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A Message to Garcia

3.69  ·  Rating details ·  1,809 ratings  ·  164 reviews
Before becoming the basis for two motion pictures, A Message to Garcia was written as an inspirational essay by Elbert Hubbard. This popular work is about a soldier who takes the initiative to accomplish a daunting and difficult task without questions or objections and graciously accomplishes the task. Often used in business and life as a motivational example to readers of ...more
Paperback, 48 pages
Published November 30th 2006 by Filiquarian Publishing, LLC. (first published 1899)
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 ·  1,809 ratings  ·  164 reviews

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Debbie Zapata
Nov 28, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: gutenberg
This little tract was written in 1899 after a long and trying day where the author could not seem to get any of his employees to do what he expected of them. He explains this in his 'Apologia' section at the beginning.

A friend commented that a man by the name of Rowan was the true hero of the Spanish-American war in Cuba, because he accepted with no questions the order to carry an important message to Garcia, a leader somewhere in the wilds of Cuba. And he managed to get the job done without
Apr 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I found the story of the story as fascinating as the story itself.
The little article was written (the author explains in the forward "Apologia"), after a conversation between his young sons about who the 'real' hero of the Spanish-American War was. One son asserted that is was actually Col. Andrew Summers Rowan, whom had been summoned by Pres. McKinley to deliver a message secretly to the leader of the insurgents, General Garcia, in Cuba. The problem was that no one quite knew for sure where
Aug 24, 2007 rated it did not like it
Some marks may be granted to Mr. Hubbard for his endeavor to demonstrate his idea of the proper way to accomplish a task. However, his notion of very integral parts of completing any undertaking is quite misconceived. To describe A Message To Garcia, in the most gracious way, is to say that the point intended was poorly made.

The authors fervent admiration of an honest work ethic is to be commended, no doubt. His devotion to the matter seems complete, if not somewhat overly zealous. However, he
Gina R
Aug 29, 2007 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: Every Marine
SO first of all I have to say this book is CRAP! Its not even a book. I personally believe it is propaganda, and that it is NOT a coincidence that the author's name is very similar to one L. Ron Hubbard. this really the stuff that we should have our junior Marines reading? I read it as a Lance Corporal (just a lowly E-3), and I hated it. Just one more excuse for someone to chew me out. "Didn't you read A Message to Garcia...LANCE corporal?!" Whatever.
However now that I am an NCO
Brittany Sanford
Very good story. Very Short. Worth a try.

As I read the introduction (which is only a few pages itself) I wondered, why am I reading this and what is the point? Well, it gets to the point pretty quickly. It's a 10 minute read.

Very plain an simple, despite a few old timey phrases and a few words I had to look up, but even so I understood it well. It's about Honor, principal, values, and hard work. "Do your job" it exclaims.

It's not about Garcia but about Rowan the man who did his job (taking the
Omnipotent Dystopian Now
I've been meaning to read this for a long time, and it only took me about five minutes to get through it. I was surprised to learn that it's just a small pamphlet containing a short essay about the importance of getting the job done without having someone hold your hand. It addresses the importance of self-determination (and an all too common lack of it). When I read this I thought that it was mostly common sense, but of course, common sense is an uncommon virtue (see what I did there, ...more
Kaj Samuelsson
May 02, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have read this many times. But this version was a bit longer, with an interesting foreword by the author.
This little story might be a good idea to distribute in businesses all over the world and it might raise the loyalty, responsibility and initiative of the workers.
Dec 03, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: every lazy american
it's so short that it would be criminal if every person didn't read it through
Jon Nakapalau
The father of a close friend suggested I read this book before I went into the Army. Glad I did...helped me through boot camp.
Jan 29, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011
Wow... should I be worried that my boss asked me to read this? He said it was "really good", I found it to be bullshit corporate propaganda.
Lisa Brookshire
Feb 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Should be required reading for job applicants

I see so many people with an "entitled" attitude for no apparent reason except that they exists. Entitled to wages beyond their skill level just because they can't live off of what their education and experience dictates yet they don't want put in the time and effort to bring themselves up. Employees who can't just do the job at hand but seem to spend more energy throbbing to wok. This should be required reading for job applicants - then test them on
Mar 25, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Astonishly brilliant in its simplicity. A must read for its message.
Nov 28, 2008 rated it really liked it
Somewhat inspirational, but really seems an awful lot like some form of corporate propaganda. Work hard, do good ect.. I work in a cubicle so I think that I am naturally susceptible to this.
Sarah Booth
Oct 15, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My dad had me read this 30+ years ago as he was a Marine in WWII and his father had him read it as well, but I've since forgotten it so it's time to read it again.
Oct 28, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This long essay, written by Elbert Hubbard, is a speech that needs to be consumed in its entirety; from the beginning to the end, the point that the author is trying to make builds on the previous paragraphs creating crescendo intensity and meaning for the readers.

The message in this essay is powerful: be a person of integrity, keep your word, and carry out the work that you are asked to do quickly, efficiently, and with integrity.

My heart goes out to the man who does his work when the boss is
Aug 29, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this book briskly and then again. It is a very concise get to work book. The idiology it espouses is to do, not to say. By that I mean that you should be getting things done and making things happen, in stead of asking questions on what you should specifically be doing. The message that comes from this for leaders is to have your people read this book, if they whine, then tell them "message to Garcia" and that battle cry will help them focus back to getting the mission accomplished ...more
Oct 19, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Not really a book although I read a version with several other essays included. I was inspired to read this after a recent visit and tour of the Roycroft campus in East Aurora, New York. Our guide talked about the essay and that it could be downloaded for free. I did this from Project Gutenberg.

Following a discussion of the Spanish-American War with his son Elbert Hubbard, leader of the Roycroft community, wrote and published a short essay about workers and how they do their jobs using an
Jun 24, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Hubbard did a fantastic job of succinctly describing the two opposite views of work. Those who make it happen, and those who use excuses and questions to drag their feet to not work or try.

A great view into late 1800s and how people don't really change. There are those who want to work, and those who don't in every era.
It's so easy to make excuses for not succeeding, the easiest being shifting the blame onto others, usually their previous or current boss. Sometimes the boss is at fault, but
Oct 31, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Years ago my father mentioned to me that people used to recite "A Message to Garcia", kind of like they'd recite the Gettysburg address (as shown in the musical "A Music Man"). I'd never heard of it. As part of my efforts to show Dad that the internet was useful for something, I googled it up, and read him the first line. And he said "Yup, that's it!" but then the conversation moved on. It wasn't until this week that I read the whole thing, even though it's quite short.

It's gist is "Just Do It":
Jul 14, 2016 added it
a very short pamphlet about an employer who is angry at his apathetic work force. He uses a story about a military man following orders as an excuse to berate workers. Unfortunately, he does not take into account that a person in the military is trained to follow orders without question. In his example, the President of the United States gives a message to a Lieutenant, ordering him to carry the message to a rebel leader in Cuba.
Hubbard thinks it shows good work ethic that the man did not
Stacie (MagicOfBooks)
First, let me summarize what this little 32 page booklet is about before I start ranting.

"A Message to Garcia" refers to this man, Lieutenant Rowan, who was tasked by President McKinley during the Spanish-American War to deliver a message to the Cuban general, Garcia. So, what is it exactly that makes this story worth telling? Rowan just took the letter, without question, departed the states, and searched out Garcia---all on his own. And then he returned.

Hubbard (who wrote this in 1913) was so
Lene Jaqua
Sep 12, 2013 rated it it was amazing
:) Read this because my second Naval Academy son had a detailer who bombarded their company with this message this summer. It is a fun little story about not asking too many questions of your superiors but simply figuring it out once you are given a task to do. "Message to Garcia" is code for 'figure' it out for yourself. The story is about a soldier Rowan in the Cuban war, who needs to get a message to General Garcia on Cuba. Yet, the story is less about how he actually does so, and more an ...more
Matthew Evans
Sep 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This short story and exposition about Lieutenant Andrew Rowan's journey into Cuba is a tribute to a characteristic that has, in my experience, proven to be extremely selective in individuals around the world, myself not included. The story is about a man who was given a task, and set out to accomplish that task without question or reservation. This task was arduous, and exposed Lt. Rowan to extensive amounts of danger, and yet he chose to brave that danger without an ounce of hesitation. This is ...more
Feb 19, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This wonderful work is either loved or hated. A classic short treatise about getting the job done. The easiest way to describe this work is "just get it done" and quit whining. The author laments there are not enough men to get the job done and most need to have their hand held and this was written in 1899! It is about responsibility and self-reliance. This work is every bit as valid today as it was at the turn of the 20th-century. This should be required reading for all on the verge of ...more
Sam Bledsoe
Nov 18, 2014 rated it liked it
"I am an anarchist. Being an anarchist, I am also a socialist." I read Jesus was an Anarchist first and I thought it was brilliant. This book was not what I was expecting.

The first quote was from Jesus was an Anarchist but A Message to Garcia wasn't something I thought I would hear from a self-described socialist. It's a good message, really. The ideal worker is someone who does their work efficiently and without stupid questions. But on first read it comes off as capitalist propaganda, the type
Feb 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Reading Goal Disclaimer: I chose this book when realizing my annual track was behind schedule.
I read, A Message to Garcia, on an overnight watch in the Middle East during the course of a hot tea and brownie. The book is in our Marine Brigades library shelf as being a requirement on the Commandants professional reading list. This is my second reading as I originally came across it during my studies at the U.S. Naval War College.
While it doesnt go into detail in how Rowan gets the message
Nov 27, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: leadership
I read this book as it was on a list for leadership development. This was the first book I read off of the list and treat it as though it were an appetizer. A good sample of what you're looking for, leaving you wanting more. This is a very bare bones book about not questioning authority and doing as you are told. I see this being beneficial for company's that don't want their employees to think for themselves, but I see value in presenting questions to superiors. I for one am not a mind reader ...more
An interesting view of society. In some ways, an indictment of those who fail to be self-actualized in the spirit of Ayn Rand; in others a reproof of the laid-off as lazy and unions as a shield to the shiftless.
In my opinion, those who, over the years, have found this to be a good short way of reminding others to think for themselves have also missed the point. If you are telling someone that they need to solve a given problem for themselves, you have already had to assist them (not a Garcia).
Oct 09, 2016 rated it did not like it
Commonly used as a catch phrase by people who don't want to help newcomers, or help train others, or give detailed instructions, and don't want to consider the possible consequences of their wants/needs/desires. In short, perfect for busy Marine Corps officers looking for shortcuts in any argument.

That said, the author does have a point in saying many people look for excuses to not do something before they look for a way to actually accomplish that same something. But it'll be a cold day in hell
Nov 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
As an avid reader with a marketing degree and nearly 40 years in the workforce, I cant believe I havent run across this gem before. This is a WOW read for everyone - employer and employee, leader and follower, teacher and student, boss and grunt. Im sorry I didnt read this sooner and am recommending it to everyone who wants a refresher on making a contribution to the company for which they work and the world in which we live. ...more
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Elbert Green Hubbard was an American writer, publisher, artist, and philosopher. He was an influential exponent of the Arts and Crafts movement and is, perhaps, most famous for his essay A Message to Garcia.

Also known as Fra Elbert Green, for the magazine he edited, Fra.

from http://freepages.history.rootsweb.anc...

For a more detailed look at this life, see:

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