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The most important paragraph in business literature?


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"The First Tycoon" is an excellent book on many levels.  It is a fantastic history book.  I did not truly appreciate how new and novel corporations were in the early 1800's.  Up to that time, the vast majority of people were sole proprietorships (think printers, butchers, shoe makers, smiths, etc.) or worked directly for an employer.  Wit the advent of railroads, a new business form was needed to adapt to the scale of such enterprises.  Many were suspicious of the corporate form.  Vanderbilt mastered it quickly and used it to his advantage.


One of my favorite quotes from the book related to people who habitually take the cynical view as a substitute for intellect:


"Cynicism would color later assessments of his efforts, growing out of the deep suspicion of nineteenth-century Americans - particularly newspaper editors - toward wealthy and powerful men.  Cynicism, of course, always seems to be the most sophisticated position to take; yet it is also the laziest (along with hero-worship, its direct opposite).

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