My go-to example of what young people can accomplish has always been David Farragut, midshipman in the U.S. Navy at age nine, given charge of a prize ship at 12, later the Navy's first admiral.  But the Occasional CEO has provided some other examples for my list:

In 1792, the trading ship Benjamin departed Salem, Massachusetts, loaded with hops, saddlery, window glass, mahogany boards, tobacco and Madeira wine.  The ship and crew would be gone for 19 months, traveling to the Cape of Good Hope and Il de France.   All the while they bargained hard from port to port, flipping their freight several times “amid embargoes and revolutions,” naval historian Samuel Eliot Morison wrote, “slipping their cables at Capetown after dark in a gale of wind to escape a British frigate; drifting out of Bourbon with ebb tide to elude a French brig-o’-war.”  In 1794, the Benjamin returned to Salem with a cargo that brought 500% profit to its owners.

The ship just happened to be captained by Nathaniel Silsbee, 19 years old when he took command.  His first mate was 20 and his clerk 18.

I know we expect a different sort of education for our young people today, but surely we can do a better job of helping them get it more efficiently.  No wonder today's teens are restive!

Posted by sursumcorda on Monday, April 14, 2014 at 7:00 am | Edit
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Thanks! It may just be me, but I see (or maybe sense) an entire generation of 20-something guys (NOT gals, who seem directed and motivated) who are having trouble getting started. It may be too much affluence (parents' couches and protection) or something else in the air that I can't put my finger on--this eerie rise in autism and ocd. Anyway, it sometimes makes us forget how talented and capable teenagers can be when asked. . .



Posted by Eric on Monday, April 14, 2014 at 10:33 am
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