Immense Power Is Acquired by Assuring Yourself in Your Secret Reveries That You Were Born To Control Affairs

Andrew Carnegie? Apocryphal?

Dear Quote Investigator: U.S. business titan and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie apparently placed great value on psychological techniques such as envisioning success and using affirmations. He believed that one could obtain “immense power” via “secret reveries”. Would you please help me to find a citation?

Quote Investigator: In 1885 Andrew Carnegie addressed the graduating class of Curry Commercial College in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania. He encouraged the students to pursue the highest positions in society. Emphasis added to excerpts by QI: 1

Assuming that you have all obtained employment and are fairly started, my first advice to you is “aim high” I would not give a fig for the young man who does not already see himself the partner or the head of an important firm. Do not rest content for a moment in your thoughts as head clerk, or foreman, or general manager in any concern, no matter how extensive. Say each to yourself, “My place is at the top.”

Be king, in your dreams. Immense power is acquired by assuring yourself in your secret reveries that you were born to control affairs. Be fully satisfied that you are intended by nature for a millionaire, an honest, useful millionaire; every poor young man is. I see the first unmistakeable mark of millionairship upon every one of you in the certificates you have just won. Make your vow that you will reach that position with untarnished reputation . . .

Below are additional selected citations in chronological order.

Continue reading Immense Power Is Acquired by Assuring Yourself in Your Secret Reveries That You Were Born To Control Affairs

Notes:

  1. 1885, Booklet: Address to the Students of the Curry Commercial College Delivered at Liberty Hall Pittsburg by Andrew Carnegie on June 23, 1885, Quote Page 6, Published by Curry Commercial College, Pittsburg, Pennsylvania. (Note: Page images were appended to “Intereses de Bilbao, 1837” in Google Books Database on May 15, 2019) (Google Books Full View) link

Put All Your Eggs in One Basket, and Then Watch That Basket

Mark Twain? Andrew Carnegie? Anonymous?

Dear Quote Investigator: Proverbial wisdom tells us never to put all our eggs in one basket, but a humorous inversion of that advice has been ascribed to the renowned humorist Mark Twain and the business titan Andrew Carnegie. Who should receive credit?

Quote Investigator: On June 23, 1885 Andrew Carnegie addressed the students of Curry Commercial College of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He gave pungent advice to the learners which included a repudiation of the traditional adage about baskets and eggs. Emphasis added to excerpts by QI: 1

The concerns which fail are those which have scattered their capital, which means that they have scattered their brains also. They have investments in this, or that, or the other, here, there and everywhere. “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket” is all wrong. I tell you “put all your eggs in one basket, and then watch that basket.” Look round you and take notice; men who do that do not often fail. It is easy to watch and carry the one basket. It is trying to carry too many baskets that breaks most eggs in this country. He who carries three baskets must put one on his head, which is apt to tumble and trip him up. One fault of the American business man is lack of concentration.

The text above was from a collection of speeches and essays published by Carnegie in 1902. The date and location of the speech were specified in the book. Contemporaneous news accounts also mentioned the event. For example, on August 19, 1885 “The Yonkers Statesman” of Yonkers, New York described the talk under the title “Success in Business”. The phrasing varied: “I tell you” versus “We tell you”, but the adage was identical: 2

“Don’t put all your eggs in one basket” is all wrong. We tell you “put all your eggs in one basket, and then watch that basket.”

Mark Twain heard about Carnegie’s remark, and he was intrigued enough to record it in one of his notebooks. Later, he employed the reversed adage as a chapter epigraph in his tale titled “Pudd’nhead Wilson”. Below are additional selected citations in chronological order including detailed citations for Twain. Continue reading Put All Your Eggs in One Basket, and Then Watch That Basket

Notes:

  1. 1902, The Empire of Business by Andrew Carnegie, The Road to Business Success: A Talk to Young Men, (From an address to Students of the Curry Commercial College, Pittsburg, June 23, 1885), Start Page 3, Quote page 17, Doubleday, Page & Company, New York. (HathiTrust) link
  2. 1885 August 19, The Yonkers Statesman, Success in Business, Quote Page 2, Column 1, Yonkers, New York. (Old Fulton)

War Does Not Determine Who Is Right — Only Who Is Left

Bertrand Russell? Frank P. Hobgood? Jessie Woodrow Wilson Sayre? Reader’s Digest? Montreal Star? Andrew Carnegie? Winston Churchill? Anonymous?

Dear Quote Investigator: A piquant slogan has been used by pacifists and peace activists for decades. Here are two variants:

  • War does not determine who is right — only who is left.
  • The atom bomb will never determine who is right — only who is left.

The first saying is often attributed to the philosopher and social thinker Bertrand Russell, but I have never seen a precise reference to support this connection. Would you please examine this expression?

Quote Investigator: QI has found no substantive evidence that Bertrand Russell wrote or spoke this adage.

The earliest citation located by QI appeared without attribution in “The Saskatoon Star-Phoenix” of Saskatchewan, Canada in August 1931 within an article containing miscellaneous expressions under the title “The Daily Starbeams”. Emphasis added to excepts by QI: 1

“War does not determine who is right.” It only determines who is left.

Here are additional selected citations in chronological order.

Continue reading War Does Not Determine Who Is Right — Only Who Is Left

Notes:

  1. 1931 August 22, The Saskatoon Star-Phoenix, The Daily Starbeams, Quote Page 11, Column 3, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada. (Newspapers_com)