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#65 Kirk Kerkorian (Penniless Dropout became the Greatest Deal Maker in Capitalist History)
March 31st, 2019 | E65

What I learned from reading The Gambler: How Penniless Dropout Kirk Kerkorian Became the Greatest Deal Maker in Capitalist History by William C. Rempel. 


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[0:16] He was a humble man privately proud of his accomplishments, a business genius who ignored his MBA advisers, a daring aviator and movie mogul, a gambler at the casino and on Wall Street who played the odds in both houses with uncanny skill.  

[4:34] Kirk believed there was no point in placing small bets.  

[16:48] He was a day laborer at MGA studios. He made $2.60 a day. Thirty years later he owned MGM and his investment was returning $260,000 a day. 

[21:27] His low tolerance for mistakes and recklessness made him a demanding instructor. He often repeated the mantra: There are old pilots and there are bold pilots—but there are no old, bold pilots.  

[46:54] He still relished big risks. And he subscribed to the logic of his friend and casino owner Wilbur Clark of the Desert Inn: “The smaller your bet, the more you lose when you win.” Besides, what’s the point—where’s the thrill—winning a small wager? Betting the limit became Kirk’s trademark.  

[53:26] Kirk was now sitting on stock worth more than $66 million, a vast fortune by any measure. And no one was more surprised than he was.  

[1:09:03] Kirk blamed Kirk. He had let himself become vulnerable. He hated that. He hated feeling helpless and at the mercy of forces beyond his control. He vowed never to let anything like that happen again.  


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