All it takes is guts!

Dear Friend,

It is my hope and desire that this short post inspires you today. Studying other successful people is a great way to open your mind to new horizons, possibilities, solutions and even inventions.


Cornelius Vanderbilt is a great example of a man who does not take "NO" for an answer. True inspiration. Judge for yourself.

How does a poor and uneducated Dutch kid from Staten Island become one of the wealthiest entrepreneurs in history?

  • At age 11: Quit school

  • At age 15: “I’m tired of working for somebody else. I just know I could make me a heap of money…”

  • At age 16: Borrowed $100 to buy a sailboat & started his own ferry service from Staten Island to Manhattan. On repaying the $100 loan, Vanderbilt said “There ain’t nothing to it, except work and giving folks what they want.”

Later on, he became the market leader in the steamboat business. When railroads came, he embraced and dominated the new industry. “Say nothing and jump quick.”

Despite massive wealth, the commodore lived modestly, splurging only on his passion, horseracing. Once Vanderbilt had dyspepsia and the doctor prescribed him champagne. Vanderbilt said “Oh, no, doctor, I can’t afford champagne! Won’t sody-water do?”

Vanderbilt would be worth $143 billion in 2007 United States dollars if his total wealth as a share of the nation's gross domestic product (GDP) in 1877 (the year of his death) were taken and applied in that same proportion in 2007 (The Wealthy 100) “We’ve made it . . . I knew all it needed was guts.”

His $1 million gift to found Vanderbilt University was the largest charitable contribution in American history at that time. A lifelong Christian, most of his philanthropy supported the church.