Ignorance, Confidence, and Filthy Rich Friends: The Business Adventures of Mark Twain, Chronic Speculator and Entrepreneur

Krass, Peter

Published by Wiley
ISBN 10: 0471933376 / ISBN 13: 9780471933373
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Synopsis: While the entire world knows Mark Twain as the renowned author of many classic American novels, few people are aware that he was also a highly successful businessman. In fact, more than half of his life was consumed by moneymaking pursuits, which often resulted in writing projects being neglected--but at the same time, these adventures were the inspiration behind many of the characters found in his books.

In Ignorance, Confidence, and Filthy Rich Friends, Peter Krass captures a little-known side of this American icon and details the roller coaster ride of his business ventures in a dramatic, entertaining, and informative narrative style. From Twain's time as the founder of his own publishing house--where he made a small fortune publishing General Ulysses S. Grant's memoirs--to his foray into venture capitalism and investment in numerous start-up firms, to his focus on his own inventions, this engaging book reveals the Mark Twain that few of us know: the no-nonsense, successful American businessman.

From the Inside Flap: In addition to being one of America's most renowned and beloved writers, Mark Twain considered himself a hard-nosed, visionary businessman. After achieving worldwide literary success in mid-life, Twain actively pursued his business interests: he developed his own inventions, was a venture capitalist who supported other inventors, a Wall Street investor who made a fortune more than once, and a media mogul who founded his own publishing firm. Not surprisingly, he was also a pioneer in salesmanship.

Ignorance, Confidence, and Filthy Rich Friends illuminates this little-known side of an American icon in an engaging and informative narrative that details a business career full of adventure, ambition, and insightful instruction. Author Peter Krass examines all the critical events and circumstances that shaped Twain's "Robber Baron" perspective on money and business. He reveals how, while often torn between being an enlightened man of letters and a materialistic capitalist, Twain was motivated by a relentless desire to accumulate great wealth. Krass traces the source of this sometimes unhealthy compulsion to the writer's boyhood—when he developed an irrational fear of poverty after his father's business ventures failed.

At times as entertaining and dramatic as one of Twain's own works, this fascinating book tells how the legendary writer and humorist made millions in today's dollars publishing the memoirs of General Ulysses S. Grant. It details his escapades as a venture capitalist—one who made significant investments in some twenty start-up firms—and as a Wall Street investor with a sizable stock portfolio. It also tells how, often at the expense of his book projects, he promoted his own inventions, including a children's game he patented in 1885 and numerous other gadgets for everyday use.

Along with these enlightening tales, Krass includes brief mini-chapters entitled "Quirky Habits & Brazen Philosophy" between chapters throughout the book. These interludes further explore the personal habits that aided Twain's stunning success and feature many memorable witticisms from the master himself. For those who know and love Mark Twain only as a writer and humorist, this book will provide a fascinating and revealing look at his life as a successful man of business.

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Title: Ignorance, Confidence, and Filthy Rich ...
Publisher: Wiley
Binding: Hardcover
Book Condition: New

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