This week began very highbrow. A lovely client of mine gave me 2 tickets to see Joshua Bell (a sort of rock star of the violin world) at Carnegie Hall Monday evening. Naturally I asked my girlfriend who took me to see Hugh Jackman to join me. The performance was really something, just a really beautiful treat on an otherwise ordinary Monday night. The only thing that would have made it better would have been if Mr. Bell had descended into the audience to come kneel at my feet and play the violin into my eyes like Hugh Jackman did the week before. Alas…I guess the classier art forms don’t roll that way.
This was Joshua Bell’s thirtieth performance at Carnegie Hall and also the Hall’s 120th anniversary. This prompted me to do a little research. Andrew Carnegie was part of the Gilded Age (not the Gilded Age again!) and a HUGE philanthropist. He didn’t really spend his time climbing social ladders. In fact, he is quoted as saying,
‘The amassing of wealth is one of the worse species of idolatry. No idol more debasing than the worship of money.’
So he didn’t throw any huge parties at Marble House where a chimpanzee dressed in a tux was the guest of honor (true story).
In the first half of his life he made a ridiculous fortune, in the second half he gave it away. By the time he died, he had donated $350,695,654 for various causes. That is a lot of money. Do people give away that much money anymore? It seems like they do reality shows on Bravo now instead.
Below is the ‘Andrew Carnegie Dictum’
- To spend the first third of one’s life getting all the education one can.
- To spend the next third making all the money one can.
- To spend the last third giving it all away for worthwhile causes.
And while he did not have a mansion in Newport, he did build the Skibo Castle in Scotland and lived in it. Because why not?