America’s history has always been shaped by private enterprise. Here are the stories of the people who led those businesses to success.
Ever since the first colonists landed in "The New World," Americans have forged ahead in their quest to make good on the promises of capitalism and independence. This book vividly illustrates the history of business in the United States from the point of view of the enterprising men and women who made it happen. Weaving together vivid narrative with economic analysis, American Entrepreneur recounts fascinating successes and failures, including: how Eli Whitney changed the shape of the American business landscape...the impact of the Civil War on the economy and the subsequent dominance of Andrew Carnegie and J. P. Morgan...the rise of the consumer marketplace led by Asa Candler, W. K. Kellogg, Henry Ford, and J.C. Penny...and Warren Buffett's, Michael Milken's, and even Martha Stewart’s experience in the "New Economy" of the 1990s and into today. It is an adventure to start a business, and the greatest risk takers in that adventure are entrepreneurs. This is the epic story of America's entrepreneurs and the economy they created.
The greatest adventure archetype of American life may not be that of the superhero, secret agent, or Indiana Jones–style archeologist . . . but instead, that of the entrepreneur. Since colonists first landed on the shores of Jamestown in 1607, this country has been founded on the ideals of capitalism, free enterprise, and a spirit of healthy competition that encourages business innovation and success.
Yet who are the men and women who pioneered the greatest business ventures in American history . . . and what can we learn from them? American Entrepreneur presents the epic story of America’s entrepreneurs and the economy they created. The book weaves together historical analysis and economic theory with the inspiring human stories of the incredibly diverse individuals who came from all walks of life to pursue their visions of business success, including:
- Andrew Carnegie, who went from being a child laborer in a textile mill to becoming one of the richest men ever to live in the United States
- Bill Gates and Paul Allen, who left college to make personal computers more accessible, and whose development of Microsoft Windows ultimately changed the world
- P. T. Barnum, who founded the Barnum & Bailey Circus when he was 70 years old
- John W. Nordstrom, who started a Seattle shoe store in 1902 after his adventures in the Klondike gold mines, and whose family eventually took the company public as one of the most successful and admired clothing and shoe stores in the world
- Dr. John Harvey Kellogg, a Seventh-Day Adventist who ran a health sanitarium and provided specialized cereal products for his patients in Battle Creek, Michigan
- Ray Kroc, a 52-year-old paper cup salesman, who saw great potential in the McDonald brothers’ hamburger restaurant and built the largest fast-food empire in the world
- Jerry Yang and David Filo, two graduate students who transformed their attempt to keep track of their favorite websites into a company called Yahoo!
- Michael Ilitch, the son of Macedonian immigrants, who played shortstop for pro baseball’s Detroit Tigers farm team before opening the first Little Caesars pizza restaurant
- H. Ty Warner, a salesman’s son who dropped out of college and took to the road selling a line of stuffed animals he developed called Beanie Babies
It is undeniably an adventure to start a business, and the greatest risk takers in that adventure are entrepreneurs. This is the epic story of America’s entrepreneurs, all the way from the first settlers to the “New Economy” of today.
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Larry Schweikart, Ph.D.(Centerville, OH), a history professor at the University of Dayton, is the author or coauthor of many books, including A Patriot's History of the United States and 48 Liberal Lies About American History. Lynne Pierson Doti, Ph.D.(Orange, CA) is a professor of economics at Chapman University and the editor of Essays in Economic and Business History.