Review of the Prime Movers: Traits of the Great Wealth Creators

by | Jul 20, 2003 | POLITICS

We’ve all heard about the alleged “robber barons.” For decades the world’s successful wealth creators – from Rockefeller to Gates – have been brushed with that smear. But Dr. Locke shows that the smear just can’t stick. The wealth creators aren’t the dishonest, short-range, conniving bullies we’ve long been told. Instead, they’re both productive and […]

We’ve all heard about the alleged “robber barons.” For decades the world’s successful wealth creators – from Rockefeller to Gates – have been brushed with that smear. But Dr. Locke shows that the smear just can’t stick. The wealth creators aren’t the dishonest, short-range, conniving bullies we’ve long been told. Instead, they’re both productive and moral.

To his credit, Dr. Locke doesn’t accept the prevailing view that rational self-interest is evil – or that humble self-sacrifice is noble. That’s what makes this book special — in addition to Locke’s ability to cut to the essential aspects of creativity in business.

I found Dr. Locke’s survey of the great wealth-creators to be as unique as the subjects he studies. Guided by an objective standard for gauging productive prowess, Locke identifies a handful of the most crucial personality traits held in common by history’s great business creators and leaders. One of my favorites is “love of ability in others.” Successful employees at every level of business will be familiar with the envy and resentment they often get from their bosses. Locke shows that those aren’t the successful bosses, that it takes an enormous ego (and self-confidence) to seek out and promote the best employees one can find.

In Dr. Locke’s book we learn what’s never yet been taught about the productive giants of yesterday and today. Better still, we’re given a reality-based, time-tested, and objective yardstick for identifying the giants of tomorrow.

Want to make a bundle in business? Locke says you must develop an independent vision, an active mind, competence and confidence. You must be an activist (not a mere “idea man”) and be passionate about your work. You must practice the virtues of rationality, honesty, integrity, independence, justice and self-interest (self-preservation). You must buck conventional opinion, which holds that rational greed is practical, but morally suspect. Locke shows us that rational greed is practical precisely because it’s moral. Immoral approaches to business tend, in contrast, to dissipate wealth.

Locke doesn’t just advise us. In bringing alive the achievements of the wealth creators, in citing their successes and quoting their own philosophies, he lets the creators speak to and inspire us. Here, Locke and Rockefeller advise.

This book deserves the rapt attention of entrepreneurs, business leaders, board members, venture capital firms, executive recruiters and business students. It’s not just a history lesson. It’s a principled “how-to” book with a moral-philosophic base that permits the user to feel he can create ever more wealth and – equally important – feel proud of the wealth he’s created.

Order a copy of The Prime Movers: Traits of the Great Wealth Creators

Dr. Salsman is president of InterMarket Forecasting, Inc., an assistant professor of political economy at Duke University and a senior fellow at the American Institute for Economic Research. Previously he was an economist at Wainwright Economics, Inc. and a banker at the Bank of New York and Citibank. Dr. Salsman has authored three books: Breaking the Banks: Central Banking Problems and Free Banking Solutions (AIER, 1990), Gold and Liberty (AIER, 1995), and The Political Economy of Public Debt: Three Centuries of Theory and Evidence (Edward Elgar Publishing, 2017). In 2021 his fourth book – Where Have all the Capitalist Gone? – will be published by the American Institute for Economic Research. He is also author of a dozen chapters and scores of articles. His work has appeared in the Georgetown Journal of Law and Public Policy, Reason Papers, the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, Forbes, the Economist, the Financial Post, the Intellectual Activist, and The Objective Standard. Dr. Salsman earned his B.A. in economics from Bowdoin College (1981), his M.A. in economics from New York University (1988), and his Ph.D. in political economy from Duke University (2012). His personal website is richardsalsman.com.

The views expressed above represent those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the editors and publishers of Capitalism Magazine. Capitalism Magazine sometimes publishes articles we disagree with because we think the article provides information, or a contrasting point of view, that may be of value to our readers.

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