I assigned my 13-year old to read Letters from a Self-Made Merchant to his Son and write me a page on what he learned. Here is his report:

Graham’s letters to Pierrepoint were intended to teach him things, but the letters have been educational to me as well—and very likely to many others. For one thing, I have learned that if someone makes the same mistake multiple times he can’t keep making excuses and that if you’re going to make a fool of yourself, you should at least try to make sure you’re being a different sort of a fool every time. I could use this to avoid problems. Then there’s that some people can only see those above them, and some can only see those below them, but a good man can see both ends at once. It’s easier to climb if you help those above and below you, because they might help you up. This could be useful in many aspects of life. Finally, there’s that you shouldn’t start talking before you know what you’re going to say and that you shouldn’t keep talking beyond when you’ve said what you were going to say. You may have noticed that this letter is shorter than you might have intended, but that is because I applied the third thing I mentioned to this letter.


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