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The First Billion Is the Hardest: Reflections on a Life of Comebacks and America's Energy Future Kindle Edition

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Length: 272 pages Word Wise: Enabled
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Editorial Reviews


“Entertaining…both Adam Smith and Horatio Alger would find something to like in the rise of T. Boone Pickens.”
Wall Street Journal

“The latest memoir from the Texas oilman…Pickens’ sauciness does entertain.”
Time magazine

“Sassy…breezes along…salted with earthy aphorisms.”

“Self-deprecating and audacious…overall, it’s decidedly informative about the machinations of business.”
Dallas Morning News

“A fascinating, eye-opening book by one of America's greatest iconoclasts and entrepreneurs. Boone Pickens’ sense of daring and innovation has never been sharper. Readers will quickly realize that this billionaire's extraordinary achievements are but a warm-up for what he is about to do now.”
—Steve Forbes, President and CEO, Forbes Inc., and Editor-in-Chief of Forbes magazine

“Boone’s analysis of America’s energy situation is 100% on the money.  In easy and colorful language he tells us where we are going wrong and what we must do about it.  The country should listen to him — now!”
—Warren Buffett, Chairman and CEO, Berkshire Hathaway

“It is inspiring to see Boone Pickens tackling the big issues, daring himself to think bigger, putting forward wind, water and energy ideas that are nothing less than paradigm busters. This absorbing and illuminating book shows why Boone has been more successful than just about all his competitors, and, more crucially, why the problem of resource scarcity may not be as insoluble as some think.”
—Jeffrey Immelt, CEO, General Electric

“Boone Pickens was among the first to grasp that corporations can be marvelous catalysts for progress if individual investors are given a say ...

About the Author

T. Boone Pickens is, in his ninth decade, the very active strategic and managerial force behind BP Capital, one of America’s most successful energy-investment companies. Currently, Pickens ranks among the world’s richest men. He lives with his wife in the Dallas—Fort Worth area and at his ranch in the Texas Panhandle.

Product Details

  • File Size: 274 KB
  • Print Length: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Crown Business; 1 edition (August 18, 2008)
  • Publication Date: September 2, 2008
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0017SUYWS
  • Text-to-Speech: Not enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #226,833 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

48 of 53 people found the following review helpful By Robert Busko VINE VOICE on September 3, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Which is the better businessman? First the guy that starts with nothing, makes a bundle, never loses any of his money and therefore doesn't have to do it twice, or the person who makes a bundle, loses it, and then does it all over again? I won't try to argue either point. This may be one for the philosophers. Regardless, T. Boone Pickens falls into the latter group.

I've been familiar with Mr. Pickens for years. As a teacher of economics and marketing, I saw him mentioned in the Wall Street Journal, Fortune, Business Week, etc. Anyone studying manufacturing/energy knows his story. However, in The First Billion is the Hardest we're introduced not only to Mr. Boones back story, but his vision for the future, at least as that vision relates to energy. I, for one, think T. Boone Pickens is dead on target and absolutely correct when he says we can't drill our way out of the current crisis. We have to think our way out of it. We certainly got into the current mess by not thinking. Follow the "Booneisms" and you'll win every time.

The signs have been obvious for more than 30 years. America's energy policy has been short sighted to say the least. I do think that there is a reason for us to drill and explore new fields even though I understand that as far as "energy" is concerned we need to look to other solutions as Mr. Pickens points out. We mustn't forget that a barrel of crude oil isn't simply used for fuel. Yes, we get gasoline, heating oil, jet fuel, diesel, etc. from crude oil. But a large percent of a barrel of crude oil (about 55%?) goes for other uses. Petroleum based products are used everywhere.
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25 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Mind-Body-Spirit VINE VOICE on September 4, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Having seen this gentleman on TV a lot in the last month or so, I was intrigued by his confident certainty that we could become energy independent quickly and easily. I kept wondering who in the world he was.

Reading his book, I now know that he is one of the most brilliant businessmen in our history. He has lived a jam-packed life full of business accomplishments, many of which have benefited all of us. At the age of 80, after much success and many personal heartaches, he's taking on our country's oil fiasco with a plan that I believe can work. Mr. Pickens' natural gas solution for cars seems like a brilliant way for us to become energy independent quickly, using our most abundant energy source.

I find this man to be one of the most inspiring and interesting Americans I have ever encountered. He has created success after success, and I trust the solutions he suggests for our country. This is an amazing book written by an inspiring American, whose life among other things, clearly demonstrates that chronological age is irrelevant.
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Format: Hardcover
The subtitle of the book is a good indication as to why this book reads like a disjointed two mini-books that were patched together. However hard the author tries, the connections his narration attempts in connecting his rise (and fall and rise) to fame to his thoughts on energy plans comes across as forced, at best.

In the "reflections" theme, Pickens narrates in a very avuncular manner, the main events in his clearly illustrious oil&gas career...right from his Mesa days to his BP capital and Clean Energy Fuels (a stock which has been enjoying very robust performance in the past few weeks - coincidence or not). The events related to his mergers/acquisitions make a very interesting read, showing glimpses of a wide variety of characters in the form of CEOs, investment bankers, etc. Overall, this discussion is captivating and provides the reader with an interesting picture on the (relatively) earlier fragmented nature of the industry, thoughts on how companies should be valued (audited reserves), and even some actual trades he'd made. Pickens uses "Boonerisms" as a tagline to change topics or for chapters, and most are quite interesting and apt though sounding banal. There is a chapter on his 'management style' and thoughts on teams which is also a good read. One also gets a ringside view of the key people who are actually executing the strategies at his fund - so, a good clue on succession plans, perhaps.

The thread on energy plan is surprisingly a small section of the book (his website and recent TV ads have more details) and makes the well-known issues of US dependence on foreign oil, peak oil, need for alternative sources, etc. Even a casual observer of this field may not find any of the facts or hypotheses laid out new.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Jerry Sanchez VINE VOICE on December 30, 2008
Format: Hardcover
This book is almost two books in one. First, there is Pickens's retelling of the exciting moments and big deals from his life and the money he's made. For anyone interested in his prior deals at Mesa or BP Capital, this is the book for you. For someone more interested in his energy policy or ideas for a more energy-independent U.S., the last few chapters are what you're looking for (perhaps you've seen his recent commercials and want to learn more). While I found some chapters of the book to be lacking in substance and a bit cheesy at times, I agree completely with his energy ideas and respect him for spending his money, time and energy to try to improve the energy situation of this country. I could care less about which Texas county has the best quail hunting or the details of the Oklahoma State University football program, some of his hobbies mentioned throughout the book. But all in all, this is an mediocre, quick read and one gets the feeling that the author gained more from writing it than the reader will from finishing it.
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