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The Prime Movers

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The Prime Movers

Traits of the Great Wealth Creators


15 min read
10 take-aways
Audio & text

What's inside?

Step One in becoming like Bill Gates, Sam Walton and Steve Jobs: Learn what Bill Gates, Sam Walton and Steve Jobs are like.

Editorial Rating



  • Concrete Examples
  • Engaging


Instead of presenting you with a laundry list of steps designed to increase your productivity, Edwin A. Locke delves into the psyches and motives of entrepreneurs who actually managed to change their world with their productivity: Bill Gates, Sam Walton, Thomas Edison and others. His rationale? Locke convincingly concludes that highly successful executives possess a number of similar characteristics. In The Prime Movers he tries to identify these traits and illustrate them using biographical detail. The final result is an intriguing profile that probably will entertain more than inform. (Is it any surprise that entrepreneurs are self-confident?) One note: In order to love this book you’ll have to at least like Ayn Rand, whose quotes saturate its pages - an inclusion that should give you some idea of what to expect from Locke. getAbstract recommends this book to executives, entrepreneurs and Steve Jobs wannabes at all levels.


The Princes of Capitalism

Vision, free thinking and an ability to act are among the common characteristics shared by history’s great wealth creators. Prime Movers are the visionary and talented entrepreneurs who create great wealth with their own vision, talent and hard work. Naysayers frequently downplay the accomplishments of Prime Movers, saying they achieved their wealth through luck. In reality, Prime Movers truly earn their money through intelligence and savvy. John D. Rockefeller, for instance, made his fortune by becoming the most efficient transporter, refiner and marketer of oil; his success made the U.S. a world power in the oil industry. Steve Jobs recognized the potential of Apple’s personal computer and pushed the project to completion when no one else thought it was worthy.

Religious figures and communists have criticized wealth creators. But contrary to their belief, earning money is a spiritual achievement - money is earned through virtue, defined as the use of one’s intellect. In the end, wealth creation depends on manipulating ideas, not moving physical materials. The philosophy that drives the Prime Movers can be found in the writings of Ayn Rand...

About the Author

Edwin A. Locke holds a doctorate and is a professor of leadership and motivation at the Robert H. Smith School of Business at the University of Maryland. His previous books include A Theory of Goal Setting and Task Performance and The Essence of Leadership

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