J. Paul Getty Will Tell You How to Be Rich
J. Paul Getty Will Tell You How to Be Rich

J. Paul Getty Tells You How to Be Rich

J. Paul Getty is one of the more interesting wealthy individuals of the Twentieth Century. He was the founder of the Getty Oil Company and worth, at the time of his death in 1976, an estimated $2 billion.

Despite all his wealth, he was notoriously frugal. When his grandson was kidnapped and held for ransom, Mr. Getty negotiated the pay-off amount. Another story has it that when someone asked one of Getty’s staff what he should by him for Christmas, the staff member replied, “Socks! I don’t think he owns a pair with fewer than two holes!”

As idiosyncratic (or sad) as those two anecdotes make him, he did leave a quite a legacy behind him: the J. Paul Getty Museum, the Getty Foundation, the Getty Research Institute, and the Getty Conservation Institute.

With great wealth comes great responsibility.

And J. Paul Getty used it well.

Here are ten fantastic — and often funny — quotes from J. Paul Getty that, while they won’t make you rich in and of themselves, will definitely point you in the right direction.

My formula for success is rise early, work late, and strike oil.

This is a somewhat humorous way to indicate that luck plays a part in life. And it is a huge factor. But always remember the proper definition of luck: it is preparedness met with opportunity.

In times of rapid change, experience could be your worst enemy.

Always, always, always be learning. Never stop. Read great books. School is never out.

The meek shall inherit the Earth, but not its mineral rights.

While some may stop at the humor of this quip, I think one can go deeper. We sometimes stop too soon and don’t look underneath whatever is before us. Make a habit of going deeper because that’s where the riches lie.

If you owe the bank $100 that’s your problem. If you owe the bank $100 million, that’s the bank’s problem.

As I wrote in another article, “Go big — or go home!

If you can count your money, you don’t have a billion dollars.

That’s just funny.

And true.

Money is like manure. You have to spread it around or it smells.

In Week Twenty-three of The Master Key System, Charles F. Haanel wrote “The banker gives his money, the merchant gives his goods, the author gives his thought, the workman gives his skill; all have something to give, but the more they can give, the more they get, and the more they get the more they are enabled to give.”

I don’t know if Mr. Getty meant this thought exactly, but it’s close enough.

Don’t hoard your money; use it wisely; invest it; do good with it.

Without the element of uncertainty, the bringing off of even the greatest business triumph would be dull, routine, and eminently unsatisfying.

While we may not like the worries and fears associated with new ventures, that is actually where the fun is. Learn to love it. As is often said, your greatest successes can be found just outside your comfort zone.

To succeed in business, to reach the top, an individual must know all it is possible to know about that business.

Again, always be in learning mode. Again, read great books. Again, school is never out.

I buy when other people are selling.

Don’t follow the herd.


Find the truth.

As Mr. Haanel wrote in Week Nine of The Master Key System, “The truth then is the underlying principle in every business or social relation. It is a condition precedent to every right action. To know the truth, to be sure, to be confident, affords a satisfaction beside which no other is at all comparable. It is the only solid ground in a world of doubt, conflict, and danger.”

The man who comes up with a means for doing or producing almost anything better, faster, or more economically has his future and his fortune at his fingertips.

The TV show “Billions” perfectly defined what a good business is.

While this is a tad harsh, so is the real world. Plus it is the truth.

So get out there and think.


Be the best you can be.

And then be better.

Yes, J. Paul Getty did write a book and you’ll like it because you like these books.