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#247 Henry Flagler (Rockefeller's partner)
May 19th, 2022 | E247

What I learned from reading Last Train to Paradise: Henry Flagler and the Spectacular Rise and Fall of the Railroad that Crossed an Ocean by Les Standiford.


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[1:14] The building of the railroad across the ocean was a colossal piece of work born of the same impulse that made individuals believe that pyramids could be raised cathedrals, erected and continents Tamed the highway

[1:31] All that remains of an error where men still lived, who believed that with enough will and energy and money that anything could be accomplished.

[2:13] Titan: The Life of John D. Rockefeller, Sr by Ron Chernow (Founders #16)

[2:35] Meet You in Hell: Andrew Carnegie, Henry Clay Frick, and the Bitter Partnership That Changed America by Les Standiford. (Founders #73)

The Autobiography of Andrew Carnegie by Andrew Carnegie (Founders #74)

Henry Clay Frick: The Life of the Perfect Capitalist by Quentin Skrabec Jr. (Founders #75)

[5:51] The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin by Benjamin Franklin (Founders #62)

[6:24] Benjamin Franklin: An American Life by Walter Isaacson. (Founders #115) “This industry visible to our neighbors began to give us character and credit," Franklin noted. One of the town's prominent merchants told members of his club, "The industry of that Franklin is superior to anything I ever saw of the kind; I see him still at work when I go home from club, and he is at work again before his neighbors are out of bed." Franklin became an apostle of being-and, just as important, of appearing to be-industrious. Even after he became successful, he made a show of personally carting the rolls of paper he bought in a, wheelbarrow down the street to his shop, rather than having a hired hand do it.

[8:54] Ogilvy on Advertising (Founders #82) Set yourself to becoming the best-informed person in the agency on the account to which you are assigned. If, for example, it is a gasoline account, read books on oil geology and the production of petroleum products. Read the trade journals in the field. Spend Saturday mornings in service stations, talking to motorists. Visit your client’s refineries and research laboratories. At the end of your first year, you will know more about the oil business than your boss, and be ready to succeed him.

[10:50] The Essays of Warren Buffett by Warren Buffett and Lawrence Cunningham. (Founders #227) Over the years, a number of very smart people have learned the hard way that a long string of impressive numbers multiplied by a single zero always equals zero. That is not an equation whose effects I would like to experience personally.

[13:20] Rockefeller did not believe in diversification. He said they had no outside interest. That it is an immense task building a successful company. It's silly to go out and diversify into other lines or to make other investments. Focus on your business!

[13:53] Their chief binding passion: The desire to make large sums of money.

[14:13] Random Reminiscences of Men and Events by John D. Rockefeller. (Founders #148)

[19:44] Warren Buffett on MOATs: On a daily basis, the effects of our actions are imperceptible; cumulatively, though, their consequences are enormous. When our long-term competitive position improves as a result of these almost unnoticeable actions, we describe the phenomenon as "widening the moat." When short-term and long-term conflict, widening the moat must take precedence.

[20:06] The way I define moat: Why are you difficult to compete with?

[26:54] For the last 14 or 15 years I have devoted myself exclusively to my business.

[28:00] He had become a creator instead of an accumulator and he had found much more satisfaction in such an accomplishment.

[30:40] Writer, Sailor, Soldier, Spy: Ernest Hemingway's Secret Adventures, 1935-1961 by Nicholas Reynolds. (Founders #194)

[35:54] You have to admire Julia Tuttle. She is relentlessly persistent.

[36:27] Flagler likes to keep his options open and react to new information.

[43:25] It was a time in history when men were tempted no longer to regard themselves as the mercy of the fates —but as masters of their environment.

[46:08] A Man for All Markets: From Las Vegas to Wall Street, How I Beat the Dealer and the Market by Ed Thorp. (Founders #222 and #93)

[46:29] Getting rich and staying rich are two separate skills.

[49:11] It is well-documented that Flagler planned his actions carefully.

[51:06] He is not at all interested in retiring and is in fact, choosing to run directly towards more difficulties.

[51:51] Decoded by Jay Z. (Founders #238) Every hustler knows the value of a feint. It keeps you one step ahead of whoever's listening in.

[52:57] During your attempt at doing something difficult you're going to have several points where all of the options in front of you would not be described as good options.

[57:47] You realize that you were before a man who has suffered and has never wept, who has undergone intense pain and has never sobbed, who has never bent under stress.

[58:12] The only excess I believe I have indulged in has been that of hard work.

[58:58]  Hard work, energy, and accomplishment. For Flagler it seemed to be all he knew and all he needed to know.

[1:07:16] A story about how not panicking can save your life.


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