Skip to main content

Who will be the Horatio Alger of China?

While searching for a classic trading text on Scribd, I came across this 109-year-old tome on the success of 19th and early 20th century entrepreneurs called, How They Succeeded, in the related books sidebar.

Looking through the table of contents, one finds an interesting array of business, artist, and educator profiles and plucky little subchapter titles emphasizing the virtues of hard work, thrift, and foresight. Admirable traits to be sure, though the Horatio Alger-type bootsrapping tales of personal success and luck are usually mocked in the politically correct schoolrooms of today.

How They Succeeded

For those of us schooled in the cynical view of free enterprise and the dastardly deeds of the robber barons (and most of us who attended American schools in the last 40 years were purposely imprinted with that bias), it may seem a bit comical to look at a chapter on John D. Rockerfeller and find subheading titles such as "His Early Dream and Purpose", "There Was Money In a Refinery", "Hygiene", "Foresight", "Philanthropy", and so on.

Still, as I read through an early chapter on Marshall Field, one of the great merchants of my home town, Chicago, I'm attracted to the story of Mr. Field's rise in business and how his personal success coincided with the growth of our fair city.

There are sound business lessons here, and the themes of devotion to work and purposeful sacrifice with a clear goal in mind are a refreshing tonic at a time when an ever growing number of people are looking to game the system and enrich themselves off the work and savings of others.

Will we find a good deal of whitewashing of some of the economic and social injustices of the past, acts that helped a few of the industrialists profiled here along to great wealth and power? It's very possible, and we'll have to read and compare these optimistic tales with the views handed down to us by some economic historians.

However, as I think about the valuable lessons in some of these old tales of business success, I wonder if a similar tradition of rags-to-riches stories will take hold in that other rising economic power of the East. Who will be the Horatio Alger of China
(or better yet, the Orison Swett Marden) and what stories will he or she tell?

Related articles and posts:

1. Classic quotes and timeless wisdom from, How They Succeeded - Finance Trends.

Popular posts from this blog

The Dot-Com Bubble in 1 Chart: InfoSpace

With all the recent talk of a new bubble in the making, thanks in part to the Yellen Fed's continued easy money stance, I thought it'd be instructive to revisit our previous stock market bubble - in one quick chart.

So here's what a real stock market bubble looks like. 

Here's what a bubble *really* looks like. InfoSpace in 1999-2001. $QQQ$BCORpic.twitter.com/xjsMk433H7
— David Shvartsman (@FinanceTrends) February 24, 2015
For those of you who are a little too young to recall it, this is a chart of InfoSpace at the height of the Nasdaq dot-com bubble in 1999-2001. This fallen angel soared to fantastic heights only to plummet back down to earth as the bubble, and InfoSpace's shady business plan, turned to rubble.

As detailed in our post, "Round trip stocks: Momentum booms and busts", InfoSpace rocketed from under $100 a share to over $1,300 a share in less than six months. 

In a pattern common to many parabolic shooting stars, the stock soon peaked and began a…

New! Finance Trends now at FinanceTrendsLetter.com

Update for our readers: Finance Trends has a new URL! 

Please bookmark our new web address at Financetrendsletter.com

Readers sticking with RSS updates should point your feed readers to our new Finance Trends feedburner.  



Thank you to all of our loyal readers who have been with us since the early days. Exciting stuff to come in the weeks ahead!

As a quick reminder, you can subscribe to our free email list to receive the Finance Trends Newsletter. You'll receive email updates about once every 4-8 weeks (about 2-3 times per quarter). 

Stay up to date with our real-time insights and updates on Twitter.

William O'Neil Interview: How to Buy Winning Stocks

Investor's Business Daily founder and veteran stock trader, William O'Neil shared his trading methods and insights on buying winning stocks in an in-depth IBD radio interview.

Here are some highlights from William O'Neil's interview withIBD:

William O'Neil's interest in the stock market began when he started working as a young adult. 

"I say many times that I didn't get that much out of college. I didn't have much interest in the stock market until I graduated from college. When I got married, I had to look out into the future and get more serious. The investment world had some appeal and that's when I started studying it. I became a stock broker after I got out of the Air Force."
He moved to Los Angeles and started work in a stock broker's office with twenty other guys. When their phone leads from ads didn't pan out, O'Neil would take the leads and drive down to visit the prospective customers in person.

"I'd get in the c…