Assessment of the business autobiography by Thomas Mellon


The essence of high level of efficiency, profitability, and overall success of the business strategy in terms of current economy and conditions of potential development is a miscellaneous and controversial issue. There are diverse business visions and business strategies, which reflect different aspects of the effective business performance concept.

The paper deals with the analysis and assessment of the business autobiography presented by Thomas Mellon in the book Thomas Mellon and His Times. Though the sheer analysis and assessment appear not to be sufficient for the proper and consistent comprehension of the whole issue. Therefore, the comparison of the vision presented by Thomas Mellon and several other outlooks is as covered in the paper. The comparison sufficiently contributes to the overall conception of the key phenomena and also permits to create multidimensional picture of the issue.



The autobiography of Thomas Mellon starts in a traditional and quite predetermined way. The first chapter deals with the description of Mellon's childhood and its crucial events. This is quite predictable and justified, as the basis for future outlook and vision is typically formed, or at least molded to a certain extent, in the period of childhood. Therefore, the first chapter of the business autobiography is an essential and influential in terms of further comprehension of the book.

The author provides a detailed description of his first essential impression of the farm he was brought up on. Immediately afterwards, the author provides an explanation of the significance of this speculation and impression: It must not only be true, as metaphysicians teach, that we learn more in the first five years of life than in any ten years afterwards, but also that we retain whatever we learn in those five years incomparably better than anything we learn at a later date. This observation may be subsequently implicated to the whole experience of the business running and strategic planning, as it is important what a person may learn during the initial stage. Further stages will likely involve only adjustments, additional data, and comparisons.

All the chapters written by Thomas Mellon are marked with the obviously huge attention to details, and tiny, but still rather significant aspects of the issue are currently being investigated and analyzed. Though it is not the proof to blame the author for the incapability to see and to present the big picture of the business phenomenon and its peculiar features. On the contrary, the capability of Thomas Mellon to take into account significant and meaningful details helps present the whole picture. The reason for such a conclusion is that every controversial and miscellaneous issue tends to be represented by diversity of dimensions and transformations in the course of development.

It is necessary to emphasize the time and the economic conditions, under which the business venture of Mellon's parents has had to develop and profit. As the author emphasizes in the business autobiography, Business had not recovered from the great collapse, and land was cheap. We had the finest apple and peach orchard in the neighborhood, but no market for either. This was the dilemma the contemporaries of the book's author had to face and deal with. A businessman could easily afford to buy the land, establish the working process on it, and also provide all the necessary facilities for the course of production. Yet profit was rather hazy and uncertain, as the market was unstable, and the demand was not sufficient to meet the scope of desired supply.

Actually, the situation is absolutely different in the current course of time in the country. It appears that the pricing policy tends to increase and provide certain amount of pressure upon the owners of business venture, whereas the perspectives and opportunities for business establishment, development, improvement, and for further joint venture or cooperation are unlimited and have a strong potential. The current century is the epoch of excellent opportunities and amazing perspectives, while the contemporary American economy tends to remain relatively stable, efficient, and consistent. Besides, it allows implementing the majority of the ideas and projects given the proper approach, professional and experienced staff, and effective business strategy.

One more crucial aspect of the whole situation with the business venture of the author's parents is their further profitable development of the business strategy. They took what they had (that is, apples and peaches), involved available facilities and transformed the farming business into the production of alcohol drink based on fruit: Distillery was operated at suitable times, as crops demanded. The work on the canal ten miles away, which commenced soon afterwards, afforded a ready market for the peach and apple brandy. Such approach is consistent, efficient, and absolutely relevant under the described conditions, depressing for the majority of business ventures at that time. Such step demonstrates the best solution for the dilemma, even in terms of contemporary American economy. It emphasizes that in case there is no need in the product the company produces, or if the approach or strategy appears to be irrelevant and non-profitable, it is recommended to alter the strategic planning or even the whole direction of the production in order to fit the terms of current market demand. Hence, the sequence of the actions targeted at the increase of the revenue and at the development of the business venture may be regarded as universally efficient and significant. Therefore, it absolutely fits into the big picture.

One more significant aspect of the business conception and its proper interpretation is the aspect of the businessman's calling, sufficient level of proficiency, and appropriateness for the selected business venture. This aspect significantly contributes to the overall efficiency and perceptiveness of the business venture. According to the business philosophy and conception presented by Thomas Mellon, I was of an earnest turn of mind, and the question of a calling was cogitated over and over again at every new phase which life presented. My father's uniform advice was decidedly, indeed almost peremptorily in favor of farming. The author demonstrates a profound insight in the background and essence of calling. As a consequence, Thomas Mellon maintains the stance that every person has freedom to choose in the world of diverse opportunities, and the calling is not evident. Hence, if at that time Thomas Mellon had the freedom and the possibility to think it over and select, it is even more necessary in the current time, when the opportunities are unlimited and significantly perspective. The proper and relevant choice in terms of future job is the predetermining stance for its future profitability, development, and success.

It is also necessary to emphasize the significance of the autobiography itself. Its significance comprises the fact that it is a rare case when indeed successful, efficient, and consistent businessman with the story marked by the society as from rags to riches type wrote an autobiography, just like Thomas Mellon did. The crucial aspect of Mellon's business autobiography is that it comprises the relevant sequence of events and author's actions, as well as the detailed description of the business activity. Moreover, Thomas Mellon also provides a consistent and relevant analysis of all the events and activities he or other people appeared to undertake or experience. The analysis of the author is distinctly and prominently marked with personal thoughts on the issue, its pros and cons, and also a subsequent conclusion according to the appropriateness and potential or real ramifications of the phenomenon. Thomas Mellon not only gives the explanation of the issue, but also provides the background and proper reasoning along with justification of the controversial patterns. This aspect is a crucial and significant for such a type of writing. The author not only represents the own case of success in business, but also illustrates the whole process with good examples and provides the necessary for proper comprehension pieces of advice and tips.

One more essential point in the analysis of business autobiography written by Thomas Mellon is the point of critical thinking. This aspect appears to be quite significant because critical thinking is one of the qualities that provide selection of successful business strategy and subsequent process of strategic planning with its effective implementation. Besides, it is an evident conception of the author as a businessman, own business strategy and its efficiency.

Hence, Thomas Mellon appears to present sufficiently critical thinking about himself and a consistent approach to the analysis of own activity in the course of business performance, development, and transformation. The analysis and illustration of all the mistakes the author has ever made in the process of business activity and all the confusion he has ever been through tend to vividly and persuasively demonstrate comprehension of the essential role self-criticism plays in business performance and its constant improvement.

Furthermore, such business autobiographies demonstrate the vivid samples of the key drivers of the American economy that have been contemporary to Thomas Mellon. Such pro-active representatives of the world of business provided the proper and perspective basis for the American economy of that time to evolve and improve sufficiently.

The issue of the assessment of the undertaken actions in the course of own business performance by the author remains a rather controversial and complicated issue. It is evident that the efficiency of the Thomas Mellons business activity is impressive. This may be comprehended from the book as well as from the apparent results and achievements of the great businessman. Though, some aspects of the book tend to hint on possible alterations the author would have done in case there was such a chance. This aspect may as well be regarded as a sign of true efficiency and sufficient self-criticism. There is no limit for perfection; and only really successful businessman may confess own mistakes. Therefore, it is rather a sign of confidence, but not the lack of critical thinking or appropriate business strategy.

It is generally accepted in the community of business and economic historians to rate the writers, especially in case it concerns autobiography or motivational literature. There are certain crucial rating criteria. These criteria include such aspects as relevance of the topic and suggested solution, critical thinking and adequate self-conception, potential of the solution and methods provided by the author (that is, potential efficiency and consistency in the course of alignment with the current economic, social and political conditions), and also availability and appropriateness of the alternatives and perspectives in terms of presented study.

Hence, the autobiography presented by Thomas Mellon appears quite effective, relevant, and consistent, taking into account the announced criteria of the historians rating process. The book presents the unity of properly presented background and reasons, sequence of certain steps in the course of business performance, their critical analysis and explanation with sufficient amount of the details of decent quality, relevant and perspective alternatives, and proper solutions. The scheme of the business activity that is presented by Thomas Mellon is absolutely relevant and useful even in the current course of time, and is considered a precious experience and background even for contemporary performance.

Thus, the overall status of the autobiography by Thomas Mellon is quite solid, and is crucial in the course of the development of economic science and history. Moreover, it is a meaningful and important work for the economic development and improvement in the current course of time. It is regarded as one of the best and most influential business autobiographies of the time.


In order to be more relevant, objective, and efficient in the course of analysis and comprehension of the value and level of the autobiography that Thomas Mellon and His Times by Thomas Mellon, it will be appropriate to compare the autobiography to other sources. These sources are supposed to be closely connected with the key topic of business performance and economic studies. Though it is not recommended to select the same genre, because autobiographies tend to have a very similar scope and essence. Therefore, for better comprehension of the big picture, two books and two articles have been chosen. The books include Encyclopedia of American Economic History by Glenn Porter and also Dictionary of Historical Economics by Donald McCloskey. These books have absolutely different scopes and perspectives in terms of economics and essence of the business venture. They tend to represent two opposite polar stances on economics and business performance, while the autobiography represents the personal experience that has taken place at a certain time in a certain place and under certain conditions. Though, the autobiography tends to grasp much narrower theoretical scope. That is the reason it appears to be harder to see the big picture in such works.

Whereas the books like encyclopedias and dictionaries tend to demonstrate a bigger picture of the phenomenon that is currently investigated, they do not give much proper and detailed explanation to it, and they do not provide certain sequence of steps, methods, and actions in the course of the establishment, development, and subsequent improvement of the business venture. These types of books tend to only review and record the achievements and failures of numerous business ventures and provide the data for statistical analysis of business industry and economics. Actually, the presented books tend to demonstrate the big picture in the global light, whereas the autobiography by Thomas Mellon presents the big picture on more local and detailed level. Both are necessary for the development and improvement of the business performance.

One more crucial aspect in the process of analysis and comparison comprises taking into account the presentation of the economic and business issues through articles, which are less informative and lack details and explanations. They present new information and their goal is to respond to events quickly. Such magazines as The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal were chosen as representatives of the most prominent and significant edition in the scope of business and economy on the worldwide scale. The topics were chosen by the level of importance in the global scope and by closeness to the concepts of business performance and economics.

The article in The Wall Street Journal presented by William Kazer deals with the growing rates of factory activity in China during the previous month. This issue appears to be essential and significant, because it influences the overall rating of the Chinese business performance, and as a consequence impacts the global economy. Actually, the article does not present the big picture, as it covers a very short period of time (only one month of the current year) and presents a generalized experience of one country with no details and proper background. This article deals not only with the description of the issue and presentation of statistic data, but also presents the perspectives on the whole issue and reasoning for the author's vision: China got a mixed picture of its manufacturing health in November, as a gauge of factory activity showed expansion but with signs of weakness ahead. Hence, the article tends to illustrate the issue of business development and economic performance quite vividly. Though it is not the presentation of the big picture.

The other article that has been chosen for the comparison is Investors, Dismayed by Losses at Sears, Pull Money from Hedge Fund and is written by Randall Smith. This article deals with the urgent issue regarding the scope of financial policy.

The article is very different from the previous one in terms of the structure and the scope. It embraces the big picture of the issue of so called financial empire, as there is a relevant background, reasoning and explanation of the basic events and actions, which were experienced by the participants of the business activity. There is no doubt that the article is not capable to present all the essential details of the story of the business venture. Therefore, the author of the article concentrated his and readers attention on the milestones of the story.

One of the most crucial aspects of the high-rating position and the importance of presenting the big picture in the article is the evidence for the authors assumptions and understanding of essential points of the whole phenomenon development. Some of the recent investor withdrawals may have also been influenced by the stringent lockup terms imposed by Mr. Lampert. When ESL raises funds from outside investors, it typically requires them to keep their money with ESL for five years. Hence, the analysis of the business issue is presented in a relevant, consistent, and proper manner.

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The concept of the big picture in the context of the business autobiographical writing is quite controversial. Though Thomas Mellon managed to solve the problem by providing a proper representation not only of own experience in the course of leading business, but also generalizing toward more global and big scale.