History Channel

History Channel’s The Men Who Built America

I recently watched the History Channel’s program Sun Tzu’s Art of War which in 90 minutes did, arguably, the best job of not only explaining the classic’s lessons but, more importantly, showing how they all dove tail together. If you have any interest in strategy, for business or war, watch the program.

The program reminded me of a controversy that raged back in the 1990s over whether or not, war was a valid metaphor for business. As I read the views of various business book authors I found myself sitting on the proverbial fence. Part of me felt that it was true that business is warfare minus the bloodshed but another part wanted to believe that it was a more gentlemanly affair. Over time I came to accept that business truly is war if you want to build anything significant. If your goal is to settle for running a small Main Street shop out in Springfield, you maybe able to get away with telling yourself that it’s not. The reason for business being war is that building anything significant requires that you upset the status quo and ruffle some feathers. This is going to generate push back from vested interests.

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History Channel’s The Men Who Built America

This looks like it’s going to be a great series. On Tuesday October 16 the History Channel premieres The Men Who Built America. It’s a series about the great tycoons of the 19th century: Rockefeller, Carnegie, Vanderbilt, Morgan, and more. It will use actors to dramatize events. I look forward to it.

I also recommend the western series Hell on Wheels for anyone interested in this period because one of the key characters in it is the man who built the eastern half of the transcontinental railroad, Thomas ‘Doc’ Durant. For anyone interested in reading about these characters, I recommend The Robber Barons.

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