Wise words from an industrial industrialist

Andrew Carnegie was a Scottish industrialist who died 93 years ago today at the ripe age of 80 years old. Born in Dunfermline, just across the Firth of Forth from Edinburgh, Carnegie moved to Pittsburgh at the age of 13 and gradually worked his way up the ranks of industry, investing in and developing different endeavours until founding the Carnegie Steel Company, which was eventually sold for $480 million (and that was back in 1901!). He was the second richest man in history, and an incredible philanthropist during his career and in retirement, with great focus on social welfare and education, which involved establishing many free libraries, including in Edinburgh – now the Edinburgh Central Library on George IV Bridge. According to all reports, in addition to being a shrewd industrialist and a kind-hearted philanthropist, he was also charming, witty and intelligent.

I first read about Andrew Carnegie about a year ago and discovered a huge bank of amusing and inspiring quotations of things that he’d said in his lifetime. A few of my favourites:

“People who are unable to motivate themselves must be content with mediocrity, no matter how impressive their other talents.”

“A sunny disposition is worth more than fortune. Young people should know that it can be cultivated; that the mind like the body can be moved from the shade into sunshine.”

“No man can become rich without himself enriching others.”

“Concentrate your energies, your thoughts and your capital…. The wise man puts all his eggs in one basket and watches the basket.”








– Andrew Carnegie, November 25, 1835 – August 11, 1919



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