Rembrandt filed for Bankruptcy when he was fifty.
No one remembers him for that though. Why would you be remembered for it?
Tom shared this delightful snippet on fame and Bankruptcy:
I am reminded that fame is no protection against insolvency. Nor prior success. Nor intelligence. Nor spiritual attainment.
Insolvency happens. Bankruptcy happens. I’ve heard it said that the average American millionaire goes broke four times before he or she gets to keep the dough. And that makes sense to me. Nobody in the United States or elsewhere teaches how to run a business (you hear me, Harvard Business School?).
And running any business becomes more difficult as government dumps additional regulation on businesses. You hear me, Washington?
I didn’t think so.
So who besides Rembrandt filed bankruptcy?
Well, Barnum (but then he merged with Bailey, and became “The Greatest Show on Earth”).
Mark Twain filed for bankruptcy, but he doesn’t really count because he paid everybody back. Nice going, Mark! Ruin it for everybody else, why don’t you!
Mathew Brady, the photographer, filed; and afterwards he reopened his museum. Henry Heinz filed, and afterwards started a new company and also started selling ketchup, so history was made.
Oscar Wilde was the subject of a bankruptcy, and wrote my favorite question about wealth: who, being loved, is poor?
Hershey failed four times and then made it big; Henry Ford failed twice with car manufacturing. Number three was the charm.
Micky Rooney blamed drinking for his money problems (although I’ve known business guys who made their best deals in the drunk tank). Sweet Debbie Reynolds, strong Johnny Unitus, rockin’ Jerry Lee Lewis, studly Burt Reynolds, smooth Wayne Newton, hot Kim Basinger, good ol’ Walt Disney, old Larry King (twice!), and Iron Mike Tyson all filed.
For everyone, there was life after bankruptcy, and for most, huge success.
It’s good that in the United States we have the right to fail and move forward.
Because they don’t teach you how to run a business in school. So typically you find out as you run your business. And sometimes you guess wrong. So you fail.
And that’s what separates Henry Ford and Hershey and Heinz from some of the rest of us.
They were just too stupid to know they were beat.
p.s. I forgot to add: it’s better to be lucky than smart.