Big Rich

Forbes magazine just released their annual list of the richest people in the world, topped by Jeff Bezos at $177 billion and Elon Musk at $151 billion.  Computer scientist and founder of the incubator Y Combinator Paul Graham has written an excellent article on how this list compares with the first such list, published in 1982.  Paul points out that, when the list began, it overwhelmingly consisted of people who inherited their wealth, but that things are very different today.  His comments, insights, and historical context are excellent.  We highly recommend reading his post, How People Get Rich Now.

Big News

Two weeks ago, this newsletter reported on one of the most important mergers in American history, one that will reshape our transportation infrastructure.  Our story provided an in-depth background on how this structure evolved over time.  But we were surprised to see that the merger is not final, as another company has entered the bidding, raising the price by another 21%.  Business history continues to evolve!

Short Book

We are often asked about the best books on business history.  Our standard go-to, definitive book was reviewed here.  But that wonderful book is long and scholarly.  There have been no good, short books on business history for the general reader in recent years.  But finally there is a new one that is excellent.  If your time or attention span is limited, we urge you to get a copy of American Business History: A Very Short Introduction, by Harvard professor Walter Friedman.  It will be worth the time you spend!

Gary Hoover

Executive Director

American Business History Center

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