Edward William Bok > The Americanization of Edward Bok > Page 425



Edward William Bok (1863–1930). The Americanization of Edward Bok. 1921.

Page 425

“No?” he answered. “Not even Cyrus W. Field or Herbert Hoover?”

And all this time Edward Bok’s failure to be entirely Americanized was brought home to his consciousness. After fifty years, he was still not an American! He had deliberately planned, and then had carried out his plan, to retire while he still had the mental and physical capacity to enjoy the fruits of his years of labor! For foreign to the American way of thinking it certainly was: the protestations and arguments of his friends proved that to him. After all, he was still Dutch; he had held on to the lesson which his people had learned years ago; that the people of other European countries had learned; that the English had discovered: that the Great Adventure of Life was something more than material work, and that the time to go is while the going is good!

For it cannot be denied that the pathetic picture we so often see is found in American business life more frequently than in that of any other land: men unable to let go—not only for their own good, but to give the younger men behind them an opportunity. Not that a man should stop work, for man was born to work, and in work he should find his greatest refreshment. But so often it does not occur to the man in a pivotal position to question the possibility that at sixty or seventy he can keep steadily in touch with a generation whose ideas are controlled by men twenty years younger. Unconsciously he hangs on beyond his greatest usefulness and efficiency: he convinces himself that he is indispensable to his business, while, in scores of cases, the business would be distinctly benefited by his retirement


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