Alfred Nobel

Alfred Nobel

Alfred Nobel invented dynamite to protect workers at his family factory who were working with nitroglycerin in making explosives. Several had been killed because the chemical is extremely dangerous to handle. He figured out that if you cushion nitroglycerin with diatomaceous earth, the nitroglycerin could then be handled very safely. He called his invention dynamite.

In 1888, after his brother died, Alfred Nobel was mistakenly thought dead and his obituary published. In it, he was called a “merchant of death” whose wealth came from figuring out how to “kill more people faster.”

This early look at how his life’s work would be viewed led Nobel to establish the Nobel prizes. He left the bulk of his estate in his will in 1895 to establishing the prizes. He died in 1896.

When you want to know how to write an obituary for friends or family, it is helpful to know what is commonly included:

  • Full name
  • Dates of birth and death
  • Optionally, the cause of death
  • Place of birth
  • Accomplishments and interests
  • Names and relationships of family and extended family
  • Which family members survive and which have already passed
  • Name, city and state of funeral home, time of services
  • Family wishes about flowers or contributions to charities

More tips on how to write an obituary and a template are available from

Quentin Crisp, an English writer, said, “An autobiography is an obituary in serial form, with the last installment missing.” Nobel was able to change his obituary by finding out what he was going to be remembered for.

Sign up in the newsletter box to the side of this post for a free report on “How to Leave a Legacy.”

You have the chance, right now, to re-write your obituary.