Thursday, February 21, 2008

Andrew Carnegie- Work Hard While You Work

I am in the middle of listening to a fascinating audio book on Andrew Carnegie that was written by David Nasaw. Andrew Carnegie is best known for his massive donations to libraries in most communities in the United States. in his day he was on of the richest men in the world. his money was mostly made on railroads and steel.

He was one of the great philanthropists of all times. In later life he said he spent the first half of his life making money and the second half giving it away, when in reality he was actually quite generous even in his early years and even prior to his retirement he did give generously to many causes.

In his own attempts to do "favorable" autobiographies, he did leave out some of the questionable business practices that in today’s environment would be considered unethical and illegal (insider trading and non dealing at arms length). It is unfortunate this history taints the money that he so generously donated.

One of the eight secrets to success is hard work. Interestingly enough Andrew Carnegie did not ascribe to that. He commented in one of his letters to his friend that someone must not work very hard if they have to be in their office 10 or 15 hours a day. Of course being a real work ethic guy and putting in fairly long hours, this statement causes me to think.

One of the things that I have always preached in my time management talks has been, "Work while you work". The basic principle being that if you are going to be at your desk working, you might as well work while you are there instead not.

One of the other things that I liked about Carnegie is that he called himself, "a man of reading" which I would translate to be a man of learning. He did give million of dollars to libraries so clearly he liked to read or viewed that as one of his major ways of learning.

Great (but long)audio book. Well written with many flowery quotes.


At 11:37 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


Of course, your motto, “Work while you work”, captures the essence of the subject. Why is it then, that often this is not the case? Why is it, that often employees are happy just to “put in the hours”?

I propose that the reason, more often than not, is company culture and/or individual managers. It’s the expectation, that everyone should come to work early and leave late. Individuals are quick to learn that the company (or the boss) puts the emphasis on long hours (at work) as opposed to the work they perform.

The best companies/bosses I ever WORKED for, were those, where it wasn’t the clock but my performance that mattered.

Have a great weekend!

Alex Revai

Productivity Solutions


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