Carnegie Did Not Let Lack of Wealth or Education Hold Him Back
Andrew Carnegie was not born a rich man and had to overcome obstacles himself. He started out with neither education nor wealth. He’d come to America at age 13 with his family and went to work in a factory in Pennsylvania earning only $1.20 a week, but his love of books and learning and positive mental attitude catapulted him to success. He did not let the lack of formal education or wealth prevent him from realizing his dreams.
Within a decade, he was financially secure and over the ensuing three decades became the wealthiest man in America. When he was thirty-three, he wrote a note to himself to retire when he was 35, for fear “To continue much longer overwhelmed by business cares … must degrade me beyond hope of permanent recovery.”
“He Who Dies Rich, Dies in Disgrace”
He didn’t retire for another 30 years. Mr. Carnegie had his detractors too, due to his fight against unions, refusal to offer decent pay for his workers in the steel mills, and his allowing unfair working conditions and hours. Many were forced to work seven days a week for 12 hours a day with no retirement.
At the age 65 he sold his company to JP Morgan. He then devoted the rest of his life to creating avenues for education, peace, and helping others. He did not believe in leaving wealth to heirs. He felt that they should be provided for but that leaving them a fortune would do more harm than good. For the next 18 years, until he died in 1919, Carnegie proceeded to give away $350 million. By the time of his death, he had created 22 different trusts all united for the purpose of benefiting humankind. It is reported that his wealth is responsible for opening over 2800 libraries. In his own words, “He who dies rich, dies in disgrace.”
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