They Went That-A-Way!

Real Estate Agent with McGraw Realtors

Did you know that Christopher Columbus suffered from heart disease and his legs and belly grew swollen in his later years?  Did you know he died dejected on May 1, 1506?

How about this one? 

Al Capone, the murderous gangster's death only made page 7 of the newspaper when he died of a brain hemorrhage in 1947.Flat Iron Building

One more...Real Estate Tycoon Harry Black.

Harry Black was a real estate man in New York City from the late 1800's through 1930.  He built the famous flat iron building in New York City in 1902, which brought him instant fame and controversy.  Many thought the building would fall over in strong winds.  It never did.

He would go on to build the New York Time building, thus creating the namesake for Times Square.  He also built Macy's and other countless landmarks as well.

This guy was a savvy businessman.  During the height of his glory, he merged his construction company with other real estate companies to make the United States Realty Company.  This real estate group became the dominant developer in New York and other eastern cities during that time period.  And they did very well.  At one point, he was worth an estimated 15 million dollars.  That would probably be billions today!

But then the stock market crashed and everything came to a screeching halt.  Mr. Black was found with a bullet wound in his head and a pistol in his hand 9 months later.  Everyone thought he had been killed by the market crash.  After all, so many lost so much in that tragic event.  Whether he knew it or not, due to his business skills and liquidity, his real estate company had survived the stock market crash in good shape. 

They Went That-A-WayThese stories and more are found in this great read called "They Went That-A-Way" by Malcolm Forbes.  I love the subtitle of the book, "How the famous, the infamous, and the great died."  The book was originally published in 1988 and can be purchased at

I don't normally recommend books to read, but this is one that is perfect if you're a business person.  There are so many stories of people who hit it big and then burned out or died tragically.  It will teach you mistakes not to make while giving you a good laugh or making you shake your head.  In short, it's a great business primer and an easy and fun book to read.

Some of the other people included are:  Buddy Holly, Diamond Jim Brady, Babe Ruth, Thomas Jefferson and John Adams.  You'll love reading about the people of history and learning from their lives.

So, if you've been feeling squashed by the recession, grab this book.  If you've survived the recession just fine, it's a great read for how people have succeeded and failed in all kinds of businesses and endeavors throughout the years.


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Sally K. & David L. Hanson
Keller Williams 414-525-0563 - Brookfield, WI
WI Realtors - Luxury - Short Sale - CDPE, REDS

This sounds like a book that Russel Ray could have written...he loves these kind of details and could probably record the book from memory....interesting details !

Nov 18, 2009 08:00 AM #1
Wendy Hodges
Re/Max Southern Shores - Myrtle Beach, SC
Davis & Hodges

Great blog, always good to read something entertaining to start the morning. I might have to pick this one up.

Nov 18, 2009 08:03 AM #2
Mike Michaud
North Texas Help-U-Build - McKinney, TX

Interesting snippets.  It funny how we as a society are fascinated by famous people and how they died.


Nov 18, 2009 08:25 AM #3
Ty Lacroix
Envelope Real Estate Brokerage Inc - London, ON

Bob, thanks for the book title, sounds like an interesting read when I order it!


Nov 18, 2009 08:25 AM #4
Bob Haywood
McGraw Realtors - Owasso, OK

Sally and David - I'll have to make sure Russell hear's about the book!  Thanks!

Wendy - It's a great read.  Worth picking up for sure!

Mike - I think we tend to be fascinated by the famous because it is largely the famous who get their stories recorded.  Most common folks don't seem to be able to do that for some reason.

Ty - You'll really enjoy it.

Nov 18, 2009 08:28 AM #5
Scott Taylor
Taylor Group Realty International - Orlando - Orlando, FL

Thanks for the reccommondation. I was looking for a good book.

Nov 18, 2009 08:37 AM #6
Joe Brant
Keller Williams Realty - Oriental, NC

Sounds quite interesting.  I shall try to pick up a copy today.

Nov 18, 2009 08:55 AM #7
Tammie White
(615) 495-0752 or - Franklin, TN
Franklin Homes Realty, Franklin TN

My husband is a bit of a history buff...he loves to hear stories like this.  I may have to pick this up as a Christmas gift.

Nov 18, 2009 09:43 AM #8
Megan Barber
Barber Virtual Assisting Solutions, LLC - Vineland, NJ

Sounds like a fascinating read. What a great recommendation! Though it's a bit morbid, I find those kind of stories really interesting.

Nov 18, 2009 10:14 AM #9
Diane Daley
Caron's Gateway Real Estate - Northumberland, NH

I'll have to check this one out the next time I'm at the bookstore or library sounds like a good read...

Nov 18, 2009 02:44 PM #10


Sounds like a good read and I'm a book hound, so I'll check it out.

Nov 19, 2009 12:34 AM #11
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