This is the story of Samuel Zemurray, a South American fruit magnate, known as Sam the Banana Man. It’s from a WSJ article by Rich Cohen, “The Code of the Banana Man,” and contains valuable lessons on how entrepreneurs think and act.
In 1909, he headed south to Honduras, where he bought and cleared great swaths of virgin jungle and then, working with a mercenary army recruited in New Orleans, overthrew the government and replaced it with one more to his liking.
He built a cracker-jack banana company down there and eventually took over United Fruit in December 1932. By the time he died in 1961, in the grandest house in New Orleans, he had been a hauler and a cowboy, a farmer, a trader, a political battler, a revolutionary, a philanthropist and a CEO.
A few gems to whet your appetite:
1. Go see for yourself. [And be on the ground where the work is being done.]
3. Don’t trust the experts. [What has IFO been saying all these years???]
Want more? There’s plenty where that came from: Mr. Cohen is the author of “The Fish That Ate the Whale: The Life and Times of America’s Banana King,” which will be published next week.