobiography and denied it later in his life
  19. When Carnegie got into producing iron, he immediately brought in similar accounting practices that he used in his railroad businesses
  20. One of few to survive panic of 1873 without significant losses. Sold a lot of investments at a loss but got enough to keep running his businesses
  21. Became a bon vivant and ladies man in his late 30s. Very social and became very well mannered and literary. Known as extremely happy and charming. As proud of his charm as business acumen
  22. Key to Carnegie’s steel success lies in reducing costs and economies of scale. He was also very good at bolstering excitement and support for his businesses. Aimed for volume over margins
  23. Carnegie did a great job delegating, giving his men goals but never the how to
  24. Spent a lot of time writing and traveling the world in his early 40s
  25. Eventually married Louise Whitfield when he was 50 after 10 years of courtship and a rocky relationship
  26. Mother was a huge influence on him and they lived together until he got married
  27. The railroad boom of the 1880s and the switch from iron to steel rails multiplied his fortune
  28. First donations were for reading rooms for his employees which eventually evolved into massive public libraries across the country
  29. Adheres to Spencerian evolution which stated that short term pain (firing people or lowering wages) would have to be endured in order to prosper long term
  30. Carnegie was very good, for better or worse, at compartmentalizing his life
  31. Was unique amongst prominent business men in that he wrote a lot and was candid about his views – socialist leanings, very optimistic on America’s future, America has a better system and government that Britain
  32. Wealthy men’s money is to be given away and not spent. Any man dying with a great fortune harms his family and greater society
  33. One of his top men, Frick was excellent at working with politicians in order to ensure tariffs, union laws and other regulations worked in their favor as much as possible
  34. The Homestead Strike caused Carnegie and Frick a lot of trouble and after it Carnegie was no longer thought of as a man of the people but greatly helped Carnegie Steel as they essentially broke the Amalgamated Union and greatly increased hours and productivity of his employees
  35. Carnegie and Rockefeller decided to combine forces instead of compete. Carnegie would ship all iron ore in MN on Rockefeller trains to Pittsburgh
  36. Carnegie was very anti imperialist and publicly criticized president McKinley over his actions in the Philippines
  37. Carnegie and Frick had a big falling out over agreements made on their holdings of the company. Frick eventually lost and the two men never spoke again
  38. Carnegie was committed to keeping up volume no matter the price in order to keep the machines and men working at all times
  39. Combined companies with JP Morgan’s US Steel and from his sale became the richest man in the world ~$120b in today’s dollars
  40. Donated millions to the Scottish school system so that worthy but poor students would be able to attend
  41. Funded nearly 700 libraries in the US and hundreds more abroad during his lifetime. Also donated thousands of church organs. He took his “all eggs in one good basket” approach to philanthropy as well
  42. One of his strengths was his charm and was able to befriend a lot of powerful people including several American presidents, English kings and many more. He was especially fond of Herbert Spencer and Teddy Roosevelt
  43. Carnegie took a great interest in politics and was staunchly anti-imperialist and soon became known as the “apostle of peace.” Spent the majority of his post retirement life pursuing the goal of world peace but often through means which his supposed allies like Teddy Roosevelt and Howard Taft thought unrealistic and somewhat ridiculous. Carnegie way overhyped his influence and friendship with these presidents
  44. Was most proud of the Hero Fund which was his own idea
  45. When he realized he wouldn’t be able to give away his fortune during his life, he set up the Carnegie foundation of New York with nearly $8b in 2014 dollars
  46. Carnegie was shaken by the emergence of WWI and was prescient in saying that unless a group was set up to establish world peace the fallen countries would soon rise up again in revenge
  47. Carnegie died in 1919 and had given away a large portion of his fortune. He had donated nearly $350m (tens of billions of dollars today) to various causes but world peace and public libraries received most of his attention. He did unbelievable good during his lifetime and set a precedent for other wealthy people on how to effectively disperse wealth during their lifetime. He had flaws like everyone, enjoyed his fame, befriending rich and powerful people and oftentimes bought he knew best but it came from a good place and his never ending enthusiasm and optimism drew people in. 
What I got out of it
  1. It was interesting to get a different outlook on Carnegie’s life, personality and influence than what Carnegie portrays in his autobiography. Nasaw is more critical and shows that Carnegie wasn’t as pure and innocent in his business or political affairs as many believe. Nasaw criticizes but also makes sure to give Carnegie the credit he deserves for the amazing good his wealth has done for the world

The Autobiography of Andrew Carnegie by Andrew Carnegie

So much to be gotten out of Carnegie’s autobiography that I made it a bit more of a formal write-up

The Autobiography of Andrew Carnegie

Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill and Andrew Carnegie

Summary
  1. One of the all-time leading books on creating and maintaining wealth. However, in many ways it is also a practical guide on how to live and conduct yourself to achieve a quality and happy life.
Key Takeaways
  1. Must have a Definite Chief Aim (DCA) and focus on it intently. Can have no doubt and must have a burning desire to achieve your DCA
  2. Thoughts are manifested into reality so must have a very clear picture of what you want and make sure no negative thoughts creep in. Figuring out your DCA is often one of the more difficult things you’ll have to do
  3. Habitualize positive acts and emotions as much as possible. Habits require less willpower and will allow you to achieve more
  4. Having a mastermind group is vital
What I got out of it
  1. In many ways this book, although centered around wealth and investing, preceded many of the same sentiments found in “self-help” type books such as Rhonda Byrne’s The Secret. You must have a very clear goal that you think of often before you can make it happen.

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