Mindset Mastery 108 – An Educated Man

What does it mean to be an educated man or woman? By definition, modern society would claim that it means that a person had undertaken extensive study at school and university. To more knowledgeable people, it is known that that is not necessarily a truth.

An Abundance Of Knowledge

An educated man is not, necessarily, one who has an abundance of general or specialized knowledge. An educated man is one who has developed the faculties of his mind in such a way that he can acquire anything he wants, or its equivalent, without violating the rights of others. Both Henry Ford and Bill Gates fall well within the meaning of this definition.

Education Exemplified

During the First World War, a Chicago newspaper published a number of editorials in which, among other statements, Henry Ford was called “an ignorant pacifist.” Mr. Ford objected to the statements, and sued the paper for libeling him. When the suit was tried in the Courts, the attorneys for the paper pleaded justification, and placed Ford himself on the witness stand, for the purpose of proving to the jury that he was ignorant. The attorneys asked questioningMr. Ford a great variety of questions, all of which were intended to prove, by his own evidence, that, while he might possess considerable specialized knowledge pertaining to the manufacture of automobiles, he was, overall, ignorant.

Mr. Ford was asked questions like:

“Who was Benedict Arnold?” and “How many soldiers did the British send over to America to put down the Rebellion of 1776?” In answer to the last question, Mr. Ford replied, “I do not know the exact number of soldiers the British sent over, but I have heard that it was a considerably larger number than ever went back.”

Finally, Ford grew tired of this line of questioning, and in reply to a particularly offensive question, he leaned over, pointed his finger at the lawyer who had asked the question, and said, “If I should really want to answer the foolish question you have just asked, or any of the other questions you have been asking me, let me remind you that I have a row of electric push-buttons on my desk, and by pushing the right button, I can summon to my aid men who can answer any question I desire to ask concerning the business to which I am devoting most of my efforts. Now, will you kindly tell me, why I should clutter up my mind with general knowledge, for the purpose of being able to answer questions, when I have men around me who can supply any knowledge I require?”

Playing The Logic Card

There certainly was good logic to that reply.

That answer floored the lawyer. Every person in the courtroom realized it was the answer, not of an ignorant man, but of a man of education. Any man is educated who knows where to get knowledge when he needs it, and how to organize that knowledge into definite plans of action. Through the assistance of his “Master Mind” group, Henry Ford had at his command all the specialized knowledge he needed to enable him to become one of the wealthiest men in America. It was not essential that he have this knowledge in his own mind. Surely no person who has sufficient inclination and intelligence to read a book of this nature can possibly miss the significance of this point.

Access To Knowledge

This is an important point. You do not need to know everything, you just need to know how to access the knowledge that you do require at various points in your life travels. It’s fairly obvious that you possess that skill, because somehow you landed here, surrounding yourself with a community of support for success and the access to knowledge for building prosperity. Not one of us here claims to “know it all” already, but we do claim the education to know how to access the resources that we need to succeed.

Sean Rasmussen
Success Communicator
SeanRasmussen.com © 2004 – 2009

About Sean Rasmussen

Sean Rasmussen is a passionate blogger and has been a full time internet marketer since 2005. When he's not with his family, or dog Buddy, Sean is usually blogging or doing something related to the internet.


  1. Well put Sean.

    In my study of the mechanical ways of the human being, I already understand that 95% of people are slaves to their own comfort zones, where as people such as Ford learned how to make his comfort zone, or as I like to call it, his organic cycle, the slave.

    In order to do this, one must acquire knowledge of how the organic cycle, i.e. the comfort zone works, and thus how to become master of it instead of slave to it


  2. This is a great post. I love it and have learnt something from it. Cool!

    Binhs last blog post..Focusing Your Energy – The Power Of Focus

  3. Carlos Guaajrdo says:

    I read the Ford’s story (from Napoleon Hill’s book)… I found not any references to any newspaper. I tried to find the Court case in google but I have found nothing. Could you help me to find if this story have any part of true? (other than Napoleon’s imagination)

  4. Hi Carlos
    Napoleon Hill wrote this so many years ago, I’m sure it would have been properly challenged by now. Google was not around back in Ford’s days so we rely on historians and archives for references.
    Regards – Sean

  5. Your Henry Ford story is almost an exact copy of Napoleon Hill’s version in Think and grow rich, yet you make no mention of that, or attribute your source of information. This strikes me as unethical.

  6. Hello Jim
    The source of information is from the book: Mindset Mastery. This entire series is read from part one (we are on part 108). It has been credited to Napoleon Hill since part 1. “Think and grow rich” has been part of the public domain for many years. I have made numerous thank you’s and attributions to Napoleon Hill through out this blog and my websites since 2005.
    Thank you for your observation.
    Regards – Sean

  7. Jazz Salinger says:

    Hi Sean,

    This story about Henry Ford always makes me laugh. He was smart enough and secure enough in himself that he didn’t need to know everything. His time and effort was spent on what was most important to him.

    Henry Ford was the keeper of the dream. It was his job to have the vision of things that the rest of us couldn’t see. This is far more important than needing to know everything.

    I hope that I can be the keeper of my dreams and that I am smart enough to know where to find the knowledge I need to make my dreams a reality. For me, the answer lies in being part of your forum, Sean.

  8. Henry Ford was a clever man. Many people mistakenly believe education determines intelligence. Really though, in many instances an education, and someone being able to answer questions on past history only demonstrates that this person had a good memory – to a parrot style learning.

    Testing someone’s common sense is a much more realistic yardstick to determine intelligence. Not by testing the memory, as the lawyers who questioned Henry Ford in the witness box believed. They were proven wrong.

    An example is that someone still attending university at 30 y.o. would automatically be considered intelligent by the lawyers. Instead though, an example of true intelligence as I see it is, the kid who leaves school at 14 y.o. goes out, starts a business, and makes his fortune and is in a position to retire by the age of 30 y.o. – as is, in the case of Henry Ford. There are many Aussies I know who have done the same thing also and Aussies who are still doing it now!

    • Hi Jill,

      I think intelligence is the ability to know exactly what your shortcomings are and being able to find ways of overcoming those weaknesses in order to fulfill your dreams. Success isn’t guaranteed for the educated.

      Success comes to those who have a dream and are willing to apply the principles of success.
      .-= Jazz Salinger´s last blog ..Finding Your Passion =-.

  9. Is it just me, or does anyone else think it’s a bit excessive to sue someone for calling you an ignorant pacifist? Anyway, that’s not the point of this post, I know.

    Great story and great answer by Ford while under pressure and scrutiny. It definitely makes the point about not having to know everything, when you know how to access what you need to know.

    Kind of similar to what Chris Howard says, that it’s never a question of resources, just resourcefulness.
    .-= Lina Nguyen´s last blog ..How to make comments online and build your online persona =-.

  10. If “knowledge” and “education” would be the same every basic computer on which someone downloads all encyclopedias would be more “educated” than a human.
    But they are not. They are capable of storing facts and running pre-set programs. And maybe theses days there are programs that are able to generate other programs. But I am still to see the computer that is really “educated”.
    .-= Renee´s last blog ..Motivational Music =-.

  11. Just goes to show doesn’t it. How many highly “educated” people still search for work.

    It has been my experience that the school of hard knocks is more valuable than a tertiary education. Of course if you ha e both even better
    .-= Gee´s last blog ..Why You Should Just Ignore Fad Diets (Part 2) =-.

  12. Hello Sean,

    A great story of determination. It pays to know where to go to get the knowledge you need. I do not believe there is any one that can claim to be a expert in one field. Sure they might know all they think that they need to know, but I bet there is someone out there that would know more. Then another person would pipe up and know more again. Its all at the fingertips with the internet – if you don’t know the answer then you google it. If you are looking for a receipe for dinner, what do you do? You google it. Its about knowing where to get the answers 🙂

    .-= Lisa Wood´s last blog ..Our Kids Today =-.

  13. This concept of Ford’s, this simple brilliance is what makes a marriage work. In school I tried very hard at every subject, put for effort into everything that was given to me and then I met my now husband. He excels at math, technology and brute force while my strengths can be focused on English, housework and kindness. It does us no good if we both excel at something when there’s so many topics to cover.

    An equal relationship evolves and involves depending on the other for their strengths while being able to focus on your own.
    .-= Sarah Butland´s last blog ..You Are the Reason I Know It Will Happen =-.

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