Holmes Vs Burnham Analysis Essay

There are many different interpretations of what success is and how one can attain it. Some people believe that success is when people have finally achieved something they have desired and worked for. The way in which people can achieve their goals can be drastically different. H. H Holmes reaches success by using deception, preying on the vulnerability of others and employing his charming personality to coax an individual into giving him what he desires.

Daniel Burnham, on the other hand, works hard to place himself into positions of power that allow him to control the way he achieves success, such as working hard to establish a firm with his right hand man, Root. While Holmes uses deception and his charming personality to establish himself as businessman, Burnham relied on hard work and the cohesion with others to ensure his success, while both conduct business with respect towards others and a personality that was approachable.

When starting from the bottom, both men had very different ideas of how they were going to achieve succes Burnham achieved his business by working together with Root to establish an empire that accentuated both his and Root’s talents. Burnham aspired “to become the greatest architect in the city or country … “(Larson 19) but had many obstacles standing in his way as he was turned down by two of the most prestigious schools: Harvard and Yale (Larson 19). After rejection from the schools, Burnham went to work for a company that set him up to meet John Wellborn Root, his soon-to-be partner.

Burnham focused on the cohesion with Root because “it filled an absence and played to both men’s strengths” (Larson 20), giving them the ability to establish an empire together that would allow them to become successful. Burnham knew the only way he would be able to control and conduct a business was to “work up a big business, to handle big things, deal with big businessmen, and to build up a big organization, for you can’t handle big things unless you have an organization” (Larson 21), so that is exactly what he did. Holmes on the other hand had a different way of achieving success than Burnham.

Holmes relied on his deceptive techniques, the vulnerability of others and his charming personality to coax others into giving him what he needed in order to become a successful business owner of a pharmacy. In order to make money to fuel his elaborate lifestyle he had dreamed about, he “devised an elaborate life insurance fraud” to fake the death of four people in order to collect their life insurance policy (Larson 42).

Holmes “sensed vulnerability, sensed it that way another man might capture the trace of a woman’s perfume. (Larson 36) and preyed on any victim that would give him the slightest advantage. Mrs. Holton, a new widow with a pharmacy on her hands, was the perfect prey for Holmes. He coerced her into letting him buy the pharmacy and thanked her with tears in his eyes that he would now be “for the first time … established in a business that was satisfactory” (Larson 46). While Burnham and Holmes were completely different in how they became successful businessmen, the two were not all that different in how they conducted their busineses.

Burnham and Holmes both possessed an approachable personality and a respectable attitude, that drew customers in and made them feel comfortable. Burnham was a great architect but “his greatest strength lay in his ability to win clients,” (Larson 26) and he was also “handsome, tall, and strong, with vivid blue eyes, all of which drew clients and friends to him the way a lens gathers light” (Larson 26).

Burnham handled all of his business affairs in a respectable, confident way because “he was always right … nd by knowing this so securely he built up the sheer power of personality which accomplished big things” (Larson 80). If Burnham was not confident, but shy and timid, he would not have gained the same amount of respect as he did from his clients. Holmes, similar to Burnham, drew customers in with his demeanor and charming attitude he possessed: “he walked with confidence and dressed well, conjuring an impression of wealth and achievement” (Larson 35), which made him easily approachable to not only new clients but vulnerable women.

Not only the way he carried himself, but “the charm with which he managed each transaction and how he won the business even of the elderly customers,” were ways he quickly gained the respect of women and anyone around him (Larson 64). Holmes gained respect from others in how he handled his corrupt affairs. Holmes filled his stores with appliances and furniture he had bought on credit, but “he had no intention of paying his debts and was confident he could evade prosecution through guile and charm” (Larson 71).

He did exactly that and, when the debt collectors would come, he would “smile and talk to them … and send them away seemingly his friends for life. … You couldn’t have trouble with him if you tried” and that gained him respect between not only the debt collectors but even the law enforcement. Holmes was successful in attaining and obtaining his business because to others he “closely fit the prevailing ideal of the self made man who through hard work and invention pulled himself rung by rung into the upper strata of society” (Larson 64), which many admired.

Burnham, on the other hand, knew that working well with other people and having an approachable personality would play a key role in securing his empire as a successful business owner. Though Burnham and Holmes had completely different reasons for why they wanted to become successful, they both were respected businessmen who conducted their businesses not all that different from one another.