The Age Of The Moguls by Stewart Holbrook: Book Summary


In this book summary of The Age Of The Moguls by Stewart Holbrook, you’ll find my notes, high-level ideas, valuable lessons, and important action steps.

The Age Of The Moguls Summary

The moguls are: Astor, Vanderbilt, Gould, Rockefeller, Fisk, Carnegie, Morgan, Gates, Lawson, Rogers, Flagler, Insull, McCormick, Armour, Frick, Ford, Hill, Harriman, Villard, Du Pont, Guggenheim, Mellon, and Hearst.

All the moguls have different personalities and traits to them. This shows that there’s no personality trait to become successful—extrovert, introvert, or a combination of both, it doesn’t matter.

One way to win is to eliminate competition by simply being the best, by having the best product or service.

Change brings with it tremendous opportunity for success and wealth.

You can go fast on your own. However if you want to build a big company and go far, you need a great team around you.

As the decades and centuries go by, business only gets more competitive and it takes more ingenuity than before to be great. This is because of advancing technology and government regulation.

Failure happens to everyone. But you only truly fail if you quit. Successful people use their failures as valuable learning experiences to come out on top the next time an opportunity presents itself. Quitting isn’t an option.

Many people, if not most, who became mega rich started broke with nothing but a grand vision for themselves.

Public perception will win or lose you customers, your reputation, and your lasting legacy.

You have to know what you want before you can make the decisions to get there. For example, J.P. Morgan wanted to own the biggest company in the world and Carnegie wanted peace and pleasure in his older age, so they made a deal and Carnegie sold his steel company.

It takes unordinary energy to accomplish great feats that many people say can’t be done. All of these moguls were extremely mentally strong and didn’t let anything or anyone get in their way.

The moguls were the ones largely responsible for making the United States the number one economic power in the world.

Mini Summary

Anything is possible in this world when you combine all your focus and energy to achieve it.

The rags to riches, American Dream, is very much a reality for many people. Because when you’re poor, you’re hungry and motivated. (Where sometimes being born to wealthy parents is a curse that robs your motivation.)

Although the public likes to criticize these moguls, they were great builders who advanced technology, innovation, and the way people live—even today.

Three Favorite Quotes

“None subscribed to the dogmas of the philosophers which deal with what ought to be, but held stoutly to the proposition that what is and what shall be is determined by the forces at work. That they understood the forces at work must be clear from their accomplishments.”

“To John Davison Rockefeller the panic of 1873 was just one more piece of evidence of the dangers, even the futilities, that lay in competition. Competition was wasteful, disorderly. Competitors, at least those of Standard Oil, must be tamed and brought in, or crushed.”

“Most of them were well paid for their fearsome energy, but I cannot bring myself to believe they were moved solely by the profit motive. They wanted profits, of course, and got them, but there was something else. I am naive enough to think their tremendous drive came from the same source that drove Genghis Khan and Napoleon Bonaparte.”

Action Steps For You

Just realize that you’re the one responsibility for the success, health, wealth, and results of your life.

Once you comprehend that, there’s nothing else left to do but get disciplined over your craft—like these moguls did.

In other words, commit to master your self-discipline in the good times and the hard times. Do the work you know you need to do.

Because when you master discipline, you’ll be able to put in countless work over decades and that will all pile up to bring you financial and career success.

You’ll stop dreaming. And you’ll start accomplishing everything you wanted. You’ll feel alive.

And then you’ll be in position to contribute greatly to the people around you. You can’t give what you don’t have. That’s why when you accomplish and get paid for it, you can give generously and your life becomes bigger than your own.

Remember, the direction and outcome of your life is all up to you. Choose what you want and then stay disciplined in your chase of it.

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Brian Robben

Brian Robben is the founder of Take Your Success, a site dedicated to helping entrepreneurs and wantrepreneurs grow a profitable business and reach freedom. For in-depth training, visit:

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Hey Brian,

    I just finished Zero To One by Peter Thiel. I think you would really like it as it is similar to The Age of the Moguls judging by your summary.

    Thiel talks about how new entrepreneurs should look to dominate niche markets vs. trying to get a piece of a large established markets. This ties to your second favorite quote: you need to have multiple times better of a product if you want to make it in an established market or else you will be crushed.

    Great summary and glad you are staying consistent on the book club series!


    1. Brian Robben

      That’s always been on my list and actually is on the calendar for a book summary. So eventually I’ll read it this year and take notes on it.

      Looks like we’re both staying consistent and crushing our book reading and posting goals. Keep it up!

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