First of all, to all readers of this blog - I apologize for not having posted in a while. I took a sabbatical, and what little writing I have done was for the SubscriberMail blog. This being said, I also don't believe in writing when I am not feeling so motivated. A blog without a point is blather.
I wanted to write about a great book I am mid way through. It is titled The Billionaire who Wasn't: : How Chuck Feeney Made and Gave Away a Fortune Without Anyone Knowing about an amazing entrepreneur whith a very unusual phianthropic bent. The story is about the origniator of the Duty Free Shop empire. If you have traveled internationally (or to Hawaii), you have probably been in one of his stores in an airport.
He was a man who was able to predict trends and foresaw the growth of Japanese tourism after World War 2, and saw opportunity in selling duty free liquor and cars to military personnel returning from duty overseas. He also seemed to be an extremely creative individual who knew how to build a business empire by finding the cracks of opportunity that exist everywhere and really taking advantage of them.
What makes him different (and worthy of an outstanding book) is that he decided to give away his entire fortune anonomyously (at least until now). For several years, Forbes had him on their list of the top 400 wealthiest individuals in the world (yet he had donated it all to his foundation).
In this day and age where so many beleive that the government has to step in and solve all the problems by taxing business and implementing what has the potential of turning into a socialist economy, Feeney proves that businesses in and of their own can contribute significantly to address our social ills (others have done this too over the ages, and continue to today).
Feeney was inspired by an essay written by steel Barron Andrew Carnegie published in 1889 titled Wealth. It as inspired essay, and I urge everyone to read it no matter what their current financial status is. The basic concept is that it is better for a person to give their wealth away during their lifetime to ensure that the legacy they leave is that which they want it to be. By bequeathing it to relatives, or to a charitable institution removes it from the control of the individual who earned it. A very intersting principle and I strongly suggest reading both the essay and the book.