"He who walks with billionaires, will become a billionaire." ~ Christopher Kozoriz

J. Paul Getty - Quotes


Founded Getty Oil Company

"A business person who goes against the grain of current public opinion has to expect opposition; he or she will be made fun of, and often slandered."

"A hatred for failure has always been part of my nature and, I suppose, one of the more pronounced motivating forces in my life. It is not that I love success for its own sake. However, once I have committed myself to any undertaking, a powerful inner drive cuts in and I become intent on seeing it through to a satisfactory conclusion. In most fields of endeavour, I have been successful more often than not. When my efforts resulted in failure, I did everything possible to ensure that my mistakes were not repeated."

"A man labelled a ‘billionaire’ lives well and he’s very lucky to enjoy innumerable privileges and comforts – but he really can’t win. If he spends freely, he’s accused of being a wastrel and of trying to make an impression by splashing money around. If he lives quietly and without flashy ostentation, he’s castigated for being penurious – a ‘tightwad’."

"A man’s opinions are less valuable than the information he gathers."

"A sense of thrift is essential for success in business."

"Books, like proverbs, receive their chief value from the stamp and esteem of the ages through which they have passed."

"Businessmen can achieve notable success by discerning the possibility of things which others consider impossible."

"Crises, reversals, obstacles – these are always encountered by all upper-management employees during their careers. The value of a man under such circumstances is not dependent only on the way in which he confronts adversity, but also in his ability to turn adversity to his own advantage."

"Don’t misunderstand me. I’m in no way saying that we are born businessmen instead of becoming businessmen. I would be the last person in the world to propose such a theory, because my own example and my experience indicate that the contrary is probably true. From all the evidence, I was in no way a born businessman."

"Formula for success: rise early, work hard, strike oil."

"Getting results through people is a skill that cannot be learned in the classroom."

"Go and work in a large company; it’s like getting on a train. You’re always asking yourself if it is you or the train that’s moving at a hundred miles an hour."

"Going to work for a large company is like getting on a train. Are you going sixty miles an hour or is the train going sixty miles an hour and you’re just sitting still."

"I cannot help but be perplexed by this negative, and I think erroneous attitude, proffered by otherwise intelligent people. Assuredly, there exists a mass of facts which prove that young, dynamic, imaginative and hustling people have more opportunity to attain wealth and success today than ever before in our history. Innumerable young businessmen, aware and aggressive, have shown this to be true over the last few years by making a fortune in a variety of ways."

"I buy my straw hats in the winter."

"I buy when other people are selling."

"I buy when others sell. I buy when other people are selling."

"I consider myself neither prophet nor pundit, economist or political scientist. I speak simply as a practical, working businessman."

"I’d rather have 1% of the effort of 100 men than 100% of my own effort."

"If all the money and property in the world were divided up equally at, say, 3 o’clock in the afternoon, by 3.30pm there would be notable differences in the financial conditions of the recipients. Within that first 30 minutes, some adults would have lost their share. Some would have gambled theirs away and some would have been swindled or cheated out of their portion (thereby making some others richer). The disparity would increase with growing momentum as time went on. After 90 days, the differences would be staggering. And, I’m willing to wager that, within a year or two at the most, the distribution of wealth would conform to patterns almost identical with those that had previously prevailed."

"I find all this money a considerable burden."

"If you can actually count your money, then you’re not a rich man."

"If you can calculate how much you have, then you are not a billionaire!"

"If you can count your money, you aren’t rich."

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

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

"I hate to be a failure. I hate and regret the failure of my marriages. I would gladly give all my millions for just one lasting marital success."

"I have a good laugh in private, when I hear a 28 or 30 year old executive who works 48 hours a week at most – minus the time he spends on lunch and golf – whimpering because he’s overworked or that he’s under terrible pressure."

"I made my first million from the front seat of a Model T Ford, which I had bought second hand. The car was my head office, and general headquarters for my work sites. It was sometimes even my hotel room."

"I’m coming out of retirement at [age] 26!"

"I most certainly was not born a businessman."

"In my opinion, modern business has a great need for more entrepreneurs. I believe there is more opportunity for a young man today than ever before, if only because specimens of the breed are fewer and farther between."

"In business or out of it, there’s nothing unusual or shameful about making a mistake – once. But… to stumble twice against the same stone is a proverbial disgrace."

"I never took pleasure in earning money. Money is not necessarily related to happiness. Maybe it is related to unhappiness."

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

"I resolved to proceed on a large scale of massive high-priced purchases, and to build an independent petroleum enterprise. My friends and acquaintances – to say nothing of my competitors – thought that my buying binge constituted a fatal error."

"I still believe that my first successes were due to pure luck."

"It is not easy to build a business and make a million. It take hard – extremely hard – work. There are no nine to five hours and no five day weeks for the boss."

"It’s rude and inconsiderate to overtip. It only makes it more difficult – and embarrassing – for people who are not as rich as I am."

"‘I’ve made my fortune – and I’m going to retire.’ Neither Mother nor Father was pleased with my decision. Both of them had worked very hard in their own youth." [To his parents as a young man]

"I would like to convince young businesspeople that a magic formula which is infallible and leads to sure success in business does not exist… that there is no automatic set of rules that will make a person a millionaire."

"Legitimate opportunities for expansion should never be ignored or overlooked. On the other hand, the businessman must always be on his guard against the temptation to overexpand or launch expansion programs blindly, without sufficient justification and planning."

"Luck, knowledge and hard work – especially hard work – are all necessary for a man to become a millionaire. But, above all that, he needs what can be called the ‘millionaire mentality’: that essential state of mind and conscience which mobilizes the intelligence and all the talents of an individual to accomplish his tasks and realize the goals he has set for himself in business."

"Make your money first – then think about spending it."

"Money is a wonderful commodity to have, but the more one possesses, the more involved and complicated become his dealings and relationships with people."

"Money is like fertilizer. You have to spread it around everywhere, if not it stinks."

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

"Most firms could slash their ‘entertainment’ budgets by 50 percent or more without losing a single sale."

"My father neither provided the money for my private business ventures nor did he share in the profits I received from them."

"My father said: ‘You must never try to make all the money that’s in a deal. Let the other fellow make some money too, because if you have a reputation for always making all the money… you won’t make many deals."

"My formula for success is rise early, work late, and strike oil. Rise early. Work late. Strike oil."

"No one can possibly achieve any real and lasting success or ‘get rich’ in business by being a conformist."

"Oil is like a wild animal. Whoever captures it has it."

"Once in the game, I always try to hit the ball back, and do my best to beat the opponent!"

"One generally does far more business in 15 minutes over a cup of coffee than he can possibly do in three hours over a six-martini lunch."

"Praise should always be given in public, criticism should always be given in private."

"‘Richness’ is at least as much a matter of character, of philosophy, outlook and attitude, as it is about money."

"Some people find oil. Others don’t. [J. Paul Getty sent to a magazine requesting a short article explaining his success."

"The #1 guideline to success is you must be in business for yourself. When you work for someone else, you sell your time at wholesale to your employer, who then resells it at retail to the customer."

"The American way of life remains the golden symbol of good living everywhere."

"The businessman should never lose sight of the central aim of all business – to produce more and better goods or provide more and better services to more people at lower cost."

"The businessman who goes against the current of popular opinion should expect to be opposed, derided and damned. That’s what made me rich!"

"The door to the American Millionaire’s Club is not locked. Contrary to popular modern belief, it is still quite possible for the successful individual to make his million – and more."

"The employer generally gets the employees he deserves."

"The form of charity I know is the art of meeting a payroll."

"There are always occasions where businessmen can make a good profit if they could only recognize and seize the moment, and if they could ignore the negative sentiments expresses by those who become prophets of doom."

"The individual who is able to perceive a glimmer of possibility in a situation that seems, at first glance, full of insurmountable obstacles, is the one who is most likely to reap the greatest benefits."

"The individual who wants to reach the top in business must appreciate the might of the force of habit – and must understand that practices are what create habits. He must be quick to break those habits that can break him – and hasten to adopt those practices that will become the habits that help him achieve the success he desires."

"The man going into business for himself also needs sufficient capital, but this is the least important factor. Just as a bad workman invariably complains that he has bad tools, so the bad businessman always wails that he does not have enough capital."

"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 man who complains loudest about excessive wages is the same one who spends fortunes on advertising and sales campaigns to sell his products to the millions."

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

"The oil business was never an easy one. It has always entailed work – hard work – and it has always been fraught with innumerable financial pitfalls, especially in the early days."

"The real giants and geniuses of American business normally work 16 to 18 hours a day – often 7 days a week – and rarely take long vacations. As a result, most of them live very long lives."

"There are always opportunities through which businessmen can profit handsomely if they will only recognize and seize them…"

"There are a thousand men who want security for everyone man who is willing to take risks."

"There are no tricks, no magical incantations or sorcerer’s potions which can make a business or a businessman an overnight success. Many qualities and much hard work are needed, as are innumerable other elements, because a businessman or woman can achieve and reach the millionaire level."

"There are one hundred men seeking security to one able man who is willing to risk his fortune."

"There is only one way to make a great deal of money in the business world – and that is in one’s own business."

"There’s a lot of room at the top. This symbolic Millionaire’s Club has an unlimited number of vacant seats to fill on its membership roster. I’m afraid that if these seats are not filled more quickly, it is because young potential candidates, who are very qualified, give up the fight before it really begins."

"There will always be room for the man with energy and imagination, the man who can successfully implement new ideas into new products and services."

"The secret of competing in the foreign market lies in realizing that no foreign country has yet truly mastered the technique of high quality mass production to the degree that we have."

"To become a billionaire, you have to have the mentality of a billionaire. This particular state of mind concentrates all knowledge and intelligence on a single and unique goal."

"To be seriously rich means that one no longer counts money."

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

"Whether you’re talking about general directors or specialists – such as buyers, production managers or sales managers – the key to all direction in business lies in directing human activities."

"Without competition, business would stagnate."

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

"Yes, I suppose it’s true but a billion dollars doesn’t go as far as it used to. [On being asked if it was true he was worth over a billion dollars."