We pass through buildings, board trains, cross bridges, and traverse all of the world’s buildings often without stopping to think what it took to build them. But the developers behind these structures aren’t just talented architects — in many cases, they’re multi-billionaires who’ve successfully erected not just some of the most impressive facades in history but also managed to build a business empire in the process.
Take John Jacob Astor, for instance, whose legacy is powerful proof positive that there’s never a time to rest on your laurels, no matter how successful you may be. Astor was a wealthy and successful fur trader in the United States and could have retired comfortably on his fortune when he decided instead to take a risk, withdraw all of his money from his fur trading ventures, and buy up huge swaths of undeveloped property on an island that he predicted would become a metropolitan center in the years to come. His wager was correct, and as one of the major property owners in Manhattan, Astor made such a fortune that he became the first American multi-millionaire in history.
From Cornelius Vanderbuilt in New York City to “the woman who built Beijing,” this infographic lists quotes from ten master craftspeople who weren’t just genius builders, but genius businesspeople, too. Their experience might be in construction, but the advice they offer resonates in every industry.