Once described as the richest man in the world, Andrew Carnegie believed the wealthy have a moral obligation to give away their fortunes. When writing about the mass accumulation of riches during the Gilded Age, he mused in The Gospel of Wealth (1889), â€œNo idol is more debasing than the worship of money!â€
But itâ€™s not his well-documented philanthropic efforts that place him as one of the 50 greatest entrepreneurs. Carnegie foresaw the future demand for iron and steel at a time when railroads and bridges were largely wooden. He drove down production costs in his steel factories, where he implemented new, more efficient technologies that helped the United States surpass Britain in steel output. Carnegie attributed his industrial success to placing the right people in the right positions. He suggested for his own epitaph, â€œHere lies a man who was able to surround himself with men far cleverer than himself.â€
Incidentally, his mentorship to personal-development guru Napoleon Hill laid the groundwork for Think and Grow Rich, arguably the greatest success book of all time. What started as an unpaid assignment for Hill, then a young journalist, became a 20-year exploration of the common success traits of the world's most successful entrepreneurs.
Quote: "No man can become rich without him enriching others."