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The First Billion is the Hardest

Reflections on a Life of Comebacks and America's Energy Future
Narrated by: Arthur Morey
Length: 8 hrs and 8 mins
4 out of 5 stars (343 ratings)
Regular price: $27.93
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Publisher's Summary

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.

©2008 T. Boone Pickens (P)2008 Random House Audio

What members say

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

A Guide for a U.S. National Energy Policy.

Overall this was a very informative book for anyone interested the future of the U.S. as a world power. There's something for everyone in here. Some of the more interesting topics covered where: big oil, natural gas, commodities trading, building a business from the ground up, leadership, taking risks, having a plan, many 'Boon-isms', taking care of yourself and leaving a legacy. Of course you'll learn a tremendous amount what makes T. Boone tick. If you are following the energy crisis (which could be a bigger issue than the housing and financial crisis), renewables, global warming, or the Pikens Plan, you'll learn a lot in this book. The only negative I found where a few of the statistics. I thought they may have been stretched to play on your emotion. That said, I found most of the stats to be well researched and backed up with credible sources.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Great personal story

This is a story of a guy who didn't know how to quit. This was one of the more interesting accounts of business success I've heard.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Dan
  • Edmond, OK, USA
  • 12-29-08

The Energy Industry

I enjoyed this personal account that covered a lifetime in the industry. The dates, names of people and places, and discrete conversations made each recollection seem like is just happened yesterday. I also found the hindsight to be critical yet produce a learning point.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Andy
  • Westport, CT, United States
  • 12-19-08

egocasting at its worst

I was hoping to hear an inspiring story from a captain of industry and an expert on energy. What I heard was an unabashed review of "Boonisms" that were clearly self serving towards helping Mr. Pickens strut his stuff. Even on energy, all he was doing was pitching the listener on replacing gasoline with natural gas, which he sells! In my opinion, this book was an entire waste of time.

6 of 9 people found this review helpful

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one of the worst books I have ever listened to.

hated this book. got about 4 hrs into it and found out it's just about a dude who's super rich and cry's about not being a billionaire. book straight up blows!

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

A great book. Well written with a great narrator.<br />

I could not stop listening. Great writing, great story, and a great narrator. You should give it a listen

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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Must 👂

Wow this is 1 of my favorite book's that I've listen to all year... I'm truly a fan

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Top 3 Books

Every American has to read this book! Brings very valid points to light. Will read again!

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

One of the best audiobook ever!

I read a lot guys! At least 10-15 books a month and most of them I’d say are audiobook. Loved the story thank you sir for sharing your story. This book definitely left some mark in my life and his story inspired me to be better and be an entrepreneur who not only builds business but team and make others leader.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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T Boone is the man

I really liked this book. As a business owner, I like his big thinking and no nonsense approach to business.