The Art of Money Getting - Barnum Book Review Part 5

3년 전

How does education fit into the equation for getting money?



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This is the question we are considering as we work through P.T. Barnum’s book The Art of Money Getting.

This book was originally published in 1880 and is therefore no longer subject to nor protected by U.S. copyright law because the copyrights have expired.

Therefore, this book is found freely available online and the reuse of it here is permitted and may trigger content detection on the excerpts that are included for discussion.

The plan is to include excerpts and discussion through a series of posts, so there will be new content provided by me that include my thoughts on the reading to promote discussion in the comments.


Index of related Barnum Book Review posts:

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4


We will pick up this session with DON'T GET ABOVE YOUR BUSINESS:

THE ART OF MONEY GETTING or GOLDEN RULES FOR MAKING MONEY

By P.T. Barnum

DON'T GET ABOVE YOUR BUSINESS:

Young men after they get through their business training, or apprenticeship, instead of pursuing their avocation and rising in their business, will often lie about doing nothing. They say; "I have learned my business, but I am not going to be a hireling; what is the object of learning my trade or profession, unless I establish myself?'"

"Have you capital to start with?"

"No, but I am going to have it."

"How are you going to get it?"

"I will tell you confidentially; I have a wealthy old aunt, and she will die pretty soon; but if she does not, I expect to find some rich old man who will lend me a few thousands to give me a start. If I only get the money to start with I will do well."

There is no greater mistake than when a young man believes he will succeed with borrowed money. Why? Because every man's experience coincides with that of Mr. Astor, who said, "it was more difficult for him to accumulate his first thousand dollars, than all the succeeding millions that made up his colossal fortune." Money is good for nothing unless you know the value of it by experience. Give a boy twenty thousand dollars and put him in business, and the chances are that he will lose every dollar of it before he is a year older. Like buying a ticket in the lottery; and drawing a prize, it is "easy come, easy go." He does not know the value of it; nothing is worth anything, unless it costs effort. Without self-denial and economy; patience and perseverance, and commencing with capital which you have not earned, you are not sure to succeed in accumulating. Young men, instead of "waiting for dead men's shoes," should be up and doing, for there is no class of persons who are so unaccommodating in regard to dying as these rich old people, and it is fortunate for the expectant heirs that it is so. Nine out of ten of the rich men of our country to-day, started out in life as poor boys, with determined wills, industry, perseverance, economy and good habits. They went on gradually, made their own money and saved it; and this is the best way to acquire a fortune. Stephen Girard started life as a poor cabin boy, and died worth nine million dollars. A.T. Stewart was a poor Irish boy; and he paid taxes on a million and a half dollars of income, per year. John Jacob Astor was a poor farmer boy, and died worth twenty millions. Cornelius Vanderbilt began life rowing a boat from Staten Island to New York; he presented our government with a steamship worth a million of dollars, and died worth fifty million. "There is no royal road to learning," says the proverb, and I may say it is equally true, "there is no royal road to wealth." But I think there is a royal road to both. The road to learning is a royal one; the road that enables the student to expand his intellect and add every day to his stock of knowledge, until, in the pleasant process of intellectual growth, he is able to solve the most profound problems, to count the stars, to analyze every atom of the globe, and to measure the firmament this is a regal highway, and it is the only road worth traveling.

So in regard to wealth. Go on in confidence, study the rules, and above all things, study human nature; for "the proper study of mankind is man," and you will find that while expanding the intellect and the muscles, your enlarged experience will enable you every day to accumulate more and more principal, which will increase itself by interest and otherwise, until you arrive at a state of independence. You will find, as a general thing, that the poor boys get rich and the rich boys get poor. For instance, a rich man at his decease, leaves a large estate to his family. His eldest sons, who have helped him earn his fortune, know by experience the value of money; and they take their inheritance and add to it. The separate portions of the young children are placed at interest, and the little fellows are patted on the head, and told a dozen times a day, "you are rich; you will never have to work, you can always have whatever you wish, for you were born with a golden spoon in your mouth." The young heir soon finds out what that means; he has the finest dresses and playthings; he is crammed with sugar candies and almost "killed with kindness," and he passes from school to school, petted and flattered. He becomes arrogant and self-conceited, abuses his teachers, and carries everything with a high hand. He knows nothing of the real value of money, having never earned any; but he knows all about the "golden spoon" business. At college, he invites his poor fellow-students to his room, where he "wines and dines" them. He is cajoled and caressed, and called a glorious good follow, because he is so lavish of his money. He gives his game suppers, drives his fast horses, invites his chums to fetes and parties, determined to have lots of "good times." He spends the night in frolics and debauchery, and leads off his companions with the familiar song, "we won't go home till morning." He gets them to join him in pulling down signs, taking gates from their hinges and throwing them into back yards and horse-ponds. If the police arrest them, he knocks them down, is taken to the lockup, and joyfully foots the bills.

"Ah! my boys," he cries, "what is the use of being rich, if you can't enjoy yourself?"

He might more truly say, "if you can't make a fool of yourself;" but he is "fast," hates slow things, and doesn't "see it." Young men loaded down with other people's money are almost sure to lose all they inherit, and they acquire all sorts of bad habits which, in the majority of cases, ruin them in health, purse and character. In this country, one generation follows another, and the poor of to-day are rich in the next generation, or the third. Their experience leads them on, and they become rich, and they leave vast riches to their young children. These children, having been reared in luxury, are inexperienced and get poor; and after long experience another generation comes on and gathers up riches again in turn. And thus "history repeats itself," and happy is he who by listening to the experience of others avoids the rocks and shoals on which so many have been wrecked.

"In England, the business makes the man." If a man in that country is a mechanic or working-man, he is not recognized as a gentleman. On the occasion of my first appearance before Queen Victoria, the Duke of Wellington asked me what sphere in life General Tom Thumb's parents were in.

"His father is a carpenter," I replied.

"Oh! I had heard he was a gentleman," was the response of His Grace.

In this Republican country, the man makes the business. No matter whether he is a blacksmith, a shoemaker, a farmer, banker or lawyer, so long as his business is legitimate, he may be a gentleman. So any "legitimate" business is a double blessing it helps the man engaged in it, and also helps others. The Farmer supports his own family, but he also benefits the merchant or mechanic who needs the products of his farm. The tailor not only makes a living by his trade, but he also benefits the farmer, the clergyman and others who cannot make their own clothing. But all these classes often may be gentlemen.

The great ambition should be to excel all others engaged in the same occupation.

The college-student who was about graduating, said to an old lawyer:

"I have not yet decided which profession I will follow. Is your profession full?"

"The basement is much crowded, but there is plenty of room up-stairs," was the witty and truthful reply.

No profession, trade, or calling, is overcrowded in the upper story. Wherever you find the most honest and intelligent merchant or banker, or the best lawyer, the best doctor, the best clergyman, the best shoemaker, carpenter, or anything else, that man is most sought for, and has always enough to do. As a nation, Americans are too superficial--they are striving to get rich quickly, and do not generally do their business as substantially and thoroughly as they should, but whoever excels all others in his own line, if his habits are good and his integrity undoubted, cannot fail to secure abundant patronage, and the wealth that naturally follows. Let your motto then always be "Excelsior," for by living up to it there is no such word as fail.


How People Feel About Going to College Today


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My Thoughts:

P.T. starts us off with the idea that “There is no greater mistake than when a young man believes he will succeed with borrowed money. Why? Because every man's experience coincides with that of Mr. Astor, who said, "it was more difficult for him to accumulate his first thousand dollars, than all the succeeding millions that made up his colossal fortune." Money is good for nothing unless you know the value of it by experience.”

I think this holds true to today.

"Easy come, easy go" stands the test of time and shows a universal principle of money.

We don’t value what we don’t earn and people don’t value what they don’t pay for.

This is the problem with giving things away for free with the expectation that somehow you will turn this freebie into a future sale.

Yet again, maybe if there is some trade off, like an email address, then perhaps the prospect is gained and turned into a potential profitable transaction.

However, “nothing is worth anything, unless it costs effort.”

And this effort, or attention, or some other form, such as time, can be worth quite a lot if used or spent properly.

Barnum is funny with the phrase “there is no class of persons who are so unaccommodating in regard to dying as these rich old people”, yet how many today fill their heads with the dream of acquiring an inheritance to spark their good fortune?

I sadly had at one point considered this possibility as my hope. It took years to pass from my attention to the more realistic possibility of setting out to earn it on my own.

P.T. then shows us a few examples of rags to riches stories and leaves us with the understanding that “determined wills, industry, perseverance, economy and good habits… [are] the best way to acquire a fortune.”

I wouldn’t disagree with this on the surface, yet I somehow thing that it is not entirely impossible to instill good instruction into youth or children that they may be given a start that doesn’t end poorly.

Yet, how many well to do people financially set up their kids for life only to see the wealth squandered in one generation?

I think the preservation of wealth is best paired with a proper education and understanding of how to manage it properly. I think it therefore need not be destroyed, but far to often that is the case as Mr. Barnum points out "There is no royal road to learning," says the proverb, and I may say it is equally true, "there is no royal road to wealth."

However, he goes on to say:

“But I think there is a royal road to both. The road to learning is a royal one; the road that enables the student to expand his intellect and add every day to his stock of knowledge, until, in the pleasant process of intellectual growth, he is able to solve the most profound problems, to count the stars, to analyze every atom of the globe, and to measure the firmament this is a regal highway, and it is the only road worth traveling.”

So there!

Again a quote, “So in regard to wealth. Go on in confidence, study the rules, and above all things, study human nature; for "the proper study of mankind is man," and you will find that while expanding the intellect and the muscles, your enlarged experience will enable you every day to accumulate more and more principal, which will increase itself by interest and otherwise, until you arrive at a state of independence.”

This is why I have an interest in studying and being a “lifelong learner”.

Credentials and degrees or not, there is much to be gained from reading and educating yourself.

Barnum’s details of the privileged life of being “born with a golden spoon in your mouth" is spot on to today’s society, with the exception of the more common place saying of “silver spoon”, but perhaps there has been deflation since then, huh?

His description of the rich college kid seems not too far off from what we see today, which goes to show the above admonition for "the proper study of mankind is man," shows how valuable it truly is because it seems not much has changed in the 100+ years that have elapsed since then.

“And thus "history repeats itself," and happy is he who by listening to the experience of others avoids the rocks and shoals on which so many have been wrecked.”

P.T. ends the section with some wisdom for college students unsure of what career path to consider:

“The college-student who was about graduating, said to an old lawyer:

"I have not yet decided which profession I will follow. Is your profession full?"

"The basement is much crowded, but there is plenty of room up-stairs," was the witty and truthful reply.

No profession, trade, or calling, is overcrowded in the upper story.

So be not discouraged, but be diligent about your business. “Wherever you find the most honest and intelligent merchant or banker, or the best lawyer, the best doctor, the best clergyman, the best shoemaker, carpenter, or anything else, that man is most sought for, and has always enough to do.”

Again, it looks as if not much has changed:

“As a nation, Americans are too superficial—they are striving to get rich quickly, and do not generally do their business as substantially and thoroughly as they should”

What do you think? Let me know in the comments below!


Next time we will pick up with and continue on with LEARN SOMETHING USEFUL.


Stay tuned.
Stay interesting.
Stay Strange.


Michael

Created by Michael Paine


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Give a boy twenty thousand dollars and put him in business, and the chances are that he will lose every dollar of it before he is a year older. Like buying a ticket in the lottery; and drawing a prize, it is "easy come, easy go."

Now, these words are words of wisdom. They're uncannily like the experiences of lottery winners who decide that their riches have made them talented businesspeople.

Most lottery winners who went broke in five years, went broke that way.

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It amazes me how true these old lessons are and that is why I wanted to dust them off and share them now!

Great stuff! Resteemed! Love this Young men, instead of "waiting for dead men's shoes," should be up and doing, for there is no class of persons who are so unaccommodating in regard to dying as these rich old people, and it is fortunate for the expectant heirs that it is so

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I got a laugh out of that too!

Thanks for the resteem and hopefully we all take this age old wisdom to heart. Sometimes it takes hearing (or reading) the same thing in many different ways to make it kinda hit home and make you realize that "yeah, I am going to have to get up and do something if I want something to change".

I love reading, and partly I was thinking about having my own company and lend me the bank and would have to save to realize my company have already been 7 years to finish my career and I have the money to make my company come true but 8 Months I'm in the world of investment criptomonedas and every time I leave my comfort zone to realize my financial freedom and make my own fitness companies that put together a gym

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Looks like you are getting the idea!

I hope you are able to find success in whatever you do, but a gym seems like a good idea to look into!