Herbert N. Casson

Herbert N. Casson (1859-1951) was born and raised in Canada. After a brief stint as a minister, he moved to Boston in his early twenties and began working as a journalist for various publications. In 1907, his first book was published: The Romance of Steel: The Story of a Thousand Millionaires.

In 1910, he wrote History of the Telephone. By 1914 he moved to England, and soon began giving lectures on factory management. He also wrote and released many other works, including a journal called Efficiency.


The Romance of Steel: A History of the United States Steel Industry

The History of the Telephone

The Romance of the Reaper

Cyrus Hall McCormick: his life and work

Horse, Truck and Tractor

The crime of credulity

Organized self-help

Ads and sales

Tips on Leadership Or the Life Stories of Twenty Five Leaders

Andrew Carnegie
Cyrus H.K. Curtis
Henry Ford
Frederick Winslow Taylor
George Westinghouse

How to Keep Your Money and Make It Earn More

Creative Thinkers

Making Money Happily: Twelve Tips on Success and Happiness

The Free Library

Quotes From Tips on Leadership

The Independent Leader

If the rank and file say—“Our Leader doesn’t know his own mind,” at that moment they cease to respect him.

If a Leader is the prey of the last speaker—if he is pulled about from right to left, and left to right, then he ceases to be a Leader at all. He is only a formality. He inspires no loyalty and he gives no guidance.

A Leader must know what is to be done. He must instruct others and not go about, like a beggar with a hat, collecting the opinions of others.

These opinion-collectors! The political world is full of them; and there are too many in the world of trade and finance.

A true Leader asks advice, when he has time to think; but he never asks advice in a crisis. He acts. That is what a Leader is for. …

A Leader must go about. He must ask questions. He must respect the opinions of others, but that is all. He must always make up his own mind.

He must be Independent—how strange that sounds! He must not be the prey of the last speaker.

In the real world of Trade, Commerce, Finance, Science, Journalism, Literature, Art and the Drama, no man can be a Leader unless he trains himself to act and take the consequences.

Independence—Up to a Point; and Not Being Surrounded by Flatterers

The average strong, competent man thinks—“I am independent. I am on my own. I have my own firm and my own employees. I must concentrate upon my own interests and pay attention to my own affairs.”

Quite true—up to a point. Be independent, but don’t stand up against the whole world. No matter how strong you are, the world can easily roll over you.

Be self-made—yes. Every worthwhile man is. But don’t cut yourself off from the joys of friendship.

Have followers—yes. Every leader has. But don’t let your followers spoil you.

Don’t let your followers make a conceited ass of you, to put it gently. Don’t let them keep you in a Fool’s Paradise, where you are never told of your mistakes. …

As soon as a man becomes a Leader he must have a Staff of Advisers, but he should not let his Staff degenerate into a mere clique of flat terers and courtiers.

Too many big business men make the old, old mistake that Napoleon made. They depend altogether upon themselves and their underlings. They make no alliances. They have no pals. … The secret of Rockefeller’s success was that he was the only oil man, in the early days, who made alliances. He made an alliance with the railways to guarantee them a fixed daily tonnage.

So, as you can see, it is quite possible to be very rich and yet remain simple and sociable.

No big man, in a word, is as big as his job. He needs help. He needs fearless criticism and advice. He needs the stimulation that can come only from other brains that are as clever as his own.

That is why a strong man should not carry his independence too far. That is why he should make alliances with other Leaders in other lines of trade and commerce. …

A Leader is a sort of President, rather than a Dictator. He must have a Cabinet.

Every great firm, to be progressive, must be a one-man business. But the one man must have his Staff of Helpers and Advisers and Managers. He must not try to run his affairs Alone. …

A General has his Colonels. A Colonel has his Captains. A Captain has his Sergeant; and even a Sergeant has his pals. No officer, in an army, is left absolutely on his own.

This is a wise rule, and it can be applied to business as well as to war—every employer and executive should have a small personal group of competent helpers.

Too many businessmen make the mistake of trying to follow every job through. They take a pride in being indispensable.

Some men will even say—“If I leave my office for a day something is sure to go wrong.” This is a silly sort of self-praise that may be allowed in the family circle, but if it is true it proves that the man who says it is a bad or ganizer.

Running the Staff

To run smoothly and without breakdowns, an organization must have an understudy for every job, from the highest job to the lowest.

No doubt, when Boards of Directors were first invented, they were intended to act as Staffs to the chief executives; but they have now become Tribunals instead. They don’t help a president, but they punish him if he fails and reward him if he succeeds.

So we need in every large firm a nucleus of men who are being trained to work better and to work together.

This nucleus is the Staff. It should meet once a week and it should be trained by lectures, books, and magazines.

It should be taught, both by the head of the firm and by outside experts—the more the better.

An employer’s first duty, if he wants his firm to grow, is to have a system of Staff Training.

Usually the man at the top wears himself out before his time by trying to act as though he were ten men.

Instead of first educating his Staff as to a new change in his policy, he gives them an order to carry out, which they do not understand themselves.


Without Loyalty, a company becomes a lot of Slippery Dicks, all trying to fool one another. Every one is looking out for himself.

Actually, I have known some companies where the executives were at war with one another and with the President. All down the line there was a general spirit of suspicion and dislike. How could such companies prosper?

If a manufacturer tells his men that he will make them partners eventually, and if he breaks his word and sells out to a rival, how can there be any Loyalty there?

If an Employer has men and women who have worked loyally for him for twenty years, and if he gives them nothing—no reward, nor diploma, nor any sort of public praise, how can there be any Loyalty in that firm?

Are there not some firms that are forever changing their staff? Employees are always coming and going. Why? Because they are not fastened to the firm by Loyalty.

We have been hearing a good deal, in recent years, about labor turnover—the cost of new employees.

We know now that a new employee costs from $50 to $200,what with the training and the loss by bad work and one thing and another.

We know, too, that in an organization where there is no Loyalty, the employees do about half a day’s work every day. They are slackers. They have no enthusiasm—no incentive.

So, you can see that Loyalty is necessary and profitable. You can see that it is just as im portant as Efficiency.

There must be Loyalty, and it must begin at the top. It cannot possibly start of itself among the organization’s rank and file. …

So, we must develop Loyalty by rewarding it and by cultivating it in our own natures.


Self-development! There is nothing higher than this. To make yourself grow to your full stature. That is the essence of success and morality and happiness. It is the one way to make the best of this world and every other world.

Why should any ambitious man aim at being a Leader? So that he can live his own life more fully and more freely. So that he can develop his own aptitudes for service to his fellowmen.

Self-development and a great worthy Purpose that benefits others as well as yourself—that is the last word that can be said on Leadership.

A Wealthy Person is Not Necessarily a Leader

Leadership and Success are two very different matters. A very low-grade man may become successful in the art of money-making, but no low-grade man can be a Leader, except now and then, by accident, and for a very short time.

Learn to Make News

The Press is a vast hopper into which people throw anything they please, very nearly. It is as much a part of the nation as the heart is a part of the human body.

It is Public Opinion, which is more powerful than gold or Governments or the armies of the world.

No one—certainly no one in business life—can afford to ignore Public Opinion or to resist it. …

In these days of Public Opinion, no Leader can hope to win unless he knows how to guide the gossip of the day—unless he knows how to Make News.

The news creates the Leaders. Consequently, a Leader must concern himself with the news and control it as far as he can. …

If you want to be a Leader, you must find out how to Make News.


… In business life, a man must have the tenacity of a bulldog if he wants to become a Leader of men.