Because Samuel Insull is mentioned in Napoleon Hill's book Think and Grow Rich I did some research on him and wanted to share it with you.
From Think and Grow Rich:
Your achievement can be no greater than your PLANS are sound. That may seem to be an axiomatic statement, but it is true. Samuel Insull lost his fortune of over one hundred million dollars. The Insull fortune was built on plans which were sound. The business depression forced Mr. Insull to CHANGE HIS PLANS; and the CHANGE brought "temporary defeat," because his new plans were NOT SOUND. Mr. Insull is now an old man, he may, consequently, accept "failure" instead of "temporary defeat," but if his experience turns out to be FAILURE, it will be for the reason that he lacks the fire of PERSISTENCE to rebuild his plans. No man is ever whipped, until he QUITS --- in his own mind.
Insull's vast Midwest holding company empire collapsed in the 1930s. He was an innovator and investor based in Chicago who greatly contributed to creating an integrated electrical infrastructure in the United States.
Insull was notable for purchasing utilities and railroads using holding companies.
Everyone thought Edison and Insull were making a big mistake and that generators should be like furnaces, with one in every building, especially since these realized a quick return on investment. But Edison wired up Manhattan and Insull went West and wired up Chicago.
Insull also invented the regulated monopoly, a uniquely American institution that included utility companies and later, AT&T. This came from a combination of his business persona and his political one. On the one hand, he abhorred the waste of competing power producers, whose inefficiency would often double the cost of production.
On the other hand, he believed in the citizen's right to fair treatment. So while he bought up rival companies and created a monopoly, he kept his prices low and campaigned vigorously for regulation
After his business enterprises collapsed during the Great Depression he was accused of profiting personally by selling worthless stock to unsuspecting investors who trusted him because of his position and reputation. He was acquitted at trial. He was also responsible for the building of the Chicago Civic Opera House
"Aim for the top. There is plenty of room there. There are so few at the top it is almost lonely there."