Best Books by Andrew Carnegie


Best Books by Andrew Carnegie

“You cannot push anyone up a ladder unless he is willing to climb a little.” Have you come across this quote? If yes, then maybe you’ve heard and read about the person behind this saying. It was from the richest man in the world in his era—one of the most famous philanthropists in the 19th Century. He was also the man behind the American steel industry. Right, he is no other than Andrew Carnegie.

In this article, we are going to find out how he became a self-made multi-millionaire. We are going to dive deeper into his great works, as he was one of the most important Philanthropists in his time. He valued books and learning whom we will catch sight of his inspiring best books.

Who was Andrew Carnegie?

William Carnegie, albeit the not enough formal education, taught his son Andrew Carnegie the value of books and learning. Andrew, the son of a handloom weaver, was born on November 25, 1835, at Dunfermline, Fife, Scotland, where he also spent most of his childhood. The introduction of the power loom machine-made Andrew’s father suffers from a general economic downturn.

Being impoverished, the Carnegie family was induced to move to the United States in 1848. In Alleghany, Pennsylvania, which is now a part of Pittsburgh, he and his mother joined a group of Scottish friends and relatives.  Wanting to help his parents, young Andrew had his first job as a bobbin boy at the age of 12, earning $1.20 a week. He always finds time to read books as well as write and attend classes at night, making him keenly Americanised. After two years of working at a handloom factory, he became a messenger at a telegraph office. His intelligence and dedication immediately draw the attention of the Superintendent of the Pennsylvania Railroad Company, Thomas Scott. In 1853 he then quickly made Andrew his private secretary as well as his personal telegrapher.

Carnegie’s growth escalated quickly that in 1859, he took the place of Scott as a Superintendent of the railroad’s division. By the time Andrew turned 20, his father had died. He then became the breadwinner henceforward. While in his post, he made cunning investments that made him had an annual income of $50,000 by the time he reached 30 years old. His investments mostly focused on industrial concerns, which included the first introduction of the first Sleeping Car in the American railroads, the Union Iron Mills, Pittsburgh Locomotive Works, and so on. Sleeping Car, otherwise known as Sleepers, is a railway passenger car that was designed to provide accommodations to passengers who especially travel at night. Thus, this car has several beds in it, in various styles, to make trips even more comfortable.

During his numerous trips to Britain, Andrew meets steelmakers who made him foresee a great demand for steel and iron into the future. Anticipating the future demand for iron and steel, he took a significant turn. He founded The J. Edgar Thomson Steel Works and soon evolved it to Carnegie Steel Company. Carnegie’s new company manufactured the first steel plants in the United States, using a powerful machine borrowed from Britain. This huge success was followed by instantaneously. He was achieving breakthroughs after breakthroughs. The company made a milestone in the name of the American Industry.

Having to resolve the bloody Homestead strike in 1892, leading to depression, the Carnegie Steel Company persisted to flourish.

In the year 1900, the Carnegie Steel Company was credited as a corporation. Producing $40,000,000, Carnegie’s partition was $25,000,000.

In 1901, Carnegie Steel Company was sold to J.P. Morgan, a newly constructed United States Steel Corporation, with the amount of $480,000,00. Mr. Carnegie successively retired and dedicated his time to numerous philanthropic activities.

Andrew Carnegie’s Philanthropic Activities

  • Carnegie Institution

This institution was founded in 1901 for scientific research.

  • Pension Fund for Teachers

Giving away his money for a cause became his new occupation; Carnegie donated $10 million donations intended to teachers as well as to Carnegie Institution mentioned above.

  • He donated 2,000 public libraries all over the United States.

Having noticed that America has no free library, Carnegie donated money to towns and cities to be able to build 2,000 public libraries. Throughout his life, he loved to read; during his youth, a rich neighbor lent his personal library for free. And that affluent, thoughtful man became his inspiration.

  • He gave out $125 million to support education.

Never forgetting Colonel Anderson’s generosity, which greatly impacted his life, he cherished education so much that he bestowed $125 million to Carnegie Corporation to aid other schools and colleges.

  • He offered 90 percent of his fortune for world peace.

Carnegie significantly believed in world peace. He created a massive difference through establishing Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, having a charter as “hasten the abolition of war, the foulest blot upon our civilization”. Which up to present, remains faithful in promoting peace as their mission.

He also sponsored the construction Hague Palace of Peace, which became the home of the International Court of Justice, located in the Netherlands.

By the year 1911, Carnegie’s total of donations cost 90% of his wealth.

Best Books by Andrew Carnegie


1. The Autobiography of Andrew Carnegie Round the World (1878)
2. The Gospel of Wealth (1889)
3. James Watt (1903)
4. Advantages of Poverty (1898)
5. Round the World (1884)
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1 – The Autobiography of Andrew Carnegie Round the World (1878)

The life story of Andrew Carnegie himself is inspirational and fascinating. The story just simply amazes the readers of what a person can achieve in a single lifetime, knowing they started from the average kind of life.

This book will tell a bunch of stories about how Andrew Carnegie’s experiences, especially the people he met, have impacted his life. He didn’t just give a value of the moment but respected and appreciated each unique value of every people whom he met, his mentors… He also spoke about the naivety of his childhood. How his mother and brother, who died of typhoid fever, became a great instrument in his triumph as well as his late but ecstatic marriage.

Carnegie’s enormous funding of libraries was one of history’s well-known heroic acts, and he is now more closely identified with the money financed rather than that which he has made. His story suggests that the amassing of wealth by a single individual if that person has high motives, is one of the best ways to change the world for the better.

This book will take you to how Carnegie became the man in his time. How he looks or foresee the future, the best example of this is when he thought that the Kaiser of Germany would be led peacefully. And that happens once the emperor of Germany will take place as the linchpin. His views on politics and religions are innocent yet dangerous. Relating of course to the economic depression, the arising of radical Islam, and oppression in the tactic of communism.

Carnegie’s most and best naïve are all in here, his intricate write and engaging stories.

Quotes from the book;

“A sunny disposition is worth more than fortune. Young people should know that it can be cultivated; that the mind, like the body can be moved from the shade into sunshine.”

“He that cannot reason is a fool, He that will not a bigot, He that dare not a slave.”

“air castles are often within our grasp late in life, but then they charm not.”

“This is where the children of honest poverty have the most precious of all advantages over those of wealth. The mother, nurse, cook, governess, teacher, saint, all in one; the father, exemplar, guide, counselor, and friend! Thus were my brother and I brought up. What has the child of millionaire or nobleman that counts compared to such a heritage?”

“Not only had I got rid of the theology and the supernatural, but I had found the truth of evolution.”

“The result of my journey was to bring a certain mental peace. Where there had been chaos there was now order. My mind was at rest. I had a philosophy at last. The words of Christ “The Kingdom of Heaven is within you,” had a new meaning for me. Not in the past or in the future, but now and here is Heaven within us. All our duties lie in this world and in the present, and trying impatiently to peer into that which lies beyond is as vain as fruitless.”

2 – The Gospel of Wealth (1889)

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This book had become a great influence on every reader’s perception of the poor, to the rich people, and how important philanthropy is. He discussed that every rich should at least dedicate themselves to any charitable deeds. He kept emphasizing that the affluent have this unique responsibility to help the poor, those who are in need while they are still alive.

Carnegie wrote in this book that the perfect way to impact the world as an affluent is in dedicating an amount of money for places and services that belong to the people. To be more specific, by developing recreation areas, public libraries, and so on. He emphasized that every poor person had to have the right to wealth information. Therefore, they will have full control of their future by educating themselves and fortitude so they will be given a chance to become successful individuals.

He legendarily ended the book with the saying, ‘The man who dies thus rich dies disgraced” which is, at present, very helpful.

Quotes from the book;

“Humanity is an organism, inherently rejecting all that is deleterious, that is, wrong, and absorbing after trial what is beneficial, that is, right. If so disposed, the Architect of the Universe, we must assume, might have made the world and man perfect, free from evil and from pain, as angels in heaven are thought to be; but although this was not done, man has been given the power of advancement rather than of retrogression. The Old and New Testaments remain, like other sacred writings of other lands, of value as records of the past and for such good lessons as they inculcate. Like the ancient writers of the Bible our thoughts should rest upon this life and our duties here. “To perform the duties of this world well, troubling not about another, is the prime wisdom,” says Confucius, great sage and teacher. The next world and its duties we shall consider when we are placed in it.”

“I have never known a concern to make a decided success that did not do good, honest work, and even in these days of the fiercest competition, when everything would seem to be a matter of price, there lies still at the root of great business success the very much more important factor of quality.”

“Among the conditions of life or the laws of Nature, some of which seem to us faulty, some apparently unjust and merciless, there are many that amaze us by their beauty and sweetness. Love of home, regardless of its character or location, certainly is one of these.”

“It is now thirteen years since I ceased to accumulate wealth and began to distribute it. I could never have succeeded in either had I stopped with having enough to retire upon, but nothing to retire to.”

3 – James Watt (1903)

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The biography Andrew Carnegie wrote is about the famous inventor James Watt in his early years, together with his failures and successes, and most importantly, his sublime legacy.

James Watt was at Greenock, Renfrewshire, Scotland, on January 19, 1736. Being the eldest of his four siblings, James became responsible for them as his mother died when he was just 18 years old. Thereafter, his father’s health also began to decline after the death of his mother.

Albeit the circumstances, he grew up to be a Scottish chemist, inventor, and a mechanical engineer.

Carnegie wrote more about James Watt’s endeavors. How he was able to invent the significant Watt steam engine bringing major changes to the Industrial Revolution around the world in 1776, and how he established the concept of horsepower as well as the Si unit power, named after him, the watt.

He succeeded in demonstrating his profound intelligence in science.

As his fellow prominent respected in the Industrial Revolution, the book was written by Carnegie, fascinating enough.

Quotes from the book;

“Nothing man has discovered or imagined is to be named with the steam engine. It has no fellow. Franklin capturing the lightning, Morse annihilating space with the telegraph, Bell transmitting speech through the air by the telephone, are not less mysterious—being more ethereal, perhaps in one sense they are even more so—still, the labor of the world performed by heating cold water places Watt and his steam engine in a class apart by itself.”

“An iron railroad would be a cheaper thing than a road of the common construction.” Here lay in a few words the idea from which our railway system has sprung.”

“Boulton sold the estate which had come to him by his wife, and the greater part of his father’s property, and mortgaged the remainder. It is evident that the great captain had taken in hand far too many enterprises. Probably he had not heard the new doctrine: “Put all your eggs in one basket and then watch that basket.”

4 – Advantages of Poverty (1898)

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This vibrant book features the journey and wisdom of Carnegie as a multi-millionaire philanthropist. In the segments of his books are his showcased attitude of selfless giving that motivates and inspire every reader that in an exceptional work ethic lies the coup de grace of dearth and poverty.

Practicing what he preached Carnegie, a steel tycoon, gained more by giving. His written perception of poverty is given much positivity at the same time, provide a tinge of adverse effects of being productive. And it gives the readers a fresh perception of how to be rich.

Quotes from Carnegie;

“It marks a big step in your development when you come to realize that other people can help you do a better job than you could do alone.”

“And while the law of competition may be sometimes hard for the individual, it is best for the race because it ensures the survival of the fittest in every department. ”

“I don’t believe in God. My God is patriotism. Teach a man to be a good citizen and you have solved the problem of life.”

“TEAMWORK: the fuel that allows common people attain uncommon results.”

“Put all your eggs in one basket and then watch that basket.”

“He that cannot reason is a fool. He that will not is a bigot. He that dare not is a slave.”

“Perhaps the most tragic thing about mankind is that we are all dreaming about some magical garden over the horizon, instead of enjoying the roses that are right outside today.”

5 – Round the World (1884)

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Round the world “around the ball” mostly entails about the travels of Andrew Carnegie for eight months.

In October 1878, the author, Andrew Carnegie, together with his friend, John Vanderford, set forth a journey starting by train from New York to San Francisco for a ship sailing bound to Japan. He compiled in this book his diary for the reader’s amusement. By the time their eight-month expedition was completed, with their last destination in London, they had an uneventful sail back home in May 1879.

This man of adventure wrote a profound balance in terms of his perception towards history and cultural value. Carnegie has been curious about other country’s practices and customs, writing how and why constantly putting himself to another person’s shoes.

He tried to understand the belief of the foreign country, finding out that despite the very significant difference, we are all fundamentally similar. Humanity is always present just at different points.

‘The path of this book is a little meandering.’ a reader once said. ‘If one wants a peek into the psyche of an individual, crack open their daily diary or business journal.’

Carnegie formerly wrote this book for private readership but was later published.

Quotes from Carnegie;

“As I grow older, I pay less attention to what people say. I just watch what they do.”

“A library outranks any other one thing a community can do to benefit its people. It is a never failing spring in the desert.”

“As I grow older, I pay less attention to what men say. I just watch what they do.”

Final Thoughts

As a responsible child, Andrew Carnegie learned a lot from his parents.

From his father, to value the people who are less fortunate and his mother put his own needs first before the others as this were the main reasons why their family collapsed to poverty, especially when his father died. His parent’s beliefs seemed to conflict, but to Andrew Carnegie, it wasn’t. Starting as one of those who are less fortunate, he put his needs first for victory. Then ultimately helped the underprivileged the minute he had it all.

Yet again, we just witnessed how far can education and book take you.

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Books Best Books by Andrew Carnegie – Summaries – Quotes