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
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.
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