Andrew Carnegie was one of the wealthiest people to have ever lived.
But by the time he had died he had given away ninety percent of his wealth.
He followed his motto, which he set out in The Gospel of Wealth, “The man who dies thus rich dies disgraced,” through to his end.
Born in Scotland, to a poor weaving household, he emigrated to the United States of America with his family when he was thirteen.
Through the course of the next fifty years he rose through the ranks of employment and invested widely until in 1901 he sold his Pittsburgh-based Carnegie Steel Company to J. P. Morgan for $480 million and became the richest American alive for a couple of years.
Carnegie explains his remarkable early years and how he made his first investments in his initial essay, How I served my apprenticeship. He gives remarkable insight into his ability to see potentially lucrative opportunities, even at a young age.
The main focus of this collection of essays is however on The Gospel of Wealth, in which Carnegie outlines his philosophy of philanthropy. He was aware that the United States in the late nineteenth century had produced a great number of self-made super-rich industrialists, like himself, and was concerned that they would waste their new found wealth through extravagance and instead urges everyone to think of and assist those less fortunate than ourselves.
The following essays within the book cover a wide variety of topics that Carnegie was interested in from labor rights to imperialism, relations between Britain and America to the value of trusts. Each one is a fascinating insight into the opinions of a brilliant nineteenth century business leader who held views which are still relevant in the modern day.
The Gospel of Wealth and other timely essays is essential reading for anyone interested in the opinions of one of the wealthiest Americans to have ever lived who valued giving away money more than earning it.
Andrew Carnegie was one of the wealthiest people in America during the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. After he had earned his millions however he spent much of the remainder of life using his wealth to help with large-scale philanthropy, with special emphasis on local libraries, world peace, education, and scientific research. He passed away in 1919 and his book The Gospel of Wealth and other timely essays was first published in 1901.