09/07/19 Weekend Grif.Net – Examining Success

09/07/19 Weekend Grif.Net – Examining Success

From nearly =
one hundred years ago, could you name the


1. President =
of the largest steel company?
2. President of the largest =
gas-electric utility company?
3. Principal broker for J.P. Morgan =
& Co., and soon to be president of the New York Stock =
4. Greatest grain-market speculator?
5. The “Wall =
Street Wonder” and “Cotton King”?
6. Head of one of =
the world’s biggest monopolies?
7. Mega-wealthy manager of the =
utilities conglomerate that later became General =


These men were =
considered some of the world’s most “successful =
people” who found the secret of fame and finances. I knew a couple =
names, but NOT “what became of any them”. Here are =
one-sentence answers about this seven men:


1. The =
President of the largest steel company, Bethlehem Steel, Charles M. =
Schwab, died in 1939 a complete pauper ($1.7 million in debt), after =
squandering some $25-40 million (in today’s dollars: $275-$440 =
million) even before the 1929 stock-market =


2. The =
President of the era’s largest gas-electric utility company =
(AGECO), Howard Hopson, lost most of his personal fortune of $74 million =
(attained largely through fraud and pyramid schemes) and went insane, =
dying at age 67.


3. The =
principal broker for J.P. Morgan & Co., and then four-term president =
of the N.Y.S.E., Richard Whitney, embezzled huge sums to fund his =
extravagant lifestyle, and was sent to Sing-Sing prison for it. =


4. The =
greatest wheat speculator, William Cutten, worth millions of dollars in =
the 1920s, was suspected ringleader of boosting the stock market to an =
all-time high that led to the Great Crash/Depression; he died of a heart =
attack in 1936 after being indicted for income tax evasion. =


5. The =
“Wall Street Wonder” Jesse Livermore, was also blamed for =
having been a precipitator of the Great Crash of 1929, committed =


6. Ivar =
Kreuger essentially ran a huge pyramid scheme via a complex structure of =
hundreds of subsidiary shell companies, disallowing audits of his =
firm’s financial statements and committed suicide in =


7. Samuel =
Insull died of a heart attack with 20 cents in his pocket in a subway =
under Paris, six years after his financial empire came crashing down he =
was forced to stand trial in the U.S. for embezzlement, mail fraud, and =
violation of the bankruptcy acts.

What everyone judged as =
“really successful” proved to be mostly smoke and mirrors. =
Which leads me to ask, “Are YOU a success?”  Not sure =
there is a one-size-fits-all answer to define success in life (since =
life is multi-faceted), but as I slide from the “fall” of my =
own life toward inevitable “winter”, it’s time for a =
little introspection.  As Plato (quoting his mentor Socrates) =
wrote, “The unexamined life is not worth =


Am I a =
“success” personally as a man? As a husband? As a =
father/grandfather? As a child of God?  Am I successful in my work? =
In my finances? In my health? In my friendships? In my footprint on this =


Charles =
Spurgeon wrote that “a thorough examination will do the healthy no =
harm and be a blessing to the sick”. As we face another day, =
ponder again how you will live your life as a “success” in =
the eyes of your God, yourself and others.  And remember, taking a =
lot of selfies doesn’t mean you live an examined =



Dr Bob Griffin

"Jesus Knows Me, This I =