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.
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.
These 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 Amazon.com.
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.