What is the first piece of advice that billionaire Harry Stine gives to aspiring entrepreneurs?
Get a liberal arts degree of course!
You can read it for yourself at Forbes.
Stine graduated from McPherson College — a small liberal arts school in Kansas. Many courses he took didn’t immediately apply to the work he did on his father’s farm after graduating. But over the course of his career, he’s often benefited from knowledge he gleaned from different classes.
“I strongly think that a wide, diverse background is advantageous for an entrepreneur,” Stine says.
We have spoken about the evils of premature specialization elsewhere. Remember there is a time and place for everything and wisdom dictates that there is a right order that we should strive to follow in our life choices.
Now this is obvious when it comes to ‘training one’s mind up’ in order to become wise–when one is pursuing wisdom for its own sake.
But billionaire Harry Stine is here to testify that even if one does not care a hoot for wisdom, if one only wants to… say, make a billion dollars, the best way to do that is to get a liberal arts degree!
One might have thought that pursuing truth, the good of the soul, is at odds with pursuing wealth which is on the side of the body. But Stine has empirically demonstrated beyond the shadow of a doubt–that is to say 3 billion dollars beyond that shadow, that both goods lie on the same road!
A similar point is made later in the article when Mr Stine encourages entrepreneurs to “treat employees well,”
A number of years back, Stine Seed gave every employee a $1,000 bonus for each year they had been with the company — a hefty sum for Stine lifers. This past Christmas, he gave each employee a dollar per hour raise, a significant marginal increase for those on the lower end of the pay scale. Though Stine seems by all accounts a perfectly generous and benevolent person, it’s actually his pragmatism that drives his treatment of employees.
“We don’t do things like that to be nice, we do it because it’s good business,” Stine says. “I just know as a company it’s better for us to have our people feeling good.”
Although I suspect that Mr. Stine is probably a very nice person, it is interesting to see that treating employees well is also good business.
The pursuit of wisdom though the liberal arts is ordinarily something that one would do in order to obtain the truth. Similarly the study of Aristotle’s Ethics is ordinarily something that one would do in order to pursue goodness.
Turns out that these things are good for business too!