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The First Billion Is the Hardest: Reflections on a Life of Comebacks and…

by T. Boone Pickens

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The life and many restarts of T. Boone Pickens will hopefully give anyone hope that it's never to late to start over. At 80 years old, he is still starting new projects and enterprises that may not even reach fruition during his lifetime, but he does it because he wants to see it happen, and because it's something that needs to happen.

Starting as a geologist for big oil, Pickens became an oil expert. He made his fortune being able to predict trends and follow it up with innovative ideas. Unlike most men in his position, he freely admits that our dependence on oil is devastating unless we do something yesterday, and he's got some ideas in the works. Early on, he was a proponent for natural gas use for transportation instead of energy production, his argument is quite compelling. More recently, he's seen the necessity of water reserves and wind power.

Along with a very interesting life, Pickens writes out what his proposed energy plan for our future looks like. This is where his genius shines through, not because he has a perfect plan, because he's the first to admit it has flaws, but because he is the only one who says "money be damned, let's secure our future." Since he's not in anyone's pocket, he can speak frankly without repercussions, and he's proven himself right enough times that he is a man worth paying attention to. ( )
  regularguy5mb | Jun 19, 2014 |
Wow. Seriously. Pickens is brilliant. He really knows how to make money. And is *reall* detached from regular folks it seems. He talks about having holes in his socks because he is frugal, but he flys his private jet around to make sure he doesn't miss his alma mater's football games.... go figure. More power to him I guess.

There isn't really a ton for any of us to learn from this book I don't think. However, it is a fascinating look into high finance and wealth.

It is also a must read because of his insider insights into the energy problems our country will be facing in the next decades. He pushes the technologies that he is invested in (understandably), but he makes a convincing case for the 'energy war.' He believes that or recent wars are all oil wars and that our president has a case for declaring war on our energy problems. He says that executive powers would be necessary to move us into alternative energy fast enough to save our status as a super power.

Definitely something to consider coming from a man who made billions in oil. ( )
  tkraft | Nov 19, 2009 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0307395774, Hardcover)

With a Plan for Reducing U.S. Oil Dependency

It’s never too late to top your personal best.

Now eighty years old, T. Boone Pickens is a legendary figure in the business world. Known as the “Oracle of Oil” because of his uncanny ability to predict the direction of fuel prices, he built Mesa Petroleum, one of the largest independent oil companies in the United States, from a $2,500 investment. In the 1980s, Pickens became a household name when he executed a series of unsolicited buyout bids for undervalued oil companies, in the process reinventing the notion of shareholders’ rights. Even his failures were successful in that they forced risk-averse managers to reconsider the way they did business.

When Pickens left Mesa at age sixty-eight after a spectacular downward spiral in the company’s profits, many counted him out. Indeed, what followed for him was a painful divorce, clinical depression, a temporary inability to predict the movement of energy prices, and the loss of 90 percent of his investing capital. But Pickens was far from out.

From that personal and professional nadir, Pickens staged one of the most impressive comebacks in the industry, turning his investment fund’s remaining $3 million into $8 billion in profit in just a few years. That made him, at age seventy-seven, the world’s second-highest-paid hedge fund manager. But he wasn’t done yet. Today, Pickens is making some of the world’s most colossal energy bets. If he has his way, most of America’s cars will eventually run on natural gas, and vast swaths of the nation’s prairie land will become places where wind can be harnessed for power generation. Currently no less bold than he was decades ago when he single-handedly transformed America’s oil industry, Pickens is staking billions on the conviction that he knows what’s coming. In this book, he spells out that future in detail, not only presenting a comprehensive plan for American energy independence but also providing a fascinating glimpse into key resources such as water—yet another area where he is putting billions on the line.

From a businessman who is extraordinarily humble yet is considered one of the world’s most visionary, The First Billion Is the Hardest is both a riveting account of a life spent pulling off improbable triumphs and a report back from the front of the global energy and natural-resource wars—of vital interest to anyone who has a stake in America’s future.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:23:41 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

At 80, T. Boone Pickens is a legendary figure. Known as the "Oracle of Oil" because of his uncanny ability to predict fuel prices, he built Mesa Petroleum, one of the largest independent oil companies in the United States, from a $2,500 investment. In the 1980s, Pickens executed a series of unsolicited buyouts of undervalued oil companies, reinventing the notion of shareholders' rights. When Pickens left Mesa at 68 after a downward spiral, many counted him out. What followed was a divorce, depression, and the loss of 90 percent of his capital. Then he staged one of the most impressive comebacks in the industry, turning his remaining $3 million into $8 billion in just a few years. Today, Pickens is making some of the world's most colossal energy bets, staking billions on the conviction that he knows what's coming. Here, he spells out that future in detail.--From publisher description.… (more)

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