Book notes: As I See It, the autobiography of J. Paul Getty

Besides my interest in the energy industry and its history, Getty's life is worth some study as it spanned the 20th century: he was born late in the 19th century, and came of age just before the First World War. He actively built the rise of the global oil industry, powering one of the largest and fastest transformations in human history. His era was a time of huge technology advances, and also, violence on an unprecedented scale.

In all, Getty had a remarkable life. This book didn't discuss business as much as I'd expect, but his rules seem clear enough: be damn good at your field; be honorable and financially prudent; hire good/great people; be hands-on wherever necessary. Luck is involved in success - but luck increases with hard work and determination. Be gracious, and have a sense of humor. Aim to have supportive family. Oh, and develop a thick-skin - the further up you go, the more people will try to kiss butt, be envious, etc. Also, despite all the wealth in the world: his marriages didn't work out; and his son died unexpectedly.

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