The Foxy Thinking!


Sam Zemurray was born on 18th January, 1877, to a poor family, in Kishinev- Russian Empire.

At the age of 14 he migrated to America.

He did not receive any formal education.

To fight poverty, he entered the banana trade at an early age.

Before Sam, things were different in the banana trade.

The bananas that ripened in the commute were disposed upon arrival at the port.

Sam bought these ripe bananas cheaply and sold them to the local grocers.

This technique bought Sam success and fame.

He earned the nickname “Sam the Banana Man”.

By 1911 he founded his own fruit company.

In 1915, Sam wanted to acquire five thousand acres of land located in the jungles of South America.

But here he was facing a problem.

A renowned and powerful fruit company ‘United Fruit’ was also interested in this piece of land.

Neither Sam, nor United Fruit was able to buy the land yet, because it was in a dispute.

Two different locals were claiming the ownership of this plantation.

United Fruit dispatched a team of cunning lawyers, high profile businessmen, and experts, to solve this issue.

They wanted this piece of land desperately and money was not an issue for them.

The team of United Fruits was leaving no stone un-turned to find out the real owner of this land; and to close this deal before Sam makes any move.

On the other hand, ‘ Sam the Banana Man’, was not so rich and powerful to hire expensive lawyers and negotiators.

But he was also desperate for this piece of land.

So he had to find a solution for this problem.

And he did something bizarre.

He met separately with both the locals who were claiming the ownership of the plantation.

And he bought the land from both of them.

Indeed, he paid twice for the land.

But he won over his rich and powerful competitor without getting into the mud fight.

Sam- a man with no formal education had check-mate the experts of the United Fruit.

Without any arguments or legal battles, Sam solved the problem creatively.

Later in his career, Sam Zemurray became head of the ‘United Fruit Company’.

Originally published at on February 4, 2017.