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A Life for Troy
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Heinrich Schliemann

How the man who discovered Troy became rich learning languages on his own

Schlieman, a 19th century German merchant, started his life poorly. At 11 he began to work 15 hours days as a grocer's clerk, and after two years n accident with a heavy load he carried forced him to look for another job, and he soon ended as a file clerk in an office in Amsterdam. He soon realized that if he wanted to get something from life, he had to improve himself. Working in the import-export business, he decided that if he learned a foreign language, he could probably get a better paying job.

Schliemann wrote an "authorized" autobiography in 1875 (in english), where he explains how he and why he learned all these languages, among other things.

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