I, Pencil By Leonard E. Read

I, Pencil
My Family Tree as told to Leonard E. Read

RP.1I am a lead pencil—the ordinary wooden pencil familiar to all boys and girls and adults who can read and write.*

RP.2Writing is both my vocation and my avocation; that’s all I do.

RP.3You may wonder why I should write a genealogy. Well, to begin with, my story is interesting. And, next, I am a mystery—more so than a tree or a sunset or even a flash of lightning. But, sadly, I am taken for granted by those who use me, as if I were a mere incident and without background. This supercilious attitude relegates me to the level of the commonplace. This is a species of the grievous error in which mankind cannot too long persist without peril. For, the wise G. K. Chesterton observed, “We are perishing for want of wonder, not for want of wonders.”

RP.4I, Pencil, simple though I appear to be, merit your wonder and awe, a claim I shall attempt to prove. In fact, if you can understand me—no, that’s too much to ask of anyone—if you can become aware of the miraculousness which I symbolize, you can help save the freedom mankind is so unhappily losing. I have a profound lesson to teach. And I can teach this lesson better than can an automobile or an airplane or a mechanical dishwasher because—well, because I am seemingly so simple.

RP.5Simple? Yet, not a single person on the face of this earth knows how to make me. This sounds fantastic, doesn’t it? Especially when it is realized that there are about one and one-half billion of my kind produced in the U.S.A. each year.

RP.6Pick me up and look me over. What do you see? Not much meets the eye—there’s some wood, lacquer, the printed labeling, graphite lead, a bit of metal, and an eraser.

Innumerable Antecedents

RP.7Just as you cannot trace your family tree back very far, so is it impossible for me to name and explain all my antecedents. But I would like to suggest enough of them to impress upon you the richness and complexity of my background.

RP.8My family tree begins with what in fact is a tree, a cedar of straight grain that grows in Northern California and Oregon. Now contemplate all the saws and trucks and rope and the countless other gear used in harvesting and carting the cedar logs to the railroad siding. Think of all the persons and the numberless skills that went into their fabrication: the mining of ore, the making of steel and its refinement into saws, axes, motors; the growing of hemp and bringing it through all the stages to heavy and strong rope; the logging camps with their beds and mess halls, the cookery and the raising of all the foods. Why, untold thousands of persons had a hand in every cup of coffee the loggers drink!

RP.9The logs are shipped to a mill in San Leandro, California. Can you imagine the individuals who make flat cars and rails and railroad engines and who construct and install the communication systems incidental thereto? These legions are among my antecedents.

RP.10Consider the millwork in San Leandro. The cedar logs are cut into small, pencil-length slats less than one-fourth of an inch in thickness. These are kiln dried and then tinted for the same reason women put rouge on their faces. People prefer that I look pretty, not a pallid white. The slats are waxed and kiln dried again. How many skills went into the making of the tint and the kilns, into supplying the heat, the light and power, the belts, motors, and all the other things a mill requires? Sweepers in the mill among my ancestors? Yes, and included are the men who poured the concrete for the dam of a Pacific Gas & Electric Company hydroplant which supplies the mill’s power!

RP.11Don’t overlook the ancestors present and distant who have a hand in transporting sixty carloads of slats across the nation.

RP.12Once in the pencil factory—$4,000,000 in machinery and building, all capital accumulated by thrifty and saving parents of mine—each slat is given eight grooves by a complex machine, after which another machine lays leads in every other slat, applies glue, and places another slat atop—a lead sandwich, so to speak. Seven brothers and I are mechanically carved from this “wood-clinched” sandwich.

RP.13My “lead” itself—it contains no lead at all—is complex. The graphite is mined in Ceylon. Consider these miners and those who make their many tools and the makers of the paper sacks in which the graphite is shipped and those who make the string that ties the sacks and those who put them aboard ships and those who make the ships. Even the lighthouse keepers along the way assisted in my birth—and the harbor pilots.

RP.14The graphite is mixed with clay from Mississippi in which ammonium hydroxide is used in the refining process. Then wetting agents are added such as sulfonated tallow—animal fats chemically reacted with sulfuric acid. After passing through numerous machines, the mixture finally appears as endless extrusions—as from a sausage grinder-cut to size, dried, and baked for several hours at 1,850 degrees Fahrenheit. To increase their strength and smoothness the leads are then treated with a hot mixture which includes candelilla wax from Mexico, paraffin wax, and hydrogenated natural fats.

RP.15My cedar receives six coats of lacquer. Do you know all the ingredients of lacquer? Who would think that the growers of castor beans and the refiners of castor oil are a part of it? They are. Why, even the processes by which the lacquer is made a beautiful yellow involve the skills of more persons than one can enumerate!

RP.16Observe the labeling. That’s a film formed by applying heat to carbon black mixed with resins. How do you make resins and what, pray, is carbon black?

RP.17My bit of metal—the ferrule—is brass. Think of all the persons who mine zinc and copper and those who have the skills to make shiny sheet brass from these products of nature. Those black rings on my ferrule are black nickel. What is black nickel and how is it applied? The complete story of why the center of my ferrule has no black nickel on it would take pages to explain.

RP.18Then there’s my crowning glory, inelegantly referred to in the trade as “the plug,” the part man uses to erase the errors he makes with me. An ingredient called “factice” is what does the erasing. It is a rubber-like product made by reacting rape-seed oil from the Dutch East Indies with sulfur chloride. Rubber, contrary to the common notion, is only for binding purposes. Then, too, there are numerous vulcanizing and accelerating agents. The pumice comes from Italy; and the pigment which gives “the plug” its color is cadmium sulfide.

No One Knows

RP.19Does anyone wish to challenge my earlier assertion that no single person on the face of this earth knows how to make me?

RP.20Actually, millions of human beings have had a hand in my creation, no one of whom even knows more than a very few of the others. Now, you may say that I go too far in relating the picker of a coffee berry in far off Brazil and food growers elsewhere to my creation; that this is an extreme position. I shall stand by my claim. There isn’t a single person in all these millions, including the president of the pencil company, who contributes more than a tiny, infinitesimal bit of know-how. From the standpoint of know-how the only difference between the miner of graphite in Ceylon and the logger in Oregon is in the type of know-how. Neither the miner nor the logger can be dispensed with, any more than can the chemist at the factory or the worker in the oil field—paraffin being a by-product of petroleum.

RP.21Here is an astounding fact: Neither the worker in the oil field nor the chemist nor the digger of graphite or clay nor any who mans or makes the ships or trains or trucks nor the one who runs the machine that does the knurling on my bit of metal nor the president of the company performs his singular task because he wants me. Each one wants me less, perhaps, than does a child in the first grade. Indeed, there are some among this vast multitude who never saw a pencil nor would they know how to use one. Their motivation is other than me. Perhaps it is something like this: Each of these millions sees that he can thus exchange his tiny know-how for the goods and services he needs or wants. I may or may not be among these items.

No Master Mind

RP.22There is a fact still more astounding: the absence of a master mind, of anyone dictating or forcibly directing these countless actions which bring me into being. No trace of such a person can be found. Instead, we find the Invisible Hand at work. This is the mystery to which I earlier referred.

RP.23It has been said that “only God can make a tree.” Why do we agree with this? Isn’t it because we realize that we ourselves could not make one? Indeed, can we even describe a tree? We cannot, except in superficial terms. We can say, for instance, that a certain molecular configuration manifests itself as a tree. But what mind is there among men that could even record, let alone direct, the constant changes in molecules that transpire in the life span of a tree? Such a feat is utterly unthinkable!

RP.24I, Pencil, am a complex combination of miracles: a tree, zinc, copper, graphite, and so on. But to these miracles which manifest themselves in Nature an even more extraordinary miracle has been added: the configuration of creative human energies—millions of tiny know-hows configurating naturally and spontaneously in response to human necessity and desire and in the absence of any human master-minding! Since only God can make a tree, I insist that only God could make me. Man can no more direct these millions of know-hows to bring me into being than he can put molecules together to create a tree.

RP.25The above is what I meant when writing, “If you can become aware of the miraculousness which I symbolize, you can help save the freedom mankind is so unhappily losing.” For, if one is aware that these know-hows will naturally, yes, automatically, arrange themselves into creative and productive patterns in response to human necessity and demand—that is, in the absence of governmental or any other coercive masterminding—then one will possess an absolutely essential ingredient for freedom: a faith in free people. Freedom is impossible without this faith.

RP.26Once government has had a monopoly of a creative activity such, for instance, as the delivery of the mails, most individuals will believe that the mails could not be efficiently delivered by men acting freely. And here is the reason: Each one acknowledges that he himself doesn’t know how to do all the things incident to mail delivery. He also recognizes that no other individual could do it. These assumptions are correct. No individual possesses enough know-how to perform a nation’s mail delivery any more than any individual possesses enough know-how to make a pencil. Now, in the absence of faith in free people—in the unawareness that millions of tiny know-hows would naturally and miraculously form and cooperate to satisfy this necessity—the individual cannot help but reach the erroneous conclusion that mail can be delivered only by governmental “master-minding.”

Testimony Galore

RP.27If I, Pencil, were the only item that could offer testimony on what men and women can accomplish when free to try, then those with little faith would have a fair case. However, there is testimony galore; it’s all about us and on every hand. Mail delivery is exceedingly simple when compared, for instance, to the making of an automobile or a calculating machine or a grain combine or a milling machine or to tens of thousands of other things. Delivery? Why, in this area where men have been left free to try, they deliver the human voice around the world in less than one second; they deliver an event visually and in motion to any person’s home when it is happening; they deliver 150 passengers from Seattle to Baltimore in less than four hours; they deliver gas from Texas to one’s range or furnace in New York at unbelievably low rates and without subsidy; they deliver each four pounds of oil from the Persian Gulf to our Eastern Seaboard—halfway around the world—for less money than the government charges for delivering a one-ounce letter across the street!

RP.28The lesson I have to teach is this: Leave all creative energies uninhibited. Merely organize society to act in harmony with this lesson. Let society’s legal apparatus remove all obstacles the best it can. Permit these creative know-hows freely to flow. Have faith that free men and women will respond to the Invisible Hand. This faith will be confirmed. I, Pencil, seemingly simple though I am, offer the miracle of my creation as testimony that this is a practical faith, as practical as the sun, the rain, a cedar tree, the good earth.

RP.29

Leonard E. Read (1898-1983) founded FEE in 1946 and served as its president until his death.

“I, Pencil,” his most famous essay, was first published in the December 1958 issue of The Freeman. Although a few of the manufacturing details and place names have changed over the past forty years, the principles are unchanged.

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* My official name is “Mongol 482.” My many ingredients are assembled, fabricated, and finished by Eberhard Faber Pencil Company.

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75 responses to “I, Pencil By Leonard E. Read

  1. Wow! It’s incredible the amount of people that contributed on the production of this pencil. And the amount of work it took!
    As humans, we don’t really think how everything we use was produced, we just use it and that’s it.
    Also, the Want-Satisfaction Chain was easy to identify.

  2. Gino Giuliani

    Wow… even animal fat is used in the creation of Pencils haha. But, I got a question, he mentioned so many places where they get every single material for the pencils… Are the places he mentioned the only places to get those materials or they can be found elsewhere? Hope you answer >=P… How come people use all those tons of materials to create a such simple-looking item… It is very interesting. By the way I liked the comment that says we know the tree’s outside looking but not the inner side.

  3. José Nolasco

    It’s quite an extraordinary story, and this is just one of many things we normally give for granted and are far more complex. Getting into the topic we have discussed in class, the pencil gives an example of what we were told that something is not done, built, assembled, etc. only for the want of one person. The pencil also mentions how all the people that contributed to its creation have different wants between them.

  4. Estefania Gallardo

    I think this is a clear example of how sometimes we don’t appreciate the small and simple things in life. It shows us that just because things appear to be simple, doesn’t mean they don’t have any value or less value that something that is more complex.
    It is pretty impressive how one pencil can require so much work and so many resources.

  5. Well Mr..I never thought a pencil needed so many things..I necer would imagine the many steps a pencil require…I saw something in Discovery Channel..i think it was there…were they show how to make thingss and one of the procedures they showed was how to make a pencill…In Tv ti looked pretty much easy but,after hearing this it prove me the opposite..

  6. Roxana Figueroa

    as the essay said it is a miracle how pencils are made for real I did not know all the precess,people and time it include somthing hat seem so easy to do it made me think on all the things that seem easy to made but they are not i did not know all the stuff it involve to made a pencil but it is really amazing all the procedure that is require to made it !!!

  7. Who would ever now that something so small and insignificant like a pencil will have to pass by such a long and complicate prodecure. Evrybody uses a pencil, everybody has a pencil, but we dont really now the story behind it.Like mr.Chavez once said a lot of people is involved in the procedure to make diffrent products that now we are using. We just see the pencil like a small peace of wood to write but it is more than that. Without pencils could not have past or even future. Pencils can are expensive or sheep but we will always have and need a pencil.

  8. It is really amazing how a small object can have a very complex way of manufacturing it. There is alot of people involve in this procedure it is really interesting.

  9. I think is very interesting and important how they make a very important source like the pencil.Is very important that a simple pencil come from a big tree,a zinc,a copper,a raphite,and so on.What a knew about a pencil is that they were made from a tree but now i know that they have difference kinds of source.The most important thing i like from this little tiny thing is that they are use it in the entire world so is very important to have a good use for it and don’t throw it away or ripe it.

  10. José Nolasco

    As far as I have read, I see we all agree. Pencils may be insignificant to us but it uses up so many resources and goes through many processes. As Nancy said, the Want-Satisfaction Chain is very explicit.

  11. This is a wonderful story I didn’t know that many work to make a pencil that we use like something that doesn’t have importance for us.If the pencil were not crated the art will not excited an the book will not exist even the class of math.In many things we use a pencil and they are always useful for everything.The pencil have many similarities with the people and thats awesome.

  12. wow!!! its a very interesting story!!! I never imagined that to make that little and common thing it is need such a big process, it is amazing. I never thought that a pencil, a daily uses object, needs of that quantity of materials and people contributions. pencils can seems to be insignificant and with not such a big importance, but this article show that once it is little it is need a big process and time to create it. The want- satisfaction chain was very clear to identify.

  13. I agree with Estefania. We don’t appreciate the small things of life, we judge things for its appearance. Most of the time, the smallest things are the most valuable of all.

  14. I will comment from the comment of Katy I think that she agree that the pencil is a useful thing that everybody needs in their life and in this article I agree with Katy because the want satisfaction is vey clear to identify.

  15. like Irina say, because of its little size we forget about its importance. without them a lot of our common activities cant be realize, and like every thing in the world, we only know about how important they are until we lose it. a pencil is important, and like Irina says it have a lot of similarities with people.

  16. I cant believe how much it takes to make a pencil and how much labor do you need just to do one simple thing it is amazing next time i decide just to throw a pencil I ll think back of this article i have just read

  17. Luis Sabillon

    Its Increideble how many things do we need to make a single pencil. I didn´t have any idea that you need all that natural resources I mean you need the factors of production and put them two times more! It’s fantastic I really get shock by reading all this. I can see that for the most minimum thing you need to put alot of effort.

  18. Daniel Valle

    I storngly agree with what nancy said on her fisrt comment it is amazing how much labor is needed for just a pencil and it is also tue that you can easily identify the want satisfaction chain since it is explained step by step

  19. belkis banegas

    Is amazing how significant looks a pencil. But today I started thinking of all the process just to make a pencil. Im amazed of all the ingredients the pencil contains and the different places the come from. All started at California – Oregon- Missisipi – and also Mexico. I like when the pencil said about freedom is impossible without this faith and I agree with. Also I loved when he remembers that only God can make him and is true and the way he explained the starting is from a tree and the tree makes it God. I realize that in this process the capitals help, for example a ship and also a ship has antoher process not only the pencil if its a chain because the pencil needs from the ship and also the ship needs from other things to complete their process.

  20. Javier delCid

    it seem really simple the way a pencil must be done but actuallt I notice on this essay that is not that esay as it seem like.Is a whole procedure the elaboration of the pencil and if a pencil elaboration include all that procedure imagine all the stuff something else more complicated must include. I think it is grate the way it is created I have never think on the procedure is need to do something that seem really simple of made until now

  21. The author of these essay really amazes me. He really speaks thr truth, nobody knows the complete process to do a pencil or any thing. A baker could say he know how to make bread, however, he can’t get the weet transform into flour as well as the other ingredients. Seeing this huge relationship and complete process of human wants just demonstrates that all humans “need themselves, one that forgets his part in the chain and the chain is broken. Thanks for the essay it clearly satisfied all my doubts about the human want satisfaction chain.

    As I clearly state, I agree with Nacy when she says, we don’t really think how everything we use was produced”. Its totally true and I will use me as an example. I knew pencils were made from trees but didnt realize all the process that involves cutting that tree and transforming it to a pencil.

    PS: I am really looking forward if we can get to an answer about wether or not my pencils and notebook are my capital goods for my want of receiving education. Thanks! 🙂

  22. belkis banegas

    I really agree with nancy we dont mind from where the pencil comes we just buy in ACOSA and start writing and we used it and we dont look at the small details that pencil has.

  23. roxana figueroa

    I agree with gino coment and I think is a good question the one he is asking that if : the places the pencil mentioned on the essay are the only places to get those materials or they can be found elsewhere? I am also hoping your answer thank… XD

  24. javier delcid

    I thought the same as claudia because I have see on discovery chanel short documental of how thing are made and I have see the one claudia mention on how they do pencil but it was really really short the procedure that it is need to made a pencil according to this program on discovery channel now I see it is more longer that it was show on the documental thanks to this essay

  25. I cant believe that such a little thing need so many time and people. it is very interesting, I never thought in the pencil production process and it is very interesting, because it is a little thing that we use daily but behind it has a big procedure and materials.

  26. Pablo Enamorado

    Well, mister I never imaginated how a pencil was created, for me it was only made of wood but when I saw all the materials that it used to be done I was surprise. Also it is amazing how much work it is needed to make pencils. The author must have really searched info for this article. It was a good fact to know because we usually never realize the process it takes to do something

  27. Estefania Gallardo

    I agree with Nancy and Nolasco. I clearly identified the Want- Satisfaction Chain and understood it even better.
    I also agree with Santiago. I mean we use many things, but we really don’t know the story behind it and it never crosses our mind that something so simple as a pencil can really be so complex to make.

  28. Pablo Enamorado

    I agree with Nancy’s comment, the want satisfaction chain is well identified and also I agree with Estefania because it is true that we don’t give importance to small things that are actually important for us.

  29. Santiago you are still in that pencils and notebook are my capital goods, he said no!!

  30. Wow its amazing how long and important is the chain for this process, even more amazing is how we don’t appreciate it and think its just a pencil. I agree with nancy and santiago we don’t get to know the whole process, we might know where it came from and how it looks like at the end, but never get the whole thing.
    Also, this essay makes me wonder how we act and how we don’t help recycling, this affects our environment and that gets to the trees, if we don’t cooperate by recycling who do we expect to get more trees to have more pencils?

  31. Marcela Salgado

    Well, this story is a good example. Many people look just for pretty thing, ignorig their abilities and their use. Here explains the value of a pencil, I never imagine how important it is. This can make us like change, to appreciate little thing, may be that little things have more value than others big things.

    I agree with Estefania, many people ignore little things. They dont think in their value or work. This story is amazing. I hope people can learn to appreciate more.

  32. I think that this story is trying to say us that we have to appreciate all things we have. It shows us that just because things appear to be simple, doesn’t mean they don’t have any value or less value.
    I agree with Estefania’s comment because its impressive how a little piece of wood takes a lot of work.

  33. Cristopher Arguijo

    It’s incredible the amount of people that contributed on the production of this pencil. And the amount of work it took.

  34. I agree with nanci, because it is incredible how many work it take to make a little pencil!!. and the want- satisfaction chain is easy to find!!!!!

  35. Pilar Márquez

    Wow.. this is amazing I’d never thought something so insignificant could have so much work, this video is very interesting, I like it a lot,
    I remember that when we are in elementary the first thing they show us is to work with pencils, I’ve never thought in the possibility that where pencils come from well I knew they come from trees but I never thought that a pencils has so much work
    this video is very well done I like it’s ver nice 🙂

  36. Laihsan Quan

    Thinking about how to create a pencil and how many people needs to be working so harder to produce it. Even can be easy to make a little peace of wood and how many people needs to be made. It maybe be easy but many people dont pay attention to that little details that might be so impressive or so important. Is so interestin is how Leonard explain from the first observations of How God can made a treee and how can be created to a pencil all tha hard work an billions of them are consumed in United States. We can appreciate that things that might be important to us and be imagining in how can it change. A way natural resources can be made for a good wants.
    I agree with Valentina is how we can help to recycle little things so our environment can be better, we have to cooperate.

  37. Juan Diego Welchez

    I agree with Estefania we never care for how the things are made… it’s impresive that many people contribute with the pencil production

  38. WOW!-__- This is amazing how much it takes to do a pencil and refering to want I think satisfaction chain is extremely easty to find..

  39. Aldrin Martinez 10b

    Wow to much things just for a single pencil its incredible. Factors of Production are used to create almost everything we need for our lifes. It’s amazing watching how many persons working just for a single pencil…

  40. katherine jallu

    Nice story. Know I realize how important is the production process. It doesnt matter how significant is somthing it contains a process. To do a pencil is alot of work I imagine how many work is to do a car.

  41. katherine jallu

    I agree with Jose Pereira It is really amazing how a small object can have a very complex way of manufacturing .

  42. Alejandro Sanchez

    Its Amazing How They Even Said Theres No Mastermind for this job..its very out of my head and I was surprised to see the result..and I have to agree with Claudia And Javier Del Cid..I saw too in Discovery Channel a documental and was surprise how they make things.

  43. Andrea Rivera!!

    well this is amazing i never noticed that pencils had that mucho details!! i never thought that a pencil took that mucho work and resources its pretty cool and intresting. We dont appreciate small details and less than from a simple pencil. Its amazing how many people is involved in a pencil’s life.This is a good way to learn to appreciate things NOT by their look but by their interior.

  44. lourdes sabillon

    Wow i cant believe how it took to make a pencil and how many resources it require, this are things we should aprreciate!Sometimes we just know how to use things but we dont know how they were made or where they come from.The importance of a pencil es escencial in our lives we need to know the value of everything.
    I agree with andrea ,sometimes we judge things because of there outside apperance but what it matters is the inside.

  45. Benjamin Pascua 10 c

    It is amazing how many people are involve in the making of the pencil and none can make it on their own. This shows how men have to unite to make a better world that is not contrlolled by government and politicians that do not care about people. This can also be considered an analogy of economy on how many people are consumers and producers and do not understand economics…

  46. This is just like wow. I didn’t have an idea of this, so much people that contributes doing this work and so much factors that are needed for the production of pencils(cutting trees, the pencil’s color).
    Is a hard and long work to do pencils. And we look it just to simple, but we don’t know the big procedure that is made to do pencils. For us this is unvaluable but with these I can see that things are different.

  47. Gerardo Rodriguez

    I thought it was a really interesting essay. It’s amazing how something as little and simple as a pencil has such a complex creation. All of the people who were involved in the smallest details of the pencil show us that even the smallest things take a harder work at making them, than what we think. It was a very deep and thorough essay, it was worth the time.

  48. Kency mAtute =)

    Hahahahhahahhahahaahahahahahahha :O
    OMG it’s so funny! how a small thing becomes a BIG thing ,when you work in group . This is a great example for our want-satisfaction chain.
    But think about:How small things get a big price to do? I mean this insignificant pencil took a looong chain to be produced , and we just use it, loose it, or break it!..From now on, i will think how hard is to do a small thing and how much does it take to be produced, before destroying a hardwork. 😀
    ❤ I really liked this article .. Is the best way to show,or explain the satisfaction chain.

  49. Kency Matute =)

    Hahahahhahahhahahaahahahahahahha :O
    OMG it’s so funny! how a small thing becomes a BIG thing ,when you work in group . This is a great example for our want-satisfaction chain.
    But think about:How small things get a big price to do? I mean this insignificant pencil took a looong chain to be produced , and we just use it, loose it, or break it!..From now on, i will think how hard is to do a small thing and how much does it take to be produced, before destroying a hardwork.
    ❤ I really liked this article .. Is the best way to show,or explain the satisfaction chain.

  50. It’s amazing the amount of people that help to build or make the pencil. And the amount of work it took!
    As consumers we dont really kow how the things we use are made and how much of work took ,thats why we have to take care of our stuff.
    the satisfaction chain ….no way to explain it better……

  51. Jasson Hercules

    It’s amazing the amount of people that help to build or make the pencil. And the amount of work it took!
    As consumers we dont really kow how the things we use are made and how much of work took ,thats why we have to take care of our stuff.
    the satisfaction chain ….no way to explain it better……

  52. jasmine calix 10c

    wow this is a big procedure to make a simple pencil.. i had no idea that you can make a pencil for the fat of animals.. its really intersting. we as human we think with our eyes just the way we see it.. it looks so simple but its so complex, i believe every small thing its made through hard work and it can be complex mean while every complex thing we see its easy to make.
    this is a good example of the want-satisfaction chain.!
    *was a great article 🙂

  53. I found interesting how many work and resources are needed to produce such a small article like a pencil. This is a good example of how we as human beings take for granted thing for their size or their appearance. This article teach us the value of every thing, no matter its size, appearance, shape, weight, etc. We don’t get to appreciate things well until we truly know the real value of that thing. Just imagine how many resources are used for creating such a amall thing such as a pencil.
    10 “C”

  54. :O this essay was amazing. the author took such a simple thing to us to explain such a complicated process. it is true, whe you use or see a pencil you dont think about the process to do it or the amount of time put into doing it. it loks so insignificant but it is soo difficult, long and complicated. working like that, together, we can create great things. when you “unite forces” as people and citizens, you could come up with simple solutions for complicated situations. we should take a tie to see how much work and time consuming everything is.

  55. I really enjoyed reading this article, because it is really interesting and mentions so many underground facts, that in the end are related to each other and to economics as well. It’s astounding, as the author mentioned, how we, humans, are blind enough that we cannot see what a simple thing, such as a pencil, has to go through. In other words, we don’t give daily stuff worthiness. Nobody really knows how to do such complex processes from start to end, we only know-how, nothing else, therefore the author’s succint lesson is that we should control this know-how’s and let them flow freely for societies improvement. I support this idea, so we can ameliorate, and make things such as assembling machines, tools, etc., much cheaper and valuable at the same time. It is a very great article, I think it’s one of the best I’ve ever read!

  56. Maria A. Pombo

    Reading this amazing article, makes me think on how hard it is to create a simple thing such as a pencil. We all know what it is, but never actually thought on how it was made, the resources used or the people that worked to create it.
    Even the smallest and “insignificant” things take a lot of work and time to be produced, and we should appreciate this. Pencils, believe it or not, have been very important for the human being for many years.
    I commend Leonard E. Read for writng this interesting article because he made me realize that we need to look more than just what our eyes can see.

  57. Wilmer Toro LbJ6

    This is a very interesting article, it is really shocking how something we consider insignificant like a pencil its done by a very big process , seriously it is very hard to do a pencil, it takes alot of work , in my opinion I thought that one of the easiest and cheaper product to do was the pencil, but now I have change my mind and now I know the importance of every little thing we use daily .

  58. Giselle Chinchilla

    It is amazing how much it takes to create something that simple. It is simple by how we see it, but in their background is a long process. We haven’t achieve the capacity to see beyond stuff so we give an innecessary use or don’t take importance of it. It is amazing how long is the process of a pencil, and amazing is how we don’t care of it. We must start seeing all by its inside

  59. jeff_9muri@hotmail.com

    This shows us that even a simple and daily needed object like a pencil haves a long procedure to be made. The manufacturing of a simple pencil is so long and we don`t think about how it was made. We should take care f our things because many people worked hard to do it.

  60. Jeffrey Murillo 10c

    This shows us that even a simple and daily needed object like a pencil haves a long procedure to be made. The manufacturing of a simple pencil is so long and we don`t think about how it was made. We should take care f our things because many people worked hard to do it.

  61. Jesus Abifaraj

    Im impressed by what the author is trying to tell me. Everything what Leonard tells is true because it doesnt matter what an object is made. We just destroy things without knowing how much hard work this person has made for manufacturing this objects.

  62. This is hilarious… amazing! All that procedure to make a pencil. Perfect example that we need to appreciate hard work it could be just a simple pencil, but it is a whole complex procedure. I must say this is amazing because all this people working to make one pencil and I bet not too many people know about this. All the factors of production the amount of time, trees, machines everything just to make one pencil. I was also surprised of all the places they get the materials, wow. What it really made me think it was that the article said that not even the owner knows how to do it. Little things can become complex and very detailed. Great article.

  63. it is amazing how many things you need just for doing a single pencil its incredible , you really need alot of labor to do a single pencil ,that means you need alot of workers and also you need alot of raw material to do these little product . i didnt knew how many things you need, to do a pencil its amazing and its interesting to know all the process it passes throgh .

  64. Wilmer Toro LbJ6

    It is really shocking to know how something we consider insignificant like a pencil, has a really large process to make , seriously it is hard to make a pencil , you need team work and alot of material to do it , in my opinion I really thought that the pencil was one of the easiest and cheapest product to do , but now I changed my mind now I know it is one of the hardest , this teach me the value of every little thing we use daily .

  65. jose luis Rapalo

    It’s amazing and unbelievable how a simple thing like a pencil, needs such a procedure for it to be made. This story make us see how are all the factor of production needed to make a simple product.

    Also it is incredible how a simple pencil that cost no more than 4.lps, costs are bigger than the product being sell.
    I would never have guessed all the costs and process of job that a simple pencil have. It really teach us that if we want to make things happen you must determine what we really want. Also the group work.
    I really enjoy this story, really makes me see how hard it is to make a product no matter how small it is..!!!!!

  66. Astrid Castillo

    I can believe all the process that a pencil needs to make, a insignificant thing needs all those things to be finished. This is a great example for want satisfaction chain. We need to learn to appreciate little things because we buy boxes of pencils each year, for what? they get lost.

    Its a large process to make just a pencil imagine with sometime really like a car? nice story.

  67. Carlos aguilar

    this is interesting because, it shows me a different way of looking at pencils. It takes a lot of effort and time in order to make a single pencil so we can use them at school and sometimes treat them like garbage. Also this tought me that man have to work together in many things in order to make things better, this is an example because it takes a lot of people to make pencils so, we can apply this in our societies to make better economic choices so we can have a better life style and economy.

  68. Jose Daniel Martínez

    Its awesome how this little insignificant pencil has all this process to be made, we dont imagine how many of our normal things take such a long process just to be in our hands. If we stop and think that everything we use, our clothes, notebooks, shoes and computers take such this complex process and we dont appreciate it, we are so stress and occupied that its so hard for us to imagine. If a little insignificant pencil take such a long process, lets not imaginewhat our tv set and game consoles take that time.

  69. Gabriela Guzman

    I think this article is really interesting..I never thought a pencil,which is something so small..went throught a big process in order for it to be produced.Not only this long process but the amount of hands that are needed to work on it too.I think this is a good example that
    shows us the work,time and dedication it takes for something to be done.Even when its the smallest or worthless thing on Earth.Now that I read this article,I realize how important is to appreciate even the small things we use,because its all done with hardwork!

  70. I really enjoyed reading this article, because it is really interesting and mentions so many underground facts, that in the end are related to each other and to economics as well. It’s astounding, as the author mentioned, how we, humans, are blind enough that we cannot see what a simple thing, such as a pencil, has to go through. In other words, we don’t give daily stuff worthiness. Nobody really knows how to do such complex processes from start to end, we only know-how, nothing else, therefore the author’s succint lesson is that we should control this know-how’s and let them flow freely for societies improvement. I support this idea, so we can ameliorate, and make things such as assembling machines, tools, etc., much cheaper and valuable at the same time. It is a very great article, I think it’s one of the best I’ve ever read!

  71. Giancarlo Rodriguez

    I like this essay because it shows that even in the smallest things people need to work hard to get the best results. It is also important to seek what is hidden to the human mind. To obtain freedom, we need to know what’s happening in the world. Information is power, so we must look for it.

  72. Benjamin Pascua 10 c

    It is amazing how many people are involve in the making of the pencil and none can make it on their own. This shows how men have to unite to make a better world that is not contrlolled by government and politicians that do not care about people. This can also be considered an analogy of economy on how many people are consumers and producers and do not understand economics…

  73. Carlos Velasquez

    Who would ever know that something so small and insignificant like a pencil would have to pass by such a long and complicate process to be produced. Everybody uses a pencil, everybody has a pencil, but we dont really now the story behind it. We just see the pencil like a small peace of wood to write, but it is more than that. Without pencils, we could not have past or even future. Pencils can be expensive or cheap but we will always have and need a pencil… We must appreciate the hard work and dedication people on the producing industries put on making this, now significant to me, piece of wood and carbon, because thanks to them we are able to do many things. This shows us that we must appreciate every single thing in the world, no matter how big or small it is.

  74. oscar yanes 10 c

    this essay is very interesting because it shows us how much work and time it takes to do a simple writing utensil, it also show us how does people in order to create something,have to work in group, and this group has to have equality or the same rights for every member. the way people see pencils is insignificant, but by reading this article people will be aware of how difficult is to make a pencil and will now have to consider cost and time of the work. for me this article does not have to do only with pencils, it will make us see other (small and what we think are insignificant) things not by what they are, but it will make us see them by how much effort did x number of people did and how much time did they took to create any kind of product.

  75. WOW :O It´s a huge procedure to make a simple little thing. Everyday we have a pencil in our hands and we don´t imagine how that little thing took a lot of work and a lot of days to make it. This is a good example of how little things that we don´t imagine that value they value. Every little step they made, they made it in group and that´s what the human should do. 🙂

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