Sep

10

David S. Landes, from anonymous

September 10, 2013 |

 David S. Landes, a distinguished Harvard scholar of economic history who recently passed away, saw tidal movements in the rise of seemingly small things. He suggested that the development of eyeglasses made precision tools possible. Maybe, he said, using chopsticks helped Asian workers gain the manual dexterity needed to make microprocessors.

In more than a half-dozen books and scores of articles, Professor Landes's writing was often as light as his subjects were heavy. Reviewing his 2006 book, Dynasties: Fortunes and Misfortunes of the World's Great Family Businesses, for The Times of London, Christopher Silvester described the writing as pithy, thoughtful and sprightly. The book offers 13 sketches of tycoons, including Henry Ford, John D. Rockefeller and Armand Peugeot.

I love this quote:

"…..In one scene Nathan Rothschild, of the legendary financial family, is hard at work at his desk in London. A peer of the realm is brought in. Rothschild, intent on his ledgers, invites him to take a seat. Offended, the visitor blusters about his high standing. "Take two seats," Rothschild says….."


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