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As the first two parts of our series showed, the character and personality is not formed in a state of calm, but only through experiences and tests.
At this point, the words of Helen Keller should be recalled in particular: "The character cannot develop in a state of calm and comfort. Only through the experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, the vision clarified, ambition stimulated and success achieved."
This fact was also described and confirmed by the psychologist Freud and the psychoanalyst Fromm. If you missed these conclusions, we recommend to read Part I & II of our series.
And so without further ado we return to our last pioneering personality, who encountered harshness in very different forms and who nevertheless managed to history - not to mention that he did so with unrivaled style.
Who are we talking about? Of course none other than Gianni Agnelli.
As another sprout of a remarkable and wealthy family, Agnelli seemed to live a life as effortless as his style.
Gianni Agnelli - who had been nicknamed l'avvocato since studying law - was considered the secret ruler of Italy with his person and character. But his charisma and social standing - not to mention his sartorial sensitivity - were not laid in his cradle.
So how did this come about?
If following the words of Helen Keller, it wasn’t until he endured trial and tribulation throughout the 1970’s - as he was forced to navigate his company, FIAT, through the monumental and existential threats posed by unionist strikes (which forced the closure of FIAT’s manufacturing plants), that this legacy transcended mere ‘cool’ and intertwined itself with Italian industry.
But the genesis of Agnelli's character actually started much earlier, because despite its origins, it cannot be said that Agnelli had it easy in his early days.
Although Gianni was exempt from military service during World War II because he was considered "vital" to the industry, he volunteered and spent five years as a cavalry officer.
He was at the forefront of the African and Russian front and was awarded the Cross for Military Bravery.
He was then chosen by his grandfather of the same name, the founder of the Fiat Group, to inherit the car factory at a young age after his father had tragically died in an airplane accident.
A few years later, Agnelli's mother was also killed in a car accident. Although his two parents were killed in accidents, Gianni continued to challenge the gods by always living on the edge or far beyond in life and whilst driving his infamous cars. He survived dozens of serious accidents on the road, on the slopes and at sea.
True to his motto "Miracles can be made but only by sweating", this man did not accept defeats. He died in his bed after fighting cancer in the same brave way he lived his life.
Super rich, famous, intelligent, elegant, good looking and charismatic. Not always a guarantee of taste & manner, but Gianni Agnelli was able to spend huge sums of money on high-quality and sublime things that were always characterized by calm elegance.
Never loud or shouty, always with understatement. Just like his personal style.
What a difference to some gentlemen these days...
So gentleman, during these difficult times, we implore you to heed the words, wisdom and style of those that have come before you, and go forth to accomplish great things…
Finally, we add a link to a short documentary about Agnelli - Roll it!