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A Message to Garcia summary

Elbert Hubbard

And Other Essential Writings on Success

3.9 (43 ratings)
9 mins

Brief summary

A Message to Garcia by Elbert Hubbard is a short inspirational essay that celebrates the virtues of hard work, initiative, and dedication in the face of adversity. It tells the story of a soldier who delivers a crucial message with unparalleled determination.

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    A Message to Garcia
    Summary of 4 key ideas

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    Key idea 1 of 4

    The phrase “a message to Garcia” refers to the story of Lieutenant Andrew Rowan, the ideal worker.

    Right now, you might be asking yourself, “Who is Garcia and what does he have to do with me?” To answer that, we have to look back to a notable incident that occurred during the Spanish-American War.

    When the war broke out in 1898, American President William McKinley wanted to recruit Cuban rebels to fight for the American cause. Spain still ruled Cuba at the time, so Cuban insurgents would have been a valuable military asset to the United States.

    President McKinley asked military leaders to deliver a message to one rebel leader in particular: Calixto Garcia. Getting a message to him would be no easy feat, however. It would be dangerous to send an American soldier through Cuba in the midst of the war, and military leaders didn’t even know exactly where Garcia was. They had to find someone up to the task.

    It was Colonel Arthur L. Wagner who found the right person: Lieutenant Andrew Rowan. Rowan successfully penetrated enemy territory and delivered the oil-skin pouch that contained the message for Garcia, all without once stopping to question the nature of the mission.

    Lieutenant Rowan truly exemplifies the idea worker – it’s a shame statues of him don’t adorn university campuses! After all, swift responses and dedication to one’s assignments are often more important than learning from books, but we still tend to neglect the lessons of Rowan’s story.

    As an employee, you should strive to maintain the same levels of initiative and devotion that Rowan displayed in delivering the message to Garcia. If you don’t, you’ll suffer the consequences.

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    What is A Message to Garcia about?

    A Message to Garcia (1899) outlines the lessons to be learned from a Spanish-American War-era lieutenant who displayed a level of dedication to his work that we should all strive to match. At its core, the book describes how working hard is the key to living well, staying virtuous, finding happiness and improving the world at large.

    A Message to Garcia Review

    A Message to Garcia (1899) is a timeless essay that delivers a profound message about the importance of initiative and resourcefulness. Here's why this book is worth reading:

    • It highlights the value of taking action and getting things done without unnecessary hand-holding, making it a powerful lesson for personal and professional growth.
    • This book encapsulates the essence of efficiency and determination by recounting a true story of a soldier who successfully completes a seemingly impossible mission.
    • With its simplicity and directness, it serves as a reminder of the importance of focus and perseverance, making it a short but impactful read.

    Best quote from A Message to Garcia

    Get your happiness out of your work, or youll never know what happiness is!

    —Elbert Hubbard
    example alt text

    Who should read A Message to Garcia?

    • Leaders of all kinds
    • Hard workers who want to perform better at their chosen job or profession
    • Anyone who wants to improve their sense of well-being

    About the Author

    Elbert Hubbard (1856-1915) was an American writer, artist and philosopher. His essay A Message to Garcia sold over 40 million copies and was translated into 37 languages.

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    A Message to Garcia FAQs 

    What is the main message of A Message to Garcia?

    The main message of A Message to Garcia is the importance of initiative, determination, and taking responsibility.

    How long does it take to read A Message to Garcia?

    The estimated reading time for A Message to Garcia is a few hours. However, the Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is A Message to Garcia a good book? Is it worth reading?

    A Message to Garcia is a worthwhile read that highlights the value of strong work ethic and a can-do attitude.

    Who is the author of A Message to Garcia?

    The author of A Message to Garcia is Elbert Hubbard.