Using Washington's extensive but often overlooked financial papers, Edward G. Read more...
Using Washington's extensive but often overlooked financial papers, Edward G. Lengel chronicles the fascinating and inspiring story of how this self-educated man built the Mount Vernon estate into a vast multilayered enterprise and prudently managed meager resources to win the war of independence. Later, as president, he helped establish the national economy on a solid footing and favorably positioned the nation for the Industrial Revolution. Washington's steadfast commitment to the core economic principles of probity, transparency, careful management, and calculated boldness are timeless lessons that should inspire and instruct investors even today.
First Entrepreneur will transform how ordinary Americans think about George Washington and how his success in commercial enterprise influenced and guided the emerging nation.
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2016-02-08
- Reviewer: Staff
Lengel, director of the Washington Papers project at the University of Virginia, views a familiar subject through the unfamiliar lens of entrepreneurship, showing how the first American president set the nation on a course of prosperity. The book chronicles Washington's business affairs, from his near-obsessive financial ledgering as a teenager, to the windfall inheritance at age 20 that catapulted him solidly into Virginia's upper gentry, to his drawing up his will in the days preceding his death in 1799. Washington comes across as an ambitious opportunist, quickly seeking out and courting Martha, a wealthy widow, to beat out other potential suitors. Her late husband's substantial fortune, combined with his own inherited holdings, made him one of the most affluent men in Virginia. Washington made astute business decisions, including switching from tobacco to wheat production and grinding neighbors' wheat for a profit, along with missteps, such as a doomed plan to sell flour in the West Indies. Lengel also offers an enlightening examination of Washington's strategies as head of the Continental Army and later as president. While Lengel's argument that Washington was a master entrepreneur is not entirely convincing, he does provide an insightful look at a lesser-known aspect of this iconic figure. (Feb.)