Andrew Carnegie

The Gospel of Wealth by Andrew Carnegie Book Summary, Notes, and PDF

Last Updated on November 16, 2020

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The author is one of the richest men in the United States. Therefore, his advice on how to make money is both certified and easy to understand. Carnegie was born in Scotland and later migrated to America. 

He collected a vast fortune while doing business with steel back in the 1800s. Carnegie’s company was worth more than $400 million when he sold it. After retiring, he devoted his life to charitable causes. 

His essay was published in 1889. Everything in the article represented Carnegie’s wisdom and his vision of wealth.

The author felt that the law of competition represented the society’s base in wealth. However, he stated that some rivals could control wealth. 

Yet, Carnegie encouraged the rich people to carry out their duty towards society. He stands by his principles and displays them in his speech. 

In his whole life, he donated more than $350 million for charitable causes. This includes building many libraries for the general public and creating the Carnegie Mellon University. He had his view of charity and how money should be used for a higher purpose.


Capitalism Is Something That Stimulates Growth

For a society to grow, there has to be economic development. There is an ideal system that creates a boundary between rich people and poor people. Industry leaders also perform their tasks by making new business opportunities. These opportunities create more profit and give the public more jobs. Leaders that attain financial success will be able to enjoy proper luxuries in life. These luxuries are not attainable by those of the working class. 

However, this difference means that there is economic growth. In the investor system, there is a high quality of goods and services. There are also lower prices, and these make things more affordable for everybody. Some people go back when there is more equality for everyone. However, if people go back to those times, it is pretty damaging.

As for people that are presently stuck in the working class, several luxury necessities can be accessed. These attainable things are considered as a luxury for even the rich more than a century ago. 

That being said, economic growth comes at a price. This means less interpersonal relationships with people. There is a gap between the boss and the worker. As an executive, he cannot have great relationships with all his workers if the company has one thousand workers. Therefore, workers turn into faces and names that they can barely remember. Thus, different sides cannot understand the other person’s problem. There are damaged interpersonal relationships between people.

The Rule of Competition

The rule of competition lets people attain more significant benefits and encourages the person to have more ambition and accomplishments. 

Capitalism has become better than other systems, allowing people with different skill sets and abilities to find a job that better fits them. This improves their financial capabilities and helps them get rid of their boundaries. 

This rule of competition forces employers to be wary of their expenditures. The workers’ and their bosses’ salary has become a significant factor contributing to conflict. 

The rule of competition has many issues. However, rejecting the plus sides of these rules will make you seem short-sighted. 

To grow more, you need more competition. There is no other way to keep expanding the business. You might suffer as an individual in this competitive process. 

However, society as a whole will reap the benefits of competitive results. People that accept it will keep blooming. Others that don’t merely fail.

The law of competition simply creates an environment that makes leaders of those with great skill sets. These leaders know that profitability is a proper measure of growth in a free market economy. Capitalism lets big people get great results. This is ultimately the opposite compared to a communist society. 

In communism, individual growth isn’t promoted. Capitalism creates competition, which is better than communism. 

This system lets people attain their economic status. It allows people to get self-direction. It also doesn’t support any boundaries that can withhold growth. It is not a perfect system, but it will enable people to reap the rewards if they are reliable and motivated.

Wealth Distribution

Capitalism offers chances to everyone in society. However, only a few people are lucky to obtain the wealth that they can potentially achieve. These people have three different options for distributing their extra finances. These options are:

  1. Leaving a legacy after death to their family members.
  2. Create fund organizations to help society.
  3. Give out resources to other people all through their life.

Throughout history, there is evidence that heirs do not handle legacies properly. European royal families give wealth to the eldest male child. The eldest male child spends all the wealth lavishly and destroys the wealth of the family. That is why there is a question that wonders if the parents should give their children wealth.

 The parents do not want the child to live in poverty. Therefore, making sure that the kid has a decent life is still a significant duty of the parent for the child. 

Some parents want to give millions of dollars to their kids. This is for children that cannot earn a living for themselves. Or kids without goals for charity. Parents should teach their children a sense of responsibility. 

Therefore, children should be given proper education.

Therefore, some people leave their wealth for public usage. They have given up the chance to do charity when they are still alive. However, those people left in charge of the money do not use the wealth for public interests.

Higher Taxes That Help

Higher taxes can discourage rich people from keeping money. This also encourages the rich from allocating money when they are alive. They should allocate their wealth when they can, and not when they are already dead. If they make mistakes to do so when they die. People that get productive but don’t use the wealth are not worthy of being admired. The community does not appreciate it. The dead cannot bring money to their grave.

The best way for rich people to let society benefit for the community is to reallocate money to people that need the money.

To do so, the government should create a system that can allocate extra wealth so that it will improve each citizen’s life.

For The Gains of the Society

The best way of allocating resources is to make sure that everyone gains from this system. The main goal is to create a system that makes the rich invest their money. This is for the good of society. 

Therefore, this tactic is more desirable compared to the traditional tactic. In the old tactic, donors offer small amounts of money to the community over some time. When proper direction and control have not been given – most people end up spending money on things that are not necessary.

Tilden was once the governor of New York. He allocated resources of $5M to build a proper library in the city. 

The library contained a lot of treasured books for all to read. Tilden would have been given more appreciation and praise had he built the library during his life instead of after his death. There would be less controversy if he did so.

Rich people should be thankful for the gifts they’ve received. They have an opportunity to help their fellow friends. The power to give another person a better life is a rare gift. No one should waste this gift.

A Mandate for Rich People

The instruction for rich people is evident. Make sure to live a humble life without much drama. 

Provide suitable food for your family. Give some resources back to society. 

The rich are acting as an agent for more impoverished people. Rich people should know how to use their assets to benefit the community.

There is no purpose for people trying to indulge in riches. Therefore, you should not know whether a rich person is living a luxurious life. It’s best if people cannot tell a person’s wealth merely by looking at them.

A person that loves to show off that he is rich prefers his self-image over substance. That means he is not charitable as well. In this sense, the public does view him in the right manner.

What Is Charity and Why We Need to Donate Sensibly

The society’s growth is hindered by people donating randomly: the public needs wise advice and proper administration. 

Donors might be wasting millions on unworthy people or causes. 

If you donate money randomly, it might cause more problems rather than getting rid of the issues. The money that you give to useless and unmotivated people will not change their lives. They might just spend it foolishly. 

Giving charity might just make the donor feel good about himself. It also stops beggars from creating trouble for a short period. 

However, if you invest in a proper individual, it will cause a more significant impact on society.

The main objective of the charity is making people have better lives or letting them improve their lives. 

Some of the hard-working people just have terrible luck. That is why they need temporary help financially. However, if you want to give someone money, that person must be genuine. Not to those that just want some handouts of cash. You must find out where your money is going before investing.

People that can aid societal growth should be guided. Books, libraries that can improve someone’s life skills mentally and physically should be donated by the rich. Museums help society to broaden their thinking.

Solving The Big Issue

Properly allocating money has its advantages. It lets wealthy people keep collecting their payment. It also gives the rich assurance that they do not have to forego their individuality. Therefore, society asks them to help poor people. Thus, the wealthy help people to attain money, leading to the improvement of society. Rich people should know that there is no sense in dying rich.

Author Biography

Carnegie was one of the wealthiest businessmen in the 19th century. He wrote many books and expanded his work in philanthropy. He owned Carnegie Corporation and built Mellon University in the early 19th century.

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