On 7 February it was Charles Dickens Day, and to celebrate and commemorate this prolific writer, Counting Coins has scoured his novels for lessons that are applicable to both business and life.
Born on 7 February 1812, Dickens was used to hardship from a young age. Forced to go and work in a boot-blackening factory at age 12 after his father was imprisoned for debt, it was a job as an office boy that eventually launched his career as a writer.
Charles Dickens drew extensively from his own experience as a child in his novels, which are considered classics today.
1. Oliver Twist and the power of asking
In the novel the young Oliver is forced into a workhouse, and it is when he asks if he could have more food that the wheels are set in motion for his departure from the workhouse. Despite his many obstacles along the way, Oliver would probably have toiled in the workhouse for a good many of his days, had he not asked if he could have “some more, please sir”.
2. A Christmas Carol and saving and sharing
Ebenezer Scrooge isn’t the nicest guy initially, but, damn, does he know how to save. Some people say he’s stingy, others call it being financially savvy in harsh economic times. However, when Scrooge is visited by the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Yet to Come, he realises the dangers of being purely self-serving in a world where charity doesn’t necessarily always have to be kept at home, and changes his selfish ways to help others.
3. David Copperfield and fighting against the odds
Considered Dickens’ most autobiographical novel, the titular character in David Copperfield endures abuse, child labour, neglect and heartbreak before he eventually manages to get into the career he always wanted to have, that of being a writer, and gains commercial success with it.
4. A Tale of Two Cities and starting afresh
Resurrection is a recurring theme in A Tale of Two Cities. After being imprisoned for 18 years in the Bastille, Doctor Manette is a prime example of starting again after a harrowing ordeal. In the novel, Manette transforms from a prisoner who spends hours mindlessly making shoes to distract himself from the reality of prison, to a man of distinction.
5. Great Expectations and paying it forward
When the young orphan Pip gave an escaped convict food and a file to saw off his shackles, he would never have known that it would be that very same ex-con that would eventually pay for his education as a gentleman in London. Indeed, no good deed goes unnoticed.
Interested in reading the complete novels for more nuggets of wisdom? Read Dickens’ complete works on Kindle:
Or you can buy the books here: