This man is Andrew Carnegie. If you draw up a list of the 50 most successful people who have lived anytime in the past 100 years, there is a very good chance that his name would be on that list.
Carnegie grew up in a poor family. His father was a hand loom weaver. His mother was the daughter of a shoemaker. One of Carnegie's first jobs was as a messenger boy in a telegraph company , earning $2.50 per week.
Despite these humble beginnings, Carnegie ended up building one of the most powerful and influential corporations in the history of the United States. By the 1860s, he had investments in railroads, railroad sleeping cars, as well as bridges and oil derricks. In the 1870s, he founded the Carnegie Steel Company, which eventually became the largest and most profitable industrial enterprise in the world.
Carnegie wasn't just a business tycoon. Among other things, he was also a scholar and a social activist. He became one of the best-known philanthropists in the world, and had a special interest in funding local libraries, world peace, and scientific research. By the time he died in 1919, he had given away USD $350,695,653 (approximately US$4.3 billion, adjusted to 2005 figures). After his death, his estate continued to donate millions of dollars to charitable causes.
Carnegie, as social activist, also had several interesting theories. One of his key ideas was that wealthy people had a responsibility to redistribute their wealth back to the poor in society, for the greater good of mankind. He called this idea the Gospel of Wealth.
Anyway, Carnegie had a secret. It was later known as the Carnegie Secret. Apparently Carnegie discovered this secret all by himself. He felt that it was very, very important. It was basically the secret to achieving just about any goal a person might have. Carnegie felt that he should teach this secret to everybody, to share it with the rest of the world. How did he try to do this?
He met a young journalist. He explained the Carnegie Secret to the journalist. He wanted the journalist to write about the Carnegie Secret. However, Carnegie didn't want the journalist to simply take Carnegie's word for it, that the Carnegie Secret was true and really worked. Carnegie wanted the journalist to vigorously investigate and test the Carnegie Secret and be personally convinced of it . How? By researching the most successful people in the United States, and meeting them personally wherever this was possible, and asking them if they too, knew the Carnegie Secret.
It was a project that lasted 20 years. During this time, the journalist personally met with, or did research on, people like Henry Ford, Theodore Roosevelt, Thomas Edison, Alexander Graham Bell, John Rockefeller and many others. In total, the journalist did his research on more than 500 extremely affluent, powerful and/or successful people. And eventually, that journalist, Napoleon Hill, did write a book about the Carnegie Secret. First published in 1937, the book continues to be sold today, 70 years later. It is one of the bestselling books of all time.
The book, of course, is about TAR.
It is not one of my favourite books. One reason is that I find it rather dated - the examples and illustrations it uses are drawn from the world as it was in the 1920s and 1930s. The book also presents conventional, non-TAR wisdom such as the importance of persistence and good planning, which is rather obvious and self-explanatory to me. However, a good chunk of the book does revolve around key words like "thought", "faith", "visualisation", "imagination" , "subconscious mind", "reality", "the sixth sense", "autosuggestion", "positive affirmation", "the transmutation of sex energy", "the science of prayer", "Infinite Intelligence" etc. In other words, hardcore TAR.
As I said - it's not one of my favourite books. But it is one of the pioneering works, and it would be unfair to regard it as anythng less than a true modern classic. It is Mr Andrew Carnegie's secret. In case you're interested, this is the book - Think and Grow Rich.