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How to Be Rich

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How to Be Rich

His Formulas


15 min read
9 take-aways
Audio & text

What's inside?

J. Paul Getty was a billionaire with principles who knew the difference between being rich and being wealthy.

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According to John Paul Getty, being “rich” comes with the responsibility of having good character and a positive attitude. He wrote this book in 1960, before financial engineering and leverage emerged, thus enabling get-rich-quick schemes that funded many easy-money multimillionaires. From his era’s vantage point, Getty discusses new management techniques, the quest for status, and the difference between being rich and being wealthy. Getty offers timeless knowledge, enduring business advice and a refreshing perspective in this inspirational business biography.


J. Paul Getty struck his first oil well in 1915 and sold the lease for $15,000.

When J. Paul Getty first discovered oil in Stone Bluff, Oklahoma, in 1916, he was so excited about the potential strike that he decided to retreat to the nearest city, Tulsa, to await updates. He didn’t want his intolerable fever pitch excitement to make him a “hindrance” to the drilling crew. Since there were no phones, he had to wait for a friend to return by train with the news: Getty had struck oil and his first well was producing 30 barrels an hour – he had entered the oil business with a bang.



His father, a lawyer by training, had gone into the oil business in 1903. The elder Getty had a knack for finding oil; he drilled 43 wells and found oil in 42 of them. His son worked in the oil fields in 1910 and 1911, and entered the oil business full-time in 1914.

He and his father formed the Getty Oil Company in 1916; the young Getty got 30% of the stock.

In 1915, J. Paul Getty entered a partnership with his father in which the young Getty did the wildcatting (searching for oil) in exchange for 30% of profits. When they formed the Getty Oil Company ...

About the Author

In 1957, Fortune magazine named J. Paul Getty, owner of Getty Oil, as “The World’s Richest Man.” He lived and worked in England from the 1950s until his death in 1976.

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