What You Can Learn from Life of Andrew Carnegie

Importance of Positive Mindset in our Daily lives

Afroz Chakure
4 min readOct 16, 2022
Photo by bruce mars on Unsplash

You may have heard the name of Andrew Carnegie amongst the richest men to ever live or have heard of the Carnegie hall or Carnegie Mellon University. But do you know what made him rich and famous?

In this blog I discuss his life, his success and one of the great qualities about him which can help you gain and retain talent in the modern world. But first who is Andrew Carnegie?

Who is Andrew Carnegie?

Andrew Carnegie born in 1835, was a Scottish-American businessman, industrialist, and philanthropist. Carnegie led the expansion of the American steel industry in the late 19th century and is often cited as one of the richest men in history.

Carnegie came to America from Scotland in his childhood. Initially he started out doing odd jobs and eventually grew to become one of the largest steel producers in the United States. At one time he had his 43 millionaires working for him. But how did he do it?

An Immigrant to Richest Man in America

Carnegie, after spending his childhood working in a Pittsburgh cotton mill, he rose to the rank of Divisional Superintendent of the Pennsylvania Railroad in 1859 and made his first fortune by his early thirties.

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He entered the steel industry in his early 1870s and dominated the industry for the next two decades. In 1901, he sold the Carnegie Steel Company to banker John Pierpont Morgan (Head of banking firm that ultimately became J.P. Morgan and Co.) for $480 million.

The Carnegie Steel Company later became known as the U.S. Steel Corporation. After selling Carnegie Steel, he overtook John D. Rockefeller to become the richest American in the years that followed.

Carnegie devoted the rest of his life to philanthropy, with particular emphasis on local libraries, world peace, education and scientific research
With his business fortune, he built Carnegie Hall and the Peace Palace in New York, and founded Carnegie Mellon University and the Carnegie Museum in Pittsburgh.

Importance of having a Growth Mindset

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The following is an excerpt taken from the book “You can Win” by best-selling author Shiv Khera. The author writes that when someone asked Mr. Carnegie how he treated his people, he replied that:

“Dealing with people is a lot like digging for gold: When you go digging for an ounce of gold you have to move tons of dirt before you get to an ounce of gold, but when you go digging, you don’t go looking for the dirt, you go looking for the gold.”

The above reply tells you how you should look for opportunities in others and nurture talent. You should always look to find ways to make the best of things that are at your disposal and not wait for luck to strike each and every time. There is something positive in every situation.


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The above statement by Carnegie is similar to one of Michelangelo’s famous quotes on sculpting.

“The sculpture is already complete within the marble block, before I start my work. It is already there, I just have to chisel away the superfluous material.”

There is something worthwhile in everyone, this could be a natural skill or innate talent. It is important to recognize each of our talents and nurture them correctly. Never underestimate anyone based on where they come from, you never know because luck, hard-work and persistence can take you anywhere in life.

Go beyond the obvious, Try your hand at a variety of things, Learn from everyone. You never know where luck, hardwork and persistence can take you!