Meet Andrew Carnegie: The Wrong Career Path?
In 1868, Carnegie wrote himself a remarkable memo in which he questioned his chosen career, a life of business. Even more remarkable, he kept the letter for his entire life, carefully preserving it in his files:
Thirty three and an income of 50,000$ per annum. By this time two years I can so arrange all my business as to make no effort to increase fortune, but spend the surplus each year for benevolent purposes. Cast aside business forever except for others.
Settle in Oxford & get a thorough education making the acquaintance of literary men -- this will take three years active work -- pay special attention to speaking in public.
Settle then in London & purchase a controlling interest in some newspaper or live review & give the general management its attention, taking a part in public matters especially those connected with education & improvement of the poorer classes.
Man must have an idol -- The amassing of wealth is one of the worst species of idolatry. No idol more debasing than the worship of money. Whatever I engage in I must push inordinately therefor should I be careful to choose that life which will be the most elevating in its character. To continue much longer overwhelmed by business cares and with most of my thoughts wholly upon the way to make more money in the shortest time, must degrade me beyond hope of permanent recovery.
I will resign business at Thirty five, but during the ensuing years, I wish to spend the afternoons in securing instruction, and in reading systematically.