Summary of Message to Garcia

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Message to Garcia book summary
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Rating

8

Qualities

  • Innovative
  • Applicable

Recommendation

Publisher Elbert Hubbard’s concise, classic essay – which he wrote in an hour in 1899 after a lazy worker sparked his ire – has almost nothing to do with the message or the man of its title. Hubbard refers to a possibly apocryphal letter to make several hilarious, incisive points about employee motivation and the difficulty of finding that precious worker – the one who gets on with the task at hand, without questions, arguments or excuses. Hubbard’s breezy, snarky, cynical voice – half Mark Twain and half Jerry Seinfeld – elevates this brief (about 30 pages) memorable treatise of common sense and hard-earned resignation into an essential guide for pretty much everyone seeking employment, every worker and every boss. Hubbard’s tone is conversational, pithy and succinct. His words of bemused wisdom have endured because pretty much everything he says is true. getAbstract recommends this beloved artifact to anyone who has a job to do or who must motivate other people to do theirs.

About the Author

Elbert Hubbard, a publisher and author born in 1856, wrote Little Journeys to the Homes of the Great. He died aboard the luxury ocean liner Lusitania, when a German submarine torpedoed the ship off the coast of Ireland in 1915.

 

Summary

Who Was Garcia?

Elbert Hubbard wrote this essay in an hour after supper on February 22, 1899. The piece was a last-minute, untitled addition to the March issue of his magazine, Philistine. Hubbard had put in a tough day trying to get his employees to do what he wanted, or, as he put it, urging them “to adjure the comatose state and get radioactive.” Hubbard’s son Bert inspired the essay by insisting – as part of an ongoing office discussion – that a mysterious figure named Rowan was “the real hero” of 1898’s 10-day Cuban War, also known as the Spanish-American War.

In that war – precipitated by a mysterious explosion aboard an American battleship, the USS Maine, and the ship’s subsequent sinking in Havana’s harbor – the US fought Spain for possession of two Spanish colonies, Cuba and the Philippines. At the commencement of hostilities, America’s strategy in Cuba depended on contacting Cuban anti-Spanish insurgent forces so they would rise in armed resistance against their Spanish occupiers. Garcia, a renowned guerilla leader, made his headquarters in Cuba’s impassable mountain forests. Nobody in the US knew where Garcia camped, how often ...


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    H. S. 7 years ago
    gA - thanks for sharing this summary. Certainly made me put this in the list of the books to read. It would be interesting to see how much of it is really applicable in the contemporary corporate world!