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John Jacob Astor   By: (1856-1915)

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LITTLE JOURNEYS TO THE HOMES OF GREAT BUSINESS MEN

BY

ELBERT HUBBARD

JOHN J. ASTOR

The man who makes it the habit of his life to go to bed at nine o'clock, usually gets rich and is always reliable. Of course, going to bed does not make him rich I merely mean that such a man will in all probability be up early in the morning and do a big day's work, so his weary bones put him to bed early. Rogues do their work at night. Honest men work by day. It's all a matter of habit, and good habits in America make any man rich. Wealth is a result of habit.

JOHN JACOB ASTOR

LITTLE JOURNEYS

Victor Hugo says, "When you open a school, you close a prison."

This seems to require a little explanation. Victor Hugo did not have in mind a theological school, nor yet a young ladies' seminary, nor an English boarding school, nor a military academy, and least of all a parochial institute. What he was thinking of was a school where people young and old were taught to be self respecting, self reliant and efficient to care for themselves, to help bear the burdens of the world, to assist themselves by adding to the happiness of others.

Victor Hugo fully realized that the only education that serves is the one that increases human efficiency, not the one that retards it. An education for honors, ease, medals, degrees, titles, position immunity may tend to exalt the individual ego, but it weakens the race and its gain on the whole is nil.

Men are rich only as they give. He who gives great service, gets great returns. Action and reaction are equal, and the radiatory power of the planets balances their attraction. The love you keep is the love you give away.

A bumptious colored person wearing a derby tipped over one eye, and a cigar in his mouth pointing to the northwest, walked into a hardware store and remarked, "Lemme see your razors."

The clerk smiled pleasantly and asked, "Do you want a razor to shave with?"

"Naw," said the colored person, " for social purposes."

An education for social purposes is n't of any more use than a razor purchased for a like use. An education which merely fits a person to prey on society, and occasionally slash it up, is a predatory preparation for a life of uselessness, and closes no prison. Rather it opens a prison and takes captive at least one man. The only education that makes free is the one that tends to human efficiency. Teach children to work, play, laugh, fletcherize, study, think, and yet again work, and we will raze every prison.

There is only one prison, and its name is Inefficiency. Amid the bastions of this bastile of the brain the guards are Pride, Pretense, Greed, Gluttony, Selfishness.

Increase human efficiency and you set the captives free.

"The Teutonic tribes have captured the world because of their efficiency," says Lecky the historian.

He then adds that he himself is a Celt.

The two statements taken together reveal Lecky to be a man without prejudice. When the Irish tell the truth about the Dutch the millennium approaches.

Should the quibbler arise and say that the Dutch are not Germans, I will reply, true, but the Germans are Dutch at least they are of Dutch descent.

The Germans are great simply because they have the homely and indispensable virtues of prudence, patience and industry.

There is no copyright on these qualities. God can do many things, but so far, He has never been able to make a strong race of people and leave these ingredients out of the formula.

As a nation, Holland first developed them so that they became the characteristic of the whole people.

It was the slow, steady stream of Hollanders pushing southward that civilized Germany.

Music as a science was born in Holland. The grandfather of Beethoven was a Dutchman.

Gutenberg's forebears were from Holland.

And when the Hollanders had gone clear through Germany, and then traversed Italy, and came back home by way of Venice, they struck the rock of spiritual resources and the waters gushed forth... Continue reading book >>




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