Free «The Rise of Silas Lapham» Essay

The Rise of Silas Lapham

The Rise of Silas Lapham is a novel by American novelist and critic William Dean Howels. It discusses the relatively new societal clash involving the old rich and the newly rich at the end of the nineteenth century. It is set in a time by which a number of old and wealthy people had diminished, while the newly rich were becoming wealthier. The novel tells about an individual who rises to become rich. However, he loses all the wealth through his own mistakes. Therefore, this paper will discuss business traits, the role of competition and cooperation in business, and other goals of businesses apart from making profits, as well as the impact of business on an individual.

Business is an activity that requires discipline and unique characteristics. There are some personality traits that can bring success in business, while a lack of which may result in failure. Creativity is one of them. Creativity is needed for an individual to think about and solve problems when they arise. This trait enables him or her to come up with solutions during difficult times of the business (Eysenck, 2013). In the novel, Lapham lacks creative thinking. He experiences difficulties when his daughters have a relationship with Tom Corey. This causes stress not only to him, but to the family at large. Had Lapham become creative, he could have come out of the situation and solved the issue without affecting the business and the family.

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Another crucial business trait is compassion. In business, compassion expressed by a manager making the employees feel valued. Lack of compassion creates a tense environment, which affects productivity (Eysenck, 2013).Compassion is important for mental stability and peace. In the novel, Lapham lacks compassion for his business. This situation creates a tense and uncomfortable environment for him. Lack of compassion might have played a role in the fall of his business and wealth status.

Self-motivation in business is another important trait that also determines its success or failure. Lack of motivation makes an individual give in to challenges. Self-motivated people seem to be absolutely determined to succeed in whatever they pursue and love. A self-motivated business person is willing to try everything that works to resolve the problems in business (Eysenck, 2013).In the novel, Silas Lapham seems to lack self-motivation in his business life. Though he experiences many problems that affect his business, he could have sought help from others to rescue it. He has an ability to resurrect the business, but chooses to abandon it. This is a clear indication that he lacks self-motivation and the urge to continue doing the business.

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Business success or failure depends also on the confidence of the individual. Confidence in any business organization helps prevent unfair and wrong judgments. When the employer or the manager recognizes the efforts and skills of the employees, it boosts their confidence in the business. As a result, this improves their productivity. Lack of confidence can affect the productivity of the workers, and hence, lead to business failure (Eysenck, 2013). Lapham lacks the confidence in himself. He fears the reputation of others. He becomes honest. He carelessly lends money to people. Instead of taking advantage of the less knowledgeable businessmen and saving more of his fortune, he decides to disclose the details of his business and watches the business fail and become bankrupt. His lack of confidence makes him give up and stop the business activity.

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The ability to recover from failures is a trait possessed by successful people in all fields. Failure should not mean the end of a business. It should rather push an individual further and make them learn from their failures, make changes based on the failures and perfect the process. Failure is seen by successful businessmen as an opportunity to begin again more intelligently. Therefore, business people should take a failure positively and learn from it. This trait dictates the direction the business is taking. It also goes hand in hand with other traits, such as passion and creative thinking (Eysenck, 2013). In the novel, Silas Lapham is unable to recover from his failures. He considers many things apart from the issues pertaining to the challenges facing it.

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Cooperation and competition have a significant impact on business life. In business, competition can propel a company to another level as it strives to outdo others in the industry. Competition helps consumers because businesses try as much as possible to produce the best quality goods and services. Capitalist business nature is common in most American industries – it is based on competition. It promotes creativity and innovation (Johnson & Johnson, 2011). Competition ensures that the business survives during difficult times. On the other hand, cooperation is also good in business as it enables businesses to share ideas, as well as resources. In the case of Lapham, he cooperates with his partner, which results in bad business dealings that greatly affect the condition of his business. Cooperation in the novel is seen to have negative impacts on Lapham’s business. On the other hand, Lapham is reluctant to take advantage of the less knowledgeable business people and actively compete, which would benefit his company. Lapham’s family cooperation with Corey family is seen to cause problems that almost destroy their daughters’ unity. Due to his unwillingness to compete, he watches the business fall and becomes bankrupt. Therefore, competition is crucial to business life. It enhances the survival of the business, though, to some extent, cooperation among businesses is required as well.

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The main objective of most businesses is to make profits. However, there exist many other reasons that make businesses strive to succeed. Apart from making profits, a business should look for alternative ways of surviving. It cannot be in a position to grow unless it survives (Craig & Campbell, 2012). Lapham’s business of selling paint experiences problems due to low sales. This forces him to shut it down without looking for various ways of keeping it. The business could have survived if he had taken some precautionary measures.

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