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Download The First Billion is the Hardest: Reflections on a Life of Comebacks and America's Energy Future Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample The First Billion is the Hardest: Reflections on a Life of Comebacks and Americas Energy Future Audiobook, by T. Boone Pickens Click for printable size audiobook cover
3.52 out of 53.52 out of 53.52 out of 53.52 out of 53.52 out of 5 3.52 (29 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: T. Boone Pickens Narrator: Arthur Morey Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: September 2008 ISBN: 9781415949559
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Now 80 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 68 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 77, 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.

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Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Lisa | 2/15/2014

    " There are some interesting stories and laws to live by, but there more details about take overs than I really wanted to read about. Pickens is a smart man who isn't afraid of work or risk--1st step in amassing a fortune according to me. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Rick | 2/11/2014

    " Inspiring what a 70 year old can do. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lacy | 1/29/2014

    " I really enjoyed this autobiography. I especially liked reading his energy plan for America. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 David J. Andrews | 1/23/2014

    " T. Boone Pickens writes in a straight-forward style that I like very much. He's really on to something with his wind energy project. Too bad the countries leaders have not embraced it. We need major federal funding to get this up and running and Pickens understands exactly how to do it. Maybe Obama will make it happen. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Toby | 1/17/2014

    " 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.[return][return]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.[return][return]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.[return][return]Definitely something to consider coming from a man who made billions in oil. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Gazimbo | 1/12/2014

    " Good read although self serving. Some insight into the Oil sector and Renewable energy. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Liz | 12/13/2013

    " Worth reading if you're interested in alternative oil, particularly the last chapter. We're making the rest of the world wealthy by purchasing foreign oil. He has alternatives, natural gas (of course he owns quite a bit), wind, nuclear etc. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Gretchen | 12/7/2013

    " Parts of this read quickly and parts drug on a little...loved the Booneisms! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Carl Phillips | 12/4/2013

    " I got interested in Boone Pickens when he was advertising his energy plan last year. This will never be a classic but it is interesting reading by a charismatic wheeler-dealer. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Bart | 11/30/2013

    " Interesting read. Pickens has made a lot of money during his life. He also lost a lot betting on natural gas in the 80s and 90s. He will finish way up after incredible gains buying oil futures during the oil price run up. He has good ideas to make our country less reliant on Middle East oil. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kevin | 11/29/2013

    " very good book. he tells his story without sounding arrogant and his ideas about energy and this country are right on the money. he should be in charge of our country's energy program. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Cliff | 11/21/2013

    " A very good book. T Boone Pickens is an amazing person. Practical and unpretentious, I'm a big fan of a lot of his ideas. Just another example of an idea person who we should put in charge to solve some of our largest problems. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Tracey Kreps | 8/27/2013

    " Okay we get it - migrate to natural gas because you own a lot and oh yeah, T. Boone Pickens thinks he is the best investor ever. His humility aside it's a good read about the forces of power in the energy sourcing industry. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Miriam | 3/14/2013

    " Not a huge fan of his philosophy on life. He's good at what he does, but I got the feeling that money is his first priority in life. I'm not sure I believe all the doom and gloom. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Peter | 1/25/2013

    " Well, this book kind of sucks. I appreciate the guy for what he's done, but he babbles on about how great he is and how much money he's given away for far too long. Would have much preferred someone else's analysis of his life and fortunes. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Sally | 12/2/2012

    " Think he either wrote this himself or should have paid more for a better ghost writer. Interesting story but not a masterpiece of writing. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Howard | 2/4/2012

    " a very quick and enlightening read, entertaining as well. no muss, no fuss. boone is a straight shooter. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Stephen Collins | 9/8/2011

    " read five chapters and flip to the back and read the last two. you won't miss much and you'll cut out a lot of redundancy and highly confident self-promotional filler. good book, if you aren't put off by his hubris, but could benefit from a heavy handed editor. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Marjorie | 2/23/2011

    " Poorly organized, self-indulgent memoir. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Sally | 10/24/2010

    " Think he either wrote this himself or should have paid more for a better ghost writer. Interesting story but not a masterpiece of writing. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Cliff | 4/4/2010

    " A very good book. T Boone Pickens is an amazing person. Practical and unpretentious, I'm a big fan of a lot of his ideas. Just another example of an idea person who we should put in charge to solve some of our largest problems. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Peter | 12/29/2009

    " Well, this book kind of sucks. I appreciate the guy for what he's done, but he babbles on about how great he is and how much money he's given away for far too long. Would have much preferred someone else's analysis of his life and fortunes. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Carl | 11/19/2009

    " I got interested in Boone Pickens when he was advertising his energy plan last year. This will never be a classic but it is interesting reading by a charismatic wheeler-dealer. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Bart | 9/17/2009

    " Interesting read. Pickens has made a lot of money during his life. He also lost a lot betting on natural gas in the 80s and 90s. He will finish way up after incredible gains buying oil futures during the oil price run up. He has good ideas to make our country less reliant on Middle East oil. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Gretchen | 9/10/2009

    " Parts of this read quickly and parts drug on a little...loved the Booneisms! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Miriam | 1/12/2009

    " Not a huge fan of his philosophy on life. He's good at what he does, but I got the feeling that money is his first priority in life. I'm not sure I believe all the doom and gloom. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lacy | 12/15/2008

    " I really enjoyed this autobiography. I especially liked reading his energy plan for America. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Rick | 12/11/2008

    " Inspiring what a 70 year old can do. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kevin "El Liso Grande" | 12/10/2008

    " very good book. he tells his story without sounding arrogant and his ideas about energy and this country are right on the money. he should be in charge of our country's energy program. "

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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.
About the Narrator

Arthur Morey has won three AudioFile Magazine “Best Of” Awards: in 2011 for Biography and History, in for History and Historical Fiction, and in 2009 for Nonfiction and Culture. His work has also garnered multiple AudioFile Earphones awards, and he has been nominated for an Audie Award. He graduated from Harvard and did graduate work at the University of Chicago. He has won awards for his fiction and drama, worked as an editor with several book publishers, and taught literature and writing at Northwestern University. As a narrator, he has received nineteen AudioFile Earphones Awards and been a finalist for the prestigious Audie Award.