A Message to Garcia Summary, Review PDF

A Message to Garcia outlines the lessons to be learned from a Spanish-American War-era lieutenant who displayed a level of dedication to his work that we should all strive to match.

At its core, the book describes how working hard is the key to living well, staying virtuous, finding happiness and improving the world at large.

You may still be wondering if you should read the book. This book summary will tell you everything about this book so you can decide if it is worth your time.

At the end of this book summary, I’ll also tell you the best way to get rich by reading and writing

Without further ado, let’s get started. 

A Message to Garcia Book Summary

Lesson 1: The story of Lieutenant Andrew Rowan, the exemplary employee, is implied in the phrase “a message to Garcia”

You may ask, “Who’s Garcia, and what does he have to do with me?” This question requires a look back at a pivotal moment in the Spanish-American War.

When the war broke out in 1898, U.S. President William McKinley was trying to recruit Cuban rebels to fight for American interests. Since Spain still exercised control over Cuba at the time, the insurgents there may have been a useful military asset for the United States.

President McKinley asked that a message be sent to Calixto Garcia, the leader of one particular rebel group. It wouldn’t be easy to get a message to him. At the height of the conflict, it would have been reckless to send an American soldier across Cuba, and the military leadership didn’t even know where Garcia was. They’d to find a person who could do the job.

Lieutenant Andrew Rowan was the right man for the job, and Colonel Arthur L. Wagner was the one who discovered him. Without questioning the legitimacy of the mission, Rowan penetrated enemy territory and delivered the oil bag with the message to Garcia.

It’s a shame that there aren’t sculptures of Lieutenant Rowan all over campus, for he embodies the idea of the worker. Despite the obvious relevance of Rowan’s story, its lessons are sometimes overlooked. After all, quick reactions and attention to one’s tasks are often more important than learning from books.

Strive to muster the same level of initiative and commitment that Rowan did when he delivered the news to Garcia. Failure to do so will have serious consequences.

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Lesson 2: Employers are constantly looking for ways to eliminate unproductive employees.

The plight of factory workers, sweatshop seamstresses, and the homeless in search of work is the subject of much literature. It is not true that all are helplessly at the mercy of the “system” It is possible that their desperation may fall upon them.

workers are highly incompetent and demanding. In fact, you can investigate this phenomenon yourself by conducting an experiment.

Try assigning six of your employees to do some light dictionary research on the Italian Renaissance painter Antonio da Correggio. They will probably ask a series of pointless questions like:

“What encyclopedia do you recommend?”

“Should I be responsible for this?”

“Is this really an emergency?”

“Are you interested in an encyclopedia so you can find out for yourself?”


No matter how patiently you answer these questions, they will likely try to pass this simple task off to someone else or claim da Coreggio does not even exist. Instead of dealing with lazy and incompetent subordinates who end up getting fired, you could just read the encyclopedia page yourself.

Employees who underperform will be recognized by their employers and punished accordingly. Only employees with the determination to “send Garcia a message” will succeed professionally.

For example, if you are constantly complaining or dragging the team down, management will have no choice but to fire you. Even when things are going well, employers are always looking for ways to improve their workforce by replacing weaker links they find. Incompetent employees are not only a waste of time and money, but also a liability.

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Lesson 3: Negativity is a waste of time, so go or get in line!

Who among us has not encountered a chronic complainer? The things they complain about are probably not as bad in your mind as they are in theirs.

Your own credibility goes down when you complain about or criticize a supervisor. For example, a student at Yale College whom the author encountered has an extremely negative attitude toward the institution. His bitterness, however, revealed his rather ugly tendency to dwell on petty grievances, exaggerate their importance, and allow them to prevent him from making the most of an exceptional educational opportunity.

And if you ever complain about how “rotten” your company or boss is, you are only exposing the rot in your own soul. Imagine an employee who is convinced that his employer is pressuring him to prevent him from reaching his full potential. His likely reaction to being asked to deliver a message to Garcia would be, “Why do not you do it yourself?”

Which of the two would come off worse: the employer or the employee?

Just quit your job if it becomes unbearable for you to stay there. No employer or employee is perfect, but you should give your all to your job or find another. That is, leave or get in line.

Then the question becomes, “How do you get in line?” By influencing their mindset and attitude.

Success and joy are the result of positive thinking, while failure and misery are the result of negative thinking. It is in your best interest to cultivate qualities like courage and positivity if you want to succeed and make friends.

The way you think and the activities you pursue form the basis of your personality. What you think determines what you do, and what you do shapes who you are.

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Lesson 4: Choosing how to live your life and being happy depends on how you think and act.

Working for a whole day is not everything. What you do at work affects not only how you behave in other areas of your life, but also how you feel about yourself.

Hard work is the only way to find fulfillment in life. Through hard work, you can transform your vitality into something useful, you will get an education and skills that will be useful to you throughout your life, and you will learn how to divide your time between work, leisure, and study.

Many people think that if they just become rich and famous, they will not need to work anymore, and that will make them happy. However, this is a mistake, because a lack of self-control and dedication to the job can lead to losing the sense of fulfillment.

Therefore, success should not make you useless, both for yourself and for those around you. For example, if everyone made a small contribution, no one would have to work excessive hours. We could easily satisfy all needs if no one wasted anything. It would be possible to end world hunger if people stopped eating too much.

Do not worry about becoming rich, famous, or powerful; instead, focus on doing good. Strive for a life without hatred, jealousy, and fear, and let these positive qualities shine through you. Honesty, simplicity, and not being afraid to admit ignorance will take you far in life.

Everyone deserves respect, and the best way to help others is to teach them the value of independence. To lead others effectively, you must lead by example rather than imposing your will on them.

The path to virtue and success is a life of self-knowledge in which one prioritizes one’s own fulfillment.

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A Message to Garcia Book Review

A Message to Garcia is a great book I’d like to recommend to anyone who is interested in career development. If you spend some time digesting the ideas, it might make a positive impact on your life.

The best workers, leaders, and people do their best work and live their lives with absolute honesty and integrity. These people never take it lightly and always set a good example for others to follow. Whether or not you’re one of the employees who can deliver a message to Garcia, it’s important that you do your best in your work.

If you feel bad about your boss, try to put yourself in his shoes for a moment. Are you making it easy for him to do his job, or are you doing things that might make him suspicious? Put yourself in their shoes; it may help you see things in a new light.

About The Author

Author, artist, and philosopher Elbert Hubbard lived in the United States. The essay A Message to Garcia has been translated into 37 languages and sold over 40 million copies.

Further Reading

If you like the book A Message to Garcia, you may also like reading the following book summaries:

Buy The Book: A Message to Garcia

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