Is There More Than One Right Way? See What The Legends Say

Written by Posted On Friday, 17 September 2021 00:00

One of the great self-help authors, Napoleon Hill, wrote the book Think and Grow Rich in which he offered a scenario where the Chicago Tribune published an editorial calling Henry Ford "an ignorant pacifist.” Mr. Ford subsequently sued the paper for libeling him, and when the suit was tried in the Courts, the attorneys for the paper placed Ford on the witness stand, to show his ignorance. After the drudgery of long, detailed questioning Hill says this…

“Finally, Mr. Ford became tired of this line of questioning, and in reply to a particularly offensive question, he leaned over, pointed his finger at the lawyer who had asked the question, and said, ‘If I should really WANT to answer the foolish question you have just asked, or any of the other questions you have been asking me, let me remind you that I have a row of electric pushbuttons on my desk, and by pushing the right button, can summon to my aid men who cananswer ANY question I desire to ask concerning the business to which I am devoting most of my efforts. Now, will you kindly tell me, WHY I should clutter up my mind with general knowledge, for the purpose of being able to answer questions, when I have men around me who can supply any knowledge I require?’

“There certainly was good logic to that reply. That answer floored the lawyer. Every person in the courtroom realized it was the answer, not of an ignorant man, but of a man of EDUCATION. Any man is educated who knows where to get knowledge when he needs it, and how to organize that knowledge into definite plans of action. Through the assistance of his "Master Mind" group of executives in his company, Henry Ford had at his command all the specialized knowledge he needed to enable him to become one of the wealthiest men in America. It was not essential that he have this knowledge in his own mind. Surely no person who has sufficient inclination and intelligence to read a book of this nature can possibly miss the significance of this illustration. 

"Mr. Ford mastered his handicaps, built on his strengths, and within twenty-five years he made himself a man of absolute affluence. Connect with this fact the additional knowledge that Mr. Ford's most rapid strides became noticeable, from the time he became a personal friend of Thomas A. Edison, and you will begin to understand what the influence of one mind upon another can accomplish.”

This story is as insightful as it is entertaining. In a later book, Hill’s Golden Rules, compiled posthumously from Hill’s private notes, tells of a similar scenario with a much different ending. Notice the stark contrast in his account of James A Farrell, President of the United States Steel Corporation from 1911-1932.

"America has a man with a wonderful memory, developed by close observation, lively imagination, and indomitable industry and perseverance.

"The geography of every country is lined in his mind as cleanly as the streets of his native town in Connecticut. He carries in his mind a moving picture of the whole earth.

"He is neither a shipowner nor a captain, yet he has practical knowledge of a shipping business comparable with that of any living ship owner or skipper.

"He is neither a customs official nor a professional tariff expert, yet he carries in his head information in great detail on national and international tariffs and customs duties.

"He is familiar with every minute phase of his concern's manufacturing and selling business, a business that is running at a rate of three million dollars a day, or not very far from a billion dollars a year.

"Questioned once on the witness stand as to what ingredients enter into wine products, he replied, 'Between two and three hundred. Shall name them?' Again asked, 'How many competitors has the American Bridge Company, one of your subsidiaries?' he replied, 'Three hundred and sixty-eight,' and occupied one morning giving their locations, capacities, and character of work produced by them. 

"Asked, among hundreds of other questions, whether the shipping facilities to certain parts of South America were good or bad, he immediately replied, 'One hundred and fifty-eight vessels left here for the River Plate last year, sufficient for the volume of tonnage offered.'

"This living gazetteer of the world, this walking atlas, this international encyclopedia, this commercial wizard, this industrial phenomenon, is James A. Farrell, ex-laborer, now president of the United States Steel Corporation."

It should be noted that both Farrell and Ford made a mark on history. After the writing of this text, Farrell managed to lead U.S. Steel to become the world's first billion-dollar business. Special thanks to the late Napoleon Hill who illustrated for us the simple yet profound principle that there is more than one right way to achieve a goal!

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Don Hutson

After graduation from the University of Memphis, with a major in Sales and a minor in Real Estate, he was #1 salesman in a national organization. He then established his own training firm and shortly thereafter was in demand as a professional speaker.

Since then Don has addressed over half of the Fortune 500 Companies and is featured in over 100 training films. He is Chairman & CEO of U. S. Learning and makes some 50 speaking appearances per year. Perhaps you have seen him on national television where he has been featured on ABC, PBS, TPN and Fox News.

Don is the author of SELLING VALUE, and co-author of the #1 Best Sellers, THE ONE MINUTE ENTREPRENEUR (with Dr. Ken Blanchard) and THE ONE MINUTE NEGOTIATOR (with Dr. George Lucas). He has also authored or co-authored eleven other books.

Don was elected by his peers to the presidency of the National Speakers Association, and has received its prestigious Cavett Award, as member of the year. He has also been honored with NSA's Speakers Hall of Fame Award, and is a recipient their Master of Influence Award along with such notables as Depok Chopra, Jack Kemp and Ronald Reagan. He is also a member of Speakers Roundtable.

He has addressed over 750 Realtor audiences including the National Association of Realtors on multiple occasions, as well as many prominent real estate companies.

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