Some people succeed despite themselves—or maybe there’s more to it than that.
Former large animal veterinarian and poet Baxter Black tells the story of Leonard, a man with an eighth-grade education who made it big in construction.
Leonard, he says, appreciated the value of an education but didn’t let it stand in his way.
During an interview with a business finance magazine, Leonard was asked the secret of his success.
“Son,” he said, “I always charge a 3% markup. Anybody that can’t make it on a 3% markup doesn’t deserve to make it in business.”
“Nobody could possibly run an operation like yours on a 3% markup,” gasped the reporter.
“Well, I do,” Leonard said. “I look at a pile of dirt, figger what it will cost to move it, and multiply that times three!”
— Adapted from Cactus Tracks & Cowboy Philosophy, Baxter Black, Penguin Books.