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#163 Alfred Nobel
January 18th, 2021 | E163

What I learned from reading Alfred Nobel: A Biography by Kenne Fant.


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[16:24] The self-awareness that would become so characteristic of him was awakening and with it the determination to be the master of every situation. He was not going to throw himself into the world and let luck or chance lead the way. 

[26:26] When it comes to serious matters, I have adopted the rule of acting seriously. 

[28:09] Alfred never forgot poverty

[30:04] Financial pressure was accelerating his development as an inventor. 

[39:15] Alfred asked her what she wished as a wedding present. The quick-witted young woman astonished him by replying without hesitation, “As much as Monsieur Nobel himself earns in one day.” Impressed and amused, Alfred agreed. The girl received a monetary gift of such size that she and her husband could enjoy it as long as their marriage lasted. The bank draft Alfred signed was for $110,000. 

[47:33] It would take many years for Alfred to accept the idea that sometimes business failures were inevitable, that steps forward in one market were very often followed by a decline in another. Alfred learned to steel himself so that the disappointments would not depress him into inaction. 

[51:18] Never do yourself what others could do better or equally well

[57:26] Nobel had a soul of fire. He worked hard, burned with ideas, and spurred his collaborators on with his contagious energy

[58:04] When he went somewhere he liked to get there fast. 

[59:17] Whatever a human being manages to accomplish during his or her lifetime, there are so utterly few whose names will remain on the pages of history for any extended amount of time. Rarer still are those whose renown grows after their death. Alfred Nobel belongs among these. 


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