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American Originals

American Originals
American Originals will trace the stories of those who charted their own paths, overcame barriers and achieved a better life for themselves and those around them by embracing personal responsibility, hard work and an entrepreneurial spirit.

The American Dream has been caricatured as wealth accumulation and material success like owning a house or buying a car. This has done a great disservice to the American ethos and American culture. The essence of the dream is earned success, achievement, recognizing opportunity and includes an appreciation for the role of entrepreneurship and the contributions that entrepreneurs have made to society.

By highlighting these success stories, we hope to demonstrate the value that these leaders have created and inspire others to follow in their footsteps. The American Dream and being an American Original is all about ordinary people achieving extraordinary things. As Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Orel Leonard Hershiser once said: “Great things can happen to ordinary people who are willing to work hard and never give up.”

Many management scholars consider Alfred P. Sloan, Jr. as the greatest business leader in American history.  If we exclude company founders, Sloan has few peers among those who led companies they did not found.  After running a smaller company...
Ahmet Ertegun did as much as anyone to shape the popular music that serves as the soundtrack for our daily lives. As the founder and leader of Atlantic Records for almost sixty years, he brought us artists from Ray...
Few business leaders or entrepreneurs in American history have done more to enable progress and prosperity than Samuel Insull, a name little known today. Yet eighty years ago, he was one of the most famous people in America and...
Who was Walt Disney? What was truly different about this man, whose name is likely to remain famous for generations to come? How did he evolve? What were his priorities and thought processes?
Born in rural Pennsylvania in 1857, Milton Hershey attended seven different schools and never made it beyond the fourth grade. At fifteen, he found his passion in a Lancaster ice cream parlor making candies. His father, Henry, was a...
The year 1921 was one of the worst years in the history of the American automobile business. Many companies folded in a brief but severe post-war recession as prices dropped and car inventories piled up. Walter P. Chrysler, after...

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