The Go-Getter: A Story that Tells You How to Be One

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The classic motivational parable (over 500,000 copies sold worldwide) that shows you how to make your own opportunities in life, updated for the modern reader by bestselling business author Alan Axelrod

Ever since its first printing by William Randolph Hearst in 1921, The Go-Getter has inspired employees and entrepreneurs to take initiative, increase their productivity, and excel against the odds. Now, more than half a million copies later, Alan Axelrod, bestselling author of ...

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The Go-Getter: A Story That Tells You How To Be One

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The classic motivational parable (over 500,000 copies sold worldwide) that shows you how to make your own opportunities in life, updated for the modern reader by bestselling business author Alan Axelrod

Ever since its first printing by William Randolph Hearst in 1921, The Go-Getter has inspired employees and entrepreneurs to take initiative, increase their productivity, and excel against the odds. Now, more than half a million copies later, Alan Axelrod, bestselling author of Patton on Leadership and Elizabeth I, CEO, updates the tale to address today's most pressing work issues.

In The Go-Getter, Bill Peck, a war veteran, persuades Cappy Ricks, the influential founder of the Rick's Logging & Lumbering Company, to let him prove himself by selling skunk wood in odd lengths-a job that everyone knows can only lead to failure. When Peck goes on to beat his quota, Rick hands Peck the ultimate opportunity and the ultimate test: the quest for an elusive blue vase. Drawing on such classic values as honesty, determination, passion, and responsibility, Peck overcomes nearly insurmountable obstacles to find the vase and launch hia career as a successful manager.

In a time when jobs are tight and managers are too busy for mentoring, how can you maintain positive energy, take control of your career, and prepare yourself to ace the tests that come your way? By applying the timeless lessons in this compulsively readable parable, employees at all levels can learn to rekindle the go-getter in themselves.

A humorous and fast-paced story on how to be successful in business.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Although Kyne's tale of business smarts has been around for some time (it was first published by William Randolph Hearst in 1921), it doesn't feel dated. Indeed, lumber wholesaler Cappy Ricks's situation (he "had more troubles than a hen with ducklings") mirrors that of many business leaders today. It's a straightforward parable about a young war veteran who's handed an opportunity that will either make or break his career. If he accepts the job and pulls it off, he's a go-getter; if he fails, it's curtains. The kid's motto-"It shall be done"-sums up Kyne's point: even if you're unsure, say you can do it. Then figure out how to do it and make sure you succeed. Go above and beyond. The 82-year-old story gets some slight spiffing up by business book writer Axelrod (Everything I Know About Business I Learned from Monopoly), and the afterword is especially helpful in pinpointing Kyne's main ideas. (Jan. 9) Copyright 2003 Cahners Business Information.
Soundview Executive Book Summaries
A Short Parable with Big Applications
A motivational parable that has inspired leaders through the years, Peter B. Kyne's The Go-Getter, a short book first published by William Randolph Hearst in 1921, shows readers how they can increase productivity, take initiative and excel against the odds.

The story is about an old lumber company founder, Cappy Ricks, and a young World War I veteran, Bill Peck, who comes to the old captain of industry for a job. To prove himself worthy of his new job, Peck beats the odds and his quota, and earns the opportunity to be tested for broader horizons. Using the lessons he has learned from an inspirational mentor on the battlefield, Peck overcomes outrageous obstacles with his persistence, determination, passion and a giant sense of responsibility. Peck epitomizes the employee who is able to surpass expectations and join the ranks of leadership through undaunted effort.

Historian Alan Axelrod updates the original story with leadership wisdom that addresses the issues that surround work and leadership today. The parable works as a starting point from which employees can learn how to excel where others have failed, and leaders can gain insight into strategies that keep employees passionate about their work.

The Go-Getter offers timeless advice about meeting goals, learning from experience, asking the right questions, and tackling tough projects with unflagging zeal. Through fictionalizations that cut to the core of these issues, this book offers employees at any level the inspiration to tap resources and overcome roadblocks on the way to organizational and personal success.

Why Soundview Likes This Book
The Go-Getter is a valuable source of motivation for those committed to success and looking for the inspiration to take them to the next level of leadership. It stands out as a wonderful example of how a short fictional tale can teach the lessons of life in a simple, to-the-point story. Without becoming too simplistic in its approach, The Go-Getter still has much to offer today's business leaders. Copyright (c) 2003 Soundview Executive Book Summaries

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780805065626
  • Publisher: Holt, Henry & Company, Inc.
  • Publication date: 12/4/2002
  • Edition description: Revised
  • Pages: 96
  • Sales rank: 257,496
  • Lexile: 1000L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.68 (w) x 8.53 (h) x 0.61 (d)

Meet the Author

A native of San Francisco, Peter B. Kyne was a prolific screenwriter and the author of the 1920 bestseller Kindred of the Dust. His stories of Cappy Ricks and the Rick's Logging & Lumbering Company were serialized in The Saturday Evening

Post and William Randolph Hearst's Cosmopolitan magazine. He died in 1957. Historian Alan Axelrod is the author of the business bestsellers Patton on Leadership and Elizabeth I, CEO. He lives in Atlanta, Georgia.

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Read an Excerpt


. I .


MR. ALDEN P. RICKS, KNOWN IN PACIFIC COAST wholesale lumber and shipping circles as Cappy Ricks, had more troubles than a hen with ducklings. He remarked as much to Mr. Skinner, president and general manager of the Ricks Logging & Lumbering Company, the corporate entity which represented Cappy's vast lumber interests; and he fairly barked the information at Captain Matt Peasley, his son-in-law and also president and manager of the Blue Star Navigation Company, another corporate entity which represented the Ricks interest in the American mercantile marine.

Mr. Skinner received this information in silence. He was not related to Cappy Ricks. But MattPeasley sat down, crossed his legs and matched glares with his mercurial father-in-law.

"You have troubles!" he jeered, with emphasis on the pronoun. "Have you got a misery in your back, or is Herbert Hoover the wrong man for Secretary of Commerce?"

"Stow your sarcasm, young feller," Cappy shrilled. "You know dad-blamed well it isn't a question of health or politics. It's the fact that in my old age I find myself totally surrounded by the choicest aggregation of mental duds since Ajax defied the lightning."

"Meaning whom?"

"You and Skinner."

"Why, what have we done?"

"You argued me into taking on the management of twenty-five of those infernal Shipping Board freighters, and no sooner did we have them allocated to us than a near panic hits the country, freight rates go to glory, marine engineers go on strike and every infernal young whelp we send out to take charge of one of our offices in Asia promptly gets the swelled head and thinks he's divinely ordained to drink up all the synthetic Scotch whiskey manufactured in Japan for the benefit of thirsty Americans. In my old age you two have forced us into theposition of having to fire folks by cable. Why? Because we're breaking into a game that isn't being played on the home grounds. A lot of our business is so far away we can't control it."

Matt Peasley leveled an accusing finger at Cappy Ricks. "We never argued you into taking over the management of those Shipping Board boats. We argued me into it. I'm the goat. You have nothing to do with it. You retired ten years ago. All the troubles in the marine end of this shop belong on my capable shoulders, old settler."

"Theoretically—yes. Actually—no. I hope you do not expect me to abandon mental as well as physical effort. Great Wampus Cats! Am I to be denied a sentimental interest in matters where I have a controlling financial interest? I admit you two boys are running my affairs and ordinarily you run them rather well, but—but—ahem! Harumph-h-h! What's the matter with you, Matt? And you, also, Skinner? If Matt makes a mistake, it's your job to remind him of it before the results manifest themselves, is it not? And vice versa. Have you two lost your ability to judge men and yourselves, or did you ever have such ability?"

"You're referring to Henderson in the Shanghai office, I dare say," Mr. Skinner cut in.

"I am, Skinner. And I'm here to remind you that if we'd stuck to our own game, which is coastwise shipping, and had left the trans-Pacific field with its general cargoes to others, we wouldn't have any Shanghai office at this moment and we would not be pestered by the Hendersons of this world."

"He's the best lumber salesman we've ever had," Mr. Skinner defended. "And the Pacific market is still untapped. I had every hope that he would send us orders for many a cargo for Asiatic delivery."

"And he had gone through every job in this office, from office boy to sales manager in the lumber department and even passenger agent in the navigation company." Matt Peasley supplemented.

"I admit all of that. But did you consult me when you decided to send him out to China on his own?"

"Of course not. I'm boss of the Blue Star Navigation Company, am I not? The man was in charge of the Shanghai office before you ever opened your mouth to discharge your cargo of free advice."

"I told you then that Henderson wouldn't make good, didn't I?"

"You did."

"And now I have an opportunity to tell you thelittle tale you didn't give me an opportunity to tell you before you sent him out. Henderson was a good man—a crackerjack man—when he had a better man over him. But—I've been twenty years reducing a tendency on the part of that fellow's head to bust his hat-band. And now he's gone south with a hundred and thirty thousand taels of our Shanghai bank account."

"Permit me to remind you, Mr. Ricks," Mr. Skinner cut in coldly, "that he was bonded to the extent of a quarter of a million dollars."

"Not a peep out of you, Skinner. Not a peep. Permit me to remind you that I'm the little genius who placed that insurance."

"Well, I must admit your far-sightedness in that instance will keep the Shanghai office going this year," Matt Peasley replied. "However, we face this situation, Cappy. Henderson has wined and dined in excess of his salary. He's attended to the wrong business at the wrong time and he's capped his inefficiency by spending our bank account on who knows what. We couldn't foresee that. When we send a man out to Asia to be our manager there, we have to trust him all the way or not at all. There is no use weeping over spilled milk, Cappy. Our job isto select a successor to Henderson and send him out to Shanghai on the next boat to clean things up and get things in order."

"Oh, very well, Matt," Cappy replied magnanimously, "I'll not rub it into you. I suppose I'm far from generous, bawling you out like this. Perhaps, when you're my age and have a lot of mental and moral weaklings nip you and draw blood as often as they've drawn it on me you'll be a better judge than I of men worthy of the weight of responsibility. Skinner, have you got a candidate for this job?"

"I regret to say, sir, I have not. All of the men in my department are quite young—too young for the responsibility."

"What do you mean—young?" Cappy blazed.

"Well, the only man I would consider for the job is Andrews and he doesn't have the experience—he's only about thirty, I should say."

"About thirty, eh? Strikes me you were about twenty-eight when I threw ten thousand a year at you in actual cash, and a couple of million dollars' worth of responsibility."

"Yes, sir, but then Andrews has never been tested—"

"Skinner," Cappy interrupted in his most awful voice, "it's a constant source of amazement to mewhy I refrain from firing you. You say Andrews has never been tested. Why hasn't he been tested? Why are we maintaining untested material in this shop, anyhow? Eh? Answer me that. Tut, tut, tut! Not a peep out of you, sir. If you had done your duty, you would have taken a year's vacation when lumber was selling itself in 1919 and 1920, and you would have left Andrews sitting in at your desk to see the sort of stuff he's made of."

"It's a mighty lucky thing I didn't go away for a year," Skinner protested respectfully, "because the market broke—like that—and if you don't think we have to hustle to sell sufficient lumber these days to keep our own ships busy freighting it—"

"Skinner, how old was Matt Peasley when I turned over the Blue Star Navigation Company to him, lock, stock, and barrel? Why, he wasn't twenty-six years old. Skinner, are you so removed from those days that you don't remember the way I tested you both? When did you become a killjoy, throttling the neck of industry with absurd theories that a man's back must be bent like an ox-bow and his locks snowy-white before he can be entrusted with responsibility and a living wage? This is a smart man's world, a persistent man's world, not an old man's world, Skinner, and don't you ever forgetit. And the go-getters of this world are as often as not under thirty years of age. Matt," he concluded, turning to his son-in-law, "what do you think of Andrews for that Shanghai job?"

"I think he'll do."

"Why do you think he'll do?"

"Because he ought to do. He's been with us long enough to have acquired sufficient knowledge and experience to enable him—"

"Has he acquired the courage to tackle the job, Matt?" Cappy interrupted. "That's more important than this doggoned experience you and Skinner prate so much about."

"I know nothing of his courage. I assume that he has force and initiative. I know he has a pleasing personality."

"Well, before we send him out we ought to know whether or no he has force and initiative."

"Then," quoth Matt Peasley, rising, "I need a few more months to find Henderson's successor. Unless you can name the lucky man."

"Yes, indeed," Skinner agreed. "I'm sure it's quite beyond my poor abilities to uncover Andrews' force and initiative on such short notice. He does possess sufficient force and initiative for his present job, but—"

"But will he possess force and initiative when he has to make quick decisions six thousand miles from expert advice, and stand or fall by that decision? That's what we want to know, Skinner."

"I suggest, sir," Mr. Skinner replied with politeness, "that you conduct the examination."

"I accept the nomination, Skinner. By the Holy Pink-toed Prophet! The next man we send out to that Shanghai office is going to be a go-getter. We've had three managers go rotten on us and that's three too many."

And without further ado, Cappy swung his aged legs up on to his desk and slid down in his swivel chair until he rested on his spine. His head sank on his breast and he closed his eyes.

"He's framing the examination for Andrews," Matt Peasley whispered, as he and Skinner made their exits.

Copyright © 1921 by Peter B. Kyne Copyright renewed 1949 by Peter B. Kyne Revised edition copyright © 2003 by the Estate of Peter B. Kyne

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 26 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 28 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 5, 2000

    What is your 'Blue Vase'

    A great motivational book whether you are in sales, an admin position or feeling like you're in a slump. I give these out as gifts to everyone that comes in through our training classes and they love it too.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 15, 2000

    A secret of success

    As little known as this book is now days, it is a fantastic and timeless story of motivation sure to inspire and challenge people in every walk of life.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 19, 2015

    Skykit and Mintkit

    "Too inacive." Mintkit sighed. Skykit and Mintkit left.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 19, 2015

    AshenWillow... Main Camp??

    Id say this is Main Camp?]]]
    She pads in, setting a silver trout in the freshkill pile. She plucks up a mouse for herself, taking it to a soft grassy area. She lies down with a bit of effort, but begins to take bites of the mouse.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 19, 2013

    Amazing and life-changing

    One of the best books I have ever read. A book that everyone should read. The style of writting was a bit hard at times but it made the book unique. Crabbys' one sentence phrases were a delight.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 3, 2012

    Great Read!!!

    This is an absolute must read for someone who wants and needs the motivation to go the extra mile. A must read for leaders.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 26, 2012

    Quick and AWESOME!

    This book was just what I needed to get re-motivated. I encourage all entrepreneurs or people with strong passion to read this. I love dave ramsey!

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  • Posted May 7, 2012

    Highly Recommended - it a must read !!

    This book was recommended by a high success achiever .
    The story is excellent !
    I love it

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 20, 2002

    Anyone Know how to get the Video?

    This book is fantastic. I hope someone will e-mail me on how I can get the video. I saw it once in a training class and now I want it. Please e-mail me.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 7, 2002

    A Must Read

    If someone is looking for the inspriation to get going, or keep going, this is a must read. Once I started reading I could not stop and in a little over an hour had completed the book. The greatest message I got was, no matter what the hurdle is, you will win if you keep going, and never quit.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 30, 2002

    Simply the BEST Motivational Book Written

    No fancy formulas. No fancy rules to live by. Just a brief story of motivation and intense desire to simply do what is expected. This is a must read for anyone looking for a shot in the arm. For over 10 years I have passed this book out to sales people across the country and have asked them to read it, sign it, and pass it along.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 27, 2000

    Thought process

    A must have for the individual looking to define the thought process of someone who gets things done, someone who looks at the value versus the cost, someone who makes a decision and follows thru, someone who avoids doing what they can and instead do whatever it takes. Read it! many times.

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    Posted November 15, 2011

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