June 28, 2004

Jack Covert Selects: Jack Covert Selects--Alexander Hamilton

By: Jack @ 9:03 PM – Filed under: Management & Workplace Culture

Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow, Penguin, 832 pages, Hardcover, April 2004, ISBN 1594200092
Its a stretch, I know. Picking a historical biography as a Jack Covert Selects. But Im doing it anyway. Alexander Hamilton is already a bestseller. And of course Ron Chernow writes superbly, enlightening us with so much detail that it makes this book hard to put down from any perspective, whether it be historical, economical or political. I like it because Alexander Hamilton wasnt just one of the founding fathers of America. He was the founding father with a difference. Controversial. Visionary. He was also a great businessman. A blueprint of a man all businesspeople should study. The book describes it much better than I can:
When it came to the parallel economic upheavals of the period - the industrial revolution, the expansion of global trade, the growth of banks and stock exchanges Hamilton was an American prophet without peer.
Although faced with many adversities, he was an excellent businessman who made the right choices. And even when he didnt, he took misfortune in his stride and recovered quickly. He might not have been president, but he was the founder and chief advocate for the market economy, and the first treasure secretary.
From a business book perspective, we can learn so much from him. He led a life of passion, which is clearly demonstrated in his economic endeavors. So many things that Alexander Hamilton did centuries ago still applies today. I want to share them with you as reminders and as homage to him:
  • He understood the importance of technology. When most people were focused on agriculture, he saw the need for industrialization. This inevitably led to the American Revolution.
  • Alexander Hamilton was willing to learn: The scientific revolution in Europe encouraged him to make the same changes in America. He actively recruited the specialists for several industries, like the cotton and textile industry, himself.
  • Believe in yourself. His ideas got shot down all the time, but he just kept on trying different ways to see his plans come to fruition.
  • Honor and fortitude. Hamilton didnt use his influence to bail out a friend who was in financial ruins due to a stock market crash, but rather told him to act with honor and fortitude. Enough said.

Lets all raise our glasses to Alexander Hamilton. What a guy! And what a book.