4 Amazing Life Lessons from Scrooge McDuck

By Petteri Ollila on 8 October 2010 5 comments

When I was a little boy, Donald Duck was my favorite comic series, and I used to read it every week. The ducks are caricatures of us human beings, which makes it interesting reading, and there are always some philosophical lessons to be learned in the comics.

One of the most interesting characters is Scrooge McDuck — a greedy capitalist that is the richest duck in the world. His only goal in life is to get richer, no matter what he has to do in order to succeed financially.

Like in every person and duck, there are both good things and bad things in Scrooge. We can learn from both the positive and negative sides of the world's richest duck. Maybe there is something that he has done right to get into the financial position he is, or maybe his greediness is a something we should avoid. It is up to you how you decide to see it.

Here are four important areas in life in which we can learn something from Scrooge.


Heavenly heather! The genie in the magic lamp! The fortunes I could own! I could have the world's biggest diamond! No! The world's biggest diamond mine! No-no! All the diamond mines! No! The entire mining industry! Yes, yes, yes! I can see that this is going to take some careful thought.

According to Carl Barks, Scrooge is worth five billion quintiplitilion unptuplatillion multuplatillion impossibidillion fantasticatrillion dollars. No matter what the actual amount is, Scrooge is never satisfied with it and always wants more.

While the good thing about Scrooge is that he has been able to build his fortune from the scratch by clever moves and working hard, moderation apparently isn't one of his virtues.

Of course, most people want a certain amount of money to get a decent living in a Western society, but after a certain point, additional money does not make us any happier.

Giving does.

When you have enough (which is, by the way, often quite little compared to Western standards), why not learn from Scrooge's mistakes and, instead of trying to get more things to yourself, give value to other people and focus on making other people happy?

Even some of the world's richest men like Bill Gates and Warren Buffet have given a huge part of their fortunes away, and there is certainly a reason for it. It makes them happier than keeping the money.


It appears that Scrooge isn't properly educated and has quit school at an early age, but it is unclear why he did it. However, Scrooge is a clever duck and is always willing and ready to learn new things — which is much more important than formal schooling.

Getting a nice degree will open some doors in life, that is for sure. It also never does any harm to be educated. In my opinion, however, the most important things that I have learned during my studies are how important good language skills and networking with the right kind of people are — everything else can be learned quite quickly from books or Google, when needed.

Willingness to learn new things constantly is much more important than formal education, and usually the most important things in life are not taught in school, anyway. At least I wasn't being taught social skills or how to make my own living by starting my own business — I have to learn those things by myself.

Appreciate education, but remember that education can be anything you do to learn new things in life. It isn't just formal schooling.

Morality and Beliefs

As a businessman and treasure hunter, Scrooge always needs to set new goals and face new challenges. For Scrooge, there is always another rainbow, so to say. His motto is "Work smarter, not harder."

We should all learn from Scrooge's positive attitude towards success and work. Like he believes, it is possible for everyone to do almost anything, if there is just enough persistence involved.

You should also always remember to work smarter, not harder. The amount of work becomes insignificant if you are doing the wrong things, so focus on doing the most important things efficiently and try to skip all the insignificant tasks.

Scrooge seems to have a personal sense of honesty that offers him an amount of self-control, but as a businessman, he often resorts to aggressive tactics and deception by manipulating people and events towards his own ends.

It seems that some successful entrepreneurs are quite selfish and only give to other people when they expect to get something in return in the future. If you have seen the movie There Will Be Blood, you know what I mean.

I don't think that any amount of money in the world is worth losing yourself in the process. When you lie in your dying bed, do you want to be remembered as a greedy and lonely guy who was filthy rich or a lovable person who made everyone feel good and whom everyone loved?


Here I sit in this big lonely dump, waiting for Christmas to pass! Bah! That silly season when everybody loves everybody else! A Curse on it! Me — I'm different! Everybody hates me, and I hate everybody! — First line, in Christmas on Bear Mountain (1947)

Scrooge is described in some comic strips as an old, bitter, and lonely person, who does not enjoy being around other people unless it involves making more money. It is a caricature taken to extremes, but I don't think that it is too far from truth for many people around us.

The inability to build good relationships is a major obstacle when trying to find happiness. Maybe some people enjoy being alone more than others, but deciding to hate everybody and assuming that everyone hates you is an extreme example of harmful negative energy.

Before you get bitter because of feeling lonely, try to see if there is something wrong with your own attitude. Other people are often mirrors of our own attitudes, so it is very useful to test what happens if you, just for one week, decide to only think good things about everyone and genuinely assume that everyone likes you.

It easily becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy that makes you happier in a short period of time.

This is a guest post by Petteri Ollila. Petteri writes about personal development and traveling in his blog Happiness Hunters. If you want to learn how to feel good, you will love his new free e-book, The Guide to Happiness: 9 Effective Steps to Improve Your Mood Permanently. Read more by Petteri:

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Guest's picture

Scrooge McDuck... fantastic!!

"Of course, most people want a certain amount of money to get a decent living in a Western society, but after a certain point, additional money does not make us any happier.

Giving does."

Quote of the day for me :) You put it so well.

Thank you!

Guest's picture

Great article, although now I will have the 'DuckTales' ("whoo oooh!") theme song in my head all weekend. :)

Guest's picture

Donald Duck was one of my favorite cartoon characters too. :) Thanks for sharing the 4 Amazing Life Lessons (great title) - they are uplifting and true.

Guest's picture

My favorite Scrooge McDuck quote is "Smarter than the Smarties and Tougher than the Toughies" (various episodes in Ducktales).

Guest's picture

omg, I just about Scrooge McDuck a few day ago after reading The Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck. Then just now, a tweet in my timeline led me to this article. Great to know somebody thought about McDuck like me! ^^
Check out my article here: http://ideagiftforanyoneanytime.blogspot.com/2010/10/life-and-times-of-s...