I am a financier
Too Long; Didn't Read The alumni of Eastman College gave their annual banquet,
March 30, 1901, at the Y. M. C. A. Building. Mr. James G.
Cannon, of the Fourth National Bank, made the first speech of
the evening, after which Mr. Clemens was introduced by Mr.
Bailey as the personal friend of Tom Sawyer, who was one of the
types of successful business men.
MR. CANNON has furnished me with texts enough to last as slow a speaker as myself all the rest of the night. I took exception to the introducing of Mr. Cannon as a great financier, as if he were the only great financier present. I am a financier. But my methods are not the same as Mr. Cannon’s.
I cannot say that I have turned out the great business man that I thought I was when I began life. But I am comparatively young yet, and may learn. I am rather inclined to believe that what troubled me was that I got the big-head early in the game. I want to explain to you a few points of difference between the principles of business as I see them and those that Mr. Cannon believes in.
He says that the primary rule of business success is loyalty to your employer. That’s all right—as a theory. What is the matter with loyalty to yourself? As nearly as I can understand Mr. Cannon’s methods, there is one great drawback to them. He wants you to work a great deal. Diligence is a good thing, but taking things easy is much more-restful. My idea is that the employer should be the busy man, and the employee the idle one. The employer should be the worried man, and the employee the happy one. And why not? He gets the salary. My plan is to get another man to do the work for me. In that there’s more repose. What I want is repose first, last, and all the time.
Mr. Cannon says that there are three cardinal rules of business success; they are diligence, honesty, and truthfulness. Well, diligence is all right. Let it go as a theory. Honesty is the best policy—when there is money in it. But truthfulness is one of the most dangerous—why, this man is misleading you.