David Senra

June 13, 2023

Dynasties: The World's Great Family Businesses


My top 10 highlights from the book:

1. Good was never good enough. The company's slogan was kaizen: continuous improvement.

2. It is impossible to create an innovative product unless you do it yourself, pay attention to every detail, and then test it exhaustively. Never entrust the creation of a product to others, for that will inevitably lead to failure and cause you deep regret. —Sakichi Toyada

3. You should make an effort to make something that will benefit society.

4. Rockefeller's clincher was to offer the victim a look at the books of Standard. A potential seller was dumbfounded to learn that Standard was able to sell at less than his own cost of production. They could kill him whenever they pleased.

5. A man always has two reasons for the things he does; a good one and the real one. — J.P. Morgan

6. For many great businessmen l'appétit vient en mangeant (“Appetite comes with eating.”)

7. Rational, thoughtful, systematic, committed, and diligent, he also cultivated an intense curiosity, a spirit of calculation, and an attention to opportunity. His competitors were amateurs by comparison. He saw them for what they were. (Rockefeller)

8. Failure will kill the business. But so will success.

9. [Nathan Rothschild's extreme levels of self belief] When his prospective father-in-law asked for proof of his prospects, Nathan told him that if he was concerned about having his daughters provided for, he might just as well give them all to Nathan, and be done with it.

10. That was the way J.P. made moves: the ground was already prepared.

Listen to the Founders episode on this book: #307: The World's Great Family Dynasties: Rockefeller, Rothschild, Morgan, & Toyada

About David Senra

Learn from history's greatest founders. Every week I read a biography of an entrepreneur and tell you what I learned on Founders podcast