"I'm not out to convince anyone that calculus, or even algebra and
geometry, are necessities in the hotel business. But I will argue long
and loud that they are not useless ornaments pinned onto an average
man's education. For me, at any rate, the ability to formulate quickly,
to resolve any problem into its simplest, clearest form, has been
exceedingly useful. It is true that you do not use algebraic formulae
but in those three small brick buildings at Socorro I found higher
mathematics the best possible exercise for developing the mental
muscles necessary to this process.
In later years I was to be faced
with large financial problems, enormous business deals with as many
ramifications as an octopus has arms, where bankers, lawyers,
consultants, all threw in their particular bit of information. It is
always necessary to listen carefully to the powwow, but in the end
someone has to put them all together, see the actual problem for what
it is, and make a decision---come up with an answer. A thorough
training in the mental disciplines of mathematics precludes any
tendency to be fuzzy, to be misled by red herrings, and I can only
believe that my two years at the School of Mines helped me to see
quickly what the actual problem was---and where the problem is, the
answer is. Any time you have two times two and know it, you are bound
to have four."
---Conrad Hilton, "By My Guest", Prentice-Hall Inc., 1957, p. 71.