How Tycoons Think and View the World

Sometimes you’re treated like a skunk at a tea party.  But that’s the fate of anyone who challenges the status quo. – Rupert Murdoch

I just discovered Hell on Wheels a couple of weeks ago and decided to give it a try because there was nothing else to watch.  I ended up liking it.  While the lead character is a walking cliche, the real star and saving grace of the show is railroad magnate Thomas Durant as played by the great Colm Meaney. Durant was one the tycoons who built the first transnational railroad after the Civil War.

Here’s a scene from the end of the first episode where Durant explains his philosophy. I don’t know if the real Durant ever said this or if it was written for the television character. Either way, it’s a revealing glimpse into how these men tend to view themselves and their place in history. (For more on this topic read up on The Great Man Theory of History.)

The takeaway here is that if you are going to do something great it will most likely require upsetting the status quo. What’s that old saying about about having to break a few eggs to make an omelette? In other words, you have to accept that you will make a few enemies along the way.

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