glyph 464: doctrine of "original perception" ..... creativity, kinds of minds ... kinesthetic learners, thinkers, engineers, inventors, machines ... American business history, Henry Ford, Thomas Edison .... Garet Garrett


Henry Ford & Thomas Edison: Differences of Mind

As personally observed by Garet Garrett

Ford and Edison were friends, spent time together, inspired each other and learned from each other.

In The Wild Wheel, a superb biography of Ford, Garet Garrett, who personally knew both men, wrote:

For all their agreement on the doctrine of original perception, which they called the value of ignorance, these two minds differed remarkably in their separate ways of working. Ford was hand-minded. If you had cut off his hands you would have crippled his mind. As for Edison, the loss of his hands probably would not have affected his mind at all. He had no brains in his hands. The contrast was noticeable when they walked among moving machines. Ford could not look at a machine without feeling it in his tissues, sympathetically, and if he touched one it was as if he touched a living thing. Edison was distant with machines and if he touched one he did it timidly, as if it might do an unexpected thing or snap at him.

Ford's way was to let his mind run free, like a puckish servant; it made many unnecessary and willful excursions, and yet did generally come back with what it was sent to bring.

Edison bridled his mind and made it answerable to his will.


The above is from Chapter 6, "The Innocent Mind", section 5.

A new edition of this book, originally published in 1952, is available from The Ludwig von Mises Institute.

No one, but no one, tells the story of the Ford Motor Company like Garet Garrett. He loved machines and technology, and the markets that create and distribute them. He loved the car and its transforming effect on society. And he lived through it all and knows what he is talking about.

Here he sees Henry Ford for the genius that he was, as an entrepreneur who saw the possibilities and seized on them. He tells of how Ford faced and overcame incredible obstacles on his way to becoming one of the great capitalists of all time.

Garrett doesn't stop there. He chronicles Ford's battles with the government and, in particular, the unions that ended up robbing the company and turning it to their own selfish ends. This was in the 1950s when he was writing, but he could see the future of one long slow decline. And how right he was!

This isn't just a great business history for the regular person, one that provides a window into the making of a great company. Garrett has written a book that will interest people of all ages. It is a wonderful read for the young person who cares about cars. It shows that they are not somehow built into the fabric of society but rather came from the productive system of capitalism, a result of marveous human ingenuity working within an atmosphere of freedom.

Garet Garrett was a talented writer, researcher, and story teller who knew how markets work. This is a book for all times - a capitalist classic. 227 pages, 6" x 9", paperback 2007

See also: — more about the value of ignorance
March 2, 2009

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