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Locke, a University of Maryland business professor, starts off on the wrong foot by taking shots at "Marx and his followers," the "so-called 'intellectuals' on our college campuses," and even "the moderns," whatever that means.
The Cold War is over, right? But Locke, a devotee of author Ayn Rand's objectivist philosophy, can't let go. Communism, after all, was the antithesis of everything the Russian-born Rand promoted: self-reliance, small government and the moral goodness of making money.
Nothing wrong with that, but the book comes off as a hopelessly outdated ideological rant by bashing commies and liberal college professors before readers make it out of the first chapter.
The author also tosses around what can only be considered extreme economic theories without providing much to back them up. By abolishing the income tax and all economic controls, Locke claims, any country can produce wealth beyond its wildest dreams. There's no mention of how to deal with minor details like infrastructure, defense, education and environmental safeguards in this new system.
Locke's stated goal is to help entrepreneurs with the "right stuff" join the ranks of the fabulously rich. He also wants to help the prime movers - a term he borrowed from Rand, who lifted it from Aristotle - "see their own value" after being downgraded as "grubby materialists" by lowlifes who secretly envy their success. It's good that writers want to help out. Billionaires have feelings too, you know.
In fact, many rich people had downright rotten childhoods. Locke brings this up when he attempts to address - unsuccessfully - the vexing fact that many of his subjects weren't exactly fun to be around. Auto tycoon Henry Ford was a crotchety anti-Semite. Oil titan Jean Paul Getty was a cold, indifferent husband and father, not to mention a shameless womanizer.
Locke finally dismisses the entire issue by "deliberately not dealing with the whole person but with only those attributes that caused wealth creation." It's a strange approach for a writer attempting to establish the moral superiority of successful moneymakers. He's reluctant to acknowledge that the creation of wealth isn't the only factor that makes a better person or a better society.
At least Prime Movers' early missteps are somewhat unexpected and colorful. How many business books, after all, attempt to explore J.P. Morgan's childhood traumas? But Locke soon falls into an all too predictable trap. The characteristics that his prime movers possess are so obvious that it's doubtful they'd be of much use to anyone. Entrepreneurs with half a brain already know them, and would-be billionaires who need a book to explain them are better off playing the lottery.
Still, the author declares that prime movers have independent vision, an active mind, competence and confidence, egoistic passion, love of ability in others and virtue. Locke fails to mention that many of them also prospered with the help of tax breaks, government subsidies, family money and monopolies, but why muddy the waters?
What that means (you may want to sit down for this) is that shortsighted slackers probably don't have a shot at becoming the next
It's inevitable that any effort to boil down the traits common to men as diverse as Walt Disney, Ray Kroc and
But don't be too hard on Locke. He must have a bit of the prime mover in him. After all, he managed to get this deeply flawed book published. -- From The Industry Standard
The book is full of a lot of great insight. I am currently half way through the book, but find it to be an enjoyable read.Published 5 months ago by Johann Cohen
This is an excellent book for anyone who desires to understand how and who is "moving the World" (also, for the future Billionaire). Read morePublished 6 months ago by M. Degani
Loved this book. Discusses the traits and profiles of some of the wealthiest people. Carl Ichan, Bill Gates, and Warren Buffet were my favorites.Published 16 months ago by TonyS
It is ironic that The Industry Standard all but panned this book in its editorial review - only to go out of business itself in 2001 due to poor leadership. Read morePublished 17 months ago by John Berg
This book will show you how to think like the best, most creative producers - and how not to sacrifice your rational mind in the process. Read morePublished on January 17, 2010 by H.J.
Very good book talking about traits of successful people. Look around successful people around you -- not necessarily billionaires -- they all possess these traits. Read morePublished on March 8, 2009 by R. Kumar
This book does a great job in analyzing the traits of the great wealth creators. I've read several books on this topic and most of them are very unfocused and biographical instead... Read morePublished on August 9, 2006 by dasn0wman
How does one make money morally?
This book is far and away better than books by or about a single CEO because it looks at many leaders and clearly shows what is fundamental,... Read more
"Look past the range of the moment, you who cry that you fear to compete with men of superior intelligence, that their mind is a threat to your livelihood, that the strong leave no... Read morePublished on November 18, 2002