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#352 J. Paul Getty: The Richest Private Citizen in America
June 15th, 2024 | E352

What I learned from reading As I See it: The Autobiography of J. Paul Getty by J. Paul Getty. 


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(2:00) Vice President Nelson Rockefeller did me the honor of saying that my entrepreneurial success in the oil business put me on a par with his grandfather, John D. Rockefeller Sr. My comment was that comparing me to John D. Sr. was like comparing a sparrow to an eagle. My words were not inspired by modesty, but by facts.

(8:00) On his dad sending him to military school: The strict, regimented environment was good for me.

(20:00) Entrepreneurs are people whose mind and energies are constantly being used at peak capacity.

(28:00) Advice for fellow entrepreneurs: Don’t be like William Randolph Hearst. Reinvest in your business. Keep a fortress of cash. Use debt sparingly.

(30:00) The great entrepreneurs I know have these traits:

-Devoted their minds and energy to building productive enterprises (over the long term)

-They concentrated on expanding

-They concentrated on making their companies more efficient 

-They reinvest heavily in to their business (which can help efficiency and expansion )

-Always personally involved in their business

-They know their business down to the ground

-They have an innate capacity to think on a large scale

(34:00) Five wives can't all be wrong. As one of them told me after our divorce: "You're a great friend, Paul—but as a husband, you're impossible.”

(36:00) My business interests created problems [in my marriages]. I was drilling several wells and it was by no means uncommon for me to stay on the sites overnight or even for two days or more.

(38:00) A hatred of failure has always been part of my nature and one of the more pronounced motivating forces in my life.  Once I have committed myself to any undertaking, a powerful inner drive cuts in and I become intent on seeing it through to a satisfactory conclusion.

(38:00) My own nature is such that I am able to concentrate on whatever is before me and am not easily distracted from it.

(42:00) There are times when certain cards sit unclaimed in the common pile, when certain properties become available that will never be available again. A good businessman feels these moments like a fall in the barometric pressure. A great businessman is dumb enough to act on them even when he cannot afford to. — The Fish That Ate the Whale: The Life and Times of America's Banana King by Rich Cohen. (Founders #255)

(47:00) [On transforming his company for the Saudi Arabia deal] The list of things to be done was awesome, but those things were done.

(53:00) Churchill to his son: Your idle and lazy life is very offensive to me. You appear to be leading a perfectly useless existence.

(54:00) My father's influence and example where the principle forces that formed my nature and character.


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