Saturday, August 07, 2010

Book Review: How To Be Rich

"How to be rich" was written by J. Paul Getty and published in 1961. At the time Getty was regarded as one of, if not the, richest men in the world. He was also regarded as something of an eccentric, a miser (somewhat unfairly) and a serious art collector.

How to be rich reads like a collection of articles covering topics such as:

  • what Getty looked for in successful company executives
  • his approach to selecting investments
  • art as a form of investment
  • the growth of big government
  • the increase in the administrative functions within large corporations
  • dealing with your mistakes

On investments, he clearly advocates value based investing, investing in what you know (many of his investments were in the oil industry), long term investing (he slams get rich quick schemes), not buying when the market is expensive and being willing to jump in when everyone else is selling. In may respects, he sounds a lot like Warren Buffet.

One of the more interesting aspects of the book is the way it reflects the times it was written in - pre-oil crisis inflation, communist fears, a drift towards more left wing governments and relatively limited participation of women in the work force.

With or without the social context in which the book was written, it is well written and contains a lot of simple common sense (particularly on the subject of investing) and was well worth reading.

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