A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from January 11, 2010
“Put all your eggs in the one basket and—WATCH THAT BASKET”

"Don’t put all your eggs in one basket” is an old proverb. Industrialist Andrew Carnegie (1835-1919) said in an 1885 speech that this was not the way to business success:

“Don’t put all your eggs in one basket,” is all wrong. I tell you “put all your eggs in one basket, and then watch the basket.” Look round you and take notice; men who do that do not often fail. It is easy to watch and carry the one basket. It is trying to carry too many baskets that breaks most of the eggs in this country. He who carries three baskets must put one on his head, which is apt to tumble and trip him up.

Mark Twain’s novel Pudd’nhead Wilson (1894) is frequently cited for a similar line, probably inspired from Carnegie: “Put all your eggs in the one basket and—WATCH THAT BASKET.”


Wikipedia: Andrew Carnegie
Andrew Carnegie (properly pronounced /kɑrˈneɪɡi/, but commonly /ˈkɑrnɨɡi/ or /kɑrˈnɛɡi/) (25 November 1835 – 11 August 1919) was a Scottish industrialist, businessman, entrepreneur and a major philanthropist.

He is one of the most famous captains of industry of the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

He immigrated to the United States as a child with his parents. He built Pittsburgh’s Carnegie Steel Company, which was later merged with Elbert H. Gary’s Federal Steel Company and several smaller companies to create U.S. Steel. With the fortune he made from business, he later turned to philanthropy and interests in education, founding the Carnegie Corporation of New York, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Carnegie Mellon University and the Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh.

Carnegie gave away most of his money to establish many libraries, schools, and universities in America, the United Kingdom and other countries, as well as a pension fund for former employees. He is often regarded as the second-richest man in history after John D. Rockefeller. Carnegie started as a telegrapher and by the 1860s had investments in railroads, railroad sleeping cars, bridges and oil derricks. He built further wealth as a bond salesman raising money for American enterprise in Europe.

He earned most of his fortune in the steel industry. In the 1870s, he founded the Carnegie Steel Company, a step which cemented his name as one of the “Captains of Industry”. By the 1890s, the company was the largest and most profitable industrial enterprise in the world. Carnegie sold it to J.P. Morgan in 1901, who created U.S. Steel. Carnegie devoted the remainder of his life to large-scale philanthropy, with special emphasis on local libraries, world peace, education and scientific research. His life has often been referred to as a true “rags to riches” story.

Google Books
The Yale Book of Quotations
Edited by Fred R. Shapiro
New Haven, CT: Yale University Press
2006
Pg. 133:
Andrew Carnegie
Scottish-born U.S. industrialist and philanthropist, 1835-1919
“‘Don’t put all your eggs in one basket’ is all wrong. I tell you ‘put all your eggs in one basket, and then watch that basket.’”
Address to students at Curry Commercial College, Pittsburgh, Pa., 23 June 1885. Printed in Carnegie’s book, The Empire of Business (1902). The quotation is almost universally attributed to Mark Twain, but Twain’s usage was later, and he probably picked it up from Carnegie.

Wikipedia: Pudd’nhead Wilson
Pudd’nhead Wilson is an ironic novel by Mark Twain. It was serialized in The Century Magazine (1893-4), before being published as a novel in 1894

Wikiquote: Pudd’nhead Wilson
Pudd’nhead Wilson is an 1894 novel by Mark Twain.
(...)
Behold, the fool saith, “Put not all thine eggs in the one basket” - which is but a manner of saying, “Scatter your money and your attention”; but the wise man saith, “Put all your eggs in the one basket and - WATCH THAT BASKET.”
. Ch. 15

11 March 1886, Daily Kennebec Journal (Kennebec, ME), pg. 4, col. 3:
“Don’t put all your eggs in one basket,” is all wrong. I tell you “put all your eggs in one basket, and then watch the basket.” Look round you and take notice; men who do that do not often fail. It is easy to watch and carry the one basket. It is trying to carry too many baskets that breaks most of the eggs in this country. He who carries three baskets must put one on his head, which is apt to tumble and trip him up.—Andrew Carnegie.

Google Books
25 March 1886, The Friends’ Review, pg. 535, col. 2:
A BUSINESS MAN’S ADVICE TO YOUNG MEN.—“Aim for the highest; never enter a bar room; do not touch liquor, or if at all, only at meals; never speculate; never indorse beyond your surplus cash fund; make the firm’s interest yours; break orders always save owners; concentrate; put all your eggs in one basket, and watch that basket; expenditure always within revenue; lastly, do not be impatient, for, as Emerson says, “no one can cheat you out of ultimate success but yourselves.”

Google Books
July 1886, The Baptist Quarterly Review, vol. VIII, no. 31, pg. 402:
It is for this that our age presses in all directions. Specialties prevail. Division of labor rules the market. In business, in the professions, in scholarship, departments are sharply defined and the secret of success is to devote every energy to one department. Andrew Carnegie said lately to the graduating class of a commercial college, “The maxim, ‘Don’t put all your eggs in one basket’ is wrong. The right maxim is, Put all your eggs in one basket and watch the basket.”

Google Books
1 October 1892, The Phonetic Journal, pg. 632, col. 2:
Put all your eggs into one basket and then watch that basket, do not scatter your shot.

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityBanking/Finance/Insurance • (1) Comments • Monday, January 11, 2010 • Permalink


Just wanted to let you know that I linked back to this post on HideaHeart’s blog.

Posted by MCatherine  on  04/02  at  07:00 PM

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