Founders

#37 Sam Zemurray (The Fish That Ate The Whale: The Life and Times of America's Banana King)

Episode Summary

What I learned from reading The Fish That Ate the Whale: The Life and Times of America's Banana King by Rich Cohen.

Episode Notes

What I learned from reading The Fish That Ate the Whale: The Life and Times of America's Banana King by Rich Cohen.

When he arrived in America in 1891 Zemurray was tall, gangly, and penniless (0:01, Poor but ambitious (4:45), “There is no problem you can’t solve if you know your business from A to Z” (5:57), Seeing opportunity where others see nothing. (8:28), Look what he accomplished: Selling hundreds of thousands of bananas a year. And he’d done it without having to incur the traditional costs. (16:28), The world is a mere succession of fortunes made and lost, lessons learned and forgotten and learned again. (21:24), Zemurray worked in the fields beside his engineers, planters, and machete men. He believed in the transcendent power of physical labor. (29:15), Defying Secretary of State Philander Knox and JP Morgan (32:07), The path to competition (39:40), Founder vs CEO (46:51), Founder vs CEO Part 2 (50:11), Two different approaches to acquiring land. (55:17), The fish eats the whale (59:00), Sam’s defining characteristic was his belief in his own agency, his refusal to despair. (1:10:54)

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