Words of Wisdom from Big Business, Part 2

In the second of this four part series I selected bits of wisdom from modern business experts and historians that appear on HISTORY’s “The Men Who Built America”. (Read Part 1 here.)

The following quotes are from the second episode, Bloody Battles. As the war heats up between Rockefeller and Carnegie the observations from these leaders become more pointed. If you can make the time in your schedule, this episode is worth watching if only to see how an elephant helped Carnegie to convince some residents that the first steel bridge would not collapse.

On Mentors
“Like most young people who get breaks, luck has a lot to with it and timing. And the second factor besides timing is that as a young man usually all of us would admit that there was a mentor, a benefactor. And when an older person who you respect and admire has confidence in you it’s a great booster to your own self confidence.” – Steve Wynn

On Perseverance
“You have to be patient and have perseverance and have a sense of where you want to go and having the passion to still believe in your idea even when everybody else is saying ‘Why are you wasting your time on this, obviously it’s not, it’s not, it’s not happening?’ But you know it’s going to happen. You just don’t, you never give up on that idea.” – Steve Case

On Uniqueness
“Every business has some uniqueness; either unique talent, unique product, unique capacity. And the trick is to find it and capitalize on it.” – Ron Perelman

On Failure
“I guarantee if these guys were alive today they wouldn’t be telling you about their successes, they’d be telling you about their early failures. Or the places they almost failed. That’s the great motivator and you have to be able to embrace that. If you can’t embrace both failure or the possibility of failure or the tremendous fear of failure, you can’t be wildly successful. It’s an axiomatic truth.” – Donny Deutsch

On Fear“The difference between people who succeed and people who fail, I think in many cases it’s not fear. Everyone experiences fear. The difference is what do you do with your fear. Do you work to overcome it or do you let it defeat you? And I think that is actually what distinguishes very successful people from others.” – Carly Fiorina

On Partnerships
“The partnership between Carnegie and Frick was very analogous to the way a good business partnership works today. You want somebody that’s completely opposite and different from you as you possibly can get.” – Mark Cuban

More on Partnerships
“I think the great leaders find partners who basically can exploit their weaknesses but not, kind of, dance on their strengths. Instead of hiring weaker versions of themselves they hire people that are tremendous experts at what they’re not.” – Donny Deutsch

On Being First
“Carnegie demonstrated that if you’re the first at whatever you do, you have a huge advantage over the people who come along later because you got the jump on them and very often that jump allows you to carve a niche and to maximize your profits within that niche.” – H. W. Brands (historian)

On Brands
“When your brand becomes so big that you become the name, you become the face behind the brand, it’s difficult. There’s also a great deal of responsibility and risk and you have to be very, very careful.” ­– Donald Trump

On Competition
“I always say you have to have someone to hate to aim for. Having an enemy, having an arch enemy, having a competitor, is what ups the game for everybody.” – Donny Deutsch

More on Competition
“Oh I benefit from high class competition. I’ve been dogged by the competition. Bested by the competition a couple times. But I’ve had my licks too and we’ve managed to hold our own.”– Steve Wynn


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