We can learn valuable lessons from the life of Samuel Andrews.
Haven’t ever heard of him?
There’s a reason. He was John D. Rockefeller’s right-hand man, and stood to become one of the world’s richest men.
But then something got in the way.
There is an important lesson to be learned from the story of Samuel Andrews, as told by biographer Ron Chernow in Titan: The Life of John D. Rockefeller.
John D. Rockefeller learned to clean oil from Sam Andrews. Andrews was the ideal partner for Rockefeller. While he lacked business sense, he had mechanical knowledge that Rockefeller didn’t.
The quality of kerosene that Andrews was able to produce, and the efficiency of his process, rendered him indispensable—until something got into the way. But before we get to that, a bit of history.
It was Rockefeller himself who propositioned Andrews to go into business in the first place.
“Sam,” he said, “we are prospering. We have a future before us, a big future. But I don’t like Jim Clark and his habits. He is an immoral man in more ways than one. He gambles in oil. I don’t want this business to be associated with a gambler. Suppose I take them up the next time they threaten a dissolution. Suppose I succeed in buying them out. Will you come in with me?”
Andrews agreed and they shook hands on the deal.
The ability to keep your head when others are losing theirs is a superpower.
The world doesn’t always work the way you want it to. People will slight you.
You’ll get fired. You’ll make mistakes. People who are smarter than you will compete for your job.
And how you respond to all of this will make all the difference.