10.An Appeal That Everybody Likes
I was reared on the edge of the Jesse James country out in Missouri, and I visited the
James farm at Kearney, Missouri, where the son of Jesse James was then living.
His wife told me stories of how Jesse robbed trains and held up banks and then gave
money to the neighboring farmers to pay off their mortgages.
Jesse James probably regarded himself as an idealist at heart, just as Dutch Schultz,
"Two Gun” Crowley, Al Capone and many other organized crime “godfathers” did
generations later. The fact is that all people you meet have a high regard for themselves
and like to be fine and unselfish in their own estimation.
J. Pierpont Morgan observed, in one of his analytical interludes, that a person usually
has two reasons for doing a thing: one that sounds good and a real one.
The person himself will think of the real reason. You don’t need to emphasize that. But
all of us, being idealists at heart, like to think of motive that sound good. So, in order to
change people, appeal to the nobler motives.
Is that too idealistic to work in business? Let’s see. Let’s take the case of Hamilton J.
Farrell of the Farrell-Mitchell Company of Glenolden, Pennsylvania. Mr. Farrell had a
disgruntled tenant who threatened to move. The tenant’s lease still had four months to
run; nevertheless, he served notice that he was vacating immediately, regardless of
"These people had lived in my house all winter - the most expensive part of the year,”
Mr. Farrell said as he told the story to the class, “and I knew it would be difficult to rent
the apartment again before fall. I could see all that rent income going over the hill and
believe me, I saw red.
“Now, ordinarily, I would have waded into that tenant and advised him to read his
lease again. I would have pointed out that if he moved, the full balance of his rent