I love how this book starts out in the preface:
“The study of history is a curious thing. If you were to read every history book ever written, you might come away with images of a world dominated by politicians, wars, and natural disasters. The most important people in the lives of millions of Americans, however, are neither presidents or generals. They are the people who determine when they work, how much money they make, what they spend most of their time doing, and in many cases where they live. They are employers.”
Instead of approaching the history of Nashville from a Civil War or political point of view, author Bill Carey approaches it from the point of view of the entrepreneurs and businesses that have built this city. It was a fascinating look at the impact factories, companies, jobs, and entrepreneurs. I learned a ton.
For example, did you know that Nashville’s association with country music came through a radio station started by an insurance company? National Life started a radio station WSM (We Shield Millions) that played live “hillbilly” music. It became popular enough to where people wanted to see the music being played live. This led to the Grand Old Opry and American’s introduction to country music. And all because an insurance company wanted to use a new medium (radio) to advertise their offerings. Who would have ever guessed that?
As someone new to the Nashville area, who comes from a business background, and is interested in businesses, this was the perfect book for me to begin to get to know my new city. It opened my eyes to the main industries that have built the city as well as the key players, businesses, and institutions that have brought it to where it is today. A great introduction to Nashville.
This is book 30 of 52 of Erik’s 2018 Books of Titans reading list.