William Abbott Thought Tom Carnegie Was a “Better Business Man” than Andrew

The relationship between Andrew and Tom Carnegie sketched in the passage below seems, in some ways, similar to the relationship between Walt and Roy Disney.

(p. 138) William Abbott, who knew both Carnegies from their early days at the Pittsburgh iron mills, thought Andrew a genius, but regarded Tom as the “better business man.” Tom, Abbott told Burton Hendrick, “was solid, shrewd, farseeing, absolutely honest and dependable.” The two brothers had very different notions about business. Andrew was the ambitious one, (p. 139) filled with new ideas; Tom “was content with a good, prosperous, safe business and cared nothing for expansion. He disapproved of Andrew’s skyrocketing tendencies, regarded him as a plunger and a dangerous leader. Tom wanted earnings in the shape of dividends, whereas Andrew insisted on using them for expansion.” There were other differences as well. While Andrew sought out publicity, Tom ran away from it. He was silent, retiring, “not a mixer in society, was tongue-tied at dinner parties and social gatherings.”

Source:
Nasaw, David. Andrew Carnegie. New York: Penguin Press, 2006.
(Note: the pagination of the hardback and paperback editions of Nasaw’s book are the same.)

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