37 pages 1 hour read

Harold C. Livesay

Andrew Carnegie And The Rise Of Big Business

Nonfiction | Biography | Adult | Published in 1975

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Key Figures

Andrew Carnegie

The central figure of Livesay’s biography, Andrew Carnegie occupies the bulk of the book. Livesay’s descriptions of Carnegie’s life mostly adhere to discussing his growth as an entrepreneur, with occasional episodes of Carnegie’s personal life. Carnegie is born in 1835 in Dunfermline, Scotland, to a poor family. As a youth, he absorbs the political ideals of Britain’s Radical movement through his father, Will. Carnegie’s family immigrates to Pittsburgh in 1848, where Carnegie immediately takes up work in a textile factory to support his family. Unhappy with factory work, Carnegie jumps at the opportunity to work as a telegraph messenger boy. Carnegie’s diligent work ethic sees him climb up the ladder of the telegraph office, until he finally lands a job working under Tom Scott on the Pennsylvania Railroad. Under Scott, Carnegie learns the ins-and-outs of running a modern corporation, and also learns to make a fortune through investing his money in various corporations and through speculative deals.

Longing to create something concrete out of his money, Carnegie opens his steelworks in 1872. The corporation modernizes the manufacturing industry through its emphasis on precise accounting, use of scientific knowledge, and vertical integration. Over the next three decades, Carnegie’s steelworks grows in size, becoming one of America’s most profitable businesses.

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