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Ignorance, Confidence, and Filthy Rich Friends

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Ignorance, Confidence, and Filthy Rich Friends

The Business Adventures of Mark Twain, Chronic Speculator and Entrepreneur


15 min read
10 take-aways
Audio & text

What's inside?

Mark Twain once said, “The lack of money is the root of all evil.” By this standard, he became the most saintly of men.

Editorial Rating



  • Innovative
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  • Inspiring


Samuel Langhorne Clemens, alias Mark Twain, was a true American original. Born into humble circumstances, he spent his life on a fevered quest to gain wealth. He was enormously successful in this endeavor. Of course, the world remembers Clemens not for his riches, but rather for his rich imagination, his superb wit and his splendid writing under the name Mark Twain, author of numerous classics including The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer. In this offbeat, iconoclastic portrait of Clemens, author Peter Krass examines his early life as a bold adventurer and his later years as an investor, speculator, venture capitalist, businessman and inventor. If you love Mark Twain, iconic writer and storyteller, getAbstract is convinced that you’ll enjoy reading this distinctive book about a fascinating – but seldom reported – side of his colorful life.


“Early Hard Knocks”

Born in 1835, Samuel Langhorne Clemens quickly learned to value financial security as he distanced himself from his father’s numerous business failures. Clemens’ father invested all his money in land, but never profited from it. He tried running a store, but failed. He died when Clemens was a small child, leaving his family destitute. As he became older, Clemens held numerous jobs to help his family and to better himself. As an adult, he did not want to experience the grinding poverty he had known as a child.

After many business adventures, Clemens – writing as Mark Twain – became a stunning literary success at midlife. He earned great wealth and used it to develop numerous inventions, make investments and form a publishing firm. Unfortunately, at least for literary posterity, his business and entrepreneurial activities limited the time he had to write. Besides being a brilliant author, he also was a striving capitalist, trying to increase his wealth by any means available.

“How to Quit a Good Job”

In his early 20s, Clemens decided to go to Brazil in hopes of becoming a rich coca trader. To this end, he journeyed to New Orleans, ...

About the Author

Peter Krass has written numerous business books and biographies of famous Americans, including distiller Jack Daniels and industrialist Andrew Carnegie.

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